The Local Charter Landscape Continues to Change

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December 16, 2011 The one constant in the charter school that it is constantly changing. The charter school movement is seen by many as an opportunity to integrate innovation into the public education landscape. And of course the nature of innovation and entrepreneurialism is that new ideas and processes will create change for the sake of improvement and enhancements in our work.

Change sometimes happens slowly but a number of activities have occurred which could impact the local charter schools environment in the Fresno area. For quite some time, we've been approached by retired administrators or teachers or community members seeking to develop new schools. We now have two organizations that have been created by non-traditional charter school developers. The first is Fresno Innovative Charter Schools Inc. (FICS) created by the Fresno Unified School District which is a hybrid in that it was developed as an independent organization but locally funded through Fresno Unified. The 7 member board for the school includes the FUSD superintendent, FUSD board members and community members overseeing Dailey Elementary Charter. The Fresno Teachers Association union president, Greg Gadams established Fresno Community Charters Inc. in an effort to convert the 840 student K-8 Hamilton Elementary to a charter school. He has stated that Fresno Community Charters could oversee the conversion of other district schools to charters and also said that teachers at 9 other district schools have expressed an interest in becoming teacher-led charters.

I consider myself an advocate of public education. If these changes provide new, innovative, high quality school choices for families and students, then that change is welcome. The vision of the California Charter Schools Association is to usher in a new era of public education so all students attend independent, innovative, accountable schools of choice. So hopefully you will see that in this crazy world of charters ... it is important to remember that change is good.