Tag: Charter Schools

Charter School Successes Well Documented

By Jay P. Greene According to the Global Report Card, more than a third of the 30 school districts with the highest math achievement in the United States are actually charter schools. This is particularly impressive considering that charters constitute about 5 percent of all schools and about 3 percent of all public school students. And it is even more amazing considering that some of the highest performing charter schools, like Roxbury Prep in Boston or KIPP Infinity in New York City, serve very disadvantaged students. As impressive and amazing as these results by charter schools may be, it would be wrong to conclude from this that charter schools improve student achievement. The only way to know… View Article

Education Reform for the Digital Era

By Eric Wearne While many books, websites, and events exist to catalog new concepts in online education, the Thomas B. Fordham Institute’s Education Reform for the Digital Era offers both a discussion and some practical solutions.  First, the editors, Checker Finn and Daniela Fairchild, describe three barriers to change which currently hinder online learning: Interest groups that try to either “capture the potential of technology to advance their own interests or to shackle it in ways that keep it from harming those interests”; The governance and financing structure of the current public school system; and, Issues of organizational capacity within the current public school system. The authors of the various chapters outline ways to address all three issues. First, regarding… View Article
By Mike Klein Cherokee Charter Academy almost never happened.  Last spring it seemed possible – maybe even probable — that Cherokee Charter would never open because of a state Supreme Court decision.  What a difference a year makes.  Governor Nathan Deal will visit the school Thursday morning when he signs legislation to create the structure for a new state charter schools commission. “We’re very excited that not only is the Governor pro-charter but he is coming to our school to sign House Bill 797,” said Cherokee Charter Principal Vanessa Suarez.  “At the end of the day, all politics aside, we are here for the kids.  We are here for our students that want a choice.” This signing ceremony could… View Article
(This editorial was published April 21 by the Augusta Chronicle) There was a “Save Our Schools” rally Saturday in Hephzibah to oppose state-approved charter schools.  Save our schools? From what? Other schools? And why? Because today’s schools are doing so well? “I think we ought to be talking about Saving Our Children,” says Dr. Tony Roberts, president and CEO of the Georgia Charter Schools Association. Absolutely. And that’s what the Georgia General Assembly had in mind when it approved House Resolution 1162 this year. The proposed constitutional amendment, which must be approved by voters in November, would grant the state explicit authority to approve and fund public charter schools when local districts refuse to do so. You would think the… View Article
By Mike Klein Senate Democrats intent on defeating a charter schools constitutional amendment vilified the legislation Monday afternoon.  Then four of their own including the Senate’s two longest serving members crossed the charter schools political divide to assure that Georgia voters will decide whether the state shall be allowed to approve charter schools when they vote in November. George Hooks of Americus and Steve Thompson of Marietta have been in the Senate since 1991. They came to Atlanta as House freshmen ten years earlier. Together they have walked those State Capitol corridors and heard thousands of speeches for some 60 combined years. Monday afternoon Hooks and Thompson helped provide the difference in a charter schools bill vote that one day… View Article
By Eric Wearne In Teacher in America, Jacques Barzun writes that, “In theory, the printed book should have technologically annihilated the teacher, for the original ‘lecture’ was a reading from a costly manuscript to students who could not afford it.” Clearly, that has not been the case. Barzun was talking about new educational technologies (decades ago), and while teachers are not likely to be “annihilated” by new technology in the near future, schooling will likely look very different, and very soon. In his 2011 book Getting Smart, venture capitalist and a former school superintendent Tom Vander Ark makes a case for changing our views of schooling to keep pace with new technologies. He argues for a blend of… View Article

Status Quo 1, Students 0

By Kelly McCutchen The Georgia House of Representatives today voted down a Constitutional Amendment clarifying the state’s role in education. This was in response to the Georgia Supreme Court’s ruling last year giving local school boards exclusive control over education. The amendment would also have rescued the hundreds of students in high-performing public schools authorized by the state over the last few years – schools that are doomed to go out of business without a long-term solution. The arguments against the amendment included concerns about diverting money away from local school systems and that giving parents the opportunity to choose an alternative school would impinge upon local control. Although it sounds like a debate about allowing vouchers for private schools,… View Article

Must Georgia Families Wander Another 40 Years?

During the fifteen years that I have been working on the cause of education reform in Georgia, there have been many times when opponents of expanded parental choices in K-12 education have insisted that reforms must take place within the context of local public school systems.  Yet, when asked, these individuals never have an answer to the question of how long families must wait for this internal reform to occur.  My recent research indicates that they have been waiting quite a long time. Forty years ago, the Taconic Foundation, which was an early supporter of the U.S. civil rights movement, commissioned a study by the Institute for Community Studies at the City University of New York on the fledgling community… View Article
MACON – Hundreds of charter public school advocates who traveled here last week heard Apple founder Steve Jobs remembered, discussion about a proposed national legal defense fund to help protect charter schools that are under legal assault and they heard a glimpse about what might come after No Child Left Behind. But if they were hoping to hear about a resolution to who can authorize charter schools in Georgia, that wasn’t happening. Georgia – once considered a national leader in alternative authorization for charter schools – took a significant step in another direction — some say backward — in May when the state Supreme Court ruled that the Georgia Charter Schools Commission was unconstitutional. The decision returned authorization solely to… View Article

The Foundation’s Criminal Justice Initiative pushed the problems to the forefront, proposed practical solutions, brought in leaders from other states to share examples, and created this nonpartisan opportunity. (At the signing of the 2012 Criminal Justice Reform bill.)

Governor Nathan Deal more quotes