An Unlikely Bargain: Why Charter School Teachers Unionize and What Happens When They Do

Ashley Jochim and Lesley Lavery: For nearly two decades teachers unions and charter schools have formed an “us vs. them” narrative that pits one against the other. Unionization efforts by charter school teachers could scramble that narrative. With this report we set out to understand trends in charter school unionization, document teachers’ motivations for unionizing, […]

Wisconsin Governor Evers seeks to freeze voucher school enrollment and suspend charter school expansion

Molly Beck: He said in the Milwaukee program especially, enrollment freezes in private voucher schools would disproportionately affect children of color living in low-income households. “Most of our families don’t have the kind of income where they would have realistic choices,” he said at the time. Under Evers’ proposal, voucher schools also would be banned […]

UW rejects application for independent Madison charter school

Chris Rickert: According to emails released to the State Journal under the state’s open records law, Superintendent Jennifer Cheatham on Sept. 10 asked her chief of staff, Ricardo Jara, and other front-office officials whether Arbor was “worth trying to stop? Or change somehow? If so, how?” Cheatham expressed the district’s opposition to the school in […]

Charter School Funding: Inequity in the City

Patrick J. Wolf Larry D. Maloney Jay F. May Corey A. DeAngelis: One might assume that policymakers moved swiftly to remedy the injustice of charter school funding inequity revealed in the 2005 report. Sadly, that was not the case. We re-examined the charter school funding gap using data from 2006-07 and adding seven more states […]

Charter school backers spent millions on statewide California races in 2018. They still lost twice.

Sophia Bollag: When former charter school executive Marshall Tuck called Assemblyman Tony Thurmond to concede over the weekend, it marked another defeat for charter-school advocates in California. Thurmond was elected California’s top education official in the wave that led more liberal-leaning voters to cast ballots. Although both are Democrats, Thurmond had the party’s endorsement. He […]

How the Charter School Wars Turned an Obscure Race Into California’s Second Most Expensive Election

Rachel Cohen: The California charter school lobby is testing its influence in the race for Superintendent of Public Instruction, turning an election for a somewhat obscure statewide position into a notably expensive battle. More than $50 million has flown into the contest between two Democrats for a nonpartisan office with little statutory power. For perspective, […]

Do Charter Schools Take Districts’ Money? Only If You Think Children, and the Funding That Comes With Them, Are District Property

James Shuls: ow would you respond if you stumbled across a headline that asked, “How much do farmers markets cost Walmart?” It’s a ridiculous question. It presupposes that the customer belongs to Walmart; that any time the individual chooses to buy cucumbers from a local grower or salsa from an aspiring entrepreneur, he or she […]

Public Support Climbs for Teacher Pay, School Expenditures, Charter Schools, and Universal Vouchers

Albert Cheng, Michael B. Henderson, Paul E. Peterson and Martin R. West: Education’s political landscape has shifted dramatically over the past year. To the consternation of most school-district officials, Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos used the bully pulpit to promote charter schools, vouchers, and tax credits for private-school scholarships. To the distress of teachers unions, […]

Let’s talk about King LeBron’s Wink-Wink ‘totally-not-a-charter-school’ Charter School

Citizen Stewart: I mention that routine because last week I felt like a victim of Sandburg’s non-wrath when Twitter’s anti-school reform voices suggested school reformers were wearing facial egg because “King” LeBron James’ celebrated new school opened in Akron, Ohio as a “traditional” public school rather than a charter. Frankly, I didn’t get the joke. […]

A Closer Look at Wait Lists in Urban Public Charter Schools

Susan Pendergrass & Nora Kern: Improving the quality of public education in our nation’s cities is a top priority for civic leaders. Beyond its impact on property values, the availability of safe, high-quality schools can have a substantial effect on the quality of life in urban neighborhoods, much like grocery stores, parks, and jobs that […]

Behind the Consulting Firm Raking In Millions From D.C. Charter Schools

Darrow Montgomery: That’s a D.C. charter school administrator’s assessment of TenSquare, one of the city’s most connected, lucrative, and controversial charter consulting companies. And true to his word, he was talking anonymously. Not many people feel comfortable discussing TenSquare publicly. Even in education circles, most people have never heard of TenSquare, a national for-profit consulting […]

Minnesota Department of Human Rights reaches agreements with ten school districts, charter schools to reduce disparities in suspensions for students with disabilities, students of color, charges filed against 2 districts

MDHR: Today, the Minnesota Department of Human Rights (MDHR) announced it has reached collaborative agreements with 10 Minnesota public school districts and charter schools to reduce the disparities in suspension and expulsion rates for students with disabilities and students of color and two school districts received charges of discrimination for educational discrimination. The school districts […]

Charter Schools Are Not A “Republican” Thing History shows Democrats have supported charters from the very beginning

Peter Cook: As I noted earlier this week, a group of anti-reform activists in Colorado recently passed an amendment to the state Democratic Party platform opposing the Colorado chapter of Democrats for Education Reform and calling on the organization drop “Democrats” from its name.1 Unfortunately, this isn’t the first time DFER has been attacked by […]

Charter Schools Have Positive Impact on Nearby Schools, Study Finds

Ashley Bateman: Charters have a “spillover” effect on nearby traditional government schools, and the closer the proximity to a charter school, the greater the positive effect on the students in the nearby schools, Sarah A. Cordes, assistant professor of policy, organizational, and leadership studies at Temple University, reports in “Charters and the Common Good: The […]

U.S. Charter Schools Produce a Bigger Bang with Fewer Bucks

Corey DeAngelis: The evidence is in. And it’s great news for kids in charter schools. A just-released study by my colleagues at the University of Arkansas and me finds that, overall, public charter schools across eight major U.S. cities are 35 percent more cost-effective and produce a 53 percent higher return-on-investment (ROI) than residentially assigned […]

Unionized Charter Schools 2016-17

Public Charters: In 2010, the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools (National Alliance) collected data to determine the teachers’ union status of every charter school nationwide. Prior to the release of the 2010 report, the number of unionized charter schools was largely unknown. In 2009-10, the National Alliance reported that roughly 12 percent of charter […]

Donors and Founders on Charter School Boards and Their Impact on Financial and Academic Outcomes

Charisse A. Gulosino Elif Şişli-Ciamarra: This study provides the first systematic analysis of the composition of charter school governing boards. We assemble a dataset of charter school boards in Massachusetts between 2001 and 2013 and investigate the consequences of donor and founder representation on governing boards. We find that the presence of donors on the […]

The Legal Status of Charter Schools in State Statutory Law

Preston C. Green, III Bruce D. Baker Joseph O. Oluwole: Given the recent increase in charter schools as an alternative to the traditional public education system, this Article explores the legal status and position of charter schools. Charter schools exhibit many characteristics of private schools, particularly in terms of management, but also retain many public […]

Does D.C. Charter Schools’ Autonomy Come at the Cost of Public Accountability? (How does this compare with traditional school governance?)

Rachel Cohen: On a Monday night in late April, the D.C. Public Charter School Board convened for its monthly meeting with plans to vote on new charter school applications. One network, DC Preparatory Academy, submitted two requests for expansion: one to increase their student enrollment ceiling, and one to open a new elementary and middle […]


Via a kind Matthew Frankel email: Broad Range of Small and Large Local Community Businesses Pledge their Support to Provide Students with Invaluable Work-Study Opportunity Philadelphia, PA – October 8, 2017 – Young Scholars Charter School announced today that is has forged twenty-two strategic partnerships with local businesses from around the Philadelphia area to support […]

School board to weigh charter school petition

Cambridge news: The Cambridge School Board will consider Monday night, Oct. 16, whether to approve a petition to create an outdoor-agriculture charter school. The board’s decision, to be made at its regular meeting at 7 p.m. Monday at Cambridge High School, will be preceded by a public hearing at XXX. Jennifer Scianna, director of the […]

Wisconsin wins $95 million charter school grant

Wisconsin DPI, via a kind reader: Wisconsin won more than $95 million from a competitive, five-year federal grant for the Wisconsin Charter Schools Program, according to an announcement last week by the U.S. Department of Education. The grant, the largest in the country this year, will support the growth of high-quality charter schools, especially secondary […]

When charter schools unionize, students learn more, study finds

Matt Barnum: When charter school teachers push to unionize, charter leaders often fight back. That’s happened in Chicago, New Orleans, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, and Washington DC. Unionizing, they argue, would limit the schools’ ability to innovate, ultimately hurting kids. But a new study of California schools finds that, far from harming student achievement, unionization of […]

Background on Independent Madison Charter School RFP

Karen Rivedal: In April 2017, Bennett told the State Journal he wanted to cast a wide net for possible ideas for independent charter schools, which under state law will have to be tuition-free and be open to all students in the school district. He also had planned to consult a variety of community voices in […]

Independent (!) Charter School RFP: Madison OR Milwaukee (!)

University of Wisconsin System Office of Educational Opportunity, via a kind email: As home to the nation’s first public kindergarten, Wisconsin has a proud history of visionary educators incubating innovative educational opportunities for students, families, and their communities. The Office of Educational Opportunity is proud to be a partner in the Badger State’s living legacy […]

Charter schools do more than teach to the test: evidence from Boston

microeconomicinsights:: A growing body of evidence indicates that many urban charter schools boost the standardized test scores of disadvantaged students markedly. Attendance at oversubscribed charter schools in Boston for example—those with more applicants than seats—increases the test scores of low-income students by a third of a standard deviation a year, enough to eliminate the black-white […]

NEA Policy Statement on Charter Schools – Final Version

National Education Association: Introduction Charter schools were initially promoted by educators who sought to innovate within the local public school system to better meet the needs of their students. Over the last quarter of a century, charter schools have grown dramatically to include large numbers of charters that are privately managed, largely unaccountable, and not […]

On Charter School Accomplishment

relinqueshment: CREDO is the best national quasi-experimental data source we have, and its methodology holds up well in comparisons with experimental data. To the extent you’re suspicious of CREDO or of quasi-experimental design, Rand also did a national study on charters that looked exclusively at experimental studies. The authors found: “Consistent with many previous studies […]

South Carolina Announces $250,000 Fellowships For Educators to Launch Top-Notch Charter Schools

Naomi Mix: Attention aspiring charter school leaders: South Carolina policymakers are looking to award hundreds of thousands of dollars to talented educators with the skills to launch their own charter schools. The South Carolina Public Charter School District is starting an incubator program aimed at cultivating high-performing charter schools to educate underserved, low-income and minority […]

Charter schools meet demand for better education

Los Angeles Daily News: A new labor-backed study charges that California charter schools are opening schools where they aren’t needed, but parents – not special interests or governmental bodies – should be the final judges. The report from In the Public Interest criticizes charters for opening in areas where there is existing classroom space in […]

Boston charter school educator named national teacher of the year

James Vaznis: Sydney Chaffee’s (center) classroom lessons at Codman Academy Charter School in Dorchester focus on the intersection of history and literature. By James Vaznis GLOBE STAFF APRIL 20, 2017 At Codman Academy Charter School in Dorchester, Sydney Chaffee likes to put the spotlight on her students during a weekly schoolwide assembly — having them […]

NAACP Hearing Reveals Unsurprising Rift Over Charter Schools

Erica Copeland: The battle of wills between charter school advocates and opponents continued last Thursday, February 9th, at the NAACP’s special hearing on charter schools in Los Angeles. The hearing, held at the Deaton Civic Auditorium at LAPD Headquarters, convened some of the city’s most seasoned veterans and dedicated professionals in the education field.

District Of Columbia Charter Schools: Multi-Agency Plan Needed to Continue Progress Addressing High and Disproportionate Discipline Rates

United States Government Accountability Office: Discipline rates (out-of-school suspension and expulsion rates) at District of Columbia (D.C.) charter schools dropped from school years 2011-12 through 2013-14 (the most recent years of national Department of Education data available). However, these rates remained about double the rates of charter schools nationally and slightly higher than D.C. traditional […]

Charter School Enrollment Growth

National Alliance for Public Charter Schools (PDF): Across the country, more than 300 new charter public schools opened in the fall of 2016. Charter schools are public schools that have exibility to meet students’ unique needs, while being held accountable for advancing student achievement. Every year, the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools (National Alliance) […]

Are Charter Schools Good or Bad for Black Students

Graham Vyse: Black History Month began Wednesday, and this year’s theme is “The Crisis in Black Education.” According to the Association for the Study of African American Life and History, the group that founded BHM—this crisis “has grown significantly in urban neighborhoods where public schools lack resources, endure overcrowding, exhibit a racial achievement gap, and […]

University of Wisconsin System Charter School Opportunities, including Madison; Draft Recovery School Legislation

University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, via Gary Bennett: The University interprets its responsibility to authorize charter schools as a part of a larger attempt to improve education for children and in this instance, the education of children in the City. Charter schools must have programs that provide quality education to urban students and address the critical issues […]

A Madison “instrumentality Charter School” Approved

Doug Erickson: Board member Mary Burke said it was critically important to her that the student body of the new charter school reflect the demographics of the overall district in terms of racial diversity and the percentages of students with special needs. The school’s founders and its supporters convinced her through their testimonials and their […]

Michigan Charter School Backed by DeVos Growing

Ed White: A teenager grips the steering wheel and presses pedals. He sees wind-blown snow in front of him as he approaches the runway. A video game? No, George Radashaw is at a public charter school, simulating a flight in a Cessna airplane. “I’ve always loved aviation,” the 17 year-old said, keeping his eyes focused […]

Charter Schools and Milwaukee K-12 Governance

Alan Borsuk: Just when it seemed like the annual trends involving the education landscape of Milwaukee had become predictable and boring, a couple of unpredicted things happened. Around this time every year since 2008, I’ve put together a chart showing where Milwaukee children are getting a publicly funded education, sector by sector. I try not […]

Teachers Union, CPS Read Charter School Cap Differently

Sarah Karp But Chicago Public Schools officials said the cap does not necessarily mean there’s a district-wide moratorium on expanding charter schools. “There’s plenty of room for high quality charter operators to apply and to go through our process,” said CPS CEO Forrest Claypool. “There is not a moratorium and there’s room under the cap […]

Turning around Wilson Charter School

New Schools for New Orleans When I was growing up, my biggest obstacle to academic success was my self-esteem, which held me back from trying hard in school. Although my parents taught me about the impact of a good education, I didn’t believe I could do well, so I never put in the effort I […]

The cost of the charter school cap

Thomas Kane: IN NOVEMBER, VOTERS in Massachusetts will decide whether to raise the cap on charter school enrollment. The irony is that for most voters—those living in suburban and rural communities with charter enrollment far below the current cap—the vote is inconsequential. The charter cap applies to the percentage each school district’s spending which can […]

Commentary On Charter School Climate

Neerav Mojo Moment #3: Thousands Rally for 100,000 More Charter Seats Thousands of families and educators, joined by special guest Common, marched in New York City to support the doubling of the charter sector from 100,000 to 200,000 students. I wish that those who criticize charters would grapple with the reality that families who are […]

Herding Cats: Managing Diverse Charter School Interests in Collaboration Efforts

Sean Gill, Sarah Yatsko, Robin Lake More than 23 cities have signed District-Charter Collaboration Compacts— formal agreements between school districts and charter schools that aim to share resources and responsibility and build trust and collegiality to ensure equal access to high-quality schools for all students. Yet, within the charter sector itself there are highly varied […]

Politics, rhetoric, Achievement And Charter Schools

Thomas Sowell The one bright spot in black ghettos around the country are the schools that parents are free to choose for their own children. Some are Catholic schools, some are secular private schools and some are charter schools financed by public school systems but operating without the suffocating rules that apply to other public […]

A Turning Point for the Charter School Movement

Molly Knefel: A political battle is being waged over charter schools in Massachusetts right now, and it’s a microcosm of the state of the charter debate across the country. In the lead-up to a November ballot measure in which voters will decide whether or not to lift the state’s cap on charter schools, known as […]

More Detroit Public School Principals Have Been Charged With Crimes in 2016 Than All the Charter School CEOs in John Oliver’s Rant

Eric Boehm After detailing how the CEOs of charter schools in Florida and Pennsylvania had recently been convicted of embezzling school funds to enrich themselves, Oliver stressed that the two incidents were not outliers. “In Philadelphia alone, at least 10 executives or top administrators had pled guilty in the last decade to charges like fraud, […]

The Great Massachusetts Charter Schools Debate

Rachel Slade In November, Massachusetts voters will decide whether the Department of Elementary & Secondary Education (DESE) can raise the cap on the number of charter schools allowed, or increase enrollment in existing charters in underperforming districts. If the referendum is approved, the city of Boston—which currently has 27 Commonwealth charter schools that operate independently […]

Commentary On Texas Charter School Study

Neerav Kingsland: II. Walking Through Low Effect Size and High Effect Size Schools The famous Anna Karena quote goes something like this: “Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.” I think the opposite is true of schools. When I visit low effect size schools, I am often saddened […]

Why do I and other black families support charter schools?

Citizen Stewart: Most Black families support charter schools, not because they are duped or privatizers, but because many see their neighborhood schools, and know their children need better options. I know, because I saw it first hand in West Oakland, struggling to get my brother the education he deserved, in a system that didn’t treat […]