The Charter Blog

Christy Wolfe

Recent Posts

2017 Charter School Grants Implement ESSA Flexibility—Finally!

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.

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Posted in Federal Government, ESSA, charter schools program

Charter School Restart Model Resources

Restarting struggling schools as charter schools is an important turnaround strategy, as well as a means of replication for high-quality charter school networks across the country. This is why in August 2015, the National Alliance issued the report, Chartering Turnaround: Leveraging Public Charter School Autonomy to Address Failure so that we could explore the role of charter schools in providing students in struggling schools with access to a high-quality education. This report profiled the work of three charter management organizations (CMOs) that used the charter school restart model to turn around poorly performing schools in Camden, NJ, Nashville, TN, and Los Angeles, CA.

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Report Examines the Role of a Charter School Model in Turning around Failing Schools

The latest efforts to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), H.R. 5 and S. 1177, have passed the House and Senate, but the issue of accountability for intervening in low-performing schools is far-from settled. While both bills require states to measure student academic achievement, states are not required to intervene in struggling schools based on those results. And while the National Alliance supports requiring states to intervene in the lowest performing schools, as well as closing failing public charter schools, the effectiveness of current federally funded school improvement is still in question. How have students benefitted from billions of dollars in funds to turn around schools, particularly since 2010?

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Posted in Research, Federal Government

Title I Funding and Charter Schools: How the Dollars Follow (or Don’t Follow) Students

The Title I portability proposals in the House (H.R. 5) and Senate ESEA reauthorization bills have generated a fair amount of debate (and hand wringing) in the last few months. So much so that the President has threatened to veto H.R. 5, and the Senate responded by removing the portability language from its original proposal. For those who are not familiar with the portability concept, the portability proposals would allow states to make an average allocation per-child to public schools based on the number of eligible students choosing to attend that school, instead of using the current Title I formulas to determine allocations to school districts. In doing so, it would flatten out funding and eliminate high per-child allocations to districts and schools with higher concentrations of poverty.

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Posted in Federal Government

Some Federal Implications of NACSA Quality Recommendations

The National Association of Charter School Authorizers (NACSA) released Replicating Quality: Policy Recommendations to Support the Replication and Growth of High-Performing Charter Schools and Networks in collaboration with the Charter School Growth Fund last week. This report lays out key policies and practices for legislators, authorizers, and state education agencies that have the greatest potential to accelerate the growth of high-performing charter schools. Although the report is focused on state policies, there are implications for the federal Charter Schools Program (CSP) and how it prioritizes funds to states.

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Feds Miss the Mark Attempting to Define “Quality” in Proposed Federal Priorities for National Leadership Dollars

As part of the federal Charter Schools Program (CSP) the Secretary of Education is required to reserve 5 percent of the total appropriation for the National Leadership Activities Grant, which funds specific initiatives to improve charter school quality. For FY 2014, this is approximately $11 million.

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Posted in Successes

Alternative Charter Schools: Should Traditional Accountability Measures Apply?

Should there be “alternate” accountability systems for charter schools that intentionally serve students at risk of academic failure?

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Posted in Successes

State Accountability Systems Could Change as ESEA Waiver Renewal Process Gets Underway: Now is the Time to Get Involved.

The ESEA accountability landscape across the county is about to shift again – but not because Congress has come to agreement on ESEA. Due to Congress’ lack of progress on the long overdue ESEA reauthorization, the U.S. Department of Education is instead taking steps to extend the flexibility it has provided states in holding schools accountable for student achievement. The first two rounds of states that that had their waivers approved have been invited to begin the renewal application process. Thirty-five states were approved in those rounds and are set to see their flexibility expire.

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Posted in Successes

Accountability Standards for Teacher Prep Programs Overdue

The National Alliance joined a coalition of 23 leaders in the education reform movement in issuing a letter calling for the Obama Administration to seek public comments on its draft Higher Education Act (HEA) rules which would shine a spotlight on teacher preparation program quality, programs that receive approximately $4 billion each year from the federal government. These draft regulations were released in early 2012 but haven’t moved forward since then.

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Posted in Successes

Public Charter Schools Need a New Elementary Secondary Education Act

The National Alliance has released its priorities for the renewal of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA): Free to Succeed: Public Charter Schools & the Reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. The last time Congress reauthorized the law, public charter schools were an educational experiment, and the purpose of the Charter Schools Program (CSP) was to increase the “national understanding” of the charter school model. Today public charter schools are no longer a fragile educational experiment, but rather a robust sector that is driving educational innovation throughout the country. Moreover, there is significant demand for seats in high quality charter schools—demand that exceeds capacity by nearly 600,000 seats.

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Posted in Successes