A new research summary from the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools found that the research on charter school performance over the past four years has been largely positive.
The report examined 14 different studies from 2010 to 2013—11 regional studies and three national studies—and found that all but one showed charter school students outperforming their regular public school peers.
The one study that had differing results found that in Utah, based on longitudinal student data from 2004 to 2009, charter school students performed slightly worse compared to their regular public school counterparts. The researchers attributed this to "low effectiveness and high student mobility of newly-established charter schools."
The NAPCS metastudy included research from universities, including Stanford's Center for Research on Education Outcomes, as well as Mathematica Policy Research, and other organizations. Only studies with longitudinal student data and robust research methods were included in the metastudy.
There are currently about 2.3 million students being served by charter schools today in the United States.
By Katie Ash
Source: EduactionWeek, April 24, 2013
First charter high school for law being planned by College of Mount St. Vincent and New York Law School
Located in Bronx, the school would steer teens in underserved communities to careers in legal field
Education advocates are pushing to create the first charter high school for law and social justice in the city, and locate it in the Bronx.
The Charter High School for Law and Social Justice is the product of an alliance between the College of Mount St. Vincent and New York Law School, and aims to give teens from underserved communities a route to careers in the legal field.
“We think that we are creating a school that will be unique,” school trustee Richard Marsico, law professor at the New York School of Law, said Tuesday night at a public hearing on the proposed school.
“Our dual priorities are to create a school with high academic standards that provides a pathway to college, graduate school and a possible career in the legal profession.”
The charter school’s enrollment would be capped at 440 pupils, and each student would have his own advisor who would help him create an individualized learning plan.
“That advisor becomes a mentor, advocate, cheerleader when necessary,” said Dr. Mary Ellen Sullivan, chair of teacher education at the College of Mount St. Vincent. “There are going to be really strong supports built in.”
The school would be located in Bronx Community School District 7, 8, 9 or 12, the founders said.
The school’s special education students would receive extra help in small groups during and after school, and at least one class section will be taught by two teachers - one would work with the special ed students, according to Jennifer LaMarsh, a founding planning team member.
There would also be a part-time English as a Second Language teacher at the school for English language learners.
“We believe that when you set the expectations high, the students will meet them, as long as you have the supports in place,” LaMarsh said.
Marsico said the board will formally apply to the state Education Department next month. He said they expect to hear back by May if they will get an interview. They’ll know by August if the Education Department recommends them to the Board of Regents. If approved, the school would begin accepting incoming freshmen in September 2014.
While surfing on the Internet, I came across with a debate about the charter schools. Nowadays, There is a debate going on the website link, http://www.debate.org/opinions/are-charter-schools-a-good-idea, about if charter schools are a good idea. For those who do not have any idea about this website, www.debade.org, it is good to explain how it works. Debate.org is a free online community where intelligent minds from around the world come to debate online and read the opinions of others (from debate.org).
Although it is not a new one, this debate differs from the other websites or debates, because parties who are on the side of charter schools, and those who are against them are on the same website participating in a survey and sharing their opinions. You don’t have to switch between the webpages and challenge yourself to understand which one is better. In short, it is hassle-free. Therefore, to see different ideas on the same web page makes more understanding for a person who is planning to register his or her child to a school in near future. Here is the dilemma, charter school vs. public school.
Let me answer the question from the website! Yes. 84% of the participants do agree that charter schools are a good idea. It is really quite high agreement on a topic for a survey. I wondered why so many people do agree about charter schools and read some of the comments. There were really interesting answers and real life experiences. They were not scientifically proven arguments, or experts on education, or charming stories; they were just simple people as I am. In fact, they were more valuable thoughts for me, and it was worthy to read. I know that somebody had that experience, so it could help me to make my decision.
For instance, an interesting commented said, “After watching the movie "The Lottery", I have come to believe that charter schools are an integral part of the education solution that our nation needs.” It is very interesting that people’s minds are already changing depending on the movies, not scientific realities. So, many people who are against the charter schools also rely on non-scientific facts and their prejudices. As in the movie, The Lottery, many people in their comments argue that charter schools give more opportunities to children. That is why, it is also hidden in another answer, which says “Yes, charter schools are a good idea because, since it is established by teachers, parents, and the community, it can better serve the direct needs of the kids attending that program. In other words, people perceive the establishment of charter schools as a movement of grassroots that knows better the needs of communities that they serve. The clear point is that charter schools are more from inside them; parents, teachers and the community. These are the things that a parent would like to reach easily when her or his children are under education; thus, charter schools give that opportunity to them.
