Charter Schools Essay

2788 words - 11 pages

Foreword Public education stands at the forefront on the agenda for social improvement. Over the years, public education has seen only marginal pockets of improvement nationwide, and urban school districts have been met with worse results. The crusade for education reform began catching the public eye in 1983 when then President Ronald Regan commissioned A Nation at Risk, which warned, "a rising tide of mediocrity [in our schools] threatens our very future as a nation." Charter schools were birthed as an alternative to public schooling. The Charter School Movement is quickly becoming what many are beginning to call the Civil Right's Movement of today.Our public statement on charter schools works to inform the greater community and help guide them in ways that can positively influence education policy. Based on our research, we have strategically focused our efforts on the following key areas: q Holding charter schools to their originating intent and purpose of being models for innovation, positive competition for public schools, and schools of choice for parents q Clearly defining the role of the school system and school board as it relates to approaching charter law in preparation of receiving and reviewing charter petitions for their soundness in providing a quality education for young people q Persuade local school systems to embrace charter schools, with a sense of esprit de corps, as a part of the district's school inventory that can be used as strong research and development sites q Persuade charter schools to share assessments with local systems as an effort to address public accountability q Call for the local school system to develop a uniform mechanism to monitor the academic performance of charter schools to be prepared to celebrate successes and close charters not meeting agreed to standards It is too early for us to judge but not too early for us to become educated! Background...The first charter school law was passed in Minnesota, 1991. By 1995, 19-states had signed laws allowing for the creation of charter schools, and that number increased to 36-states, Puerto Rico, and the District of Columbia by 1999. Today, 1,700 charter schools are serving almost 350,000 students nationwide. Charter schools are most commonly defined as nonsectarian public schools of choice that operate with freedom from many of the regulations that apply to traditional public schools. Most charter school laws provide for two types of charters "" "newly created" and "converted" charter schools. "Newly created" charter schools, or start-ups, are schools that never existed before and that come into existence upon the issuance of a charter to operate. "Converted" charter schools are schools that were previously traditional public schools that have been granted a charter. The majority of today's charters are newly created schools. This new breed of public schooling must be distinguished from its distant cousin, vouchers. Vouchers are per-student public monies...

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