You are here

Articles: Charter Schools

Wendy Robinson is superintendent of the 31,000-student Fort Wayne Community School District in Indiana.

Public school leaders have grown accustomed to the ground shifting beneath their feet. The one constant we could always rely on was this: Come fall, students would be there, waiting. These days, though, even that’s not a given.

Former Washington Post reporter Dale Russakoff's new book, "The Prize: Who’s in Charge of America’s Schools?," looks at public schools in Newark, N.J.

Former Washington Post reporter Dale Russakoff's new book looks at what went wrong with Newark’s ‘Hemisphere of Hope’ and massive grant from Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg that supported the initiative. She says most funds went to hiring consultants, expanding charter schools, closing low-performing schools and subsequently firing teachers.

Students attending the charter PRIDE Prep in Spokane, Washington may need to find a new school in coming months, as the state’s Supreme Court declared unconstitutional the 2012 law allowing charter schools.

Recent surges in charter enrollment—and reported scandals—have led some states to pass new laws that seek more accountability from the schools, their administrators and their sponsors.

Forty-three states and the District of Columbia have enacted laws permitting charter schools to operate. In 2013-14, 2.57 million students enrolled in charters nationwide—up from 1.29 million in 2007-08, according to the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools.

Kate Ford is the area superintendent in Los Angeles for Aspire Public Schools.

Building a strong, empowered community is at the heart of any successful education institution and is transformative in the lives of students, educators and parents.

While teachers and students are key participants in achieving academic success, parents are the glue that holds everything together. Many parents in our communities work multiple jobs, with irregular schedules, making it challenging for even the best-intentioned parents to stay involved with their child’s academics.

Jeff Bryant is an associate fellow at Campaign for America's Future and the editor of the Education Opportunity Network website.

Making public education more accountable has for years been the solemn pledge of government officials, including the Obama administration and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. Yet that same level of accountability and transparency doesn’t seem to apply to the fastest growing sector of K12 education—charter schools.

Lakota Local School District in Ohio recently increased its communications staff to compete with private and parochial schools.

The era of school choice and open enrollment has driven many district leaders to create innovative programs and to more aggressively publicize their offerings to compete with charters and private schools that have drawn away families and funding.

Here, three districts turned the tide on enrollment with enhanced communication, construction and even recruitment initiatives.

New Orleans schools are operated by one of three organizations. Source: The Cowen Institute.

New Orleans public schools have made great strides in the eight years since the state took over most of them due to consistently low academic performance and the devastation wrought by Hurricane Katrina.

But several challenges still remain for the decentralized school district, according to an August report from the Cowen Institute for Public Education Initiatives at Tulane University.

Superintendent Jesse L. Jackson has made communicating with ESL parents a priority at Lake Wales Charter Schools in Florida.

Lake Wales Charter Schools, an entire K12 charter district in central Florida, is the only charter local educational agency (LEA) in the state. As an LEA, the Lake Wales system functions as its own public school district, retaining administrative and financial control.

Baruch College journalism professor Andrea Gabor has written extensively on the role of private enterprise in education reform.

Baruch College  journalism professor Andrea ​Gabor has written extensively on the role of private enterprise in education reform. The focus of her forthcoming book concerns the applicability of business systems to schools—or more specifically, the lack of applicability of many of the business systems that have been proposed as solutions to the problems of education.

New York City’s expansive charter school network may be in trouble. Mayor Bill de Blasio, who takes office this month, says he plans to charge charters rent for using space in school buildings and to stop new charters from opening. De Blasio says he will focus instead on improving traditional public schools, but the details of his plan for charters remain unclear.

Diane Ravitch, once a top supporter of testing and school choice, is now leading the fight against those policies.

Diane Ravitch is outspoken in her criticisms of education in this country. Her latest book Reign of Error: The Hoax of the Privatization Movement and the Danger to America’s Public Schools (Knopf, 2013), pulls no punches in its arguments against testing, the charter school movement, and federally driven mandates.

The former District of Columbia public school building was constructed in 1950 as a segregated public school
The renovated KIPP DC Douglass Campus houses more than 1,000 charter students in grades preK-12 in a state-of-the-art facility that retains the building’s original character.

The renovated KIPP DC Douglass Campus houses more than 1,000 charter students in grades preK-12 in a state-of-the-art facility that retains the building’s original character.

The former District of Columbia public school building was constructed in 1950 as a segregated public school. To accommodate the wide age range of its students, the 147,000-square-foot building has multiple entrances and walking routes for students.

Students in the Samuel J. Green Charter School listen to a math lesson. As part of the “portfolio” strategy, dozens of independent local and national organizations operate charter schools in the district.

It’s been a decade since Louisiana established the Recovery School District to take over the lowest-performing schools in the state. In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, the RSD took over almost all the schools in New Orleans, and in the process restructured the city’s school system on an unprecedented level.

Over the past 10 years, New Orleans schools have gone from being some of the lowest performing in the country to becoming a working laboratory for a bold experiment in restructuring an urban public school system.

Forty-two states and the District of Columbia allow charter schools to operate, but most of these states need to overhaul their laws governing these schools, according to a report from the Center for Education Reform (CER). In October, CER released “The Essential Guide to Charter School Lawmaking: Model Legislation for States” to provide a format for creating strong charter laws that can withstand political changes with regard to funding, operations, and accountability.

When Joseph Andreasen joined the rural Oro Grande School District in 2006 as assistant superintendent, he was one of seven employees. The one-elementary-school district was short on students and therefore on cash, because state funding is based largely on enrollment.

Since then, however, the southern California school system, located about 90 miles northeast of Los Angeles, has exploded. The staff numbers more than 250, enrollment has skyrocketed from roughly 110 students to more than 3,700, and the budget has stabilized, with $12 million in savings and reserves to pay off debt.