The Charter Blog

 

Eric Paisner

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High Performing CMOs Reveal Promising Practices for All Students and Teachers

Last week, the Center on Reinventing Public Education (CRPE) and Mathematica Policy Research released the final report in their series examining  nonprofit charter management organization (CMO) effectiveness (see prior reports here and here).  Over the course of four years, the two research organizations sought to determine whether CMOs have an impact on student achievement (some do), and to identify common elements among high performing CMOs. This report gets under the hood of the previous report—providing details about what the practices associated with higher performance look like, as well as naming some of the top performing CMOs.  Although we were curious about who was included in the prior studies, they didn’t name names.  Now we know 5 out of the 10 top performing CMOs found in the study: Aspire Public Schools, Inner City Education Foundation (ICEF), KIPP DCUncommon Schools, and YES Prep Public Schools.  We are excited that these great organizations are getting credit for the amazing work they do.  They are dramatically improving the life opportunities for their students. We are also excited that this and some other recent reports are exploring promising practices found in high performing charter schools.  This report found that high expectations for student behavior and intensive teacher coaching and mentoring are common across these schools, and statistically correlate with higher achievement.  These are high yield practices that could be applied in both charter and traditional public schools.  Similarly, a research study conducted by the California Charter Schools Association highlighted practices common among California schools that are closing the achievement gap, including: results-focused instructional practices, data-driven curricular and instructional decisions, and making parents full partners in students’ education.  And, this article by Jim Peyser of New Schools Venture Fund (and National Charter School Hall of Famer) revealed operational practices common among high performing charter schools he has observed over many years. While much more research needs to be done to uncover the most promising practices for all types of students, recent research has added to this discussion.  We hope researchers continue their commitment to identifying and disseminating more information about effective practices.

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Katherine Schaff, National Charter Schools Conference Intern, tells us her favorites of the day: Link: Getting excited for the National Charter Schools Conference? I sure am! Take a sneak peek at some of this year’s sessions. Like: I can’t help but brag about the talented musicians that come from my hometown, Chicago.  Check out Andrew Bird’s new album Break It Yourself.

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Rachel Locklear Hall, Federal Advocacy Intern, tells us her favorites of the day: Link: Encouraging news about the U.S.high school graduation rate. Like: This is a picture of 4 girls I taught two years ago at a Charter School in Brooklyn called Excellence Girls Charter School. If this adorableness doesn’t make you love charter schools, I don’t know what will.

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Anna Nicotera, Director of Research and Evaluation, tells us her favorites of the day: Link: Spring is here, the weather is fantastic, and you’ll find me listening to This American Life while walking the dog. Like: As a Denver native and big Broncos fan, I am ecstatic about the Peyton Manning news this week. Looks like his foundation has given money to charter schools in the past. Maybe in between preparing for the Super Bowl, we can get him involved in charter schools in Colorado!
Renita Thukral

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Protecting Charter School Employee Retirement Funds

Understanding the Threat NAPCS has been the leading voice in the effort to amend the Internal Revenue Service’s Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPRM) titled “Determination of Government Plan Status.” Released on November 8th, 2011, this draft proposed regulation, if adopted as currently drafted, would lead states to prohibit charter school employees from participating in state retirement plans. Presently, every single state that authorizes charter schools either requires or permits charter school participation in the state’s retirement system. Therefore, this regulation would negatively impact nearly all charter school employees in the country. We persist in our efforts to educate law- and policy-makers on this issue, and we are committed to mobilizing our sector and our supporters.  The public comment period, originally set to expire on February 6th, has been extended and now will close on June 18th.  Additionally, the IRS will convene a public hearing in Washington D.C. on July 9th.  Anyone can submit a request to testify on July 9th; click here to submit a public comment in which you can ask for an opportunity to be heard (Note: submitting a request to testify does not guarantee that you will be chosen). The Sector and Its Supporters Voice Opposition To date,
  • NAPCS has filed public comment, signed by 34 city- and state-level charter support organizations across the country;
  • Chairman John Kline, House Committee on Education and the Workforce, and Chairman Duncan Hunter, House Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary and Secondary Education, have submitted a letter in support to IRS Commissioner Shulman;
  • Senate Republicans have submitted a letter in support to IRS Commissioner Shulman;
  • A coalition of 17 Members of the House has sent a bipartisan letter in support to IRS Commissioner Shulman;
  • The Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO), a national organization that represents state superintendents of education across the country, has submitted comments in support; and,
  • In February, more than 8,300 individuals voiced opposition to the IRS’s draft proposed regulations.  More than 43,000 emails were sent to Congress, Secretary Geithner, Secretary Duncan and IRS Commissioner Shulman!
Moving Forward Between now and the July 9th public hearing, we will update our webpage devoted to this issue to spotlight the latest developments—including media coverage, public statements made by lawmakers, position statements issued by our supporters, white papers, and data. It is imperative that the final regulations be amended to protect public charter school employees and allow public charter schools to continue to recruit and retain veteran public school employees.  Failure to do so will risk the retirement security of charter school employees, interfere with charter schools’ ability to reach their educational goals, undermine both state and federal education policy and reform initiatives, and subject some states to potential financial liability.  We urge the Internal Revenue Service to clarify the draft proposed regulations such that public charter schools will be treated as agencies or instrumentalities of the state under Section 414(d) of the Internal Revenue Code.

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Taishya Adams, Director of State Services, tells us her favorites of the day: Links: U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan announced the award of three Charter Schools Program grants, totaling $54.8 million, to increase public school options in Minnesota, New Jersey, and Massachusetts. You can read our take here. Like: Congratulations to the Georgia Charter Schools Association for their hard work in advocating for the recently passed constitutional amendment by the Georgia Legislature to restore to the state the power to authorize public charter schools. Now, it is onto the ballot box in November.

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Winners Announced for federal Charter Schools Program SEA Grants

U.S. Department of Education (U.S. ED) recently announced that they have awarded grants totaling $54.8 million to support the growth of public charter schools in MinnesotaNew Jersey and Massachusetts. Minnesota will receive a five-year grant and New Jersey and Massachusetts will each receive three-year grants under the Charter Schools Program state educational agency (SEA) competition. Altogether, the administration will invest $255 million in fiscal year 2012 through several grant programs administered by the Charter Schools Program to:
  • support charter school efforts to find suitable facilities
  • disseminate information about successful charter school practices, and
  • replicate and expand high-quality charter schools
President Barack Obama’s fiscal year 2013 budget request also includes $255 million to expand educational options by helping grow effective charter schools and other autonomous public schools that achieve positive results and give parents more choices.

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Eric Paisner, Vice President of Knowledge and Partnerships, tells us his favorites of the day: Link: Does your school have a leadership succession plan? Check out this assessment & management tool for charter schools. Like: EdWeek has a new blog dedicated to better public school options.

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Nora Kern, Senior Manager for Research and Analysis, tells us her favorites of the day: Link: Fordham’s Mike Petrilli shares 3 thoughts on the future of school integration. Like: D.C. is definitely guilty of this, but the “must reads” are different than in Portland(ia).

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Emily Persons, Administrative Intern, tells us her favorites of the day: Link: Retired Exelon CEO Guest Teaches at Chicago Public Charter School. Like: I loovee Girl Scout cookies! I can’t wait to try to make my own Thin Mints.