Friday, September 10, 2010

Charter Schools Are Growing In Number

From yesterday's major Sacramento newspaper:

Last year the California Charter Schools Association reported that 88 charters opened in the state – more than any prior year. The association expects another 90 to 100 to open by Sept. 30, bringing the total in California to more than 900.

Sacramento County has 37 charter schools, the fifth-highest number in the state.

"We have clear, concise evidence charter schools are picking up steam," said Jed Wallace, president of the California Charter Schools Association...

Charter schools are generally started by parents, teachers or community groups with the permission of a local school district. They are part of the public school system and receive state funding based on the number of students they enroll. They don't have to comply with all the rules of traditional schools, but must meet student performance goals. This flexibility allows charters to do things like expand the school day or school year...

On the Academic Performance Index, California's primary yardstick for student achievement, charter schools and district-run schools score similarly, on average.

But charter schools – which aren't bound by collective bargaining agreements – have the flexibility to save money in ways that traditional schools can not. Preston said his West Sacramento charter will seek donations and grants, and will save money by using parent volunteers.

"You literally can't have a voluntary librarian (in a traditional school)," Wallace said. "There are some positions where you are literally prevented from what charters schools do in common practice."

Read more:

The article closes by mentioning 5 new charters in the Sacramento area, along with the focus of each school.

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