Claycomb Associates, Architects

The charter school movement is currently in a “battle for survival,” National Alliance for Public Charter Schools president Nina Rees told an audience of supporters on Monday.  Proposed limits on charter schools in California, the cap on new charters in New York City, and lawsuits in Alabama to prevent charters from opening — all are threats to the future of the schools, she said.  “We need to start fighting back against the attacks far more aggressively,” she told attendees at the opening session for the National Charter Schools Conference in Las Vegas, and suggested that charter leaders need to both expand their reach and improve their messaging.  view article arw

Charter schools were once hailed by supporters as a way to save public education in big urban districts. Founders presented them as a way to offer low-income minority families safe, orderly schools with rigorous academics, and they were embraced across the country as a hopeful alternative. But charter school executives have recently started to acknowledge shortcomings, as questions about whether they are fulfilling their mission have mounted. Democratic presidential candidates have turned away from the charter movement. Last month, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said the New York State Legislature would not raise a cap on the number of charters in New York City, halting the growth of the model in the country’s largest school system. view article arw

IDEA Public Schools (“IDEA”) is the fastest growing privately-operated charter school in Texas and its rapid expansion in local communities is funded and controlled by “special interests” that desire to “privatize” public education. With promotions of a “100% College Acceptance Rate” and students being “Accepted to the College or University of Their Choice”, a full-time staff is employed to advocate for IDEA in local communities and to aggressively recruit “economically-disadvantaged” parents dreaming of a better life for their children. Ann Landers said: “Rose-colored glasses are never made in bifocals. Nobody wants to read the small print in dreams”.  view article arw

From a political perspective that values equality and diversity, integrated schools are inherently good. Research also supports the notion that exposure to individuals from a diverse set of backgrounds has positive social and political benefits for a pluralistic society, and an expanding body of research attests to the positive consequences of school integration for academic outcomes. Yet schools remain highly segregated by race and class, in part because of the segregation of neighborhoods, which largely determine where students enroll. Public charter schools, which have dramatically expanded their reach since they were first established in 1992, now occupy a central role in the public debate over racial isolation in school, with advocates and critics pitching the schools as either a potential cure for, or a key contributor to, segregation. view article arw