December 2014 CEO Message

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December 15, 2014 As I reflect on our collective efforts to improve outcomes for California's students over the past year, I can't help but feel an overwhelming sense of pride in our charter movement.

Charter schools are getting academic results. That fact is undeniable as the number of charter schools making gains in student achievement grows. Our own research (Portrait of the Movement, LA College-Readiness report, Oakland College-Readiness report) and independent reports from Stanford University's Center for Research on Education Outcomes (CREDO California report, CREDO Los Angeles report) confirmed that California's charter schools are performing well, especially with historically underserved students, and are improving over time. These results mean that tens of thousands of California's students are being educated in better performing charter schools than just five years ago.

CCSA is committed to supporting our members as they create significantly better learning opportunities for children and their families. That means not only supporting the growth of high-performing schools, but also shining a light on those charter public schools that are not providing a high-quality education. In doing so, California's charter school movement reaffirms its commitment to the transparency and accountability parents, students and communities wish to see in place for all public schools.

We know students can't wait for schools to 'get better.' Parents are demanding high-quality educational options now. Closing low-performing charter schools is one of the strongest tools available to ensure quality in our charter school sector, which is why we've advocated for the non-renewal of chronically underperforming schools since 2011. This month we called for the non-renewal of five charter schools that are among the lowest performing schools in the state, have not demonstrated substantial growth over time, and have consistently ranked near the bottom of state and local measures of academic performance. You can learn more about our public call for non-renewal by visiting: www.ccsa.org/advocacy/pcnr.

We also know how important it is to improve the environment for charter schools through our local and statewide advocacy efforts in order to ensure charter schools maintain the autonomy and flexibility that ultimately allows them to be successful. This month, CCSA was joined by charter school leaders, national experts, funders and Democratic and Republican legislators for an education symposium. We had the opportunity to take a deep look into some of charter schools' most pressing issues - authorizing, facilities, academic performance, growth and governance. Strong relationships were built and we hope this is just the beginning of a longer conversation on how we tackle these challenges. The symposium was such a success in fact that it is going to be a used as a model for other organizations in the charter school movement.

We are looking forward to a busy legislative season in 2015 and a packed policy agenda. Stay tuned for more information, including ways you can get involved, coming in the New Year.

The success of California's charter movement is possible because of your dedication, motivation and vision to drive positive change in education for the next generation of students. Thank you for doing whatever it takes to meet the needs of thousands of students and families across California.

Have a safe and happy holiday season.

Jed

Jed Wallace
President and CEO