In D.C., Public Preschool Already the Norm
In his recent State of the Union address, President Obama called for free public preschool for all low- and moderate-income 4-year-olds. A Washington Post story on how public preschool is already the norm in D.C. profiled AppleTree Early Learning Public Charter School. Nearly 13,000 of D.C.’s roughly 15,000 3- and 4-year-olds are attending public preschool, 7,000 of them at public charter schools or other non-district public programs. “Here is a place where funding is in place, universal preschool is policy,” said Jack McCarthy of the AppleTree Institute for Education Innovation, which runs public preschools at seven D.C. sites. If the quality could be improved and ensured for all students, he said, “we could close the achievement gap here in five years.”
Source: Washington Post
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Second Stanford Report Finds Gains for New York City Charters
According to SchoolBook, a report by Stanford University’s Center for Research on Education Outcomes (CREDO) found that students in New York City public charter schools make larger learning gains, on average, in both reading and mathematics, than students in the city’s traditional public schools. On average, charter students gained an additional one month of learning in reading over the course of a school year. In math, they gained an additional five months of learning over the course of a school year. Twenty-two percent of city charters had significantly more positive learning gains than traditional public schools in reading. In math, nearly 63 percent of the charter schools outperformed traditional public schools. The report examined nearly 20,000 students’ records from 79 schools over six years of schooling, controlling for prior test scores, gender, race, disabilities, family income and English language learner status.
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Enrollment Caps on Philadelphia Charters Illegal
According to the Philadelphia Public School Notebook, the Pennsylvania Department of Education has withheld $8.7 million from Philadelphia’s school district over the past 18 months, redirecting the money to six area public charter schools. The Walter D. Palmer Leadership Learning Partners Charter has received $5.5 million, after the school’s founder won a series of court cases challenging the school district’s right to unilaterally impose enrollment caps on charters. Timothy Eller, the department’s press secretary, said Pennsylvania charter school law requires the department to automatically reimburse any charter school that claims it has not been paid by a traditional school district. In Philadelphia, the School Reform Commission decides whether to grant new charters and renew existing charters. The district has tried to manage charter growth by capping enrollment at individual charter schools. According to Walter Palmer, capping charter enrollment is illegal under the state’s charter law. “The legislation states very clearly that charters cannot be capped,” he said.
Source: Philadelphia Public School Notebook
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Indiana Bill Would Allow Some Districts to Approve Charters
According to the Post-Tribune, an Indiana Senate bill would allow school districts with at least 50 percent of their potential students attending public charter schools to approve new charter schools. Russ Siemneck of the Indiana Public Charter School Association said the bill would interfere with the competition between district and charter schools to provide a better education. Gary, Indiana Superintendent Cheryl Pruitt said allowing districts to approve charters would make for more financial stability. The bill passed the Education and Career Development Committee with an 8-4 vote and now heads to the Senate floor for a vote.
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New Executive Director of Georgia Charter Schools Commission Named
According to the Atlanta Journal Constitution’s Get Schooled blog, Bonnie Holliday has been named the new executive director of the revived Georgia Charter Schools Commission. The commission was resurrected by the passage in November of a constitutional amendment restoring the state’s right to authorize and fund public charter schools. Holliday was previously the Executive Director of the Governor’s Office of Student Achievement. Before that, she worked for the Office of Planning and Budget as the Accountability Manager for the Race to the Top Innovation Fund and for the Georgia Charter Schools Commission as the Program Manager for Accountability. Holliday is currently a doctoral candidate in the University of Georgia’s Educational Administration and Policy program, where she is completing a dissertation on school choice coalition building in Georgia. She is a former high school English teacher.
Source: Atlanta Journal Constitution