Magazine Explains Why All Those Educations Cases Happen

See you in court. (Monica Almeida, Pool/AP Photo)

See you in court. (Monica Almeida, Pool/AP Photo)

U.S. News and World Report has a new opinion piece from Andrew Rotherham, a cofounder and partner at the non-profit Bellwether Education Partners, about why so much of education reform ends up in the courtroom. After outlining several high-profile cases, he explains that “… on the courthouse steps you can say pretty much whatever you want. Inside the courtroom, there are rules and process. Clever and fiery sound bites from a press conference will get you in trouble in front of a judge. If the evidence is on your side, the courtroom is often more fertile ground than the political arena.”

He also notes that “… it’s remarkable how many issues that are generally settled in terms of the research evidence remain incredibly live political debates. Courtrooms mitigate the problem.”

It’s a really solid good “think piece” and you can find it here.

Lawsuits, Legislation On Tap As California Charter Schools Keep Attracting Students

About one-fifth of students in the San Diego Unified School District have turned to charters such as College Preparatory Middle School, above. The district expects that figure to climb. (Misael Virgen / San Diego Union-Tribune)

About one-fifth of students in the San Diego Unified School District have turned to charters such as College Preparatory Middle School, above. The district expects that figure to climb. (Misael Virgen / San Diego Union-Tribune)

The Los Angeles Times has a detailed report from the front lines of the Golden State’s public charter schools battles, noting that “… twenty-five years after the California Charter School Act allowed public money to fund charter schools, which can be privately run and are often not unionized, advocates across the county and the state are waging legal and legislative fights. These disputes have led to tense relationships in districts that are scrambling to recoup the thousands of students who have sought alternatives.

Some numbers in the report: In the 2008-09 academic year, 38,680 students attended 73 charter schools in San Diego County. This year, 69,685 students are enrolled in 124 charters. But with growth comes questions.

San Diego County has emerged as a sort of Ground Zero for the California schools debate, although Los Angeles has its share of lawsuits as well.

Read the well-researched report here: Inside the fight against California’s charter schools

New SoCal ‘Stealth Charter Schools’ Bring Confusion, Prompt Litigation

They are calling them “stealth charters” and the San Diego Union-Tribune newspaper reports that “… San Diego County has seen a rise in ‘out-of-district’ charters in recent years — mostly independent-study programs authorized by small districts in the eastern reaches of the region. The arrangements can be appealing because the authorizing districts don’t stand to lose students, and they receive a percentage of the charter’s revenue in exchange for varying degrees of oversight and often administrative support services… regardless of what’s driving this trend, it has sparked bitter turf wars that have pitted districts against one another and stirred costly litigation.”
 
The challenge is that charters that are authorized in one district can set up shop in another. It’s a whole new front in the Golden State’s school wars.
 

L.A. School Group Offers List Of ‘Best Practices’ Facilities

The LA Times 12/17/15 article reports, "Sarah Angel, a regional director for the California Charter Schools Assn., praises charters at a recent forum on the future of Los Angeles public education. A new group is trying to launch more of these schools. (Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)"

The LA Times 12/17/15 article reports, “Sarah Angel, a regional director for the California Charter Schools Assn., praises charters at a recent forum on the future of Los Angeles public education. A new group is trying to launch more of these schools. (Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)”

The educational reform group “Great Public Schools Now” has issued a list of possible model schools for Los Angeles County, and the L.A. Times reports that the full list includes 23 magnet programs, 19 charter schools and seven traditional neighborhood schools. The Times says that “… each has a low-income enrollment of at least 75% and more than 60% of students met state targets in English.”
 
Charter schools, especially those crated by teh “parent trigger” that allows parents to take over private schools, have been a civil litigation magnet in recent years. The Times report includes defining terms: “Charters are independently managed and exempt from some rules that govern traditional schools. Most are nonunion. Magnets are district operated and typically offer a special academic program. They were set up initially to encourage voluntary integration.”
 
And the paper repeats that “… questions still surround Great Public Schools Now, including the names of the financial backers and how much money they hope to raise. A confidential draft proposal, obtained by The Times, called for raising $490 million. Critics have questioned whether the underlying goal of the original draft plan — which called for more than doubling the number of charter schools — has changed. That draft was apparently intended for supporters and potential donors.”