CCSA Hosts Independent Study Brown Bag at the State Capitol

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March 20, 2014 Independent Study Roundtable 031814.jpgBuilding on the Independent Study (IS) roundtable in San Diego this past December, Cameron Curry, executive director of The Classical Academies and Mary Bixby, president and CEO of the Charter School of San Diego came to Sacramento on March 18 to present at an informative legislative briefing on Independent Study and Blended Learning.

Over a dozen attendees from the capitol community participated in this engaging briefing, including representatives from the California Legislature: the Senate Education Committee, Assembly Budget Committee, the Speaker's Office of Research; representatives from state boards and agencies: the State Board of Education, the California Department of Education, the California Department of Technology; and other interested parties such as charter developers or local school principals.

After a high level overview of charter schools, Mr. Curry and Ms. Bixby discussed the fundamentals of what sets an IS school apart from other schools and the variety of policy barriers that are stifling innovation at their schools. The discussion focused on dispelling a number of myths that surround IS, including facilities needs, special education services provided, an explanation of their individual programs and a description of a "week in the life" of their students.

Mr. Curry and Ms. Bixby also discussed the barriers that IS schools face by explaining the difficulties with the SB 740 nonclassroom-based funding determination process, the lack of access to facilities funding, and the high levels of bureaucratic paperwork required just to run an IS school. The group highlighted the need for an update of the IS law when they discussed the fact that the original IS law was born in the age of fax machines where innovations such as online or blended learning were not even imagined.

After an animated question and answer session, Mr. Curry and Ms. Bixby also participated in a round of legislative visits with their local San Diego legislators.

CCSA would like to thank Mr. Curry and Ms. Bixby for presenting at this briefing and especially thank the members of the capitol community that attended the event. This is the second legislative briefing CCSA has offered this year, and CCSA will continue to offer briefings like this so that legislators and education stakeholders have the most accurate and timely information of charter schools from which to make informed decisions.