Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Maturing Charter School Movement 

Surprise, surprise. At last night's meeting of the D.C. Public Charter School Board Chairman Tom Nida for the first time allowed public comments. At the beginning of the session he asked if elected officials wanted to address the board and at the end of the night he permitted anyone in attendance to speak. As predicted here with time the DCPCSB will become more transparent in its workings, either due to public pressure or simply because they have figured out how they are supposed to operate. (A group that opposed the opening of the AppleTree Charter School in Capitol Hill revealed during the public session that they have sent a letter to D.C.'s Attorney General asking whether all DCPCSB records, including emails, must be made available to the public.) This morning I noticed that it is easy to find the meeting agenda and minutes on the charter board web site. There is still much to be done. For example, there is still no access to the documentation that board members have access to and I don't see the attachments that are referred to in the minutes. Also, there needs to be documented rules as to how the board operates and how meetings are organized.

There is big news out of Houston today that $65 million has been raised in private donations to open 42 Knowledge is Power charter schools in that city. As Jay Mathews mentions there is no evidence that charter school are outperforming traditional public schools in academics but more and more of the public want them. Washington D.C. has 3 KIP schools and plans to expand to 6 by 2009. By coincidence, the William E. Doar, Jr. Public Charter School for the Performing Arts had an information session in NYC last weekend and is seeking to expand to this city.

I think that parents are noticing that these schools are organized, safe, accountable, and are setting high expectations for their students. The rest will come.

PermaLink | 6:14 AM | |

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