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Chartering is Both an Innovation and a Framework for Innovation

Chartering was an institutional innovation: the states broke up the public-utility model of K-12. But charter laws do not prescribe some fixed kind of school. They open the potential to create a wide variety of schools. Chartering is essentially an R&D sector for K-12. Research should pay more attention to single cases, individual innovations.

Chartering Is Succeeding, Even as Some Chartered Schools Fail

Usually when you hear about 'charter schools' people are talking about the schools themselves. But 'charter schools' also means the strategy of chartering, the state's creation of an 'open sector' in public education. This is less visible. But the state's opening-up of K-12 is more important than the schools.

Is Chartering, as a Strategy, Succeeding?

It's time to bury the term 'charter schools' and to talk separately about chartering—the state strategy of new-school-creation—and the schools created via chartering. Chartering is succeeding even though not all the schools-chartered are succeeding. Article appeared in the December 2005 issue of UrbanEd.

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.

The Other Half of the Strategy: Following Up on System Reform by Innovating with Schooling

System-level reforms like standards, accountability, choice and chartering make it more necessary for schools to succeed with learning. But these reforms do not by themselves affect achievement. Kids learn from what they read, see, hear and do. So success in the effort at improvement requires capitalizing now on the system-level changes with a major effort to create new forms of school.

How the Idea of ‘Charter’ Schools Came About

This short memo explains the origins of the chartering idea. In the spring of 1988, a Citizens League committee began developing a program for chartering schools. Twenty years later that idea has become law in 40 states and the District of Columbia.

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.

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.

Ray Budde and the Origins of the ‘Charter Concept’

In 1988, Albert Shanker began to float the idea of "letting teachers start schools within schools." But, he acknowledged he picked up the term "charter" from Ray Budde, from a paper titled "Education by Charter". Ted Kolderie recounts Budde's reaction to chartering, with lessons for today’s policy leaders on the virtues of diligence, patience, deference and humility.

Age 3 to Grade 3 Schools: A New Approach to Early Literacy

It would be wonderful to close the achievement gap... before there is one. The "Age 3 to Grade 3 Model" restructures the school, using existing financing, so that literacy efforts span the 'early' years and the 'school' years. The model calls for restructuring child care, Head Start and other pre-K initiatives.

Joe Loftus' 1988 Proposal for 'Chartered Schools'

In 1987 the Chicago Teacher's Union struck for the ninth consecutive time. Joe Loftus proposed a reform idea, but it did not pass. In 1993 he called Minnesota. "What's this 'charter schools' I'm hearing about?", he asked. "I proposed that in 1988." Here are the key pages of Joe's proposal, an interesting case of parallel invention.

Charter Schools: Now What?

The (then) executive director Colorado School Boards Association Randy Quinn wondered, after the chartering law passed over its opposition, whether this new idea might not really be “a blessing in disguise” for boards of education.

Essentials of the Charter School Strategy

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

Chelsea Clinton and the D.C. Schools

In response to the Washington Post’s question about problems in DC this small memo asked: If the local school district is not performing why don’t DC residents ask Congress to “get somebody else who will?” In 1993 the suggestion was flatly dismissed. Three years later Congress created a second 'board of education' for DC.

Mother Teresa As a Charter School

Institutions other than public education have found it useful not to let the mission depend on just a single organization. Historically the Catholic Church has been one of these. There is the hierarchy, but there are also the orders.

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.

Origins of the Charter Idea

A quick summary of the major mileposts in the evolution of the chartering laws. 2002.

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.

A Model RFP: Second Generation Evaluations of Chartered Schools and Chartering

Traditional "charter" evaluation is focusing on the wrong questions. To know "what's working" researchers must focus on the institutional innovation of chartering rather than trying to generalize about the very diverse collection of schools. This RFP is designed to elicit recommendations on ways to strengthen chartered schools and to improve the state's overall policy framework for chartering.

Windows on the Next Generation of Charter Schools and Chartering

A look at the next generation of chartered schools and the environment in which they live. We will need to diversify charter authorizers, document the progress of existing chartered schools, find ways to finance facilities and transportation, and find new ways to organize extra-curricular activities.

Trend Accelerating Toward an ‘Open Sector’ in Public Education.

A policy brief providing an update on the current status of chartered schools and charter-ing in Minnesota. Includes the latest statistics on the charters that are operating in the 2004-2005 school year, information on the most recent round of charter approvals, an update on Minnesota’s growing cadre of sponsors and more.

Minnesota's Charter Law is Providing Significant Innovations in School and Schooling

Chartering is hailed as providing a space for innovation in public education. However, research and reporting on chartered schools usually focus on test scores and student demographics, and not on the innovations taking place. This report outlines some of the innovations appearing in Minnesota chartered schools.