As we start 2014, the public charter school movement faces several big questions. Here are seven of them that we’ll be paying particularly close attention to this year:
1. Will New York City Mayor Bill DeBlasio and Schools Chancellor Carmen Farina keep the schoolhouse doors open for the mostly poor and minority students being served so well by public charter schools in the city?
2. Will Kentucky become the 43rd state to enact a law allowing public charter schools?
3. Now that the majority of Detroit’s students attend charter schools, how will the charter community improve quality and more strategically engage with the larger public school system to ensure more students succeed (similar to what's happening in New Orleans and Washington, D.C.)?
4. Will political leaders in states with the weakest charter school laws in the country, like Oklahoma, Tennessee, and Wisconsin, finally rally behind the bold legislative changes needed to provide more high-quality charter options to their state's students?
5. Will more school districts follow the lead of the Houston and Aldine Independent School Districts in Texas and stop looking at charters as competitors and start looking at them as incubators for innovative, successful classroom practices that can be adopted within traditional public schools?
6. As state budgets start to modestly improve, will states finally tackle the fiscal inequities that exist between public charter school students and their counterparts in traditional public schools?
7. Will the charter school law in Washington State be upheld by the Washington Supreme Court?
Keep your eye on the Charter Blog in 2014 as we keep you updated on these and other big questions facing public charters.
Todd Ziebarth is senior vice president of state advocacy and support at the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools.