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IDEA Public Charter Schools plans to open 20 campuses across El Paso over the next five years. The expansion will provide students with additional educational choices and may stimulate competition with traditional public schools, but local residents need to be mindful of how such significant growth might impact public education across the city and for all of its students. First, it is important for local residents to understand that researchers consistently find that public charter schools and traditional public schools perform at similar levels, view article arw

Long, long ago, almost everyone went to the neighborhood public school. The school had a principal, who was overseen by the superintendent. The superintendent answered to a local school board. Those were not idyllic times, to be sure, but no one ever imagined that there was profit to be found in the public schools, or that the public schools would one day be part of “the education industry.” All that is changed now. There are still neighborhood public schools, but now there is an industry that relies on entrepreneurs and market forces. You don’t have to be an educator to manage or operate or start a charter school (think tennis star Andre Agassi or football hero Deion Sanders). There are tax breaks for investors in charter schools. Charter school properties are bought and sold, like franchises or just ordinary real estate. They have no organic connection to the local community. The profit for entrepreneurs is to be found in the real estate transactions. view article arw

Premier High School - San Angelo, a ResponsiveEd® charter school, opened earlier this year and celebrated on September 18 with a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 4102 Sunset Drive. Chamber of Commerce President Bruce Partain along with the Concho Cadre volunteer host welcoming group congratulated Campus Director Bree Sherwood on a successful start to the school year. “We’re proud that we’ve introduced a school of choice to this community. Traditional high schools aren't for everyone and now some students that might have fallen through the cracks have an opportunity to graduate,” says Sherwood “We offer a small, relaxed environment with a flexible schedule that is convenient for kids looking to recover credits or graduate early.” view article arw

Doral Academy Texas, a tuition-free charter school that will focus on science, technology, engineering and math, is in the process of establishing a campus in the Kyle/Buda area that will open for the 2020-21 school year. The school will be part of Doral Academy Inc., a network of charter schools that was founded in Doral, Fla.—just outside of Miami—and now has six schools there, as well as five schools in Las Vegas and one in Colorado. view article arw

Great Hearts Academies, a nonprofit charter schools operator, will build its fourth campus in San Antonio on the city's Northwest side. The new school, called Great Hearts Forest Heights, will be on on 11 acres near Prue Road and Research Drive and will break ground later this month. It is expected to open by August 2019. The property was sold for an undisclosed amount by the Judith N. Morton Trust and the Clifford E. Morton Estate Trust. The deal was brokered by InSite EFS LLC on behalf of Great Hearts. view article arw

Eleven children and five adults were transported to local hospitals after reports of a gas leak near KIPP Nexus School and St. Ambrose Catholic School in northwest Houston. The Houston Fire Department says it happened near the KIPP campus located in the 4200 block of Watonga Boulevard. Gas was released from a safety valve near the bayou in the 4000 block of Watonga. view article arw

KIPP San Antonio, a local public charter school system, received a $1 million boost from local philanthropist and businessman Harvey Najim. On Wednesday, KIPP Esperanza Dual Language Academy honored Najim, revealing a portion of its academy that was named after him. view article arw

East Valley charter-school owner and state lawmaker Eddie Farnsworth is poised for a payday of up to $30 million after the Arizona State Board for Charter Schools approved the transfer of his for-profit charter-school chain to a newly formed non-profit company on Monday. In a 10-0 vote, the board OK'd Farnsworth's request to transfer the charter from the for-profit Benjamin Franklin Charter School, which operates four campuses, to a Queen Creek non-profit company with the same name. view article arw

Best news of the day! The charter-friendly State Board of Education turned down Rocketship expansion plan, after 25 speakers denounce it. Chair of board voted to support. “In a 9-1 vote, the board agreed with the California Department of Education’s recommendation to deny the charter organization’s petition to establish a new school in San Pablo near Richmond, which the West Contra Costa Unified school board and Contra Costa County board of education had also denied. Citing concerns about the charter school’s financial and educational plans, some board members said Rocketship – which operates 10 schools in San Jose, one in Antioch, one in Concord and one in Redwood City where the company is headquartered – may be trying to expand beyond its capacity. Board President Michael Kirst voted against denying the appeal. view article arw

Stop kidding yourself.  Charter schools are a bad deal. It doesn’t matter if they’re for-profit or nonprofit.  It doesn’t matter if they’re cyber or brick-and-mortar institutions.  It doesn’t matter if they have a history of scandal or success.  Every single charter school in the United States of America is either a disaster or a disaster waiting to happen.  The details get complicated, but the idea is really quite simple. view article arw

State education officials did not seem to be aware the two public schools were located in migrant shelters, despite approving their applications.  If you ask Trinity Charter School's superintendent, Bokenkamp and New Hope are not so different from the average public school.  Walk in and you'll see colorful artwork on the walls. Certified teachers lead small classrooms, paying extra attention to students who need more of an assist. Kids, many who don't speak English, arrive on their first day, nervous about their new environments. view article arw

Forget all you have heard about tens of thousands of students on waiting lists for charter schools. That’s a marketing ploy. When people think a product is rare and hard to get, they really want it. When Bernie Madoff said that his fund was closed, people literally begged to get into his fund. view article arw

Private schools around Central Austin offer a variety of specialized instruction, from different religious affiliations to various types of curriculum. This guide features primary and middle schools with grade levels through eighth grade and high schools with grade levels through 12th grade.  This list is not comprehensive. view article arw

The TEA shut down the campus on Friday. It's unclear how long the school will be closed.  HOUSTON – The Northshore campus of The Rhodes School closes their doors, after failing to meet fire safety standards. The Harris County Marshal’s office notified the Texas Education Agency on Wednesday of their findings, following an investigation into the school’s Northshore campus. view article arw

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) --With just days until school starts, hundreds of outraged parents are now scrambling to find a place to put their kids after a charter school is being closed by HISD. The decision by the HISD board of trustees to close Kandy Stripe Academy blindsided parents and teachers at the school. The vote to close the school came on Thursday of last week, but some parents are only finding out about that now. view article arw

The principal suddenly resigned after the school's board accused him of fraud, but the controversy raises questions about the school's links to the Gülen movement.  Just before the end of the last school year, the principal of Oakland's Bay Area Technology School, Hayri Hatipoglu, suddenly resigned. At least four other senior staff and two of the charter school's five board members also abruptly quit. As a result, the organization was thrown into chaos. And then Hatipoglu disappeared. According to several sources, he left the country with his family for Australia, where he is a citizen. view article arw

“Why aren’t more school districts in Idaho working with charter schools,” I was asked by a friend recently. This seemed especially odd as 14 of the 44 schools (32 percent) on the state’s list of top performing high schools were public charter schools. The most common way for school districts and public charter schools to collaborate is through charter school authorizing. In Idaho, school districts can authorize public charter schools along with the Idaho Public Charter School Commission and the state’s public colleges and universities. Authorizers are the entities that approve a public charter school and determine, on the basis of performance, whether to extend or terminate its license to operate. view article arw

There are just days left until the start of the Houston ISD school year and hundreds of parents are left scrambling to find a new school for their kids because the district has abruptly cancelled its affiliation with a charter school. Suddenly, Kandy Stripe Academy Charter School will not open this upcoming school year. Many parents are just finding out and were told by automated voice message. Rosalinda Scallion, a parent at Kandy Stripe is furious. view article arw

Democracy Prep is leaving the District of Columbia. Its charter school is a failure. Interestingly, Democracy Prep was chosen to take over the Andre Agassi Charter School in Las Vegas after that well-funded school failed. Charters come, charters go. Kids, go find another school. Tough luck. Better luck next time. Walmart opens and closes stores all the time. What’s the big deal? You know, disruption. view article arw

Houston’s newest charter school emerges like an oasis on East Orem Drive, a freshly constructed four-columned Georgian-style building on a sparse stretch of the city’s southeast side. An estimated 1,200 students on Thursday will fill the campus, home to International Leadership of Texas’ newest outpost. Each day, students will speak Spanish, learn Mandarin Chinese and get 45 minutes of physical education from “fitness coaches” resembling personal trainers. They will learn from educators driving home messages about character, civic duty and servant leadership, echoing a military-style ethos pushed by charter founder and U.S. Marine Corps veteran Eddie Conger.  It is a curriculum unlike any other in Texas, one that serves as the center of Texas’ fastest growing charter school network. view article arw

Charter schools continue their rapid expansion in Central Texas, and likely will enroll 30,000 students in dozens of campuses this school year. Austin Achieve this week opened its second campus in Northeast Austin, which will allow the school to serve 1,500 additional students within a few years. Valor Public Schools will make its debut in South Austin next week, expecting to enroll 450-500 students its first year. And IDEA Public Schools, with three campuses in Austin, will open two new campuses next week — in Pflugerville and Kyle — adding 1,400 more students to its attendance rolls. view article arw

Does anybody have any ideas for Abilene ISD? The school district is launching its Ambassador Academy for the new school year. The Ambassador Academy is an outreach program from the school board that has been designed to add more communication between the school district and the community. view article arw

Draped in a light grey suit and an air tie, LeBron James, widely recognized as the greatest professional basketball player walking the earth, sat down to do an interview on Monday with ESPN journalist Rachel Nichols in his childhood hometown of Akron, Ohio. On any other day since James shocked the sports world by announcing his recent decision to join the Los Angeles Lakers, a typical interview would have focused on him explaining the cosmic shift in the NBA landscape that he alone created. Instead, James announced a new venture with even larger implications than the 6 feet 8 inch forward donning the purple and gold.  view article arw

Curriculum plans, a master schedule that will save the campus money and a new attitude were just some of the items discussed at the first board meeting of Ector College Prep Success Academy. The in-district charter school has its own board including Superintendent of Cloudcroft Municipal Schools Porter Curtell, Ravi Shakamuri, Ron Leach, Sondra Eoff, all Ector County community members, and Zinab Munoz, adjunct faculty at TechTeach at Texas Tech University. Curtell and Leach were attended via video Thursday. view article arw

The demand for charter schools is skyrocketing.  That's according to a new report released today.  "We know that the educational landscape is changing,” said Leslie Price, spokesperson for San Antonio ISD. “There are so many options now for parents to look at to determine what's best for their child." view article arw

With 22 offerings, San Antonio Independent School District is home to the highest number of in-district charter schools among Texas’ roughly 1,200 school districts. But up until now, SAISD has lacked a regular system to evaluate its charter schools.  On Monday, SAISD trustees approved new guidelines the district will use to evaluate its charter partners.  “The current policy says that [SAISD] will review the performance, but there was no procedure to necessarily always follow through on it,” said Mohammed Choudhury, SAISD’s chief innovation officer view article arw

Mercedes Schneider reports that the net rate of charter school growth is declining. The number of charter school closings is rising, and the number of new schools is slowing.  “Market-driven ed reform is a story of races to close gaps. However, there is one ed-reform gap that appears to be closing, with the gap closure no doubt undesired:  “The national rate of charter school closures is notably gaining on the rate of charter school openings view article arw

School-choice supporters won legislative passage of a 2017 law to expand Arizona's voucher program, but some now aren't sure whether they want the law's fate in the hands of a voters' referendum. The expansion supporters' unease stems from a 20-year-old state constitutional provision under which voter approval of the expansion law apparently would virtually lock in its provisions, including a 30,000-student enrollment cap, the Arizona Capitol Times reported . "If Prop. 305 passes, it could hinder our ability to make crucial improvements to the ESA (Empower Scholarship Accounts) program," said Kim Martinez, a spokeswoman for the pro-voucher American Federation for Children. view article arw

If there were any lingering doubts about the growing strength of charter schools in our state, KIPP Texas' move to consolidate its individual networks into one school district should dispel them. By merging networks in Dallas-Fort Worth, San Antonio, Houston and Austin, KIPP becomes one of the largest charter school networks in Texas, with over 25,000 students in 50 schools this past academic year. It's clear that charters aren't going away. And though this newspaper supports traditional public schools as a pillar of this country's foundation, we also support effective organizations like KIPP that give parents choices for their kids. There's no question charters, which started in Texas in 1995 as an experiment to foster public-school innovation, have become the first-choice option for a growing number of parents. IDEA Public Schools and International Leadership of Texas are among those recently expanding their North Texas networks.  The Texas Education Agency reports there are more than 700 charter schools across the state. Advocates say over 130,000 Texas children are on charter waiting lists. view article arw

Tennessee was one of the first states to win a grant from Arne Duncan’s Race to the Top. It won $500 million. It placed its biggest bet on an idea called the Achievement School District. The big plan was to have the state take over the state’s lowest performing schools and do a turnaround. The ASD was launched in 2012 with much fanfare. Its leader promised that the lowest performing schools would be turned around within five years. Reformers loved the idea so much that it was copied in Nevada, North Carolina, and a few other states. Most of the schools were converted to charter schools. As Gary Rubinstein explains here, the ASD was a complete flop. view article arw

Spanish Schoolhouse will open a new location Aug. 1 at 26133 Kuykendahl Road, Tomball. view article arw

Dollar for dollar, the beleaguered movement to bring charter schools to Washington state has had no bigger champion than billionaire Bill Gates. The Microsoft co-founder gave millions of dollars to see a charter school law approved despite multiple failed ballot referendums. And his private foundation not only helped create the Washington State Charter Schools Association, but has at times contributed what amounts to an entire year's worth of revenues for the 5-year-old charter advocacy group. view article arw

Panola Early College High School and Panola Charter High School are now accepting transfers and enrolling for grades 8-12 for the 2018-19 school year. view article arw

Darcie Cimarusti writes in Valerie Strauss’s Answer Sheet about the calculated devastation done to Indiana’s once-great public schools by privatizers, chief among them Mike Pence, former governor Mitch Daniels, David Harris of the Mind Trust, and Stand for Children (which long ago abandoned its credentials as a progressive organization).  Darcie is a school board member in New Jersey, an education blogger, parent, and part-time staff at the Network for Public Education, where her work has been invaluable. view article arw

KIPP Public Schools, individual district charter networks operating across Texas, are consolidating into a single statewide school district. The four charter networks in Austin, Houston, Dallas and San Antonio asked the Texas Education Agency to close their individual charters so they could convert into one district charter, KIPP Texas Public Schools. The statewide organization will oversee all 52 KIPP charter campuses and 27,700 students in Texas. Of those, Austin educates 5,000 students in 10 campuses. view article arw