Monday, September 15, 2014

Academic Performancee and MA Charter Schools

Compared to their district school peers, a higher percentage of Massachusetts charter public school students are scoring proficient or advanced in all subject tests at every grade level. But it is in the challenging arena of Boston and our Gateway Cities that Massachusetts charter schools are making their most impressive strides.

Nationwide, there’s a disturbing and persistent achievement gap between rich and poor kids. Here in Massachusetts, however, charter public schools are proving that students from poor urban communities can achieve at the same high level of academic success as those children from affluent suburbs. Indeed, some of our urban charter schools that serve predominantly economically disadvantaged students and children of color are ranked among the best schools in the state.
 Urban charter schools consistently outperform their sending districts by wide margins

A higher percentage of African American, Hispanic, and economically disadvantage students enrolled in charter public schools are achieving “proficiency” in all subjects compared to their district peers

All 6 Boston charter high schools ranked among the city’s top 11 high schools (based on grade 10 English/math scores)

All 8 charter middle schools ranked among Boston’s top 10 non-exam middle schools (based on grade 8 English/math scores)

Boston elementary charters ranked in the top ten in the city in Grades 3 and 4 (English/Math)
More than 70 percent of Boston charter schools achieved Level 1 status, compared to only 21 percent of district schools

In the state’s Gateway Cities, more than 60 percent of charter schools were rated as Level 1 schools, compared to 16 percent of district schools

Thirteen different charters – including six from Boston – ranked Number 1 in the state on various tests based on the percentage of African American children scoring proficient or advanced.

Twenty-one different charter schools – including six from Boston – ranked Number 1 in the state on various tests.

Seven charter schools – including four from Boston – ranked Number 1 in the state based on the state’s Growth Model, which measures gains in academic performance over time

Boston charter schools erased half the achievement gap in a single year (2009 Harvard-MIT study)

By 8th grade, Boston students who entered charter schools in grade 4 improved their test scores to match Brookline's, one of the state's top districts (2009 Harvard-MIT study)

Tuesday, August 19, 2014


A reminder from the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools that charter public schools serve ALL students.
Share this week's infographic w/ your followers & spread the word that charter schools serve ALL students #TruthAboutCharters

Photo: Share this week's infographic w/ your followers & spread the word that charter schools serve ALL students #TruthAboutCharters

The Charter School Debate - CHOICE!

A choice debate - CommonWealth Magazine
"Choice lies at the heart of this debate, and the question, at some level, comes down to whether those who have plenty of it will extend the same privilege to those who typically have very little." Charter issue is about giving all families school options - read this well-researched article!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014


National Alliance for Public Charter Schools
Over the past five years, the public charter school movement has experienced a dramatic 80 percent increase in the number of students and an astounding 40 percent increase in the number of schools. Despite this growth, there is still an overwhelming unmet parental demand for quality school options, with more than one million student names on charter school waiting lists. While charter schools enjoy tremendous bipartisan support among policymakers and the general public, they also have some vocal critics who perpetuate a number of myths about charter schools. Through our series, the Truth About Charters, we will lay out some of these myths and provide responses based on facts and independent research findings.


Wednesday, July 30, 2014



Charter Schools and the Weakening of Democratic Public Education in  the United States

Confused about the charter school lottery system and how it works? Read this.

Mike Magee: Who’s really to blame for school lotteries?
Providence Journal:  Published: July 29, 2014 01:00 AM
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A visceral dislike of Shirley Jackson’s short story “The Lottery” — involving a town’s annual tradition of randomly picking a citizen’s name from a box and subsequently stoning him or her — has stuck with me for 30 years. The word “lottery” bothers me to this day. So it is not surprising to me that special interest groups that oppose public charter schools and their expansion have been increasingly using “lottery” as a one-word alarm bell to scare families.
Beyond the famous story, most of our other associations with the word — Powerball, for instance — feel unfair. Who wins the lottery? It’s never you or me.
I have been taken aback, however, by recent claims from candidates and others on the campaign trail that public charter schools are in fact private schools because they conduct lotteries to determine enrollment. That claim is nonsensical.
Private schools don’t hold lotteries. Ever. Private schools choose who can and cannot attend their schools. Students have to take tests or otherwise prove their merit to get in. In this way, they are more like Classical High School, which is part of the Providence public schools system and (I think everyone would agree) is a public school.
So, who does hold lotteries for enrollment? Pretty much any desirable open-access, free public school that has more students who want to attend than seats available in the building. That includes public charter schools, career and technical schools like The Met School and, in fact, many of the public schools in Providence where enrollment is not determined purely by a student’s address.
That’s a crucial point: the only public schools that don’t hold lotteries are public schools that restrict access, usually by drawing neighborhood boundary lines — distinguishing “our side of the tracks” from “the other side of the tracks” — to mark a school’s enrollment zone.
In Rhode Island, these lines are highly segregated by race and class. That’s not surprising, given how dependent Rhode Island public schools are on property tax revenue. In systems like ours, wealthier neighborhoods and communities tend to see restricting access to neighborhood schools as a mechanism for protecting property values. Trinity College professor Jack Dougherty has gone so far as to argue that “although we call them ‘public’ schools, we buy and sell access to most as ‘private’ commodities, based on the underlying real estate and governmental boundary lines that restrict entry.”
The benefits of open-access, free public schools are significant. They give parents and kids of all backgrounds, from any neighborhood, an opportunity to seek out and take advantage of alternative programs that may better fit their needs. In the case of schools like Blackstone Valley Prep Mayoral Academy, they rapidly integrate students from diverse socioeconomic and racial backgrounds who have been kept apart for generations by segregated school and housing patterns. Best of all, they can demonstrate that these diverse students can all learn and achieve at high levels while attending school together.
Again, to be clear, charter schools are public schools that do not restrict entry. The state Board of Education grants a public charter (like a contract) that sets the number of seats the school will have, let’s say, 500. Parents then register their child for the school by filling out a simple one-page form (simpler, in fact than the kindergarten registration forms that every parent in Rhode Island must fill out to register their child in a school district). They have a lottery because there is greater demand than there are seats in the school. If more than 500 students register, the school must do the only fair thing: randomly select 500 students to attend the school. What is called a “lottery” is just poor shorthand for a state and federally mandated random selection process.
In Rhode Island last year, 9,436 students registered to enroll in public charter schools. The state only made 851 seats available to those students. Had the state asked Rhode Island’s public charter schools to enroll more students they surely would have obliged.
Imagine for a moment what would happen if Rhode Island’s best district-operated public schools (say, East Greenwich High School, Barrington Middle School, Matunuck School in South Kingstown or Community School in Cumberland) became open-access schools available as options to anyone. Would they have more registrations than seats in the building? Of course they would. Would they have to hold a lottery? Yes.
That we’ve reached a point where politicians can claim with a straight face that a public school is “private” because it is open-access is saddening. But let’s be clear: Whoever is restricting access to public charter schools, they — and only they — are responsible for lotteries.

Mike Magee leads Rhode Island Mayoral Academies, a nonprofit organization supporting the opening of “mayoral academy” public charter schools in Rhode Island.

We did it! We submitted a new proposal for a charter school!

Hello supporters,
Please read the Executive Summary for Academy for the Whole Child Charter School.  A4WCCS will be a free, public regional charter school for grades K through 4.  We will be located in Fitchburg but will serve surrounding communities in the Wachusett region.  READ MORE.