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Purpose Of Charters And Specialized Schooling

After reading “Measuring Diversity in Charter School Offerings” by Michael Q. McShane and Jenn Hatfield, my understanding of charter schools has been broadened and solidified. Before reading this report, I knew what a charter school was – a school that is run independently, yet is still funded by the state. However, I now understand just why it is so important for them to run independently and why non-traditional schooling is relevant and necessary.

In sum, the report clarifies the types of charter schools and explores the demographics of over 1,000 charter schools across 17 cities. Among these charter schools, there are “specialized schools,” which I believe are the most important. Throughout these cities, there are different types of charter schools, some “specialized” and some more traditional, and this is sometimes a result of the cities’ demographics. For example, McShane and Hatfield explain that in general, there is a higher enrollment in “no-excuse schools” (schools that are very strict with student’s behavior and attendance) when there is a high percentage of black residents in the city. There are many theories about why this is, but I have my own theories as well.

Firstly, I agree with the idea in their report that “academic achievement is often the primary concern for low-income communities,” and for that reason there are many more “no-excuse” schools. However, I also believe that in poorer areas, students have many more burdens than students who live in wealthy areas. Sometimes they may be afraid to leave the house or go to school, and thus, hybrid/online learning may be necessary. Also, international/foreign language schools may help students of immigrant families feel more at home. And lastly, art schools are most important to me. Art schools are the perfect outlet for a student to express their emotions, in a

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Hear Our Voices, Save Our Choices – #SaveTheChartersBmore

Maryland borders the District of Columbia, home to countless charter schools and educational options, yet ranks an abysmal number 43 for Parent Power. The state has a weak charter law and school boards that are controlled by the unions’ interests. Despite the obstacles, the city of Baltimore has been able to open several charter schools. Parents in the city are rallying in support of the effectiveness of Baltimore’s charters — as their children’s future hangs in the balance. The highly successful KIPP Baltimore and eight other charters in the city are suing the city school district for unfair and unjust funding practices. Though charter schools traditionally do more with less, in Baltimore, the district spends 37% less annually on charter school pupils than their traditional public school counterparts. The new district funding formula will force district’s 34 charter schools to scale back because of insufficient funds. For instance, KIPP Baltimore will face $12 million in losses.

In response to the district’s dramatic shift in funding, parents, grandparents, students, teachers and administrators have taken to twitter and to the streets using #SaveTheChartersBmore. The rally in Baltimore had over 1,500 attendees and major media outlets covered the rally. SaveTheChartersBmore.com provided the matching t-shirts, and those fighting for transparency in Baltimore schools said the day had a loving atmosphere. Now, Baltimore must join the other states and cities and fight to keep and grow effective charter schools. When the district stops being accountable, it’s sad that protest becomes a necessary tool to save parents’ educational options for their kids. I hope the city of Baltimore hears the voices of the families protesting and rethinks redistributing funding away from charters — charters that are

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The Beginning: CER Intern Chronicles

I am a bit of a nomad. As a kid I moved across the country multiple times; Hawaii, California, South Dakota, Arizona, and South Carolina. Now I am living and working in Washington DC, but I always struggle when people ask me where I am from. It’s a serious identity crisis.

But when people ask me what I want to do when I graduate, or what I am passionate about, I respond with no hesitation or internal debate. “I love education policy.”

Since beginning a policy research project at my first Washington DC summer internship with the Council of State Government (CSG), and picking up my first policy report on school leadership, I knew that I was in love with education policy and research. I have always enjoyed my time spent in school, but I never expected that I would pursue a career in education. However, the more I have learned about the flaws plaguing the schools, especially those in our urban centers, the more I feel compelled to be a part of the solution.

I am not sure exactly where I will fit into the broader picture of improving urban education for the United States, but this semester I am spending the first part of my senior year at Wofford College studying and working in Washington DC. I am spending my mornings working in Senator Tim Scott’s office; I chose to work with him because of his commitment to school choice policies and position on the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee.

And in the afternoons I am excited to be working with the Center for Education Reform. I believe that splitting my time between the US Senate and a nationally known education organization will give me a unique and diverse perspective on education policy, research, advocacy, and

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