The Charter Blog

Big Wins for Students and Families

Last week was full of great news for students and families!

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Charter Schools Can Help Renew America’s Cities

One thing is clear, today’s parents want, and expect, to choose their child’s public school. As this expectation has emerged and solidified in the last couple of decades with the availability of charter schools, a body of research has grown around the impact that a parent’s choice has on their student’s academic performance. Improving school outcomes for students is the obvious rationale for implementing education policy. However, policies can have unintended consequences and research is increasingly being done on the impact of parental choice in public education on communities.

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Posted in Research

National Alliance March Newsletter

Last week, President Trump released his first budget blueprint. We were pleased that it calls for an increase of $168 million in charter school funding for fiscal year 2018. This would give a major boost to efforts to open more charter schools, and we will be working closely with the administration and Congress to make this part of the president’s funding plan a reality.

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Posted in monthly newsletter

Chicago Charter Schools Are Bridging the City’s College Divide

A college degree matters more than ever in today’s economy, and bridging the gap in college enrollment isn’t just an equity issue—it’s also an economic development issue. According to a recent report from Georgetown University, virtually all of the 11.6 million new jobs that have been created since the great recession have gone to workers with at least some college education and 72 percent of these jobs went to workers with at least a bachelor’s degree. Rapid economic change has also had a dramatic impact on the American workforce. For the first time, the report found that college graduates made up the largest portion of the workforce at 36 percent. Workers with at least some college education made up 34 percent of the workforce and those with a high school diploma or less made up just 30 percent. 

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Posted in Research, college prep, Chicago

Opportunity Knocks as Bill Arrives to Governor McAuliffe's Desk

Virginia’s legislature approved a plan last month which, if signed by Governor Terry McAuliffe, would create a new pathway for the approval of charter schools in areas with persistently struggling schools.

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Posted in state advocacy, Virginia

More Than de Minimis

Have you ever stood on a slab of frozen marble for three hours? My boss and I have. You see, though beautiful, the marble that constitutes the steps and columns of the Supreme Court of the United States are cold in January.

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Posted in Legal

Ohio Charter Schools Face Major Facilities Challenges

During the 2014-15 school year, the National Charter School Resource Center, the Colorado League of Charter Schools (the League), the Ohio Alliance for Public Charter Schools, and the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools collaborated to collect data and information about charter school facilities and facilities expenditures in the state of Ohio. A recently released report, An Analysis of the Charter School Facilities Landscape in Ohio, summarizes this important research. The data collection in Ohio was supported by the Charter School Facilities Initiative (CSFI), which is a national project developed by the League to research charter school facilities and facilities expenditures across the country.

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Posted in Research

National Alliance February Newsletter

Our country is experiencing increased uncertainty, even anxiety, about our commitment to embracing diversity, welcoming people from different backgrounds, and remaining open to viewpoints different from our own. It’s time to reaffirm what we value as a movement.

Last week, as the nation continued its celebration of Black History Month, the National Alliance brought the diversity of the charter school movement to Capitol Hill at a charter school fair and reception. The event featured 18 leaders of color from high-performing, high-quality charter schools across the country. They spoke about the teaching and learning methods at work in their schools, the challenges they face in their communities, and their students’ successes. Through their powerful example, they reinforced the fact that while policymakers debate issues of diversity and inclusion, charter school leaders are living these values, creating open, safe, and welcoming spaces where students get the support they need to pursue their dreams. Every child deserves the same.

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Posted in monthly newsletter

Kansas City School Honors Photographer Gordon Parks

Gordon Parks was a modern renaissance man. A composer, author and filmmaker, he is best known as a groundbreaking photographer whose images of urban life, poverty, race relations and civil rights have had a deep impact on American culture.

Gordon Parks Elementary School, a charter public school in Kansas City, Missouri, honors Mr. Parks, who proudly endorsed the school’s mission of educating children living in the urban core to reach their full potential. The school’s founders, Sue Jarvis and Dorothy Curry, who knew Gordon Parks, wanted to instill in students his love of arts and culture. Throughout the building, there are display cases and photos showcasing Mr. Parks’s work, including letters he wrote to the school and other memorabilia.

Gordon Parks died in 2006, but every year on his birthday, November 30, the students celebrate his life. Depending on the grade level, students are read to about Mr. Parks (there is a children’s book about him in each classroom), they study his more famous photos or they write biographical reports. The school also observes Mr. Parks’s death, March 7, by holding a moment of silence for him at the start of the day.

This year, during Black History Month, each class is studying notable African Americans. Fourth graders, for example, have each selected a significant figure to research and write about—from Harriet Tubman to Duke Ellington, Muhammad Ali, Ruby Bridges and, of course, Gordon Parks.

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Posted in Black History Month

Different by Design: A Review of Three Papers by Nat Malkus

Over the past six months, Nat Malkus from the American Enterprise Institute published a series of three papers that compare charter public schools with district public schools by looking at differences in their demographics, proficiency rates, and suspension rates: Differences on Balance, Unlike Their Neighbors, and Differences by Design. Malkus’ work is the first of its kind to study this issue at a national level and in a balanced and systematic way. Further, his analyses reveal “important patterns of differences” between charter and district public schools.

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