The Charter Blog

Russ Simnick

Recent Posts

Celebrating the 2009 Model Charter School Law

Tomorrow the National Alliance is releasing a new charter school model law to serve as a resource for state legislators and advocates as they design and implement charter laws. Today we celebrate the accomplishments of the previous model law with our Senior Director of State Advocacy Russ Simnick.

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Posted in state advocacy, model law

The Story Behind Oklahoma's First Rural Charter School

In Oklahoma, the political fault line is not drawn between Democrats and Republicans—It resides between urban and rural legislators. This rift explains why charter schools were only allowed to exist in the Oklahoma’s two largest urban counties in 2014 when the National Alliance and our state partners began working to expand charter school options throughout the state.

Armed with strong polling data showing that 80% of Oklahomans believed that all children in Oklahoma should have charter school options, the National Alliance went all in during the 2014 legislative session. We educated everyone we could, and had countless meetings with legislators, and community and political leaders—supporters and opponents alike. Despite those efforts, and the tremendous fight on behalf of charter schools by Oklahoma charter champions Rep. Lee Denney, Sen. Clark Jolley, and Gov. Mary Fallin, we were trounced in the House. The charter school bill died by a vote of 64-26, largely defeated by rural Republicans.

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Posted in state advocacy

In Indiana, Good Policy Leads to Better Results for Children

There is a real link between good education policy and improved outcomes. This theory shines through in a recent Chalkbeat article that discusses the growth of public charter schools in Indiana after the state strengthened its law in 2011.

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Posted in News

National Report Shows Need for Education Reform in Oklahoma: Charter Schools in Capital City Provide Model for Rest of State

As the Oklahoma General Assembly convenes this week, it will have a lot of issues on its plate. Always important is the issue of education. Though there are bright spots, such as Oklahoma City charter schools, statewide academic performance is lagging the nation.

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Who Will Lead Oklahoma’s Schools? Charter Founders May Square Off in 2014 Election for State Education Chief

Education reformers agree that the Sooner State is one to watch in the years to come. Momentum is currently building in Oklahoma to expand school choice beyond a limited number of charter schools. If this happens, the State Superintendent of Public Instruction would play a key role in advancing current education reform initiatives.

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Posted in Successes

Will Virginia’s New Governor Make Charter Schools a Priority?

Four charter schools in 15 years. At a time when states throughout the nation are embracing charter schools and enrollment in them is growing rapidly, those six words – four charter schools in 15 years – make a strong statement about the charter school movement in Virginia.

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Posted in Successes

Guest Blog: Study Shows Indianapolis Charter Success at Key Moment in Movement’s History

Indianapolis charter school performance will be carefully scrutinized in the upcoming battle for scarce dollars for education funding when Indiana begins to draft its two-year budget in January. The National Center on School Choice’s report by Anna Nicotera, "Charter School Effects in an Urban School District: An Analysis of Student Achievement Gains in Indianapolis", comes at a perfect time to provide an accurate picture of performance in Indianapolis charter schools and provides sound guidance for sustaining the progress achieved.

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Posted in State Government Issues