The Charter Blog

D.C. as a Classroom - at the National Museum of American History

Every four years on January 20th, Washington, D.C. transforms to host the Inauguration of the President of the United States. This American tradition is celebrated by hundreds of thousands of people who come to Washington to witness history in the making. The history of the presidency and the storied past of how the United States came to be is encapsulated in the Smithsonian’s Museum of American History.

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Posted in NCSC

Number of Students Attending Charter Schools Surpasses 3 Million

Each year, as the holidays end and school is back in session, the National Alliance determines the number of currently operating charter schools and estimates the number of students who attend them. Figuring out the number of schools is not that complicated. We simply ask each state for the names of any new charter public schools that opened this schoolyear and for the names of any that were open last year, but did not re-open in the fall. To estimate the number of students, we collect charter school enrollment data from any states that have already released numbers for the current school year, typically based on counts taken in October. And, for states that have not yet released data, we estimate the number of students in each currently operating charter school, on a school-by-school basis, either based on their own growth rates or, for new schools, on state-level average growth rates and average school size.

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Posted in Research

National Alliance January Newsletter

Welcome to 2017! We’re anticipating a big year, with a lot of attention focused on Washington, DC, and what the incoming presidential administration will mean for charter schools, school choice, and public education more broadly. Betsy DeVos, a longtime supporter of school choice, is poised to become the next secretary of education, pending her Senate confirmation this month. I recently wrote about the opportunities that await Ms. DeVos, who can unite people across America around the goal of empowering parents and expanding opportunity for students who sorely need better schools.

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Posted in monthly newsletter

National Alliance 2016 Year in Review

We’ve nearly reached the end of 2016! At times, it’s felt like an endurance race – bearing the loss of treasured icons, or slogging through a presidential election that tried everyone’s patience. But there have been lots of reasons to celebrate, too. I’ve pulled together a few of this year’s highlights below.

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Posted in monthly newsletter

Washington, D.C. as a Classroom - The National Air and Space Museum

Washington, D.C. is more than a center of political power- it is also a vibrant and diverse city with a rich history. Our nation’s capital has limitless learning opportunities and as an educator, I hope you will immerse yourself in the historic sites, nature centers, and theaters while you’re here for our National Charter Schools Conference in June. Bringing Washington, D.C. into your classroom is a great way to add excitement and adventure to your lesson plans.

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Posted in NCSC

Branding Your School for Success

We all know that charter public schools are unlike district-run public schools in that we’re able to focus on a specific educational objective. We also know that being a charter school means that the structure and funding is different as well, often setting up challenges for us to be able to attract both top-notch teachers and students.

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Posted in NCSC

National Alliance November Newsletter

The outcome of last week’s presidential election has now been analyzed by more people than any other election in recent history. In addition to political pundits puzzling over Donald Trump’s surprise victory, educators are also trying to make sense of an election that didn’t focus on education but certainly reaffirms the importance of teaching civics and character education. As Robert Pondiscio observed here, the elections also highlight the importance of paying more attention to the needs of rural America – something the charter public school movement strives to do.

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Posted in monthly newsletter

Nuevos Resultados de NAEP Muestran que Escuelas Charters Tienen Beneficio Para Estudiantes Hispanos

Han pasado seis años desde que el National Assessment for Educational Progress (NAEP) divulgó los resultados de su evaluación de ciencias delos estudiantes de 4to grado y de 12o grado y cuatro años para la evaluación de los estudiantes de 8o grado. Como la mayoría de las divulgaciones de NAEP, hay algunas buenas noticias y algunas malas.  Desde 2009, los estudiantes de 4to grado y 8o grado han visto un incremento en sus notas de cuatro puntos, mientras que para los estudiantes de 12o grado no se reportaron cambios. Las brechas de género han sido prácticamente eliminadas en términos generales, mientras las brechas entre negros y blancos, y entre hispanos y blancos se han reducido ligeramente a nivel de 4to grado.

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Posted in Research, NAEP, student achievement

New NAEP Science Scores Show Charters Work for Hispanic Students

It has been six years since the National Assessment for Educational Progress (NAEP) released scores on their Science assessment for 4th graders and 12th graders and 4 years for 8th graders. Like most NAEP releases, there is a little good news and a little bad news. Since 2009, 4th graders and 8th graders have seen their scores go up by about 4 points, while there was no change for 12th graders. Gender score gaps have been nearly eliminated across the board and the gaps between Blacks and Whites and Hispanics and Whites have declined slightly at the 4th grade. The most exciting finding for me - the results show that charter schools work for Hispanic students. 

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Posted in Research, NAEP, student achievement

New model law from the National Alliance acknowledges the elephant in the room: Virtual charter schools

Ohio’s charter school movement has faced a number of challenges over the past decade. A myriad of school closings and allegations of financial misconduct contributed to it being dubbed the Wild, Wild West of charter schools. Making matters worse, a comprehensive analysis in 2014 by Stanford University’s Center for Research on Education Outcomes (CREDO) found that, on average, Ohio charter students lost fourteen days of learning in reading and forty-three days of learning in math over the course of the school year compared to similar students in traditional public schools. To its credit, the Ohio General Assembly recognized these problems and in October 2015 passed House Bill 2 (HB 2)—a comprehensive reform of the Buckeye State’s charter school laws.

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Posted in State Government Issues, model law