It’s a little bittersweet writing near the end of National Charter Schools Week, a couple short days after Colorado’s legislative session concluded with very little progress made on behalf of choice and fair funding. (Nor does all the wet, gray, gloomy weather help, either!)
Looking back, though, the week kicked off with a great Watchdog story about how Denver charter schools regularly top the district’s performance ratings. Not earth-shattering news for me or my faithful readers, but definitely a good reminder and an opportunity to spread the word.
Denver isn’t an isolated example. There are good reasons why a new report shows in 10 other major cities that waiting list demand for charters far outstrips the available seats. Come on, can’t we do something about that? After all, there’s the latest major CREDO report that I recently brought your attention to, which shows a continuing positive trend for urban charter school performance.
Important research like that is one example of a new (or at least newly discovered) online resource called Charter Schools In Perspective. A joint project of the Spencer Foundation and Public Agenda, the site appears to be a fairly comprehensive source of summarized key facts on charter from a more-or-less evenhanded approach. A useful place to go when you need to do some good, old-fashioned myth-bustin’.
For state-specific myth-bustin’ on this subject, you may need to go no further than the Colorado League of Charter Schools fact sheet. If you want to dig deeper and find a page-turning story about how charter schools came to be in Colorado, then you simply have to check out my Education Policy Center friends’ 2013 paper On the Road of Innovation.
From the past on to the future…
While it only has a little bit to do with charters directly, you can join me in wrapping up your Charter Schools Week observances by getting your nerd on and taking a look at the American Enterprise Institute’s “Balancing the equation: Supply and demand in tomorrow’s school choice marketplaces.” Michael McShane’s piece contains some good, thoughtful stuff to chew on, some of which should inform the next generation of school choice policy-making.
The future also means improving access and accountability to charter options in the 43 states that have them, and getting the 7 laggard states to finally join the club — just like Alabama did earlier this year.
Hopefully, all those little charter flavors help to take away some of the sting of a somewhat disappointing session and the overcast weather. That’s just an Eddie-style celebration. Onward and upward, my friends!