Judge: Parents Have Right to Challenge Gloucester Charter

Sheila Decter, CPS board member and Executive Director of the Jewish Alliance for Law and Social Action, posted this about Judge Richard Welch III’s decision in the Gloucester Charter School case:

Where the Board and Commissioner of Education awarded a charter after the Department’s Charter School Office concluded that the school did not meet the legally required educational criteria; after a memo from the Secretary of Education urged that the Commissioner and Board award the charter for political reasons; and the Inspector General concluded that it had never validly been awarded and should be deemed void ad initio.

JALSA does not believe that privatization of education is the way to improve the quality of schools for the full body of students who are due quality education from the Commonwealth.  This particular case has shown a blatant disregard for the requirements of state law.

Parents of Gloucester school children asked for an injunction to prevent the school from opening this month. 

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Civil Rights, Community-based Groups Signal New Education Consensus; MCAS study finds ‘teachers are not to blame’

Three timely and significant reports have been released in the past few weeks that signal a promising change in the public debate on education. A coalition of major national civil rights groups and another of community-based organizations have issued statements and recommendations strongly critical of Secretary of Education Arne Duncan’s Race to the Top initiative, signaling a growing consensus that it’s time for a change in direction from the education policies initiated by President Bush and continued by Duncan and President Obama. And a new MCAS study reported in Commonwealth Magazine undermines the idea that we simply need to get rid of bad teachers to turn around “failing schools.” All three are worth reading and supporting.

The civil rights groups’ statement, titled “”Framework for Providing All Students an Opportunity to Learn” says, in part:

“The Race to the Top Fund and similar strategies for awarding federal education funding will ultimately leave states competing with states, parents competing with parents, and students competing with other students…..

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New study finds no clear edge for charters

Education Week reports on June 29, 2010 on a new national study of charter middle schools. The  report begins:

Students who won lotteries to attend charter middle schools performed, on average, no better in mathematics and reading than their peers who lost out in the random admissions process and enrolled in nearby regular public schools, according to a national study released today.

The federally commissioned study, involving 2,330 students who applied to 36 charter middle schools in 15 states, represents the first large-scale randomized trial of the effectiveness of charter schools across several states and rural, suburban, and urban locales. The charter schools in the sample conducted random lotteries for admissions, so that only chance determined who attended.

The full article is here.

The study is here.   → Read More