April 2015 CEO MESSAGE

April 9, 2015

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What a pleasure to see many familiar faces and meet many new charter public school advocates at our 22nd Annual California Charter Schools Conference last month in Sacramento! More than 3,000 members of the charter school community attended this year's Conference, appropriately themed "One Movement, Many Voices." Your presence demonstrated the unity of the movement and our focus on revolutionizing the educational future for students statewide.

The momentum continues as we prepare to celebrate National Charter Schools Week (NCSW) in May, giving us another opportunity to raise awareness about our amazing charter public schools and the power of the California's charter public school movement.

If you haven't done so already, I urge you to register today to attend our Annual Advocacy Day during NCSW on May 5, 2015 in Sacramento. Take this opportunity to meet with your elected officials, share your school and student success stories, discuss the issues you are facing, and talk with legislators about how legislative policy will impact future success of the charter public school movement.

During Advocacy Day, we join forces to demonstrate our collective strength. And we have an undoubtedly urgent opportunity before us today, and throughout this legislative cycle, to rally together and make our voices heard.

The California Teachers Association (CTA) recently announced its legislative agenda for the spring, with four bills that aim to strike at the heart of California's public charter school movement. Rather than offer legislation aimed at strengthening the entire public school system in California, or at helping high-need students in particular, CTA has opted to spend its resources fighting to undermine charter public schools at all costs.

Most immediately, AB 787 (Hernandez) would compromise the autonomy and independence of charter schools by putting charter schools under the direct control of their authorizing entity and restricting who can operate a charter school. AB 787 (Hernandez) is a re-introduction of a charter school killer bill from last year, AB 1531 (Chau) that will be heard in the Assembly Education Committee on April 8.

We need your help to ensure that the charter school voice is heard loud and clear in the Capitol!

The status quo clearly feels threatened. But it is unacceptable for CTA to intentionally misrepresent the realities of California's charter public schools in order to prevent charter schools' success - success that is well documented. Just weeks ago, Stanford University's Center for Research on Education Outcomes (CREDO), released its comprehensive, nationwide Urban Charter Schools Report. And last year CREDO released Charter School Performance in California. Both reports emphasize the fact that urban charter schools are surpassing traditional schools, particularly in yielding academic growth for high-need students.

Whether it's highlighting the academic successes of our students, the strong parental demand for more schools, or the critical legislation we are rallying around, we have a lot to share during NCSW and at Advocacy Day. The work you are doing each day in your schools is a clear indicator that innovation and choice for our children's education is a top priority. Check out this toolkit with helpful materials and a host of ideas to help you get involved in National Charter Schools Week.

Join me. Make your voice heard. Send a clear message to California's legislature and beyond that educational innovation and choice for California's children is a top priority for each of us, for the educators and community leaders we partner with, and the students, parents, and communities we serve.


Jed Wallace
President & CEO
California Charter Schools Association

P.S. Check out this great blog post on how Green Dot shares best practices with schools across the nation.