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Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Statement from Jeremiah Grace, Connecticut State Director, NECSN regarding Connecticut Voices for Children Report on Connecticut Choice Programs

For Immediate Release: April 8, 2014
Contact: Bob Bellafiore, 518-928-8471bob@stanhope-ny.com

 
Hartford, CT - NECSN Connecticut State Director, Jeremiah Grace, made the following statement:
 
This report is puzzling because charters – which are public schools of choice and want to serve all children – are doing exactly what this group says schools should do:
  • Bringing educational opportunity to every child, particularly Connecticut’s growing Hispanic population
  • Providing the kind of education that leads to college and career and reduces racial and economic isolation
  • Increasing graduation rates and keeping children in school.
A more educated society will be a more enlightened one. That’s what will close the income inequality gap, the achievement gap, the opportunity gap and the worst gap of all – the hope gap – that disproportionately plague children of color.
 
We’re not the source of educational inequality for children but we are part of the solution. The facts speak for themselves – African-American and Latino children in New Haven, Bridgeport and Hartford are outperforming their peers in district schools. And parent demand could not be greater – with more than 4,200 children on waiting lists.
 
Charters didn’t create Connecticut’s achievement gap but they are doing great work in helping close it. Rather than try to impose a one-size-fits-all mandate on these public schools of choice, policy makers should be finding ways to help charters flourish and increase choices for parents as part of a comprehensive approach to giving every child a great public school.
 

About the Northeast Charter Schools Network
The Northeast Charter Schools Network is a regional advocacy organization for the more than 200 charter schools in Connecticut and New York. Its mission is to support and expand high quality charter schools in the region.

 
834 Asylum Avenue, Hartford, CT 06105
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Posted by: Joe Shahen



Wednesday, April 02, 2014

Malloy Administration Extends Lifeline to Thousands of Families in Bridgeport, Stamford, and New Haven

For Immediate Release: April 2, 2014

Contact: Bob Bellafiore, 518-928-8471, bob@stanhope-ny.com

 

Malloy Administration Extends Lifeline to Thousands of Families in Bridgeport, Stamford, and New Haven 

State Board of Education Approves Four High Quality

Public Charter School Applications

 

Hartford, CT – The Connecticut State Board of Education today approved four new state charter applications for schools in Bridgeport, New Haven and Stamford. 

 

Parents, educators, faith leaders and community advocates crowded the State Department of Education building for the 9:30 a.m. hearing. Dozens of speakers urged the state board to approve all four of the high quality charter school proposals.

 

The vote came one day after dozens of clergy members, parents and students stood with the  four charter school founding groups to urge the state Board to approve all four applications.

 

Supporters of the schools also waged a grass roots letter writing campaign that sent over 500 letters to Governor Malloy and the State Board of Education.

 

The Board approved Booker T. Washington Academy in New Haven and Great Oaks Charter School in Bridgeport. They are scheduled to open for the 2014-15 school year.

 

It also approved Stamford Charter School for Excellence, proposed for Stamford, and Capital Prep Harbor School, proposed for Bridgeport. They are scheduled to open in the 2015-16 school year.

 

Northeast Charter Schools Network Connecticut State Director Jeremiah Grace said the following about the state board vote:

 

“This is a game changing moment for thousands of families in Bridgeport, New Haven and Stamford. The state is making the rhetoric about reform a reality for kids in desperate need of more quality public school options.

 

“We applaud Commissionor Pryor, the State Board of Education and the Malloy Administration for standing up to special-interest political pressure and doing the right thing for children in the poorest cities in the state.

 

“We also applaud the coalition of hundreds of faith leaders, parents, grandparents, kids, and other supporters who came together in support of these high quality schools. Without this groundswell of support, this would not have been possible.

 

Facts about the new public charter school applications:

  • Bridgeport: Capital Prep Harbor is modeled after the highly-successful Hartford magnet school where 97% of students graduate in four years and 100% go to college.
  • Bridgeport: Great Oaks Charter School would focus on helping students whose first language is not English and provide a high-dosage tutoring program.
  • New Haven: Booker T. Washington Academy is a partnership with the highly-successful Family Urban Schools of Excellence (FUSE) organization.
  • Stamford: Stamford Charter School for Excellence is modeled after the Bronx Blue Ribbon Award-winning charter school—one of the best in the entire state of New York.

Facts about Connecticut charter schools:

  • Charter schools are tuition-free public schools that admit students via a blind lottery. They accept all students regardless of their academic ability.
  • They are managed by non-profits and subject to government oversight. Charter schools must perform to stay open.
  • State charter schools do not take funding away from the local school district in any way, shape or form. When a student attends a state charter school, the local school district actually keeps the state funding for that student, and the charter receives a separate grant from the state. C.G.S.A. § 10-66ee.
  • Districts are eligible for reimbursement from the state for transportation and special education services provided to charter school students. C.G.S.A. § 10-66ee.

 

About the Northeast Charter Schools Network

The Northeast Charter Schools Network is a regional advocacy organization for the more than 200 charter schools in New York and Connecticut. Its mission is to support and expand high-quality charter schools in the region so that all students can receive a great public education.

 

 

834 Asylum Avenue, Hartford, CT 06105

http://necharters.org

###

 


Posted by: Joe Shahen



Tuesday, April 01, 2014

School Leaders, Students and Families Call on Board of Education to Approve Four New Charter School Proposals

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE    

April 1, 2014

 

 

 Sarah Beron 

   401-871-9048

sberon@advocacysolutionsllc.com

 

Chris Hunter

401-487-7771

chunter@advocacysolutionsllc.com

 

 

School Leaders, Students and Families Call on Board of Education to Approve Four New Charter School Proposals

 

Board of Education to Vote on Four Charter School Proposals on Wednesday, April 2

 

Video of today's press conference: Part 1Part 2

Click here for an image from today's press conference


HARTFORD, C.T. – On Tuesday, April 1, dozens of charter school supporters from across the state – school and community leaders, clergy, parents and students - gathered at Jumoke Academy Honors at the Hartford Conservatory to urge Governor Dannel Malloy and the Connecticut State Board of Education to approve four new pub lic charter schools.


The State Board of Education will convene on Wednesday, April 2 at 9:30 am to vote on the four new charter school proposals, which include Booker T. Washington Academy (New Haven), Capital Prep Harbor (Bridgeport), Great Oaks Charter School (Bridgeport) and Stamford Charter School for Excellence (Stamford).

 

“By opening these four schools, hundreds of families in Connecticut can have a fighting chance,” said Jeremiah Grace, Connecticut state director, Northeast Charter Schools Network. “There are thousands of parents and students that want options now. And they deserve them.”

 

There is a growing, unmet demand for more high-quality public school choice options across Connecticut. With 4,276 student names on charter school waiting lists, supporters at Tuesday’s event called on policymakers to act now to provide better public education options for families.

 

“Somewhere along the way politics got involved in this thing we call education,” said Dr. Steve Perry, founder of Hartford’s Capital Preparatory Magnet School and applicant for the proposed Capital Prep Harbor School in Bridgeport. “The truth can change, especially when dipped in politics. Between today and tomorrow every one of us must remain diligent. Our children deserve these four options.” (Click here for a video of Dr. Steve Perry speaking on the importance of public charter schools).

 

Christina Grant, of the proposed Great Oaks Charter School, suggested that the opportunity presented to the State Board of Education this year is “historic.” 

 

“We’re simple people with a simple dream,” said Christina Grant. “We think that one school can change the world. We have to get past politics.” (Click here for a video of Christina Grant speaking on the importance of public charter schools).

 

Leon Woods, a parent of several children in Bridgeport, urged the Board of Education to approve the four charter proposals to give more families the opportunity to send their children to high-quality public schools.

 

“I am a parent of both charter school children and regular district school children. I want all children to have the same opportunities my children in charter schools have had,” said Woods. “For too long, we’ve suffered in our city – education standards have been too low. We have the opportunity for that to be risen.” (Click here for a video of Leon Woods speaking on the importance of public charter schools).

