April 2016 CEO Message

  • Print

April 22, 2016 This was a remarkable week for the charter school movement. At an event hosted by Gompers Preparatory Academy in San Diego, CCSA issued a new report demonstrating California's charter schools are achieving exactly what students across our state so desperately need: access to higher education.

A Step Up: How Charter Schools Provide Higher Levels of California Public University Access shows that, by creating a college-going culture, charter schools are providing all students, regardless of background, access to higher education in unprecedented numbers. For example, charter students apply to UCs at rates 50% higher than students at traditional public schools. And, charter schools are closing the UC acceptance rate gap for low-income students at a rate nearly twice as high (21% charter vs. 11% traditional public schools).

These amazing results are possible because charter schools are also closing the college preparation gap for historically disadvantaged students while raising the bar for all students. Charter high schools are providing a greater proportion of their students with college access through higher A-G completion rates than their traditional school peers (37% charter vs. 24% traditional public schools).

With a college prep focus, Gompers Preparatory Academy believes that every student can and should go to college. In each graduating class, 100% of Gompers seniors have taken the A-G courses to graduate and apply to a UC or CSU school. Gompers is a shining example of what the charter movement is all about.

Recent results coming out of Los Angeles have also been impressive and inspiring. The past few months have seen charter leaders in Los Angeles unite to protect charter schools from an increasingly hostile L.A. Unified board. More than two dozen charter leaders signed not one, but two, letters on behalf of the L.A. charter community. These letters called on the board to remedy the inconsistent, non-transparent review process for charter schools that has enabled a recent drop in charter renewals. The letters received significant media coverage. They prompted unprecedentedly candid discussions among the L.A. Unified board members, highlighting the tension between those who simply want charters to be treated with fairness and transparency, and those who are determined to undermine charter schools at all costs. Most importantly, they helped create a path for several highly respected charter schools to overcome obstacles and secure much-deserved renewals.

I am pleased to report another major win for California charter schools. Assemblymember Patty Lopez will no longer be moving AB 2242 forward in its current form. CCSA opposed AB 2242 because it would have placed a number of restrictions on charter schools that are non-profit public benefit corporations. This defeat was possible because of the parents from Assemblymember Lopez's district who met with the author specifically on this issue, and the charter supporters who completed our Action Alerts and sent letters of opposition to the Assembly Education Committee. Thank you for your tremendous support.

I look forward to seeing many of you in celebration of National Charter Schools Week at our annual Advocacy Day event at the State Capitol. At Advocacy Day, we show the strength and diversity of California's charter school movement to our elected leaders and help them understand how legislation can impact charter students and families.

Together, we are realizing what is possible when we set high expectations and give students access to the the high quality education they deserve. Thank you for your incredible efforts.

Onward,

Jed Wallace
President and CEO
California Charter Schools Association