Sunday, September 04, 2011

Update on the UK

From Rachel Wolf (, with an update on what's going on in the UK:


Hi Whitney,


I hope you don't mind me emailing unsolicited. I've been on your newsletter for a while and really enjoy it. I'm an enormous believer in everything you stand for.


You may be aware that for the last year the coalition government in the UK has been trying to implement the charter school programme over here. I run a charity (effectively a Charter Support Organisation) which at the moment is the only one in the country which helps charter schools - called Free Schools over here - get up and running.


In the next fortnight the first 24 Free Schools will be opening, 14 months after the policy was announced. They vary enormously - from small elementary schools to high schools - and are across the country. We hope that they will achieve what New York has begun to achieve - radically raised standards for pupils who have not been getting the education or chances they deserve. We're facing fairly identical debates here as you have - trades unions and many local authorities (school districts) are very against the idea. We also have many of the same problems - schools that are very variable in quality with the worst concentrated in areas of deprivation, an unwillingness to have true accountability in the system and a belief that background and destiny are the same thing.


But there have been over 600 application into the Department for Education - the only authoriser here - in just a year so there is a lot of demand from teachers and others to set up these schools.


I thought you might be interested in some of the coverage over here.

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