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Charter Schools

Charter Schools

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Charter Schools

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  1. Charter Schools

  2. What is a charter school? • A charter school is public school that operates under a “charter” or a contract that determines its operation. • This charter sets the organization, management, curriculum, and method of how the school will measure student performance. • Charters typically last for 3 to 5 years. (In New Jersey initial charters are 4 years) • They may be founded by teachers, parents, activists, non-profit groups, universities, or may be state authorized. • Corporations may be permitted to manage chains of charter schools. Many schools, such as those in Michigan, are run for profit.

  3. What is a charter school? • Publicly funded. • Open enrollment - cannot discriminate based on ability, disability, race, color, religion, gender, or national origin. • Preference given to students in the district. • Acceptance is based on space available. • Students must take state mandated performance test and meet AYP.

  4. What is a charter school? • An important difference from public schools is that charter schools have much greater autonomy. • Hiring • Creating curriculum • Managing its budget • Assessing performance • Their regulatory freedom is received in exchange for their charters being reviewed, renewed, or revoked by the authorizing agency. • Because of their autonomy, charter schools often have longer school days and a longer academic year.

  5. A Brief History • The charter school idea in the US was originated by Ray Budde, a professor at the University of Massachusetts Amherst  • Albert Shanker, President of the American Federation of Teachers, was a chief advocate in 1988 when he called for the reform of the public schools by establishing "charter schools" or "schools of choice".

  6. A Brief History • The ideal model was envisioned as: • Legally and financially autonomous public school  • No tuition, religious affiliation, or selective student admissions • Would operate much like a private business • Free from many state laws and district regulations • Accountable more for student outcomes rather than for processes.

  7. A Brief History • First State to pass charter school law: Minnesota (1991) • California was second, in 1992. • As of 2010, 41 states and the District of Columbia have charter school laws. • In the last 10 years the number of students in charters schools has tripled.

  8. Example of Charter Schools • KIPP - (Knowledge is Power Program)- a 99-school network is built around motivating students to work long, hard hours with college as the prize. • KIPP extends the time students spend in class through longer days, twice-monthly Saturday classes and summer school. • To engage parents, a KIPP teacher visits each student's home and works on a "learning pledge," which is signed by the teacher, the student and the parents

  9. National Outlook • More than 500 new charter schools opened across the country for the fall of 2011 and about 150 were closed over the past year, with California leading in both categories, according to November 2011 estimates. • There now about 5,600 charter schools across the country, representing growth of about 7% National Alliance for Public Charter Schools 

  10. National Outlook • President Obama called "promoting innovation and excellence" a key element of his plan and stated, "One of the places where much of that innovation occurs is in our most effective charter schools.“ • Both the President and many Republicans have urged that states remove the caps on charter school growth that now exist in 26 states and the District of Columbia. • In 2011, President Obama created National Charter School week. • This past September, the house passed a bipartisan bill supporting expansion of charter schools as part of revamping of No Child Left Behind.

  11. Popular Support Celebrity support: • Bill Gates • Oprah Winfrey • Mark Zuckerberg

  12. Charter Schools in New Jersey Governor Christie is a big proponent of charter schools and wants

  13. Concerns “At a time when we are cutting more than a billion dollars from state school spending while demanding ever-more accountability from the public schools, the last thing we should be doing is spending $360 million dollars on unaccountable private and religious schools.” Barbara Keshishian, president of NJEA  

  14. Concerns • Funding comes from the district the charter school is in. – This is draining money and the best students (creaming) away from traditional public schools. • Working conditions in charters viewed by unions as a step backwards...longer hours, less protections, lower pay, no collective bargaining. • Education is viewed as an essential public service, not something done for profit. Underreporting has been seen. • Studies have shown instances of charter schools cutting programs or refusing the educate students with special needs so as to maintain profitability.

  15. Concerns • Fierce resistance in suburbs • Amani Public Charter School - Mount Vernon, NY • Cherry Hill, NJ • Millburn and Livingston, NJ – Mandarin Immersion Schools New York Times, November 3, 2011

  16. CREDO Report • The Center for Research on Education Outcomes – Stanford University

  17. CREDO Report “The CREDO report last week was absolutely a wake-up call, even if you dispute some of its conclusions or its language. The charter movement is putting itself at risk by allowing too many second-rate and even third-rate schools to continue to exist. Your goal should always be quality, not quantity.” – United States Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, National Alliance for Public Charter Schools National Conference, June 2009

  18. Positives • Autonomy • Innovative pedagogy – good models • More time in school • Theoretically easy to end charter for underperforming schools • Easy to remove unsatisfactory teachers • Significant gains have been seen in lowest scoring districts • Desired by many attending inner city schools • Close involvement of parents/family members

  19. Negatives • Mixed results – 83% Same or worse • Difficult to appraise results • Resources are taken from struggling schools • In practice, schools are not closed down as often – can be difficult to remove charter • Some districts are more segregated than home district • Run for profit – Where is the interest of the administration? • Quality not quantity – Push to open more likely to be detrimental • Teacher retention – 132% more likely to leave (Vanderbilt University study)

  20. Negatives • Involvement of parents and community members without education background can be problematic • Incongruity of charters being able to be more innovative and try new things, while public schools being held to stricter and stricter measures – testing/merit pay/tenure reform, tightening regulation