Just over thirty years ago, the first public charter school law was passed in Minnesota. One year later, City Academy Charter School opened its doors in St. Paul. The charter sector now boasts more than 7,700 schools serving over 3.4 million students nationwide.
NOTE: This editorial is adapted from Michael J. Petrilli's public comment on the U.S. Department of Education's proposed Charter Schools Program regulations, available here.
With Democrats facing trouble in the midterm elections, the Biden administration has inexplicably decided to try to stave off disaster by doubling down on the teachers unions’ hoary anti-reform agenda. One example is its not-so-sneak attack on charter schools in the form of execrable regulations that could bring charter growth to a standstill. But it’s not the only one.
Last week, Chester Finn used a recent vote of Denver’s anti-reform school board to make three points: first, that the “portfolio” reform there—based on school autonomy, family choice, and chartering out schools where kids aren’t learning—is finished; second, that Denver’s reversal predicts doom elsewhere for complex reform initiatives meant to transform the ways whole public systems operate; an
After living through the transformation of K–12 education in Alberta, Canada, we moved from Calgary to Colorado in 2010. Since then, we have watched the Denver Public Schools story unfold from next door in Jefferson County.
It’s no secret that Denver’s latest school board is wreaking havoc on the suite of bold education reforms that the Mile High City was known for over the past two decades.
Biden administration’s proposed rules for Charter School Program empower districts at the expense of communitiesChristy Wolfe
The Biden administration is proposing an unprecedented rewrite of the bipartisan federal Charter Schools Program (CSP): new regulations that are unprecedented not just for the CSP but for all federal K–12 programs. They would add pages of new requirements for applicants that are not in the statute and are unrelated to student outcomes. Instead, they focus on inputs.
Eight months out from a midterm election cycle that is shaping up to be a bloodbath for Democrats, Republican Senator Rick Scott recently released an “eleven-point plan to rescue America” that speaks volumes about the GOP’s posture on education. What’s most telling is what’s missing from Scott’s plan: a serious and good faith discussion of the most pressing issues facing our Covid-constrained education system.
Opponents of school choice regularly criticize private schools for not taking all comers, contrasting them with traditional public schools, which they claim are open to all. But that’s not true in many places, especially wealthier suburbs, where public schools are typically restricted to students who live within geographic boundaries. Attending them requires a hefty mortgage and property taxes or sky-high rents that are out of the reach of low- and middle-income families.
As Michael Petrilli wrote in these pages a few weeks ago, the education reform movement has come to the realization that its belief in “college for all,” while well-intended, was misguided.
If New York politics were sane and rational—if our elected officials were serious about the pursuit of educational excellence and what’s best for children—the city’s charter school sector would be a point of civic pride.
In many ways, the educational failures of the past several years—including those caused by the pandemic—were far worse than they needed to be because of long-standing characteristics of American public education. Namely, the tendency to place employees’ interests first, the disempowering of parents, and the failure to innovate.
Fordham’s new study, based on data from 400 metropolitan statistical areas and 534 micropolitan statistical areas, finds that an increase in total charter school enrollment share is associated with a significant narrowing of a metro area’s racial and socioeconomic math achievement gaps. With the country reeling from a pandemic that’s caused widespread learning loss, especially for disadvantaged students, getting more children into charter schools could help reverse those dire trends.
Editor’s note: This essay was first published by The 74.
A recent release from the Education Commission of the States reminds us that the term “virtual school” refers to several different types of educational options, and that the ecosystem—more important now than ever before—requires specific attention and support from policymakers.
In the wake of the biggest education crisis in living memory, the need for transformational change is palpable and urgent. This report asks: Can a rising tide of charter schools carry students in America's largest metro areas—including those in traditional public schools?
Any day now, Catherine Lhamon, the assistant U.S. secretary of education for civil rights, is expected to release new guidance for school districts that’ll reinstate an Obama-era policy limiting the use of suspensions and the like in the name of reducing racial disparities in “exclusionary discipline.” It couldn’t come at a worse time.
A decade ago, most charter school authorizers agreed it was not their job to help struggling charter schools. But times have changed, and best practices in charter school authorizing are evolving. Authorizers are exploring ways to support and encourage improvement in the charter schools they oversee, and some charter schools appreciate the change.
For those of us old enough to remember, the “Rock the Vote” campaign in the 90’s showcased many celebrities—including Madonna in a red bikini and American flag—trying to convince young people to participate in elections.
The proof of a powerful idea is how well it sticks. Once you hear about it “you start to see it everywhere,” as Bari Weiss puts it. She was describing “luxury beliefs,” a phrase coined by Rob Henderson, an Air Force veteran and Ph.D.
There’s been lots of jabber lately about what the upset win by Glenn Youngkin in the recent Virginia gubernatorial race means for education policy.
As supporters celebrate and opponents dissect the Year of School Choice, a timely new report tries to make sense of the way parents value, assess, and act upon avail
The persistence of racial segregation between and within school districts has motivated some in the school choice community to develop diverse-by-design charters (DBDCs), which are defined as schools without a 70 percent majority of students of any race or ethnicity, plus 30 to 70 percent low-income pupils.
Covid-19 school shock disrupted our way of doing education, unbundling the familiar division of responsibilities among home, school, and community organizations. Nearly every parent of school-age children had to create from scratch a home learning environment using online technology and rebundling school services to meet their needs.
On this week’s podcast, Debbie Veney, Senior Vice President at the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools, joins Mi
The outlook has gotten bleak for the anti-racist and CRT movements in U.S. classrooms, as Americans saw these ideas in action and largely recoiled from them. But there's another K–12 strategy for achieving racial justice: school choice.
“Hi. Welcome to the future. San Dimas, California. 2688.” Rufus, played by George Carlin, thus opened the American film classic Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure by explaining that, in the distant future, everything is great. The water, air, and even the dirt is clean.
In the early days of the pandemic, I was dismissive of “new normal” talk about Covid’s long-term impact on schooling. There was good reason for skepticism.
There is a heated debate going on among school choice advocates, in which the essential question is whether school choice is sufficient to reform American education. The civil disagreement belies a tension within the conservative movement writ large between the libertarians and the institutionalists. But it needn’t be a stalemate. A means to palliate the competing undercurrents can be found in our nation’s very founding.
In the early days of KIPP, or the Knowledge Is Power Program, and other networks of urban charter schools that drafted in its considerable wake, the highly prescriptive form of classroom management and teaching these schools pioneered was a subject of intense fascination and considerable optimism.