Charters & Choice

Okay, it's not exactly what Rupert might condone, but since he and his crew are preoccupied and because our News Nuggets shop has plenty to do, I offer some education highlights from my weekend reading:

Charter Fights Move to the Suburbs Winnie Hu had a front-page story in the Sunday New York Times documenting a small trend in the charter movement to open more of the independent public schools in suburbs: about one in five of the nation's 5,000 charters are now in the ?burbs.? Not surprisingly, the story raises some existential questions about public education. ?Mike calls attention to the article in his Myth of the ?good? school post this morning, pointing out that ?One person's `good school' is another person's `bad fit.'? ?But there is also a ?financial question here, which is whether we can afford a good school, or even a good fit, for everyone. Is the computer the answer? Just as we citizens and taxpayers pool our resources to build common roads and ?provide for the common defense,? our ?public school system? has traditionally supposed that we get better education by having common schools. Traditionally, that has meant a central location. But if we don't need bricks and mortar to educate, do we still need a there there?

Rocketship Takes Off One of the newest charter success stories, Palo-Alto-based Rocketship Education may provide some answers.? According to Vauhini Vara of the Wall Street Journal, the the four-year old organization, which operates four schools in Santa Clara County and whose donors include Netflix CEO Reed Hastings and Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, ?is known for a ?hybrid approach. While students spend most of an eight-hour school day in traditional classrooms, they also bone up daily on their shakiest skills by playing educational computer...

No one school can serve all types of special needs

Ohio's districts are shrinking from competition with parochial schools through expanded voucher programs.

Recent news that White Hat, the big, Ohio-based, profit-seeking charter school operator, faces financial problems was surely received as an early Christmas present by many long-time charter opponents, particularly within the Buckeye State. The company?s founder and leader, Akron industrialist David Brennan, has been a larger-than-life-target for school choice foes since Governor George Voinovich appointed him in 1992 to head a commission intended to advance choice in Ohio k-12 education.

Since 2005, Fordham has been working in Ohio to recruit high quality charter schools to neighborhoods badly in need of better schools. During our six-plus years of effort as a charter authorizer we have managed to recruit just two high-performing models to Columbus (KIPP and a BES school).

My husband and I have to decide in the next year where our 4-year old son will go to school and it is a daunting decision.

The Education Gadfly

View the footage from the Fordham & CEE-Trust charter incubation panel discussion, "Driving Quality."

In this policy brief, Public Impact�۪s Joe Ableidinger and Julie Kowal examine the merits of the incubation model, outline specific strategies for supporting it, and profile organizations around the U.S. putting it into practice. The authors explain that through the strategic recruitment, selection, and training of talented leaders���and support of them as they launch or expand new charter schools���incubators offer charter school advocates an important tool in guaranteeing quality school choice.

Fordham is the 99 percent

Special guest appearance! Terry Ryan flies in
from the Buckeye State to talk with Mike about charter incubators (using our
new report as backdrop), the striking similarity between the EU and the Common
Core, and D.C.’s school-choice initiatives. Amber dances the TUDA and Chris
believes in Santa Claus.

How “charter incubation” can scale quality