 

In New Haven, Rev. Eldren Morrison of Varick Memorial AME Zion Church has partnered with Family Urban Schools of Excellence (FUSE) to create the Booker T. Washington Academy. FUSE, which runs Jumoke Academy Honors, partners with the city of Hartford at Milner Elementary School and Bridgeport with Dunbar Elementary School. (Click here for a video of Rev. Morrison speaking on the importance of public charter schools).

 

“We are excited that there are others that are following in our footsteps,” Joe Dickerson, III, executive director, Jumoke Academy Schools. “We’ve proven over the course of 16 years that kids, regardless of skin color, regardless of income can attain at the highest level of academic achievement.” (Click here for a video of Joe Dickerson speaking on the importance of public charter schools).

 

Bishop Richardo Griffith of Bridgeport’s Word of Life Ministries, said that of the 4,276 names on state charter school waiting lists, 1,200 are in Bridgeport, demonstrating the demand for charter schools in Connecticut at large and Bridgeport in particular: “It’s time for them to step up to the plate and vote in favor of all four schools.” (Click here for a video of Bishop Richardo Griffith speaking on the importance of public charter schools).

 

Rev. William D. McCullough of Bridgeport’s Russell Temple CME church, said he has had difficulty finding a good school for his own children to attend. He asked the crowd at Tuesday’s rally, “What would it be like if there was a capital prep or a great Oaks in Bridgeport? It would change our whole city.” (Click here for a video of Rev. William D. McCullough speaking on the importance of public charter schools).

 

“The truth of the matter is so many families are waiting for these schools to open. This has nothing to do with their color – it has everything to do with their environment,” said Rev. Kenneth Moales Jr. with Cathedral of the Holy Spirit. “There are 32 schools in Bridgeport and 27 are failing. I can’t stop fighting for choices and quality options for children when I know that families can’t read the Bible I’m preaching from.” 

 

”In the seven years working at our school in the Bronx that this proposed charter is modeled after, I’ve seen visitors and parents that come through our doors become speechless. I feel very proud – but nipping at the heels of that – is a lot of sadness, and shame – that what should be the standard for all children can feel so foreign,” said Tanya Ghans, founder, Stamford Charter School for Excellence. “Our students will not just be students – they will become scholars” (Click here for a video of Tanya Ghans speaking on the importance of public charter schools).

 

Charter supporters from cities across Connecticut plan to attend Wednesday’s Board of Education meeting to further support the approval of the four proposed charter schools.

 

 

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Posted by: Joe Shahen



Monday, March 31, 2014

Media Advisory: School Leaders, Students and Families to Urge Board of Education to Approve Four Charter School Proposals

MEDIA ADVISORY
March 30, 2014                        
 

Contact:
Sarah Beron
 
Chris Hunter
 

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

School Leaders, Students and Families to Urge Board of Education to Approve Four Charter School Proposals

HARTFORD, C.T. – Charter school supporters from around the state will gather at Jumoke Academy Honors at the Hartford Conservatory at 2:00 pm on Tuesday, April 1 to urge the Connecticut State Board of Education to approve four new charter schools.

Proposals for the four new charter schools are scheduled to come before the Board of Education for a vote the following day, April 2. The proposed schools include Booker T. Washington Academy (New Haven), Capital Prep Harbor (Bridgeport), Great Oaks Charter School – Bridgeport (Bridgeport) and Stamford Charter School for Excellence (Stamford).

There is a growing, unmet demand for more high-quality public school choice options across Connecticut. With 4,276 student names on charter school waiting lists, policymakers must act now to provide better public education options for families.

WHAT:
Rally to support the approval of four new Connecticut charter schools

WHO:
Public charter school students, families and school leaders, including:

  • Jeremiah Grace, Northeast Charter Schools Network
  • Dr. Steve Perry, Capital Prep Harbor
  • Tanya Gahns, Stamford Charter School for Excellence
  • Christina Grant, Great Oaks Charter School - Bridgeport
  • Dr. Michael Sharpe, Booker T. Washington Academy / Family Urban Schools of Excellence
  • Rev. Eldren Morrison, Booker T. Washington Academy / Varick Memorial AME Zion Church
  • Rev. William McCullough, Russell Temple CME Church, Bridgeport
WHEN:
Tuesday, April 1, 2014
2:00pm

WHERE:
Jumoke Academy Honors at the Hartford Conservatory (875 Asylum Ave., Hartford, CT 06105)
 
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Posted by: Joe Shahen



Friday, March 28, 2014

Buffalo & Rochester Charter Schools Short-Changed Again!

For Immediate Release: March 28, 2014

Contact: Bob Bellafiore, 518-928-8471, bob@stanhope-ny.com

 

BUFFALO & ROCHESTER CHARTER SCHOOLS

SHORT-CHANGED AGAIN!


Reported budget deal fails to fix flaw in charter law that denies building aid to public charter schools

 

Albany, NY – Reports from the Capitol indicate that Governor Cuomo and legislative leaders are nearing a deal on major policy changes that affect charters, but a proposal that would have provided building aid to schools across the state is at risk of being killed. In addition, the per pupil funding “increases” being discussed would actually result in a net funding cut for students in Rochester and Buffalo.  Charter students would face a $2.0 million cut in Rochester, and $1.4 million cut in Buffalo, compared to what they would have received next year under the regular funding formula.

 

Supporters in Buffalo, Rochester and across the state have sent roughly 5,000 emails and tweets to legislators in Albany in less than 24 hours in a last minute effort to save building aid for charter schools.

 

Buffalo, Rochester, and Niagara Falls charter schools issued the following statement regarding the reported terms of the deal:

 

“The Governor and Legislature are turning their backs on Buffalo and Rochester children. 

 

“Funds meant for kids will have to be put toward buildings—something that the state should be providing in the first place.

 

“When the governor stood on the steps of the Capitol and promised he would help us grow, we in Buffalo and Rochester believed him.  But maybe we were mistaken. 

 

“The governor should use these last few hours to remember that children in Buffalo and Rochester matter too.” 

 

 

Signed:

 

Buffalo-area Charter Schools

King Center Charter School

Aloma D. Johnson Charter School

Elmwood Village Charter School

Health Sciences Charter School

Tapestry Charter School

Western New York Maritime Charter School

Enterprise Charter School

West Buffalo Charter School

Oracle Charter School

South Buffalo Charter School

Niagara Charter School

 

 

 

Rochester-area Charter Schools

Urban Choice Charter School

PUC Achieve Charter School

Young Women’s College Prep Charter School

Eugenio Maria de Hostos Charter

Discovery Charter School

Rochester Career Mentoring Charter School

True North Rochester Preparatory Charter School

True North Rochester Preparatory Charter School – West Campus

Rochester Prep Charter School 3

 

 

 

About the Northeast Charter Schools Network:

 

The Northeast Charter Schools Network is a regional advocacy organization for the more than 200 charter schools in New York and Connecticut. Its mission is to support and expand high quality charter schools in the region.

 

915 Broadway, Suite 110, Albany NY, 12207

http://necharters.org

 

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Posted by: Joe Shahen



Monday, March 17, 2014

Dr. Steve Perry's Capital Prep Harbor Would Help Address Educational Crisis in Bridgeport

For Immediate Release: March 17, 2014
Contact: Bob Bellafiore, 518-928-8471, bob@stanhope-ny.com
 

Dr. Steve Perry’s Capital Prep Harbor Would Help Address 
Educational Crisis in Bridgeport
Public Hearing Scheduled for Proposed Bridgeport Charter School


Hartford, CT – Tomorrow, the Connecticut State Department of Education will hold a local hearing on the proposal for the Capital Prep Harbor charter school in Bridgeport – a program based on a highly successful Hartford magnet school that boasts a 97 percent high school graduation rate and reports that 100 percent of its graduates were accepted into four-year colleges.

Capital Prep Harbor’s model is “distinguished by the purposeful exchange of love through high expectations, early college exposure and a pervasive sense of individual and collective responsibility.” The school would open next school year with grades 6 through 12 and 250 students, then add additional grades downward, until it becomes a full PreK-12 with 765 students by year five of the charter.

At a time when one out of three students does not finish high school in four years, parent demand for public charter schools in Bridgeport remains sky high.  There are more than 1,100 names of children on charter school waiting lists in the city. Despite this overwhelming demand, the Bridgeport Board of Education recently passed a symbolic resolution calling for a moratorium on new charters in the city.

Northeast Charter Schools Network Connecticut State Director Jeremiah Grace said the following about the proposal:

“Bridgeport parents face an educational crisis that threatens their children’s future.  Everyone wants the district’s schools to improve quickly, but most Bridgeport families don’t have the privilege of waiting for those improvements to reach their children. High-quality choices can help now, and Capital Prep Harbor is ready to go.”

“Capital Prep Harbor is a proven model that can change the life trajectory for hundreds of Bridgeport kids, and they can start months—not years—from now.

Capital Prep Harbor Founder Dr. Steve Perry said:

“We still live in a country where your ZIP code largely determines whether you can go to a great school and have a chance in life. That’s unacceptable.

“Parents don’t have time for the waiting game and are demanding more public school options.

“We’ve already shown how our model can change the lives of Hartford kids and get more on the path to college and careers. Our team is ready to do the same in Bridgeport starting this fall.”

Facts about Connecticut charter schools: 

  • Charter schools are tuition-free public schools that admit students via a blind lottery. They accept all students regardless of their academic ability.
  • They are managed by non-profits and subject to government oversight. Charter schools must perform to stay open.
  • State charter schools do not take funding away from the local school district in any way, shape or form. When a student attends a state charter school, the local school district actually keeps the state funding for that student, and the charter receives a separate grant from the state. C.G.S.A. § 10-66ee.
  • Districts are eligible for reimbursement from the state for transportation and special education services provided to charter school students.

About the Northeast Charter Schools Network

The Northeast Charter Schools Network is a regional advocacy organization for the more than 200 charter schools in New York and Connecticut. Its mission is to support and expand high-quality charter schools in the region so that all students can receive a great public education.
 

 
834 Asylum Avenue, Hartford, CT 06105
http://necharters.org
###

Posted by: Joe Shahen



Friday, March 14, 2014

Senate Budget Would Bring Buffalo-Area Charter Schools Closer to Funding Equity

For Immediate Release: March 14, 2014

Contact: Bob Bellafiore, 518-928-8471bob@stanhope-ny.com

 

SENATE BUDGET WOULD BRING BUFFALO-AREA CHARTER SCHOOLS CLOSER TO FUNDING EQUITY

Bipartisan plan would address long-standing inequities in charter funding law and create charter pre-k programs

Albany, NY – The state Senate’s budget proposal would be “a game-changer for Buffalo charter students who have struggled for years without facilities funding and without access to free space in public buildings,” Northeast Charter Schools Network President Bill Phillips said Friday.

“The lack of facilities funding is a statewide problem, but it hits the roughly 9,000 Buffalo-area charter students especially hard. For years, their schools were forced to redirect scarce instructional dollars toward facilities costs—even as per pupil funding was held flat.”

“We applaud the bipartisan leadership of Senator Skelos and Senator Klein for standing up for all children, including children who attend charter public schools. We thank Assemblywoman Crystal Peoples-Stokes for appearing at an Albany rally and speaking on behalf of Buffalo charter students. With the strong support of Governor Cuomo, we look forward to a final state budget that ensures educational opportunity and hope for all children,” Phillips said.

The Senate budget proposal would do the following for Buffalo-area schools:

  • Grant access to the statewide Building Aid program.
  • Unfreeze per pupil funding after three years with no increase.
  • Ensure free rent for charters that lease space in public buildings.
  • Enable charter schools to run Universal Pre-K programs.

Buffalo charter schools have been flat funded at $12,005 per pupil for the last three years, while the Buffalo Public Schools spending has increased.  The District spent an estimated $18,337 per pupil last year. According to a recent survey for the 2011-12 school year, Buffalo-area charters spent an average of $1,650 per pupil on their facilities costs (47% survey response rate).

About the Northeast Charter Schools Network:

The Northeast Charter Schools Network is a regional advocacy organization for the more than 200 charter schools in New York and Connecticut. Its mission is to support and expand high quality charter schools in the region.

915 Broadway, Suite 110, Albany NY, 12207

http://necharters.org

###


Posted by: Joe Shahen



Thursday, March 13, 2014

Senate Budget is Step Forward for Treating Charter School Students Fairly

For Immediate Release: March 13, 2014

Contact: Bob Bellafiore, 518-928-8471, bob@stanhope-ny.com

 

 

SENATE BUDGET IS STEP FORWARD FOR TREATING CHARTER SCHOOL STUDENTS FAIRLY

Bipartisan plan ensures equal access to facilities, allows charters to provide pre-K and begins closing student funding gap

 

Albany, NY – The state Senate’s budget proposal constitutes “the biggest leap forward for charter school student equality we’ve ever seen,” Northeast Charter Schools Network President Bill Phillips said.

 

“We applaud the bipartisan leadership of Senator Skelos and Senator Klein for standing up for all children, including children who attend charter public schools. With the strong support of Governor Cuomo, we look forward to a final state budget that ensures educational opportunity and hope for all children,” Phillips said.

 

The bipartisan Senate budget bill remedies fundamental flaws in the charter school law that deny students equitable access to funding and facilities, and permit charters to join the statewide push to expand access to Universal Pre-K programs. Public charter school students in New York currently receive no per pupil facilities aid, cannot provide preschool programs, and on average receive about 75 cents on the dollar when compared to traditional school district spending.

 

About the Northeast Charter Schools Network:

 

The Northeast Charter Schools Network is a regional advocacy organization for the more than 200 charter schools in New York and Connecticut. Its mission is to support and expand high quality charter schools in the region.

 

915 Broadway, Suite 110, Albany NY, 12207

http://necharters.org

 

###


Posted by: Joe Shahen



Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Great Oaks Brings New High-Quality Public School Option to one of Connecticut's Lowest-Performing Districts

For Immediate Release: March 12, 2014
Contact: Bob Bellafiore, 518-928-8471bob@stanhope-ny.com
 

Great Oaks Brings New High-Quality Public School Option
to one of Connecticut’s Lowest-Performing Districts
Public Hearing Scheduled for Proposed Bridgeport Charter School

Hartford, CT – Tonight, the Connecticut State Department of Education will hold a local hearing on the proposal for the Great Oaks Bridgeport charter school – an innovative program that focuses on English Language Learners. The well-regarded program has a strong track record in New York City and Newark and now looks to help Bridgeport children as well.

Run by the Great Oaks Foundation, the proposed public charter school will focus on enrolling children whose first language is not English, and serve grades 6-12, starting with 100 students in grade 6.

Great Oaks Bridgeport would be another public school option in a city where one out of two lower-grade students and two out of three upper-grade students perform below grade level, and one out of three students does not finish high school in four years.

Parent demand for public charter schools remains sky high in Bridgeport, with more than 1,100 names of Bridgeport children on charter school waiting lists in the city. Despite this overwhelming demand, the Bridgeport Board of Education on Monday passed a resolution urging that these options be closed off – in essence forcing Bridgeport children to attend city schools against their parents’ will.

Northeast Charter Schools Network Connecticut State Director Jeremiah Grace said the following about the proposal:

“We applaud the Great Oaks Bridgeport proposal. In a district where over a third of the schools serve English language learner populations ranging from 15 to 38 percent, their focus on ELL students is invaluable.  With schools already open in two states, the Great Oaks Foundation has shown dedication to establishing great public school options, and a potential game-changing school like Great Oaks is what families in Bridgeport need and want. 

“The saddest chapter in this story is that Bridgeport’s board wants to take away the right of parents to choose schools for their children. These are not wealthy families who can afford private school or move. These are families that board members say they’re fighting for. If that’s the case, then why are they slamming the schoolhouse door in their faces?”

Great Oaks Foundation Vice President Christina Grant said:

“If you listen to Bridgeport mothers and fathers, you can hear their deep desire for good public school options for their children.  We can provide that. We have worked for over a year with members of the community to create a program that will give families in Bridgeport the high quality school they want. Our program has an extended school day, rigorous classroom instruction and several hours of tutoring every day – all of which will prepare students for college and success beyond the classroom.”

Facts about Connecticut charter schools: 

  • Charter schools are tuition-free public schools that admit students via a blind lottery. They accept all students regardless of their academic ability.
  • They are managed by non-profits and subject to government oversight. Charter schools must perform to stay open.
  • State charter schools do not take funding away from the local school district in any way, shape or form. When a student attends a state charter school, the local school district actually keeps the state funding for that student, and the charter receives a separate grant from the state. C.G.S.A. § 10-66ee.
  • Districts are eligible for reimbursement from the state for transportation and special education services provided to charter school students.


About the Northeast Charter Schools Network

The Northeast Charter Schools Network is a regional advocacy organization for the more than 200 charter schools in New York and Connecticut. Its mission is to support and expand high-quality charter schools in the region so that all students can receive a great public education.

 

834 Asylum Avenue, Hartford, CT 06105
###

Posted by: Joe Shahen



Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Bridgeport Board of Education Puts Ideology Before Children

For Immediate Release: March 11, 2014

Contact: Bob Bellafiore, 518-928-8471, bob@stanhope-ny.com

 

BRIDGEPORT BOARD OF ED PUTS IDEOLOGY BEFORE CHILDREN

Board’s Resolution Calling for Moratorium on New Public Charter Schools In the City Ignores Strong Parent Demand for More Options

 

Hartford, CT – At its most recent meeting, the Bridgeport Board of Education passed a resolution calling for a moratorium on new public charter schools in the city.  The resolution comes two days before the State Board of Education is holding a local hearing on the application for the Great Oaks Bridgeport Charter School, and about a week before the hearing on the Capital Prep Harbor Charter School application. The Board’s action is only a symbolic gesture, however, because the State Board of Education has the ultimate legal authority for approving new state charter schools.

 

Northeast Charter Schools Network Connecticut State Director Jeremiah Grace said the following about the Board’s action:

 

“Someone should tell the Board that Bridgeport parents have already spoken, and they want more high quality public school options. That’s why there are more than 1,100 names on waitlists for Bridgeport public charter schools—all of which are out-performing the district.

 

“These parents deserve options, and it is disappointing to see the board put ideology and politics before the needs of Bridgeport children.

 

“The Great Oaks and Capital Prep Harbor proposals could be game-changing for Bridgeport children. Great Oaks will focus on students whose first language isn’t English and bring its high-impact tutoring model to hundreds of students in grades 6 to 12.  The Capital Prep Harbor proposal aims to replicate the work of the Hartford school which boasts a 97% high school graduation rate and will serve hundreds more students in grades Pre-K to 12.

 

“There is an educational crisis in Bridgeport and if we are going to get more of our youth ready for college and careers of the future, we will need all hands on deck. Charters can and want to help.”

 

About the Northeast Charter Schools Network
The Northeast Charter Schools Network is a regional advocacy organization for the more than 200 charter schools in New York and Connecticut. Its mission is to support and expand high-quality charter schools in the region so that all students can receive a great public education.

 

834 Asylum Avenue, Hartford, CT 06105

http://necharters.org

 

###

 

Posted by: Joe Shahen



Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Stamford Parents Deserve More Public School Options

For Immediate Release: March 11, 2014

Contact: Bob Bellafiore, 518-928-8471bob@stanhope-ny.com

 

 

STAMFORD PARENTS DESERVE MORE PUBLIC SCHOOL OPTIONS

Proposed Stamford Charter School Would Bring Nationally-Recognized Blue Ribbon School Model to the City

Hartford, CT – Tonight, the Connecticut State Department of Education will hold a local hearing on the proposal for the Stamford Charter School for Excellence (SCSE), as required by state law.  The school is modeled after the nationally-recognized Bronx Charter School for Excellence, a recipient of the national Blue Ribbon award and one of the best charter schools in the state of New York. It would be the only charter elementary school in the city and serve students in grades Pre-K to 5, starting with 168 students in the 2015-16 school year. 

Northeast Charter Schools Network Connecticut State Director Jeremiah Grace said the following about the proposal:

“We applaud the Stamford Charter School for Excellence proposal. SCSE is modeled after one of the best public charter schools in the country. The city’s children deserve no less.

“All Stamford parents deserve the right to choose the school that works best for their children. This is especially true for low-income families that have seen their children fall further behind in the traditional public schools, but don’t have the means to choose another option.

Bronx Charter School for Excellence Executive Director Charlene Reid said:

“If we are going to prepare more Stamford kids for college and the careers of the future, it will require a team effort. The SCSE founding team is prepared to bring our proven model to Stamford and partner with the community, as we have done elsewhere—not divide it.”

 Facts on the Bronx Charter School for Excellence: 

  • BCSE is a 2012 National Blue Ribbon Award recipient, and consistently one of the highest performing charter schools in the state of New York.
  • In 2012, 95% of Bronx Charter School for Excellence students were proficient in math, and 86% were proficient in reading—nearly double the scores of the district schools in its neighborhood.
  • BCSE has a 96% staff and student retention rate for the past five years.
  • BCSE was recently awarded a state grant to improve student achievement in New York City by sharing its teaching practices with district schools.
  • BCSE’s video “Closing the Creativity Gap” was produced by Today Show co-host and BCSE board member Willie Geist. http://vimeo.com/76069525

Facts about Connecticut charter schools: 

  • Charter schools are tuition-free public schools that admit students via a blind lottery. They accept all students regardless of their academic ability.
  • They are managed by non-profits and subject to government oversight. Charter schools must perform to stay open.
  • State charter schools do not take funding away from the local school district in any way, shape or form. When a student attends a state charter school, the local school district actually keeps the state funding for that student, and the charter receives a separate grant from the state. C.G.S.A. § 10-66ee.
  • Districts are eligible for reimbursement from the state for transportation and special education services provided to charter school students.

About the Northeast Charter Schools Network

The Northeast Charter Schools Network is a regional advocacy organization for the more than 200 charter schools in New York and Connecticut. Its mission is to support and expand high-quality charter schools in the region so that all students can receive a great public education.

 

834 Asylum Avenue, Hartford, CT 06105
http://necharters.org

###


Posted by: Joe Shahen



Tuesday, March 04, 2014

Statement on Charter School Rally for Statewide Fairness

For Immediate Release: March 4, 2014
Contact: Bob Bellafiore, 518-928-8471, bob@stanhope-ny.com

Statement on Charter School Rally for Statewide Fairness

Albany, NY – More than 10,000 public charter school parents, students, teachers, and supporters from across New York State rallied at the Capitol to ask Albany for fairness in funding, facilities opportunities, and statewide universal pre-kindergarten.

Northeast Charter Schools Network President, Bill Phillips, said:

“Charter supporters came from across the state to ask Albany for fairness and leadership.  Children attending charter schools receive much less in per pupil funding than their neighbors in district schools and receive no facilities funding from the state.

“Today, we stood with families from all over New York to ask Albany to right these wrongs. We are grateful that Senator Skelos is defending charters against Mayor de Blasio’s unfair decision-making.  We urge the rest of the Legislature to follow suit and protect all of our children.

“While the facilities challenges facing charter schools in New York City are well known, there is an equally serious crisis facing charter children in Buffalo, Rochester, and elsewhere upstate that also requires Albany’s leadership.”

Liz Evans, founder of Elmwood Village Charter School in Buffalo, attended the rally today and said: 

“I hope the Governor does everything possible to help charters throughout the state.  Buffalo charters are not as visible as the New York City schools, but we have the same struggles and we deserve the same support.”

Julio Vasquez, Founder of Eugenio Maria de Hostos Charter School in Rochester, addressed the crowd today, and issued the following statement:

“Charters across the state — from Western New York to downstate — share the same challenges, led by fair funding and facilities. We need our leaders in Albany to hear us and make it easier for us to serve the students and families who choose charters as their path to the American dream.”

About the Northeast Charter Schools Network.

The Northeast Charter Schools Network is a regional advocacy organization for the more than200 charter schools in New York and Connecticut. Its mission is to support and expand high quality charter schools in the region.

