Video of Macke Raymond’s Presentation on Charters

If you would like to watch the video of  Macke Raymond’s speech at the Cleveland Club, you can find it here.  She names some states as having very strong authorizing procedures for charters:  New York, Tennessee, D.C. and Massachusetts.  She stresses the independence of boards.  In Florida, some boards, particularly those that contract with for-profit management companies, are not independent.  The specific reference to market driven reform is mid way through the Q & A part of her presentation.  I have started looking at the strong authorization processes that these states use.  Do any of our blog readers from these states have information to share?

A Time and a Reason for Hope

Do you have times when you wonder if it is possible to change minds and find a better way?  Today I think it is possible.  I read a post sent to Diane Ravitch from Stephen Dyer, a policy analyst in Ohio.  He went to hear Macke Raymond from the Hoover Institute at Stanford explain her study of charter schools.  Near the end of her speech she is quoted as saying that education “is the only industry/sector where the market mechanism just does not work…”  Competition does not drive improvement in education.Continue reading

Step Back, Take Stock

The blog is one month old.  We can celebrate a little.  Thus far we have had 4500 hits on our site, and our subscriber list is growing.  Let people know.

critical-thinking (2)It is also a good time to take a minute and think.   Are we contributing useful information on school reform issues?   What is helpful?  What is missing?  Reflect on the following list and make suggestions.  I will summarize your suggestions and respond.Continue reading

Kentucky Considers Adopting Charter Schools

Kentucky offers us a peek into the process of drafting bills to enable charter schools. billboard-63978_1280

It also helps us understand what is meant by granting greater flexibility to charter schools.  The Pritchard Committee report has side-by-side comparisons of which traditional public schools regulations would change for charters.

Options drawn from other states are presented but not an analysis of the pros and cons for each approach. For example, is it better to have fewer rather than more authorizers?  Are reports of charter vs. traditional public school achievement gains valid? We offer some sources that can enhance the understanding of these issues.Continue reading

Profit Trumps Public Interest?

The National Council of State Legislatures should be commended for bringing together two people with very different views of charter school for-profit management.  On the surface, the webinar: Charter School Networks: Does Profit Status Matter?  seemed to be a reasonable, thoughtful discussion about management issues.

payoffThe discussion was polite.  Responses to questions were forthcoming.   The rationale for-profit status was discussed and management issues were raised.  The fact that both for-profit and non-profit management companies have fiscal management problems was acknowledged.   Yet, the meat of the topic was only alluded to.

If you want to really understand the issues, read on.   Continue reading

New Mexico: State auditor blasts Public Education Department over charter school oversight

from Meredith Machen, New Mexico

Charter school oversight problems are rampant.  In today’s New Mexican the State Auditor revealed a serious lack of oversight of charter schools  by the State Public Education Department (PED).

horn mages

At issue was charter school financial mismanagement and conflict of interest.  The Auditor charged that the PED was unresponsive even though the school was raided by the FBI in August.  This case highlights the struggle between local school districts vs. state control of the charter authorization and oversight process.  This is only one of 18 cases nationwide of charter educational management firms nationwide that the U.S. Department of Education, the FBI, SEC, and IRS are investigatingContinue reading

Private School Regulations by State for School Choice

by Terry Gillam

This report is a summary  of private school choice program regulations by state.  The data were drawn from the U.S. Department of Education State Regulation of Private Schools report.  There is also an interactive map on the DOE site.  The checklist of descriptors range from how schools are licensed, funded, and managed to teacher certification and professional development.  The checklist was published by the Friedman Foundation, a strong advocate for school choice.  It is a comprehensive source for data needed to analyze private school voucher program characteristics.