Standing at the podium at graduation, one LEARN 6 eighth grader Farhan explained, “Being a military child, I try not to get too close to my friends—with the idea of moving looming over my head. But at LEARN, you can’t help but feel like LEARN is your second family.”
The success of the public charter school movement is rooted in the energetic work of talented educators, the courageous choices of parents, the unique talents of our students, and the generous giving of Americans who believe that every child should have access to a first-rate education. Over the past month, several of the movement’s leading financial supporters have made news.
Posted in monthly newsletter
In my first six months of working as a Communications and Marketing Assistant at the National Alliance, I have supported numerous initiatives in efforts to improve the charter school movement. I have enjoyed my time working on projects such as National Charter Schools Week, our National Charter Schools Conference, and other national campaigns like our annual #Back2School week, but none were as eye-opening as my first charter school visit to Eagle Academy Public Charter School in Washington, D.C.
Eagle Academy serves pre-k through third grade students with a mission “... to build the foundation for a promising future for all students in a rich, robust learning environment that fosters creativity and problem-solving abilities.”
Over the next four weeks, the National Alliance will feature a compilation of blogs and stories to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month and the 30 percent of students attending public charter schools of Hispanic descent. Check back between Friday, September 15 and Friday, October 13 to see new features in our #HispanicHeritageMonth. Or follow us at @charteralliance to keep up with the latest in the series!
Posted in Hispanic Heritage Month
The first few weeks of school are an exciting time at Odyssey School of Denver, a K-8 public charter school with an Expeditionary Learning curriculum, as teachers focus their beginning-of-year efforts on building “crew,” or homeroom, culture. Students agree on new crew courtesies to support each other, participate in overnight adventure trips to build peer and teacher connections, and begin to understand what’s to come in their learning expedition. This curricular structure of long-term, in-depth study offers real-world connections, inspiring students to produce high-quality, complex work.
Posted in Back to School
Almost two years after the reauthorization of ESEA, improvements made to the Charter Schools Program (CSP) in response to our advocacy are finally going into effect. On September 28, the U.S. Department of Education awarded the first round of CSP Grants to State Entities, as well as Replication and Expansion Grants (CMO), and Credit Enhancement facilities funding.
It’s back to school season! Some of you have been back in class for more than a month. Others got started more recently. And for many schools affected by the recent hurricanes, the start of the new school year has been difficult and chaotic. But as we approach the end of September, I hope you all are energized and engaged for the year ahead!
Posted in monthly newsletter
President Trump and Congress agreed to extend current government funding through December 8th, but where does that leave education priorities for this year and next? The House and Senate have both made progress in moving legislation that includes FY18 funding for the Charter Schools Program (CSP)—the House passed legislation that includes $370 million and the Senate bill includes $367.2 million. Both figures are higher than the FY17 level of $342.2 million and represent a large increase in a year where many other domestic programs experienced severe cuts. While the final funding level will not be known until at least early December, the early increase proposals bode well for the CSP which continues to see bi-partisan supported increases in funding in both Democratic and Republican administrations.
Posted in Federal Government
This summer, the Center for Research on Education Outcomes (CREDO) released their latest report on charter school networks and management organizations. CREDO’s study utilizes student-level data from 25 states and Washington D.C. to determine the average rate of math and reading growth for 240 Charter Management Organizations (CMOs) and 54 Vendor Operated School Networks (VOS Networks) between 2012-13 and 2014-15. CREDO classifies CMOs as organizations that directly operate and hold the charter contracts of at least three charter schools. In contrast, VOS Networks oversee at least three charter schools but they do not directly hold the charter contract for the schools. Instead, VOS Networks provide services to the charter schools that range from administrative support to full operation of the school. CREDO then looked at the performance of CMOs, VOS Networks, and independent charter schools (standalone schools that are not affiliated with a management organization or network). Across these three groups CREDO found that:
David Griffith, Senior Research and Policy Associate at the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, has released a new study that analyzes teacher absenteeism in public schools amidst renewed interest in this public policy issue as states formulate and submit their new ESSA accountability plans. Many states plan on using chronic student absenteeism as a measure of school quality—but what (this study asks) about chronic teacher absenteeism? Previous studies by R. Miller et al. (2007), C. Clotfelter et al. (2007), and M. Herrmann and J. Rockoff (2010) examined the relationship between teacher absenteeism and student achievement and found a strong connection between the two. In fact, there appears to be a one-to-one relationship: a ten-day increase in teacher absence results in at least a ten-day learning loss for students. Griffith’s research adds to this body of work by answering three primary questions: