October 2016 CEO Message

October 28, 2016

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Charters are changing the way students learn in California and across the country. We know charter schools work for families. Thank you for your perseverance in spite of opposition, and commitment to the belief that all children should be able to attend a public school that best meets their needs.

Thousands Voice their Support for Charter Schools

We were particularly heartened to see the California Legislative Black Caucus speak as one voice in opposition to the NAACP moratorium on charter public schools when they issued a letter in support of high quality charter schools and called for policy changes that would allow charters to serve even more students in the future. While we obviously would have preferred a different decision from the NAACP, this strong endorsement reflects what is happening in communities across California. And we are greatly encouraged to see thousands of voices representing the interests of historically underserved students express their clear support for charter schools.

In Los Angeles, over 2,500 families from twenty schools in Pacoima marched and convened to show their support for charter schools. At the rally, we heard from students, teachers, families and elected leaders, including LAUSD Board Member Monica Ratliff, Assemblymember Patty Lopez, US Congressman Tony Cardenas, and candidate Raul Bocanegra, on the importance of high quality options and facilities for all.

New Study Centered on Dedication of Charters to Provide Inclusive Practices in Their Schools

For too long, California's students with disabilities have faced significant disparities in the quality of their education, a problem exacerbated by a focus on compliance over results, lack of autonomy, and a failure to truly individualize student supports. Last week, we released a report, Meeting The Needs of Every Student Through Inclusive Practices. This qualitative report details the special education program philosophy behind 10 exemplary California charter public schools, how they implement best practices on their campuses, what policy arrangements have allowed them to succeed and the benefits of inclusive education.

Charters school leaders recognize students learn better together, and they belong together in the classroom, regardless of their ability. Creating communities where everyone feels valued and accepted begins in our schools. Charter schools do not have a history of segregating students by ability, and have long modeled effective classroom practices. I am thrilled by the way charter schools are embracing student differences and offering inclusive education that is shown to benefit all students. Learn more about the study, best practices and additional findings.

New 2016-17 Academic Accountability Reports and Tools Available

In the current state and federal accountability landscape where the criteria assessing school performance are in transition, we know that increases in academic achievement for all student groups remains the most important factor in a charter renewal determination. CCSA provides charter schools with tools to examine their individual performance, as well as to provide vitally important points of comparison to help a school contextualize its performance for its authorizer, families, and entire school community. Check out this recent message from Malka Borrego, Chair, CCSA Member Council and Founder/Chief Executive Officer, Equitas Academy Charter School, for more information.

CCSA Endorses Props 55 and 58

CCSA endorsed Proposition 55 and Proposition 58 that will appear on the upcoming November 8 ballot. Proposition 55 would stabilize per pupil funding levels and serve as a safeguard against potential future cuts to California's K-12 public education system for years to come. Proposition 58 would repeal a requirement of traditional public schools to meet English proficiency among English Language Learners (ELL), exclusively through English-only instruction.

2015-16 Charter School Legislation Summary

The 2015-16 California Legislative session officially concludes on November 30 but all action has been taken on legislation for this two-year session. In 2015-16, CCSA introduced several pieces of charter supportive legislation and secured additional funding for facilities and start-up funding in the state budget while fending off a record number of damaging anti-charter legislation. A comprehensive summary of charter related legislation for the 2015-16 session is here.

CCSA Responds to NonClassroom-Based Court Ruling

In a strict reading of the Charter Schools Act, the California Court of Appeals (Court) ruled that Shasta Secondary Home School (SSHS) was not permitted to open a resource center within the Anderson Union High School District (AUHSD) in the AUHSD v. SSHS appeal and case. CCSA issued this initial statement following the court's nonsensical ruling. We are working with schools in response to this concerning situation, and we will be seeking to collect information from nonclassroom-based charters to determine the potential impacts of the decision. We encourage charter schools to look out for the survey, and respond as soon as possible. Read more about the decision and CCSA efforts.

Lastly, the November 8 Statewide General Election is rapidly approaching and a lot is at stake for our charter schools at the state and local levels. Please make your voices heard by voting on Tuesday, November 8.

Despite a loud and dishonest opposition, the facts are on our side. Help us spread these messages. Charters work for students and families.

Onward,

Jed Wallace President and CEO CCSA

P.S. Prop. 39 requests for facilities for the 2017-18 school year are due November 1, 2016 for existing, new or proposed charter schools. Don't miss the deadline. CCSA is here to help.