 

915 Broadway, Suite 110, Albany NY, 12207
 
###

Posted by: Joe Shahen



Monday, March 03, 2014

Charter Rally Goes Far Beyond NYC

For Immediate Release: March 3, 2014
Contact: Bob Bellafiore, 518-928-8471, bob@stanhope-ny.com
 

CHARTER RALLY GOES FAR BEYOND NYC
More than 90 schools from nine cities will be represented, including Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse and Hempstead
 

Albany, NY – When thousands of public charter school parents, teachers, students and supporters gather at the Capitol on Tuesday, it won’t just be New York City.

It’s expected that more than 90 schools from nine different cities will be represented. Schools from Buffalo, Rochester, Albany, Syracuse, Utica, Mount Vernon, Hempstead, and Troy will be represented in addition to those from New York City.

Northeast Charter Schools Network President Bill Phillips issued the following statement regarding the rally:

“Charter supporters are coming from across the state to ask Albany for just one thing: fairness.”

“Children attending charter schools receive only a fraction of what their friends who attend district schools receive, and their schools get no funding for their facilities. That’s an inequity, it’s wrong and it should be fixed.”

“This inequality transcends city boundaries. We stand with charter families in New York City facing educational homelessness, but the rollback of co-locations in the city is a symptom of a larger, statewide problem: charters are not fairly funded.”

“We also support those fighting to expand access to universal preschool, and believe charters should be included in a statewide solution. We will need all hands on deck in order to deliver high quality preschool programs in every city, and charters can help.”

About the Northeast Charter Schools Network:

The Northeast Charter Schools Network is a regional advocacy organization for the more than 200 charter schools in New York and Connecticut. Its mission is to support and expand high quality charter schools in the region.
 

 
915 Broadway, Suite 110, Albany NY, 12207
 
###

Posted by: Joe Shahen



Thursday, February 27, 2014

Statement on New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio's Rollback of Charter School Co-Locations

For Immediate Release: February 27, 2014
Contact: Bob Bellafiore, 518-928-8471bob@stanhope-ny.com
 

Statement on New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s Rollback of Charter School Co-Locations

Albany, NY – Northeast Charter Schools Network President Bill Phillips issued the following statement in response to the de Blasio administration’s decision on public charter school co-locations:

“Clearly this decision is more about ideology and politics than solutions. City Hall is evicting children who want a seat in one of the most successful public school networks in the state. Now that Mr. de Blasio is mayor, you would think he’d want as many great public schools as possible. Instead, he’s shutting down opportunity and hope for underserved New York City children. It’s impossible to see how today’s decision is good for New York City children or good for the state. 

“Mayor de Blasio is using some of our neediest school children as pawns in a game of ideological retribution.”

“We look forward to taking the case to Albany next week so that the voices of the state’s 90,000 charter school students and their families, and the 50,000 more on waiting lists, can be heard by New York State’s decision makers.”

Today’s decision comes on the heels of City Hall’s earlier declaration that it would strip $210 million in capital funds from the city’s charter schools at the end of January.

About the Northeast Charter Schools Network.

The Northeast Charter Schools Network is a regional advocacy organization for the more than 200 charter schools in New York and Connecticut. Its mission is to support and expand high quality charter schools in the region.
 
915 Broadway, Suite 110, Albany NY, 12207
 
###

Posted by: Joe Shahen



Tuesday, February 11, 2014

ConnCAN Poll Shows Majority of Connecticut Voters Support Charter Schools, Reform Efforts
By Joe Shahen

For Immediate Release: February 11, 2014

Contact: Bob Bellafiore, 518-928-8471, bob@stanhope-ny.com

ConnCAN Poll Shows Majority of Connecticut Voters Support Charter Schools, Reform Efforts

Today, the Connecticut Coalition for Achievement Now, ConnCAN, released polling data showing that a majority of Connecticut voters support both education reform efforts and public charter schools. The poll was commissioned by ConnCAN and conducted by the Benenson Strategy Group. Key findings include:

  • 62% of voters have a somewhat or very favorable opinion of charter schools.
  • 69% of voters support education reform once they hear basic information on the proposed reforms.
  • 61% of voters believe that education reform should be a priority of the Governor and State Legislature.

The news of support for charters comes two months after findings that 81 percent of Connecticut charter schools out-performed their host district on the state’s School Performance Index.

NECSN Connecticut State Director, Jeremiah Grace, made the following statement:

“This poll shows that a large majority in Connecticut support charter schools and are with us in wanting to close the worst-in-the-nation achievement gap. Charters have shown promising results, and with over 4,000 names on charter waitlists, it is clear that the parent demand for charter schools is incredibly strong.

“As voter support for education reform grows, we look forward to working with Governor Malloy, the General Assembly, parents, teachers, and communities across Connecticut to give more children the opportunity to attend a great school and build a bright future.” 

About the Northeast Charter Schools Network.

The Northeast Charter Schools Network is a regional advocacy organization for the more than 200 charter schools in Connecticut and New York. Its mission is to support and expand high quality charter schools in the region.

834 Asylum Avenue, Hartford, CT 06105

http://necharters.org

###


Posted by: Joe Shahen



Friday, February 07, 2014

Statement On Governor Malloy's Modified Budget Proposal By Jeremiah Grace, Connecticut State Director for Northeast Charter Schools Network
By Joe Shahen

STATEMENT ON GOVERNOR MALLOY'S MODIFIED BUDGET PROPOSAL BY JEREMIAH GRACE, CONNECTICUT STATE DIRECTOR FOR NORTHEAST CHARTER SCHOOLS NETWORK

For Immediate Release: Feb. 6, 2014

Contact: Bob Bellafiore, 518-928-8471bob@stanhope-ny.com 

Hartford, CT - Today, Connecticut Governor Malloy gave his annual state of the state address and proposed a modified budget that maintains the state's strong investments in education reform and public schools of choice—including public charter schools.  The budget would maintain funding increases for public charter school students (who would still receive far less funding that traditional public schools) and funding for new state and local charter schools in the lowest performing school districts. Governor Malloy also proposed an expansion of the state’s preschool program and a new round of funding to improve school security in public schools across the state--including charters.

NECSN Connecticut State DirectorJeremiah Grace, made the following statement:

"We applaud Governor Malloy for keeping up the momentum and recommitting his support for public charter school students," Grace said. "This proposal is especially important to families from low-income, communities of color in dire need of better public school options. We look forward to working with the General Assembly to make this a reality."

"Connecticut families are already starting to see the fruits of the Governor's policies with the first charter schools in five years opening their doors and many other groups lining up to apply for new schools. The state must keep up this pace if we want to give more Connecticut kids the opportunity to attend a great public school and a chance at a better life."

About the Northeast Charter Schools Network.
The Northeast Charter Schools Network is a regional advocacy organization for the more than 200 charter schools in Connecticut and New York. Its mission is to support and expand high quality charter schools in the region.

 

834 Asylum Avenue, Hartford, CT 06105

http://necharters.org

 

###


Posted by: Joe Shahen



Friday, January 31, 2014

Statement on De Blasio Administration's $210M Cut to Charter School Facilities Funding by Northeast Charter Schools Network President Bill Phillips

By Joe Shahen

For Immediate Release: Jan. 31, 2014

Contact: Bob Bellafiore, 518-928-8471bob@stanhope-ny.com

 

Statement on De Blasio Administration's $210M Cut to Charter School Facilities Funding by Northeast Charter Schools Network President Bill Phillips

 

Albany, NY – Tonight, significant cuts to funding for charter school facilities in New York City were announced by the De Blasio administration. In response, Northeast Charter Schools Network President Bill Phillips made the following statement:

 

"Educational homelessness for public charter school students is now the official policy of the De Blasio administration," Phillips said.

 

"Today's actions will only deepen the inequality faced by charter students: they receive virtually zero facilities funds from the state and drastically less per-pupil funding than their friends and neighbors who attend district schools. If the De Blasio administration takes away funding for construction along with access to vacant space in public school buildings, the cold hard reality is that tens of thousands of New York City students will be denied a chance for a better education."

 

About the Northeast Charter Schools Network
The Northeast Charter Schools Network is a regional advocacy organization for the more than 200 charter schools in New York and Connecticut. Its mission is to support and expand high-quality charter schools in the region so that all students can receive a great public education.

