Facebook
Edutopia on Facebook
Twitter
Edutopia on Twitter
Google+
Edutopia on Google+
Pinterest
Edutopia on Pinterest Follow Me on Pinterest
WHAT WORKS IN EDUCATION The George Lucas Educational Foundation

How are the current political and economic climates impacting the charter movement near you?

How are the current political and economic climates impacting the charter movement near you?

Related Tags: Community Bulletin Board
More Related Discussions
12 Replies 448 Views
The pendulum is swinging. RttT, the ESEA reauthorization, Common Core Standards, and resultant state moves to chase federal funding during an economic downturn all provide new opportunities for charter schools. How are today's politics and economics affecting the charter movement where you work? What legislation is moving in your state? Will your charter school or division see RttT or innovation funding? What is the public perception of charter schools' work where you live? How is political and economic attention shaping charter schools near you? Best, C

Comments (12 Replies)Sign in or register to postSubscribe to comments via RSS

Chad Sansing's picture
Chad Sansing
Charter school humanities teacher for non-traditional middle grade learners
Facilitator 2014

We, too, are feeling the effects of the economic downturn. No only has our division been hit by declining state contributions and local tax revenues, but our school fundraising has also been impacted. Our particular charter calls for our supporting non-profit to contribute to our staffing.

I hope federal grant money can help start-up and successful, but struggling charters get through the next few years.

Brett Blanchard's picture
Brett Blanchard
Principal of Fair Haven Union High School

As I have been investigating charter schools, and will be visiting two next week, it is interesting that the current economic struggles will likely result in charter schools being allowed in Vermont. As the federal government has mandated that charter schools be allowed before Race to the Top money is considered, I foresee a small wave of charters starting up soon. I would greatly appreciate any information that others have found helpful regarding starting a charter.

SilverFox's picture

Never feel guilty about asking for funds to support our future. It's a shame that you have to go hat-in-hand to get what you deserve....rediculas!!!

Chad Sansing's picture
Chad Sansing
Charter school humanities teacher for non-traditional middle grade learners
Facilitator 2014

[quote] As the federal government has mandated that charter schools be allowed before Race to the Top money is considered, I foresee a small wave of charters starting up soon. I would greatly appreciate any information that others have found helpful regarding starting a charter.[/quote]

I often wonder what will happen to charter schools in states that change their policies in pursuit of Race to the Top funds, but don't win federal money. I'll definitely keep an eye on Vermont.

In planning a charter school, you should definitely research your state's laws: who can apply for a charter? Who can authorize a charter? How are charter schools governed, accredited, and held accountable? What are the elements of a charter school proposal? What goes into a charter-as-contract in your state? How are charter schools funded?

Remember also that a charter school should address students' needs with a unique vision shared by stake-holders. Apart from working through the technical details of a charter, you need to raise community support for the school as if you were running for mayor, as our co-moderator, Bobbi Snow, says. Educate the community about your school and its students' needs: meet with community members in their homes, places of worship, and places of business. Demonstrate to your school division and school board the support that your community has for students in need of a charter school like yours, and find ways to cooperate in making the school a reality without sacrificing the unique features that help it reach its students.

Connect with other charter educators and supporters here and via social media like Twitter and the Educator's PLN Ning. There are many people ready for change in public education who might be interested becoming involved in a broad charter movement that addresses students' authentic needs for meaning and choice in their education.

Thanks, Brett!
C

Chad Sansing's picture
Chad Sansing
Charter school humanities teacher for non-traditional middle grade learners
Facilitator 2014

[quote]Never feel guilty about asking for funds to support our future. It's a shame that you have to go hat-in-hand to get what you deserve....rediculas!!![/quote]

In our case, our co-founders committed to the necessary fund-raising in our charter; ideally, as our school grows in enrollment and success stories, requiring more personnel funding, our division will renegotiate with us our charter and fund more of the schools' staffing costs. We feel supported by our division, but we also know that part of our success as a charter is fulfilling our end of the bargain.

Of course, if a federal charter schools grant or angel donor showed up tomorrow, we'd be relieved.

And, absolutely, as we live through the current financial crisis, government officials and school boards should find ways for states' to share the burden of their citizens' sacrifices without unduly impacting services to children.

Thank you, SilverFox!
C

Mark Hazelton's picture

This season of charter applications is coming to a close in Oregon. We submitted 5 applications and two were approved. The High School of the Recording Arts in Portland Oregon and the Sunny Wolf Charter School in Wolf Creek Oregon were approved. Our applications for the Ukrainian Russian American Public Charter School, Academy for Academic Achievement, Cascade Locks Community School were rejected and now are in some place in appeal.

The approval in Portland Public Schools is especially important as that process is very rigorous and few schools make it through the process. On the other hand that district is big enough to have a dedicated person to work with charter schools. The evaluation process is based in experience with charter schools and school development. I feel all of the 5 proposals were written to the same level of detail as the one approved at this district

In most of the district rejected cases, the districts claim the educational programs are to aggressive and they can not see how the school can implement the programs. In all cases we provided detailed curriculum descriptions and excruciating mapping to Oregon Department of Ed. standards. Defining the curriculum further would be very costly. I feel these schools are rejected because of lack of understanding of proper school development. Of course this could all be confounded with the political aspects of districts and charter schools. I might be seeing a trend of districts that do not like charter schools also don't have the appropriate expertise on staff to understand a charter school application. We will see what happens at the state appeals process.

Chad Sansing's picture
Chad Sansing
Charter school humanities teacher for non-traditional middle grade learners
Facilitator 2014

Thanks for sharing out those stories, Mark -

Are there links to the proposals or ways to share them as docs? I would be very interested to see what is "too aggressive" in serving kids and to compare that to the mission and operations of charter operators on the Eat Coast.

Congratulations to the High School of the Recording Arts and the Sunny Wolf Charter School!

All the best,
C

Mark Hazelton's picture

I will have to figure out how to post a document. They are big documents 200+ pages. In the mean time I could describe a couple these schools.

The Ukrainian Russian American Public Charter School program is planned to be dual immersion Russian language and English for grades K-6. The grades 7-12 follow Coalition of Essential Schools principles. We envisioned about 200 students.

The Cascade Locks Community School is planned to be a K-12 place-based school. The K-8 would be natural resource focused and the 9-12 would be entrepreneurial focused. We envisioned 120 students.

We could not convince the districts that K-12 can be planned and started with these involved educational programs.

Chad Sansing's picture
Chad Sansing
Charter school humanities teacher for non-traditional middle grade learners
Facilitator 2014

Thanks for the descriptions, Mark - I hope the charter proposers find ways to implement their visions -

How did the charters plan to start? For example, would they open K-12 all at once or start with certain grades - say 1st, 6th, and 9th -, graduate them, and then recruit new classes as the first classes progressed?

Best,
C

Mark Hazelton's picture

These schools would start all at once K-12. Although this is difficult, we feel good planning a start up of all grades can be done at once.

Sign in and Join the Discussion! Not a member? Register to join the discussion.