By Charter Advocate
As it is known charter schools are considered to be a threat to Catholic school programs. We have seen on vacant Catholic school listings signs that state "This school building cannot be leased or sold to public charter schools". It is not the case here at our community. Due to a mutual understanding and a good relationship with the Archdiocese of Boston, PCSS has an agreement of extending its current lease for an additional fifteen years with them.
The church officials have told us various times that PCSS students are good citizens. They feel that these students are exemplary members of their community. I remember hearing Rev. Gerald Osterman, Pastor of Immaculate Conception Church in Everett, MA mention this. I remember also our schools’ mission which states that “PCSS will help students develop the academic and social skills necessary to become successful professionals and exemplary members of their community.” Although, it is nice to hear such nice things being said about PCSS and although we have met and continue to meet our mission, we believe that this is not the only reason that we have been fully supported by the local church officials.
Based on the discussions we have had among the PCSS community, it appears that some of the officials are very close to our school and they know what is going on at the school daily basis. The church officials and the community are aware of the following:
PCSS’ MCAS scores increased consistently and now they are approximately 30% higher than the sending districts averages.
Through the discipline/rewards system, PCSS was able to restore and improve discipline at our school.
PCSS has an emphasis on the math and science and ethical values that align with their mission as well.
PCSS teachers visited more than three hundred parents at their homes and discussed educational issues related to the students.
As a graduation requirement all PCSS students have to complete a mandatory 40 hours community service. This past year students participated in a mandatory community service program in Boston.
PCSS is designing programs for our students and teachers to be able to use the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s laboratories for research, etc.
These officials witness day to day that we are followers of our charter which was granted by the Massachusetts Department of Education.
With respect to PCSS’ efforts to relocate the City Owned Old Everett High School, officials knew that we were the highest bidder and our bid was 27 percent higher than the second bidder, but unfortunately we were not granted the building due to political reasons.
We are also very proud to say that the community members and officials supported our initiative for expanding our school to the elementary level!
President Ronald Regan once said "Americans don't care what your origins are; they care what your destination is." PCSS’ founding members were young professionals, scientists, engineers, teachers, academicians, etc. and it is true that some of them originated from Turkey and now they became successful Turkish-Americans. Like President Ronald Regan said lets concentrate on PCSS’ destination which is to reach the goals of hundred percent college admissions, betterment of Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment Test scores, and the most important one is that raising students to become exemplary members of their community. The ancient African proverb says “It takes a village to raise a child”. Administrators, parents, the local community and even church officials are supporting PCSS and its initiatives but we need all the support we could get to educate the under-resources students and to help them become successful professionals.
By Charter Advocate
As a parent, who wants to find a good educational opportunity for my children, I have faced to a hard decision problem. I am sure that the ongoing debate between charter schools and public schools confused a lot of parents like me.
Many hours of online searching, talking to people and own observations resulted me to look for scientific evidence for both sides of the debate above.
The following two scientific evaluations of charter and public school students made me feel better to get closer to my final decision. You can reach the original documents from the links given below. Here is a short summary of them:
Charter schools are associated with a higher probability of successful high school completion and an increased likelihood of attending a two year or a four-year college in two disparate jurisdictions, Florida and Chicago.
…a clear pattern of positive charter school effects growing over time. There was little consistent evidence of differences in achievement gains between charter and MPS students after one year. The second year growth was better for charters in some models and for some tests, but not for others. In the third year of growth, a sizable independent charter school advantage was apparent in all of our analyses (Witte, J.F., Wolf, P.J., Dean, A., & Carlson, D. (2011). Milwaukee independent charter schools study: Report on two- and three- year achievement gains.).
One of the supplementary analyses determined that students who remained in charter schools over five years (e.g. “stayers”) made significant achievement gains in both reading and math compared to their counterpart stayers in MPS.
Here are the links for the documents:
THE EFFECTS OF CHARTER HIGH SCHOOLS ON EDUCATIONAL ATTAINMENT:
Milwaukee Independent Charter Schools Study: Final Report on Four-Year Achievement Gains:
In this mini review, we discuss growth of charter schools and their contribution to the education of our kids. First of all, we briefly discuss birth of charter schools, and then we elaborate our findings on the evolution of charter schools including how these state funded schools have become remarkably successful within a short time frame and become another option for the parents.
