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Santa Clara County Gives Boost To Charter Schools

With several charter schools approved this past month, by both county and districts, a shift in attitudes is apparent, as the Santa Clara County joins Los Angeles County as the most 'charter friendly' in the state.

The Mercury News toted up the number of charter school application approvals last week, plus the eight that opened in the past year and some 20 applications awaiting the county board of education, and declares a shift in attitudes has taken place.

Reporter Sharon Noguchi's report said the increase comes amid the widespread growth of charter schools in California. About 7 percent of the state's public school children attend a charter, which are public schools operating independently from local school boards and most of the state Education Code.

Though three approvals have come from the county board of education, two came from local boards. The charters focus on poor and struggling students. The areas of the county that approved charters include Alum Rock Union School District and East Side Union School District and San Joe Unified School District.

"A lot has happened in five years," said San Jose Unified Assistant Superintendent Jason Willis told SJMN reporter Sharon Noguchi when queried about its approval of a Rocketship charter school. "Frankly, they have a track record of success with students we struggle to educate."

Collaboration at Alum Rock on building a $5.1 million permanent campus for the ACE charter school, with some help from the San Jose Redevelopment Agency is a major change.

While no such shift is apparent in Los Altos, the story hinted at possible structural adjustments that may help boards and charters work more collaboratively together, since state law is structured in many ways to place them at odds, and even places a financial disincentive for districts in the way.

The County Office of Education working on a "charter compact" between public school and charter operators, to help increase cooperation and sharing of strategies, the report said.

Harold Barton November 28, 2011 at 06:04 PM
"The charters focus on poor and struggling students*." * Except for Bullis Charter School in Los Altos, whose focus is spite and revenge and has nary a poor or struggling student within its ranks. The Charter movement will turn its back on BCS when they see how much damage one school can do to them. Left unchecked, this menace will bring down the entire Charter system in California. Prop 39 challenges are already in the works from victims of boutique charter schools. These challenges will effect the Charter movement as a whole. The Charter system in California can be saved by adding one simple rule to the system that will make it much harder to create a boutique Charter: ====== Section X.X -- Basic Charter School Means Test ====== ====== The Charter shall maintain annual standardized test scores at least ====== 10% higher than it's district average. ====== Simple, easy to understand, and perfectly fair. This test would be absolutely no problem for virtually all Charters in California. This would return the Charter system to the thing that California voters actually voted for.
Michael Christian November 28, 2011 at 07:31 PM
Rocketship charter Education Mission: We strive to eliminate the achievement gap in our lifetimes, so that no student’s life is subject to the “destiny of demographics”. We believe that the racial and socio-economic disparity of educational outcomes and opportunities remain our country’s greatest injustice, with crippling downstream effects on America’s standard of living, societal welfare, and long-term viability. Closing the achievement gap at a national level depends on building, executing, and scaling a 21st century school model. http://rsed.org/index.php?page=mission

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