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.