What exactly is the Charter School Movement?
There is a lot of murmuring these days about charter schools - particularly in California. Many people assume, incorrectly, that charter schools are private schools. They are not. Charter schools are public schools - just like your neighborhood mainstream school.
Like the other public schools, charter schools need to give standardized tests, offer free lunches to students who need it, and hire credentialed teachers. UNLIKE the other public schools, charters do not often have the line of credit that allows them to pay for services provided - especially at start up. Many of the grants received pay for things after the fact - in the form of reimbursements. This is one reason why you will see charters fundraising - just like other non-profit organizations.
“Many people assume, incorrectly, that charter schools are private schools.”
In fact, the new law states that charters in California can ONLY BE non-profit organizations. Gone are the days of for-profit organizations starting charter schools that do not benefit the students as much as corporate interests. Not that all these organizations operated in that way, but now only companies that are not interested in profits can originate a charter school.
So who are those people, you may ask? Me, for one. I am the Charter School Movement. Our Kaleidoschool team is comprised of eight others who really care as well - and they are part of this movement. Students who live in areas of low socioeconomic status; who cannot afford a private school education, but whose schools are not performing up to standard - they are part of the Charter School Movement.
“I am the Charter School Movement.”
But who is not part of this movement then? Those who are trying to eliminate charter schools altogether. Please - read up on this...those against the movement are trying to pass legislation to place a moratorium on charters in California, and to take away the rights of appeal.
We desperately want to help children AND their families in a city where some schools have been underperforming for years. Sure, it would be much easier for us to open up a private school. We could take what we have learned from our 50+ years of experience working in education and institute lots of policies and procedures we know would help - without much oversight. The only problem would be that not many but a handful would be able to afford what it would cost.
It is much, much more work to open up a charter school, but it is important to us to open not only the school, but also opportunities.