National Alliance Monthly News - October 2018

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A young student who enjoys her public charter school experience.

Justice prevailed last week, as the Washington state Supreme Court determined that public charter schools are constitutional. See our statement here. Hopefully this brings an end to years of uncertainty for more than 3,400 charter school students and their families and the thousands on a charter school waitlist. The case is a reminder that after more than 25 years of providing high-quality public school options for students, our schools’ very existence continues to be at stake in courts, legislatures, and other policy making bodies across America.

We’re just a week from election day, and the National Alliance will be watching the results closely. There are several opportunities for charter school allies to pick up seats in governors’ offices and legislatures. There are also some major threats. I urge everyone to understand where your federal, state, and local candidates stand on issues important to charter schools and our students—and vote accordingly. We need all the allies we can get, at every level of government.

We’ll provide more analysis of the results after next Tuesday. We’re prepared to keep advancing charter school interests with new and returning elected officials everywhere. Facilities funding will continue to be a particular focus in the months ahead, as we get the new Charter School Facilities Center up and running. I recently wrote an op-ed in the Washington Examiner about why charter schools need dedicated funding for new facilities and what can be done about it.

One of the best ways to teach elected officials about the great work going on in charter schools is to invite them to visit a school and see it firsthand. In the Washington update below, you’ll find info on how to organize a visit for members of Congress, governors, local leaders, and anyone who has an influence on charter school policy. We vote on Tuesday, but our advocacy marches on!

Fighting for—and Learning from—the Best

The Pioneer Institute’s Cara Stillings Candal new book "The Fight for the Best Charter Public Schools in the Nation."

The Pioneer Institute’s Cara Stillings Candal has written a new book examining charter schools in Massachusetts, widely considered to be among the nation’s best. In The Fight for the Best Charter Public Schools in the Nation, Candal draws lessons—both positive and negative—from the Massachusetts experience that may be helpful to charter school movement leaders and educators across the country. You can read an interview with Candal here, read some of her findings here, and listen to a podcast in which she discusses her book here.

Educational Equity for Latinx Students

National Alliance Board member Moctesuma Esparza, CEO of Maya Cinemas North America, penned an op-ed for Hispanic News.

National Alliance Board member Moctesuma Esparza, CEO of Maya Cinemas North America, penned an op-ed for Hispanic News on educational equity for Latinx students, sharing his story as a student activist in the late 60s who protested the poor quality of Los Angeles’s public schools. He imparts that it is critical for students to have teachers who respect their heritage, know their history, and understand their culture. Though alternate options like charter schools have improved the academic environment for Latinx students, there’s still more work to be done.

Diddy's Gift

Music mogul Sean “Diddy” Combs pledged $1 million to his Harlem charter school network.

World-renowned entertainer and entrepreneur Sean “Diddy” Combs has been a great friend to the Capital Preparatory Schools founded by Dr. Steve Perry. Last week, Diddy announced a $1 million donation to allow the network to open a new school in the Bronx! Watch Diddy’s announcement on Twitter here. And read more here.

Washington Update

The latest news surrounding public charter schools from Washington.

Elected officials hear and read data all the time, but a school visit can leave a lasting impression that changes their understanding of charter schools. Hosting school visits for elected officials is one of the most effective ways to build long-term relationships and show members of Congress the results charter schools are achieving for students. The National Alliance has compiled a toolkit that offers guidance on the entire process of hosting a school visit, from scheduling to sending a thank you note. Please share with schools in your orbit, and feel free to contact elise@publiccharters.org for support with hosting a school visit.

The U.S. Department of Education announced the 2018 National Blue Ribbon Schools, including 20 charter schools. We are thrilled to see the charter school sector’s strong representation in this year’s cohort. Congratulations!

State Update

National Alliance Board chair Paul Pastorek presented New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez with her 2018 Champion for Charters Award during an event at Altura Preparatory School in Albuquerque. We appreciate the governor’s support for charter school students! Read more here.

Legal Update

The latest legal news from Washington surrounding public charter schools.

In a historic ruling for public education in Washington, the state’s Supreme Court ruled in El Centro de la Raza vs. Washington that public charter schools are constitutional, upholding their place in the public education system and ensuring current and future charter school students will have access to a high-quality public education. The National Alliance joined the Black Alliance for Educational Options, the National Center for Special Education in Charter Schools, and the League of Education Voters, with funding from our National Charter School Legal Action Fund, in filing an amicus brief before the Washington state Supreme Court. We are delighted by the outcome. You can read our full statement here.

In September, a Connecticut federal trial court dismissed six out of seven claims of a lawsuit filed by local parents after they were prevented from enrolling their children in charter and magnet schools. The parents claimed their children’s right to equal educational opportunity was infringed by Connecticut’s restrictions on school choice options. The National Alliance will continue to monitor the case.

Research Roundup

The latest research news about public charter schools.

NewSchools Venture Fund, Summit, and Transcend share insights on reimagining schools.

new study from TNTP finds that low expectations, especially for students of color, are contributing to achievement and opportunity gaps.

CRPE is out with a new publication addressing equity issues in personalized learning.

Carnegie Corporation of New York recently produced a report that analyzes family engagement and offers five promising high-leverage areas that can be used as building blocks to empower families to support their children’s learning.

Our friends at the Thomas B. Fordham Institute have released a profile publication on a charter school exclusive to gifted students who may be overlooked elsewhere. The profile demonstrates how charter schools can meet the needs of this population.

From The Charter Blog

The Charter Blog is the official blog for the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools.

The National Alliance’s Christy Wolfe recently participated in the Global Educational Policy Fellowship Program, where she learned about the highly touted German and Swiss apprenticeship programs and what lessons they hold for career and technical education in U.S. charter schools. You can read more about Christy’s experiences and the learning she gained from the fellowship here and here. The Charter Blog also featured 5 public charter schools making waves for their take on the vocational model.

Here are some other recent pieces from the Charter Blog that you won’t want to miss!

Get Ready for NCSC19!

The 2019 National Charter Schools Conference will be held from June 30 - July 3 in Las Vegas! Relive the excitement from last summer by checking out the 2018 National Charter Schools Conference YouTube playlist. And sign up here to be the first to know when registration opens for NCSC19!

Great Talent Needed!

The National Alliance for Public Charter Schools is hiring.

The National Alliance is currently recruiting a Senior Director of Research and Evaluation to lead our innovative research and data program and manage the research and evaluation team, as well as a Communications Coordinator to gather stories of successful charter schools, students, and teachers, and distribute organizational communications. Please click here for more details on both positions, and pass the word to great candidates!

We want to connect great talent with great opportunities throughout the charter school movement. Our Charter School Job Board includes job openings for a variety of positions across the country. It’s a great resource for organizations looking to hire and for individuals looking to make a difference in the lives of students.

Support the National Alliance

Donate to the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools

The National Alliance is a non-profit organization that relies on generous partners like you. Please consider supporting the growth and sustainability of charter schools by making a tax-deductible gift or adding your name to our advocacy list. Thank you! 

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