Posts Tagged: charter schools

The last thing Chicago Public Schools need is innovation

Arne Duncan

Joel Hood of the Chicago Tribune reports that Education Sec. Arne Duncan has consulted Mayor-elect Rahm Emanuel about Emanuel’s choice for a new head of Chicago Public Schools. Emanuel will select what is to be the 3rd Chief Education Officer of CPS since Duncan left that post to join the White House in January 2009. The Chicago Public Schools show the messy reality of the education reform movement that Duncan champions. As both Education Sec. and CPS head Duncan has pushed forward a series of reform measures: Needed now is stable leadership to implement the reforms.

Duncan was replaced by Ron Huberman who was replaced by Terry Mazany who exited office with the sobering news that CPS had a $720 million deficit. (more…)

Yes, charter schools are public schools

The Chicago Math & Science Academy is a charter school that, since it opened in 2004, has received 80 percent of its operating expenses from Chicago taxpayers. Much of the other 20 percent comes from federal and state grants. But the school says it’s a private institution, the Chicago Tribune’s Joel Hood reports, because it has freedom over policy and personnel that traditional public schools don’t have. Chicago Math & Science may be making this argument so their teachers have a harder time unionizing. Regardless of the motivation, though, the idea that charter schools are not part of the government is preposterous. (more…)

Getting passionate about charter schools

Noreen S. Ahmed-Ullah of the Chicago Tribune has an interesting piece on a wildly heated Chicago Public Schools board meeting yesterday where friends and foes of charter schools camped outside CPS headquarters at 5 in the morning, five hours before the meeting started. (more…)

Chicago charters leave difficult children behind

Charter schools are a central part of education reforms championed by Education Sec. Arne Duncan, the former head of Chicago Public Schools. But there is a troubling trend in Chicago charters — they keep kicking kids out. (more…)

Charter schools on the rise in cash-strapped California

While California public schools endure a financial famine, charter schools are enjoying a comparative feast, report Louis Freedberg and Lisa Reynolds of CaliforniaWatch in the San Francisco Chronicle.

Helped along by federal aid, 89 new charter schools are set to open in the fall, which would bring the state’s total to nearly 900 charter schools. Already one in 20 California public school children attend a charter. (more…)

Is there enough money to ‘reform’ education?

Arne Duncan

Here’s where the local and state government budget crisis impacts the Obama administration agenda. The education budget crisis in Chicago has hindered the city’s development of its charter schools, reports Sarah Karp at the Chicago News Cooperative. Due to shrinking local tax revenue and a $12 billion state budget deficit, the Chicago Public Schools have made $15 million in cuts for their charter schools. Currently, 40,000 students attend these schools, which are mainly funded by public dollars. The cuts mean that charters will have to rely more on private donors. Already, turnover is high at charters as teachers typically work longer and for less pay than their public school counterparts.

Many of these charter schools were opened by now Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. (more…)

California’s In — Plus a New Meaning for NCLB

It took lobbying by federal officials, personal calls to the governor and a concerted effort by the state’s new Education Secretary.  But California, or at least three large school districts, will throw their hats in the ring in hopes of scoring Race to the Top education funding. (more…)

Minority Are Super-Majority In Charter Schools

The Washington Post’s Nick Anderson relays a report that black students are concentrated in charter schools:

Seven out of 10 black charter school students are on campuses with extremely few white students, according to a new study of enrollment trends that shows the independent public schools are less racially diverse than their traditional counterparts.

The findings from the Civil Rights Project at UCLA, which are being released Thursday, reflect the proliferation of charter schools in the District of Columbia and other major cities with struggling school systems and high minority populations.

I’ve never been the biggest fan of of state, local, and now federal money being re-routed from traditional public schools to charter schools: there are studies that students in charter schools don’t do better on standardized tests than students in the public schools that they left. However, the conclusions of this report don’t really bolster the case against charter schools. Absent charters, minority students in school districts like Washington, D.C. would go to neighborhood schools with just as high levels of non-white students. If anything, the proliferation of charters has made the problems of urban school districts a visible policy issue again.

Race to the Top Redux

My post on the federal Race to the Top argued that the education grant program was a popular idea. But that shouldn’t be confused with it being a good idea. On Sunday, the Chicago Tribune’s Stephanie Banchero reported that Education Sec. Arne Duncan’s policies didn’t work when he headed Chicago Public Schools. Duncan started a “Renaissance 2010″ program to shut down “failing” traditional public schools and replace them with charter schools. The early results are bad (more…)

Almost Every State Willing to Race to the Top

News stories are sometimes built around a fabricated conflict but this New York Times’ headline “Opposition to Education Grant Program Emerges as Deadline Looms” is simply inaccurate. Sam Dillion reports that the deadline is today for states to apply for federal education grant money, under the Race to the Top program. The $4.2 billion program (which Ned praises today in Free Agency and I’m ambivalent about) demands states adopt some of the Obama administration’s favorite education policies like more charter schools and evaluating teachers based on student test scores.

Dillon reports that states are taking a stand against this federal intervention — but, in fact, a state singular is opposed to the grant program. Gov. Rick Perry of Texas — an on-again, off-again secessionist — says his state won’t participate. Otherwise (more…)