 

915 Broadway, Suite 110, Albany NY, 12207

http://necharters.org

###


Posted by: Joe Shahen



Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Statement by Northeast Charter Schools Network President Bill Phillips on New U.S. Department of Education Rules for Its Charter Schools Program
By CJ Macklin

For Immediate Release: Jan. 29, 2014
Contact: Bob Bellafiore, 518-928-8471, bob@stanhope-ny.com

Statement by Northeast Charter Schools Network President Bill Phillips on New U.S. Department of Education Rules for Its Charter Schools Program

Albany, NY – Today the U.S. Department of Education announced new rules for its Charter Schools Program (CSP) that will benefit many of New York's public charter schools by permitting enrollment preferences for “educationally disadvantaged” students (including special ed, ELL, and low-income students). Previously, New York charters risked losing federal funding if they used such preferences — even though state law explicitly permits the practice. In response, Northeast Charter Schools Network President Bill Phillips made the following statement:

“Today’s action makes it easier for many charters to serve even greater numbers of special ed, ELL and low-income students — something everyone agrees is important. We applaud the Department and Secretary Duncan for supporting charter schools that want to use enrollment preferences as part of a broader strategy to reach more of these high-need students.

“The opportunity for these children is great: high-need students in New York’s public charter schools outperform their peers in district schools in key demographics. Federal funds are a vital ingredient in growing the number of high-quality charter schools in the state, and now federal policy will help us extend that opportunity to even greater numbers of students in need.”

About the Northeast Charter Schools Network
The Northeast Charter Schools Network is a regional advocacy organization for the more than 200 charter schools in New York and Connecticut. Its mission is to support and expand high-quality charter schools in the region so that all students can receive a great public education.

915 Broadway, Suite 110, Albany NY, 12207
http://necharters.org

###


Posted by: CJ Macklin



Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Testimony by Northeast Charter Schools Network President, Bill Phillips, on New York Governor Andrew Cuomo's 2014-15 Executive Budget Proposal
By CJ Macklin

For Immediate Release: Jan. 28, 2014
Contact: Bob Bellafiore, 518-928-8471, bob@stanhope-ny.com

 

Testimony by Northeast Charter Schools Network President, Bill Phillips, on New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s 2014-15 Executive Budget Proposal

Albany, NY – Today, Northeast Charter Schools Network President Bill Phillips submitted testimony at a legislative public hearing on New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s 2014-15 Executive Budget Proposal. In his testimony, Bill advocated for charter schools to access universal pre-kindergarten funding, inclusion of charters in the Smart Schools Bond Act, and the return of formula funding for charter students. Below is the full transcript of Bill’s testimony:

TESTIMONY OF BILL PHILLIPS
PRESIDENT OF THE NORTHEAST CHARTER SCHOOLS NETWORK

Submitted to Joint Legislative Public Hearing on 2014-2015 Executive Budget Proposal for Elementary & Secondary Education
January 28, 2014

Distinguished committee chairpersons and respected members of the New York Senate and Assembly, I’d like to thank you for the chance to speak to you today about the 2014-2015 Executive Budget Proposal on Elementary & Secondary Education.

The Northeast Charter Schools Network (formerly known as the New York Charter Schools Association) is the only statewide membership organization for the state’s 233 public charter schools and their 90,000 students. Our mission is to support and grow the state’s high quality public charter school movement.

The Governor’s Executive Budget proposal provides an important opportunity to enact an equity agenda for the state’s public charter schools. We believe that equity should be the guiding principle when lawmakers make decisions about charter school funding, access to public school space, services that can help schools better serve English language learners and special education, and pre-kindergarten. 

Universal Pre-Kindergarten and Public Charter Schools
We applaud the governor for including charter schools in his proposal to expand the state’s universal pre-kindergarten program.  We will need all hands on deck if we want to offer high-quality preschool to all the kids that need it – and charters can help. There simply aren’t enough providers to meet the need, and New York is home to some of the nation's best charter schools, so this proposal would create a match based on both common sense and expediency. We look forward to working with the legislature to help make the expansion of the state’s Universal Pre-K program a reality.

Smart Schools Bond Act and Public Charter Schools
The Governor’s budget proposal rightfully acknowledges the challenge of providing space for children who will attend new Universal Prekindergarten programs across the state by including preschool facilities construction or renovation in his signature bonding initiative.  But as written, the proposed legislation would not include public charter schools, even though we would also be eligible preschool providers.  Charters do not receive facilities funding from the state for their K-12 programs, so this exclusion would only compound the myriad of facilities challenges faced by our schools. We recommend that lawmakers amend the proposal to make it clear that public charter schools with preschool programs would be eligible recipients of these funds.

Per-Pupil Funding for Public Charter Schools
We think returning charter schools to formula funding is fair, but there needs to be reasonable protections for the schools that would be negatively impacted by this proposal. We look forward to working with the legislature to address this issue.

###

About the Northeast Charter Schools Network
The Northeast Charter Schools Network is a regional advocacy organization for the more than 200 charter schools in New York and Connecticut. Its mission is to support and expand high-quality charter schools in the region so that all students can receive a great public education.

 

915 Broadway, Suite 110, Albany NY, 12207
http://necharters.org


Posted by: CJ Macklin



Friday, January 24, 2014

Gov. Malloy Expands Competitive Safety Grants to Public Charter Schools
By CJ Macklin

Gov. Malloy Expands Competitive Safety Grants to Public Charter Schools

Hartford, CT – This week, Connecticut Governor Dannel P. Malloy announced a proposal to expand the School Security Grant Program as part of his legislative agenda for 2014. This expansion will include an additional $10 million for the program, and it would open up the grants to all public schools, including public charters. Previously only district and magnet schools could apply. In response to the expansion, Jeremiah Grace, Connecticut state director of the Northeast Charter Schools Network, made the following statement:

“I’d like to applaud Gov. Malloy for understanding that our children’s safety is our top priority. These grants will go a long way in ensuring that every public school student is able to learn in a secure environment.

“I’d also like to thank him for expanding the program to include all public school children, including charter students. Our need for safer classrooms is the same, no matter what type of public school a child attends. Charter students are as deserving of feeling safe in the classroom as their friends down the street in traditional public schools.

“We look forward to working with the General Assembly and others to build support for Gov. Malloy’s proposal.”

About the Northeast Charter Schools Network
The Northeast Charter Schools Network is a regional advocacy organization for the more than 200 charter schools in New York and Connecticut. Its mission is to support and expand high-quality charter schools in the region so that all students can receive a great public education.

 

834 Asylum Avenue, Hartford, CT 06105
http://necharters.org

###


Posted by: CJ Macklin



Tuesday, January 21, 2014

NECSN President Bill Phillips on New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo's 2014-15 Executive Budget Proposal
By CJ Macklin

Statement by Northeast Charter Schools Network President, Bill Phillips, on New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s 2014-15 Executive Budget Proposal

Albany, NY – Today, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo released his 2014-15 executive budget proposal, which includes charter public schools in a statewide push to expand universal preschool programs. In response, Northeast Charter Schools Network President Bill Phillips made the following statement:

“We will need all hands on deck if we want to offer high-quality preschool to all the kids that need it – and charters can help. We applaud the Governor's common sense approach to universal prekindergarten. New York is home to some of the nation's best charter schools and parent demand for these public schools of choice remains high.

“We also recognize that this is the first step in the process and that there are a number of education initiatives up for debate. We look forward to working with the legislature to make sure that charter schools continue to gain the same funding and program opportunities as all other public schools in the state.”

About the Northeast Charter Schools Network
The Northeast Charter Schools Network is a regional advocacy organization for the more than 200 charter schools in New York and Connecticut. Its mission is to support and expand high-quality charter schools in the region so that all students can receive a great public education.

915 Broadway, Suite 110, Albany NY, 12207
http://necharters.org

###

 


Posted by: CJ Macklin



Monday, December 30, 2013

New York City's Next Chancellor Must Protect Public Charter School Parent Choices
By CJ Macklin

For Immediate Release: Dec. 30, 2013
Contact: Bob Bellafiore, 518-928-8471, bob@stanhope-ny.com

New York City’s Next Chancellor Must Protect Public Charter School Parent Choices

“A city as great and diverse as New York City can and should have room for thriving district and charter schools.”

