2021 was a big year for the public charter school community. Parent demand for charter schools continued to grow rapidly in the second year of the pandemic, we welcomed a new federal administration, and multiple state legislatures listened to parents and passed critical pro-charter laws. Through it all, the National Alliance aimed to provide videos that distilled important information and stressed the importance of our movement.
The wave of change in public education is not stopping anytime soon. This year, a whole new group of people began to understand the need for public school options and access to quality education. As our numbers grow larger, we will continue to be here to support the schools, students, parents, educators, and advocates in our community.
From our informative “Charter Schools, Explained” series to a breakdown of public school enrollment trends, here are our top ten videos of 2021:
1. How Does a New Education Secretary Affect My Charter School?
At the beginning of 2021, we welcomed Dr. Miguel Cardona as the new U.S. Secretary of Education under the Biden Administration. Christy Wolfe, vice president of policy and planning at the National Alliance, broke down how a new U.S. Secretary of Education could affect charter schools at the school-level.
2.How Public School Enrollment Changed During the Pandemic
Hundreds of thousands of families re-examined their educational options during the first full school year of the COVID pandemic. Lead Researcher Drew Jacobs explains the data gathered in our report on public school enrollment changes during 2020-21 school year.
3. 30 Years Strong: A History of the Public Charter Schools Movement
This year marks the 30th anniversary of the first charter school law, which changed the future of public education and student success forever. In honor of the movement's history and future, take a look at the history of the public charter schools’ movement and how far we've come!
4. Why Advocate for Charter Schools?
When the Charter Schools Program—the only source of dedicated federal funding for charter schools—faced an unprecedented threat over the summer, the charter school community stepped up. Families, leaders, and educators in our community came together to communicate the importance of charter schools to their members of Congress—and they heard us. Ronald C. Rice, senior director of government relations at the National Alliance, thanked our community for their effort and explained why we need to continue advocating for charter schools.
5. How to Finance or Refinance Your Charter School Facility
One of the biggest challenges to meeting demand for charter schools continues to be facilities financing. The Charter School Facility Center at the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools is dedicated to closing this gap. In this video, Mark Medema, managing director of the Charter School Facility Center explains how charter schools can finance or refinance a charter school facility to save hundreds of thousands of dollars for public schools. Money that is better spent on students, wouldn’t you agree?
6. Making Black History in the Moment with Lenny McAllister of PA Coalition of Public Charter Schools
For Black History Month, the National Alliance featured Black educators in the charter school movement who are making history in the moment. One such leader is Lenny McAllister, CEO of the Pennsylvania Coalition of Public Charter Schools, who shared his personal leadership journey, thoughts on education as a civil right, and the legacy he would like to leave.
7. 30 Under 30 Changemakers Awards
As part of National Charter Schools Week 2021: 30 Years Strong, we honored 30 exceptional young leaders who are connected to charter schools and are using their ideas, talents, and platforms to affect change. The 30 Under 30 Changemaker awards shine a spotlight on individuals from across the country who are making a meaningful impact in their community and nationwide via Arts, Writing, and Sports; Education and Politics; Leadership; Science; and Social Justice.
8. New Schools, New Opportunities for Success: Magic City Acceptance Academy
For Back to School Month, we sat down with school leader Dr. Mike Wilson to discuss Magic City Acceptance Academy, an LGBTQ-affirming charter school that opened this fall near Birmingham, Alabama. The school’s mission encourages students to facilitate a community in which all learners are empowered to embrace education, achieve individual success, and take ownership of their future.
9. #CharterLove for National Charter Schools Week 2021: 30 Years Strong
National Charter Schools Week is a time to celebrate our community and share #CharterLove. In a round-up of the 2021 celebration, we put together a compilation of social media posts from schools, our 30 Under 30 Changemakers, federal and state elected officials, and state organizations.
10. A Thank You Message to Teachers at NCSC21
Teachers have one of the most important jobs in the world to nurture and inspire the next generation. No one is more influential to children outside of the home. Some of our 30 Under 30 Changemakers shout out some of the amazing educators that have supported them, and we give thanks to all teachers who take on this essential role.
Kayley Pham is the coordinator of social and digital media at the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools.
Read more from the National Alliances series of year-end blog posts of 2021: