5/27/11 Charter News Round-Up

May 27, 2011

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Charter School Accountability Bill Moves Forward in the Legislature

This week, the Senate Appropriations Committee approved SB 645, a bill sponsored by CCSA and authored by Senator Joe Simitian, which would increase accountability in the state's charter schools. The bill now heads to the Senate floor. For more on this, read the blog by Jed Wallace, president and CEO of the CCSA, included in the California Political News website. To learn more about the legislation, visit our SB 645 page, and to find our more about CCSA's accountability efforts, click here.

Anti-Charter Legislation Advances

In the meantime, a bill that would cap the number of charter schools allowed to operate in California over the next five years is being deemed as an unnecessary attack on charters. CCSA vehemently opposes AB 401, by Assemblymember Tom Ammiano, which would cap the number of charters in the state at 1,450. Read the L.A. Daily News Editorial opposing the issue, as well as KABC L.A.'s story.

Charters Could be Left out of Race to the Top Funding

After being left out in the last two rounds, California could finally receive some funds from the Race to the Top program. But charter schools could be left out. That's due to the AB 401 bill discussed above, which would impose a hard cap on the number of charter for the next several years. Read the L.A. Times article for more information.

Report Shows Charter Schools, Choice on the Rise

More parents and students are choosing charter schools nationwide, according to a report released this week by the National Center for Education Statistics. The report indicates that the number of students attending charter schools dramatically increased in the last handful of years, while those attending private or Catholic schools has significantly declined. The Washington Times and Fox News have the story.

L.A. County Approves Compton Charter

After being rejected by the Compton Unified School District, Celerity's petition to open an elementary charter school in that area was approved by the Los Angeles County Office of Education this week, giving parents of the embattled McKinley school another choice in public education. Efforts by parents to convert McKinley to a charter school due to persistent low-performance have failed throughout the year, and this new charter will give them the opportunity many were seeking. For the story, read articles in the Los Angeles Times and in L.A. Weekly.

Statewide Charter News

Rocketship Education, which currently operates a handful of very successful in the San Jose area, is looking to significantly grow over the next decade, and offer their quality hybrid program to thousands of students. Rocketship is currently negotiating plans to open some 29 charter schools in several districts in the San Jose area, including Alum Rock. For more, read the Educated Guess blog by John Fensterwald here.

In the meantime, the Oakland Unified School District rejected a petition by Aspire to open a charter school in that city next school year. Oakland currently has some 30 charter schools, and that number has remained virtually unchanged for the last few years, due to denials and closures. The approval in favor of Aspire unfortunately fell one vote short. Aspire has indicated they will appeal to the County. The San Jose Mercury News has more.

But there is also good news, too. As graduation quickly approaches for high school seniors across the state, CCSA is highlighting students in the state's charters. At Delta Charter High in Tracy, one such student talks about the role his charter played in his education, leading him to being named Valedictorian and excelling in sports. Read the story here

And California's charters are getting national press for their successes with students. Northcoast Preparatory and Performing Arts Academy in Arcata appears 12th among a list of 1,900 other schools on the Washington Post's High School Challenge Index, which identifies public high schools across the nation effectively preparing students for college. The Contra Costa Times highlights the school's inclusion on the list. Be sure to also check out the full list of the Top 20 California High Schools, which includes six charter schools-- Northcoast Prep., Preuss School UCSD, University High School, American Indian Public Charter, Summit Prep, and Magnolia Science Academy.

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