New York, NY – New York City’s 70,000 public charter school students will be looking to the next schools chancellor, Carmen Farina, to ensure they are able to continue to go to a great public school.

“Now is not the time to slow the city’s charter growth and deny choices to parents. If anything, charters and parental choices should be expanded as a way to give each child the opportunity to attend a great public school,” Northeast Charter Schools Network President Bill Phillips said.

Nearly 50,000 New York City children languish on charter wait lists and 16,000 more children risk of losing their school if pending co-locations are rescinded.

Farina takes over a school system with the second highest charter school enrollment in the nation and one of the highest performing charter sectors in the country.  

“To serve all children, Farina must work with educators in the charter community to build upon their nationally recognized success,” Phillips said. “A city as great and diverse as New York City can and should have room for thriving district and charter schools.”

NYC’s charter schools enjoy wide public support. A recent New York Times-Siena College poll found the vast majority of NYC likely voters favor creating more public charter schools. The families of these charter students understand what’s at stake with the next NYC schools chancellor, and this past October, thousands of students, parents and teachers marched across the Brooklyn Bridge in support of the city’s charter schools.

“We hope Farina will listen to these voters and families and continue to support public charter schools,” Phillips said.

About the Northeast Charter Schools Network
The Northeast Charter Schools Network is a regional advocacy organization for the more than 200 charter schools in New York and Connecticut. Its mission is to support and expand high-quality charter schools in the region so that all students can receive a great public education.

915 Broadway, Suite 110, Albany NY, 12207
http://necharters.org

###

 


Posted by: CJ Macklin



Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Study Finds Buffalo Remains in Top-25 for Charter School Enrollment Share
By CJ Macklin

For Immediate Release: Dec. 10, 2013
Contact: CJ Macklin, 518-390-5592cjmacklin@necharters.org

Study Finds Buffalo Remains in Top-25 for Charter School Enrollment Share

“Buffalo’s charters continue to provide an important alternative to the city’s struggling district schools.”

Buffalo, NY – Buffalo kept its spot in the top-25 of all U.S. cities in charter school enrollment share, according to a new report issued today. The report from the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools said 17 percent of Buffalo public school children attend one of the city’s public charter schools — nearly one-in-five of all public school students — placing the city at 18th in the country. The report, “A Growing Movement: America’s Largest Charter School Communities,” is based on 2012-13 school year figures."

Bill Phillips, president of the Northeast Charter Schools Network, issued the following statement in response to the report:

“New York needs both quality and quantity when it comes to charter schools. Buffalo’s charters continue to provide an important alternative to the city’s struggling district schools. By giving teachers the freedom to innovate and try new ways to improve student achievement, we’ve seen that charter schools can literally change lives. As we look for new ways to turn around perennially-struggling schools in the city, we are reminded that charters must play an important role in any solution.”

About the Northeast Charter Schools Network
The Northeast Charter Schools Network is a regional advocacy organization for the more than 200 charter schools in New York and Connecticut. Its mission is to support and expand high-quality charter schools in the region so that all students can receive a great public education.

915 Broadway, Suite 110, Albany NY, 12207
http://necharters.org
###


Posted by: CJ Macklin



Tuesday, December 10, 2013

New York City Second in U.S. in Charter School Enrollment, Top-10 in Growth for Second Consecutive Year
By CJ Macklin

For Immediate Release: Dec. 10, 2013
Contact: CJ Macklin, 518-390-5592cjmacklin@necharters.org

New York City Second in U.S. in Charter School Enrollment, Top-10 in Growth for Second Consecutive Year

“Now is not the time to slow growth and deny parents choices.”

New York, NY – Driven by increased parental demand for quality school choices, New York City once again is one of America’s fastest growing cities for public charter school enrollment with an increase of 21% last year, according to a new report issued today.

The report from the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools said NYC remains second in the nation in charter school enrollment, with more than 58,000 students. The report, “A Growing Movement: America’s Largest Charter School Communities,” is based on 2012-13 school year figures.

This comes just months after a New York Times-Siena College poll found that the vast majority of NYC likely voters favor creating more public charter schools. It also reinforces the efforts of thousands of students, parents and teachers who marched across the Brooklyn Bridge in support of the city’s charter schools last October.

“The nation is watching: now is not the time to slow growth and deny parents choices,” said Northeast Charter Schools Network President Bill Phillips. “Nearly 50,000 students are still languishing on charter school wait lists and 16,000 students are at risk of losing their school if pending co-locations are rescinded.”

“It’s no surprise that more New York City parents are choosing charters for their children because the city has one of the nation’s best collection of charter schools,” Phillips said, citing the respected CREDO at Stanford study issued earlier this year.

“Saying no to the growing number of charter-choosing parents and their children would be a travesty, especially in light of the nationally-recognized quality of charters in New York City.”

About the Northeast Charter Schools Network
The Northeast Charter Schools Network is a regional advocacy organization for the more than 200 charter schools in New York and Connecticut. Its mission is to support and expand high-quality charter schools in the region so that all students can receive a great public education.

915 Broadway, Suite 110, Albany NY, 12207
http://necharters.org

###


Posted by: CJ Macklin



Tuesday, December 10, 2013

One-year Renewal Linked to Charter School Transfers
By Andrea Rogers

The Dec. 5 story on charter school transfers (465 students have transferred to Buffalo public schools from charters in the past four months) missed some important context. It rightly pointed out that charters are schools of choice, and that parents are not obligated to enroll or withdraw a student. But of the three schools identified for the most transfers, two have a circumstance that went unmentioned.

Enterprise Charter School was recently granted a one-year renewal from the Buffalo Board of Education and the state. A side effect of such a short-term renewal is that families move children immediately rather than face the possibility of closure one year later. With Aloma D. Johnson, the charter school moved to a new location – another event that can lead to students withdrawing.

These decisions affect both regular and special education students. Similarly, many charters have packed waiting lists of regular and special education students seeking an alternative.

Overall, the board should be commended for seeking to understand patterns of parental choice. But it is important to consider these patterns in the proper context.

Andrea Rogers, Northeast Charter Schools Network

[This article originally appeared in The Buffalo News]


Posted by: CJ Macklin



Friday, December 06, 2013

81 Percent of Connecticut Charter Schools Out-Perform Host Districts in 2013 State Assessment
By CJ Macklin

For Immediate Release: Dec. 6, 2013
Contact: CJ Macklin, 518-390-5592, cjmacklin@necharters.org

81 Percent of Connecticut Charter Schools Out-Perform Host Districts in 2013 State Assessment

Hartford, Connecticut – This week, the Connecticut State Department of Education released its 2013 School and District Performance Reports, which evaluates student performance across the entire stateData from the report show Connecticut public charter schools continue to out-perform their local school districts on the state’s School Performance Index (SPI).

Most notably, the data found:

  • 81% of Connecticut charters scored higher than their host districts.
  • Charters were in the top 10 of all public schools in the state’s largest cities of Hartford, Bridgeport, and New Haven — even when including highly selective magnet schools.

The vast majority of charter schools also out-performed their host districts with at-risk student groups, including:

  • 86% with black students
  • 83%* with Latino students
  • 76%* with low-income students
  • 75% with “high need” students (combined special education, English language learner, and low-income students)

NECSN Connecticut State Director, Jeremiah Grace, made the following statement:

"These results show that the tireless efforts of our teachers and families are paying off. On average, the state’s charters are out-performing the district schools in their neighborhoods — even with the most at-risk students.

“While work remains, charters are showing promising results while teaching students in some of our most challenged communities. These results demonstrate why parental support for charter schools is higher than ever, and why state policymakers have made a commitment to grow the number of public charter schools across the state."

About the Northeast Charter Schools Network
The Northeast Charter Schools Network is a regional advocacy organization for the more than 200 charter schools in Connecticut and New York. Its mission is to support and expand high-quality charter schools in the region so that all students can receive a great public education.

* Please note that the Latino and low-income figures have been revised since the 12/6/13 version of this release.

