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The 21st Century Charter Schools Initiative

The 21st Century Charter Schools Initiative

Introduction Purpose

Introduction Purpose Charter Schools operate in a different manner than traditional public schools. All charter schools seem to have the same purpose. The main purpose is having an alternative means within the public school system to increase innovation in learning creative ways outside the traditionalism of the public system. Another purpose is having the teachers, both new in the system and ones that have experience, be responsible for their own education program and teaching methods. Teachers and student both get the opportunity to explore new ways of learning through education this system. Charter schools are the fastest growing innovation resulting from education policy to challenge the public schools notion. Chartering sometimes caters to the needs of the community by providing after school activities and programs to keep the student connected to the instructors while increasing their performance in academics and to aid in keeping students out of trouble with authority. For example Drew Charter School in Atlanta, Georgia is attached to their local YMCA program that serves the physical education for the school. Differences in state laws bring wide diversity in the organization, operation, and philosophies of charter schools. Some states give charter schools considerable autonomy, while other states exercise more control. The charter sponsor may be a school district, college or university, state education agency, teachers, parents, or other community members. Operations Charter Schools in the United States offer primary or secondary education without charge to pupils who take state-mandated exams. These charter schools are subject to fewer rules, regulations, and statutes than traditional state schools, but receive less public funding than public schools, typically a fixed amount per pupil. They are non-profit entities, and can receive donations from private sources. The number of American charter schools has grown from 500 in 16 states and the District of Columbia to an estimated 6,400 in 2013-14. Over 600 new public charter schools (7%) opened, serving an additional 288,000 students (13%), totaling 2.5 million students. By contrast, some 200 schools closed, for reasons including low enrollment, financial concerns and low academic performance. Waiting lists grew from an average of 233 in 2009 to 277 in 2012, with places allocated by lottery. They educate the majority of children in New Orleans Public Schools. Charter schools may provide a specialized curriculum (for example in arts, mathematics, or Page 8 of 43

vocational training), however others aim to provide a better and more cost-efficient general education than nearby non-charter public schools. Charter schools are attended by choice. They may be founded by teachers, parents, or activists although state-authorized charters (schools not chartered by local school districts) are often established by non-profit groups, universities, or government entities. School districts may permit corporations to manage multiple charter schools. The first charter school law was in Minnesota in 1991. They sometimes face opposition from local boards, state education agencies, and unions. Public-school advocates assert that charter schools are designed to compete with public schools in a destructive and harmful manner rather than work in harmony with them. of The charter school idea in the United States was originated in 1974 by Ray Budde, a professor at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Albert Shanker, President of the American Federation of Teachers, embraced the concept in 1988, when he called for the reform of the public schools by establishing "charter schools" or "schools choice." Gloria Ladson-Billings called him "the first person to publicly propose charter schools". [12] At the time, a few schools already existed that were not called charter schools but embodied some of their principles, such as H-B Woodlawn. As originally conceived, the ideal model of a charter school was as a legally and financially autonomous public school (without tuition, religious affiliation, or selective student admissions) that would operate much like a private business—free from many state laws and district regulations, and accountable more for student outcomes rather than for processes or inputs (such as Carnegie Units and teacher certification requirements). Minnesota was the first state to pass a charter school law in 1991. California was second, in 1992. As of 2013, 42 states and the District of Columbia have charter school laws. As of 2012 an authorizer other than a local school board has granted over 60 percent of charters across the country. Between 2009 and 2012, the percent of charter schools implementing performance-based compensation increased from 19 percent to 37 percent, while the proportion that is unionized decreased from 12 percent to 7 percent. The most popular educational focus is college preparation (30 percent), while 8 percent focus on Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. Another 16 percent emphasize Core Knowledge. Blended Learning (6 percent) and Virtual/Online learning (2 percent) are in use. When compared to traditional public schools, charters serve a more disadvantaged student population, including more low-income and minority students. Sixty-one percent of charter schools serve a student population where over 60 percent qualify for the federal Free or Page 9 of 43

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