Charter schools are tuition free public schools which admit students through a lottery. Charter schools are not part of the public school system in the districts which give them a lot of freedom such as choosing their own curriculum, and hiring their own teachers. High degree of freedom brings high level of accountability to charter schools such as demonstrating student achievement and sound fiscal practices. Charter schools are ruled and govern by Board of Trustees (BoT) which is responsible for ensuring the charter renewal. Since charter schools are granted for five years, they must be successful to survive, otherwise, they can be closed.
Since the first charter school opened in Minnesota in 1992 number of charter schools has been dramatically increased. There are now more than 4500 charter schools in 40 states and District of Columbia, educating over 1.3 million students.
There are many reasons for why charter schools are so successful compared to their public counterparts. Some examples are, but not limited to, small school size, extended school hours, mandatory/optional Saturday schools, and individualized education.
Extended school hours are the opportunity for students to participate in many after school activities such as club activities and/or tutoring sessions. Tutoring sessions are used by the teachers to bring the low performing students to the level of other students in the same class. Mandatory after school hours are also used for many school team activities such as science club, science fair, olympiad team etc. For students, being part of such teams is educationally so important as it helps them to apply what they learn in the class to real life problems.
Moreover, small school size is one of the important factors which make charter schools more attractive to parents and students. Although there are public schools and charter schools with small school size, most of the public schools serve large amount of student population, in some cases more than 1,000 students. Whereas most of the founding members of charter schools are aware of importance of having small school size, and they have a tendency to open schools serving small number of students, in most of the cases not more than 500 students. Small school size is attractive to parents and students because it brings more safety and more individualized education to students and individualized focused education is an important tool for education because it helps teachers to learn and understand the needs of each individual student in a class.
Additionally, some charter schools offer mandatory some optional Saturday school where students get a chance to attend free tutoring sessions for college preparation.
All the factors we mentioned above make charter schools another option for parents which provides what most of the private schools offer but it is free and opened the all students. That is why charter schools are so popular among other school and most of them maintain a waiting list for enrollment. It also needs to be mentioned here that we do not try to promote charter schools over the public schools but we would like to bring the attention of readers that charter schools are there, part of public school system and good alternatives for parents and students who look for different educational options
Charter School Supporter
Mr. Gaffney’s article can be best described as unsubstantiated propaganda and blatant fabrication. It is neither journalist nor scholarly and the editors at The Washington Times have chosen to diminish their paper’s reputation by publishing it. Nothing in the article is explained or backed up and one can only assume a prejudicial attitude against Muslims caused him to write it.
What is the point of attacking a group of people trying to open a new charter school? Is Mr. Gaffney unaware that charter schools present a much needed educational alternative for students in this country and overall are seen as a very positive development? Is he unaware that high performing charter schools are often duplicated in various locations and that some of the same educational models they use are employed in regular public school districts? If Mr. Gaffney is concerned about the state of education in America why not look at the real problems like the ever present problem of unequal tax basis’ in the city versus the county leading to resource poor schools versus resource rich; or the skewed emphasis on student testing as the “be all and end all” of school performance.
The article is propaganda because he claims that Chesapeake Science Point had “little or inconsistent improvement”. All one needs to do is look up Maryland Department of Education’s “Charter Schools Annual Report 2011” to see Chesapeake Science Point achieved >95% proficiency in Reading/English for 2011 and 93% proficiency in Math/Algebra for 2011; very high numbers. Is it significant that in 2009 the numbers were 97% for Reading/English and 98% for Math/Algebra? Absolutely not. The facts are distorted for the author’s purpose.
The local parents and officials plus education experts are the persons qualified to decide about charter school proposals; not a biased “journalist” with an agenda.
By Charter Advocate
Maybe the public school in your area stinks. Maybe it’s a dropout factory staffed by burned-out teachers, and you’re looking for an alternative—a school with a dedicated mission, a change from rote devotion to the state-mandated curriculum, perhaps even smaller classes, longer days, or a higher budget.
What you’re looking for is a charter school. More than 5,000 now operate in 40 states, serving 1.5 million students and keeping 365,000 on waiting lists. Proponents say they improve achievement and raise the bar for public schools, but some studies show that 83 percent of charter schools perform only as well as or worse than their public counterparts. Are charter schools a budgetary bust, or the answer to education’s woes?
article from takepart.com
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