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Essentials of the Charter School Strategy

A quick summary of the essentials of the charter idea, written in 1994, is still basically applicable today.

Sponsoring Charters: A Resource Guide for Minnesota Authorizers

A guide for charter school authorizing, from the decision to authorize through contract development. It covers how to assist and oversee the school, and clarifies the relationship to and duties of the state department of education, the sponsor and the board of the chartered school. It also explains the 'Sponsor-Initiated School,' whereby an authorizer actively solicits new school proposals.

Resisting the Temptation to Comprehensive Action

Consider a given public policy problem. Everyone sees the problem is complex. From this comes an impulse to control all its elements. Everyone sees the importance of improvement. From this comes an impulse to command improvement. Together these produce the 'blueprints' we so often see: lists of actions all of which must be taken, in a certain order, over a period of time. But in the public sector blueprints usually fail. Mechanisms of "mutual adjustment" usually work better.

School Boards and Teachers Have Choices, Too

In K-12 policy discussions, "choice" usually implies family choice. But school boards and teachers have options, too. Boards can choose to authorize chartered schools, which may be easier than trying to change their existing schools. And, teachers can choose to form teacher professional partnerships in their schools.

Evaluating Chartering: Assessing Separately the Institutional Innovation

In scaling-up the charter 'movement' it's essential to see the distinction between the schools and the strategy of chartering.

New Dimensions of Sponsorship

Since the late 1990s, there’s been growing discussion about the sponsor’s role – in the ongoing oversight as well as in its initial approval. This paper explores whether sponsors might also play an active role in soliciting proposals.

States are Creating a Non-District Sector of Public Education

Essentially with chartering the states are creating a new sector within the framework of public education—different both from the district sector and from private education. This graphic shows the two sectors of public education, as distinguished from private education.

Un-Bundling the School: New Options for the Way Learning is Organized and for the Way People Work

Lots of high-performing ‘organizations’ are arranged as a bundle of contracts rather than in the classic ‘public bureau’ framework. Ted Kolderie explains, with examples, and with a discussion of the implications for schools and for the arrangements in K-12.

North St. Paul District Trims Its Budget

A common concern is that rising costs, not covered either by increases in revenue or by improvements in productivity, lead the districts to reduce the scope or quality of the program available. Here E|E looks at what happened in a district near Saint Paul after its 'budget crisis' appeared in the news.

Facilities Financing: New Models for Districts that are Creating Schools New

Many of the reforms school districts are undertaking involve a significant facilities component. As districts pursue strategies such as opening new schools, breaking up large schools, and renovating buildings, they often incur substantial bricks-and-mortar expenses. This report outlines promising ways to meet their facilities needs.

Nobody’s Success Depends on Whether the Students Learn

Until recently K-12 was built and operated so as to put adult interests first. Student learning was not an imperative. In a talk to the Citizens League in March 1997 Ted Kolderie set out the essentials of public education's system problem—underscored shortly afterward when the first results from the new testing program arrived.

Virtual Education Growing Up: Five Online Schools Already Operating in Wisconsin

In Wisconsin some districts are pulling home-schooled students into online schools set up by the districts.

Sponsoring Chartered Schools: A Planning Tool for Sponsors

Most organizations considering authorizing charter schools do not know what it involves. This tool identifies authorizing duties, and asks whether an organization has the capacity to perform each responsibility, who would perform the responsibility, whether time is available for them to do so, and the estimated cost.

Response to Intervention: An Alternative to Traditional Eligibility Criteria for Students with Disabilities

This report describes and provides a review of the research on a learning model called Response to Intervention (RTI). Under this model, student performance data are gathered frequently and immediately made available to teachers, psychologists and others to evaluate the instruction strategies being used and spur modifications if need be.

How District Leaders Can Support the New Schools Strategy

School districts nationwide are taking steps to proactively create new, better schools as a strategy for education reform. Spurred in part by innovations being introduced by chartered schools, district leaders are beginning to create a “space” in which schools can form new.

Old Schools, New Challenges: 21st Century Students in 20th Century Schools

The world has changed much in the last 100 years: our communication, defense, and transportation systems have adapted, but what of our education system? Many students today do not see a link between future job prospects and school. The "mass production" educational model of the industrial age is not holding up.

We Cannot Get the Schools We Need by Changing the Schools We Have

“We cannot get the schools we need by changing the schools we have.” Joe Graba’s talks to legislators and others in Minnesota, about the needed state-strategy for system-change.

Sample Contract Between Charter School and Authorizer

A sample contract between a chartered school and its authorizer. A contract includes mission and goals of the school, definitions of student and school performance, and details on governance, finances, and operations. For each area there are performance measures, with special measures for the start-up year.

Changing Even If The New Won’t Be Perfect

Opponents of change commonly try to set a test of perfection. They try to persuade everyone that no change can be permitted unless it solves all present problems and creates no new problems. Opponents don’t even have to prove the proposed change harmful. It's enough just to spread fear and doubt, asking endlessly: What if?

How National Organizations Can Support the New Schools Strategy

Some national organizations that find good schools a way to further their own mission are now moving to create—and support—new schools in the charter sector. The National Council of La Raza is one example. This can be done in some states through sponsoring (authorizing). Elsewhere it can take the form of partnerships.

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