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Governor Newsom Signs Landmark Charter School Law

October 4, 2019

Bill Affirms Charter Schools Are Here to Stay

SACRAMENTO, CA – Today, representatives from the California Charter Schools Association (CCSA) stood alongside Governor Gavin Newsom during the signing ceremony for Assembly Bill (AB) 1505 by Assemblymember Patrick O’Donnell (D-Long Beach) and called on the Legislature to redouble efforts around greater accountability and investment for all public schools.

The signing of this bill affirms that high-quality charter schools are here to stay, that charter schools have unique value in closing the state’s persistent achievement gap, and that charter schools are playing by the same fundamental rules of the road as traditional public schools.

“This historic agreement affirms that high-quality charter schools are here to stay and that the charter school model is a critical lever in closing the state’s achievement gap,” said Myrna Castrejón, president and CEO, CCSA. “AB 1505 can finally put to rest lingering questions about whether charter schools serve all students and help turn our collective attention to investing in and holding all public schools accountable. Governor Newsom’s leadership made all the difference here, and we look forward working with the Administration and stakeholders to usher in a new era of achievement and innovation for all students.”

Originally, AB 1505 included devastating consequences for the state’s most vulnerable students and would have ripped away access to quality public schools in neighborhoods most in need. Thousands of charter school families, students, and supporters visited the Capitol, participated in grassroots meetings with legislators and made phone calls to express their concerns with AB 1505.

“Even in the great state of California, the sad reality is that black youth have been neglected by traditional public schools for far too long. We must do better, and urgently,” said Dr. Howard L. Fuller, professor at Marquette University and founder of the Institute for the Transformation of Learning. “Charter schools have provided the promise of a better future for black families. AB 1505 will allow these great schools to thrive and continue to be of service to all students.”

CCSA removed opposition to AB 1505 following extensive conversations with the Office of Governor Gavin Newsom and the California Teachers Association, and after reaching a final agreement that secured important protections for existing high-quality charter public schools that have demonstrated success in closing the achievement gap, balancing students’ academic needs with fiscal impact considerations for new petitions, and restoring an appeals path to counties and the State Board of Education.

Specifically, protections include restoring county appeal rights, protecting a role for the state in the appeals chain, negotiating a five-year transition for existing non-core charter school teachers to secure certification, granting charter schools that are closing the achievement gap streamlined renewal, and balancing the consideration of the academic needs of students against fiscal impact considerations for new petitions.

California charter schools are increasing equity among students. For example:

●      Students who are economically disadvantaged, especially those who are black or Latinx, are making significantly greater progress in charter schools than their peers in traditional public schools;

●      Black students have improved outcomes in charter schools, and the academic progress of black students in poverty has been even more positively affected;

●      Charter schools provide greater learning gains for students identified as needing special education support;

●      For English Language Learners, the California charter school advantage is particularly large and significant, which is not typical in other states.

To learn more about AB 1505 and how it will affect California’s charter schools, please click here.

About the California Charter Schools Association

The vision of the California Charter Schools Association (CCSA) is to build great public schools of joy and rigor that prepare all California students for success in college, career, community, and life. The mission of CCSA is to meet parent, educator, and community need for great public school options by supporting and advocating for high quality non-profit charter schools and sharing their success throughout California’s public schools. Learn more.