Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Rise of the charter schools

Exciting news from my friend Dai Ellis of Excel Charter School in Boston:


A great front-page story in today's Boston Globe about the historic moment of opportunity to scale up the high-performing charter sector.  The story features Excel prominently and there's an excellent accompanying video on Boston.com that gives a glimpse of Excel in action.  Here are the links:





Because of the 'proven provider' clause in last year's RttT legislation, Boston has the chance to become the first city to have a large % of its students served by charters and have virtually all of those charters run by high-quality operators. 


Here's an excerpt from the article:

Strict discipline, along with high expectations and intensive instruction, is a hallmark at Excel Academy and other Boston charter schools that are seeking to open nearly a dozen additional campuses across the city in the next few years.

The expansions, which state education officials will decide on this month, are shaping up to be the most aggressive growth of these independent public schools in at least a decade. Boston has emerged as the hottest market for new charter schools under a state law enacted last year that encourages the doubling of charter school seats in school districts with the lowest state standardized test scores.

Of the 20 proposals for new charter schools, 12 seek to locate in Boston. The Boston applications aim to create more than 6,000 seats over the next five years, but the state law caps new seats in the city at about 4,500 — meaning state education officials will have to reject some applications even if the proposals have merit.

Some schools, if approved by the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education on Feb. 28, could open this fall, and several are already mailing pamphlets and applications to prospective students across the city.

Behind most of the proposals are four current Boston charter schools — all with high MCAS scores and popular among families of color — that are attempting to create their own network of schools. Two other proposals have been filed by new would-be charter school operators, while another is being pursued by a national operator.

"It is a surge in growth unlike any we have ever seen,'' said Paul Grogan, president of the Boston Foundation, a charitable organization that urged the state to let more charter schools open. "We have a very strong cadre of charter schools that are proven providers and ready to expand.''

The additional campuses should be a boon for parents who are dissatisfied with their local school systems — thousands of Bay State students are on charter school waiting lists.


Rise of the charter schools

12 of the public schools could soon get OK to open in Boston

By James Vaznis

Globe Staff / February 7, 2011


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