834 Asylum Avenue, Hartford, CT 06105
http://necharters.org

###


Posted by: CJ Macklin



Friday, November 08, 2013

Connecticut SDE Issues Request for New Public Charter School Proposals  
By CJ Macklin

For Immediate Release: Nov. 8, 2013
Contact: CJ Macklin, 518-390-5592, cjmacklin@necharters.org

 

Connecticut SDE Issues Request for New Public Charter School Proposals

“We are thrilled to have another opportunity to expand our public charter school community and give more children the opportunity to go to a great school.” – Jeremiah Grace, Connecticut state director of the Northeast Charter Schools Network

Hartford, Connecticut – Today, the Connecticut State Department of Education issued its latest request for new public charter school proposals. Parents, teachers, community leaders and non-profit organizations from across the state can now submit their plans to provide more public school options for Connecticut families.

This comes just a few months after the first new public charter school in five years opened its door in Connecticut. Two more charters are scheduled to open next year.

The Northeast Charter Schools Network’s new-schools initiative is offering free support and technical assistance to charter applicants, as it did with two of the three new schools approved last spring.

Jeremiah Grace, Connecticut state director of NECSN, issued the following statement:

“We are thrilled to have another opportunity to expand our public charter school community and give more children the opportunity to go to a great school.

“We look forward to working with parents, teachers, community leaders and non-profits from across the state as they develop proposals to open more great public charter schools.”

About the Northeast Charter Schools Network
The Northeast Charter Schools Network is a regional advocacy organization for the more than 200 charter schools in Connecticut and New York. Its mission is to support and expand high-quality charter schools in the region so that all students can receive a great public education.

834 Asylum Avenue, Hartford, CT 06105
http://necharters.org

###


Posted by: CJ Macklin



Monday, October 07, 2013

Thousands of NYC Children, Parents & Teachers March to Have Their Voices Heard, Urge City Leaders to Support Public Charter Schools
By CJ Macklin

For Immediate Release: Oct. 8, 2013
Contact: CJ Macklin, 518-390-5592cjmacklin@necharters.org

 

Thousands of NYC Children, Parents & Teachers March to Have Their Voices Heard, Urge City Leaders to Support Public Charter Schools

“I applaud the brave parents, teachers and community leaders of this city for banding together and standing up for what they believe in: better schools for all children.” – Bill Phillips, president of the Northeast Charter Schools Network

New York, NY – Thousands of New York City students, parents and teachers marched across the Brooklyn Bridge today to communicate a simple message to the city’s leaders: charter school families need your support.

This comes just days after The New York Times/Siena College Poll released last week showed a resounding majority (See NECSN’s release here) of New York City likely voters favor creating more public charter schools. Support was bipartisan and citywide, extending to every ethnic, religious, age and income group, and among supporters of both major party mayoral candidates.

Bill Phillips, president of the Northeast Charter Schools Network, issued the following statement:

“Public charter schools are helping some of New York City’s most at-risk children break the cycle of poverty and walk the path to success in life.

“Like the advocates of the past, these brave parents, teachers and community leaders are marching to win a better future for their children.

“There were more than 50,000 names on charter school waiting lists last year, and charters are expected to enroll more than 90,000 students this year. The city still needs more great schools and with the support of local leaders, charters can help.

“But we need policies that will give more of the city’s children access to great public charter schools, not scare those schools away.”

[Click here for photos of the rally]

About the Northeast Charter Schools Network
The Northeast Charter Schools Network is a regional advocacy organization for the more than 200 charter schools in New York and Connecticut. Its mission is to support and expand high-quality charter schools in the region so that all students can receive a great public education.

915 Broadway, Suite 110, Albany NY, 12207
http://necharters.org
###


Posted by: CJ Macklin



Friday, October 04, 2013

New York Times/Siena Poll Shows Resounding Majority of New York City Voters Want More Public Charter Schools
By CJ Macklin

For Immediate Release: Oct. 4, 2013
Contact: CJ Macklin, 518-390-5592cjmacklin@necharters.org

New York Times/Siena Poll Shows Resounding Majority of New York City Voters Want More Public Charter Schools

New York, NY – The New York Times/Siena College Poll released today shows a resounding majority of New York City likely voters favor creating more public charter schools. Support is bipartisan and citywide, extending to every ethnic, religious, age and income group, and among supporters of both major party mayoral candidates.

The survey, showing a 56-34 percent support for more charter schools, comes just days before thousands of families, teachers and community leaders will rally on the Brooklyn Bridge next Tuesday to communicate a simple message to city and state leaders: charter school families need your support.

Bill Phillips, president of the Northeast Charter Schools Network, said:

“This poll shows that a resounding majority in New York City supports charter schools and wants more of them. This is what we hear from parents every day: charters help students break the cycle of poverty and walk the path to success in life. More good schools mean more opportunity for all children to get a great public education.”

“It’s clear that those in charge of our children’s education should listen to the people and help grow the charter community so all children can have access to a better future.”

The poll asked: “Do you support or oppose creating more charter schools?”  (Q19c)

The survey said charter support extends to all five boroughs and all age, ethnic and religious groups; political parties; educational backgrounds and income levels. Bill DeBlasio supporters favor more charters by 53-38 percent. Joseph Lhota supporters favor more charters by 67-21 percent. In union households, the issue is tied 46-46.

About the Northeast Charter Schools Network
The Northeast Charter Schools Network is a regional advocacy organization for the more than 200 charter schools in New York and Connecticut. Its mission is to support and expand high-quality charter schools in the region so that all students can receive a great public education.

915 Broadway, Suite 110, Albany NY, 12207
http://necharters.org

###


Posted by: CJ Macklin



Friday, October 04, 2013

The Facts on Charters
By Bill Phillips

Marcus Winters recently researched why public charter schools have fewer students with special needs than district schools (“The truth about charter schools and special education,” Op-Ed, Oct. 1), and the results confirm what charter schools have been saying for a while. Specifically, the report finds that charter schools “significantly reduce” the chance that a student is designated as needing special education services. He also debunks the myth that charters are “pushing out” students with special needs, finding that charter students actually are less likely to leave their school. I agree with Winters that special education quotas are bad policy and could result in kids getting classified needlessly. Charters do their best to educate all students who walk through their doors, and this report shows we are having some success.

Bill Phillips, Northeast Charter Schools Network

[This article originally appeared in the New York Daily News]


Posted by: CJ Macklin



Thursday, October 03, 2013

Teachers' Opposition To New Charter School Political
By Jeremiah Grace

It's disappointing to see representatives of the American Federation of Teachers put politics ahead of children this weekend by opposing the expansion of Achievement First Hartford Academy [Sept. 29, op-ed, "Hartford Board Hasty On Charter School"]. Rather than acknowledge the nationally recognized partnership between Achievement First and the Hartford Board of Education, the AFT is trying to scare the city council into doing its bidding.

Achievement First has the city's highest-performing neighborhood school, and its partnership already has brought more than $5 million in grants to Hartford. It would've been irresponsible for any city leader to oppose Achievement First's expansion over politics, just as it's irresponsible for the AFT to insinuate Achievement First abuses its lottery system when, in fact, it's the Hartford school system that manages the lottery.

Also, Achievement First takes disciplinary policies very seriously. It saw a problem with suspension rates and is working diligently to address the issue. However, the AFT seems unwilling or unable to address abysmal performances at many Hartford schools -- possibly one reason why Achievement First is, by far, the top choice for many Hartford parents.

Families deserve good schools. The political slant in the AFT's response suggests it has lost sight of this goal.

Jeremiah Grace, Hartford
The writer is Connecticut state director for the Northeast Charter Schools Network.

[This article originally appeared in The Hartford Courant]


Posted by: CJ Macklin



Monday, September 23, 2013

40 Groups Seek to Open New Charter Schools Across New York
By CJ Macklin

For Immediate Release: Sept. 23, 2013
Contact: CJ Macklin, 518-390-5592cjmacklin@necharters.org

 

40 Groups Seek to Open New Charter Schools Across New York

“With more than 90,000 students anticipated at charter schools this year, and another 50,000-plus names on waiting lists, New York families clearly want more public charter school options.” – Bill Phillips, president of the Northeast Charter Schools Network

Albany, NY – Forty groups recently took an important step towards opening new public charter schools in New York. Twelve have submitted full proposals to the SUNY Charter Schools Institute, while the State Education Department recently accepted 28 letters of intent.

These groups include a diverse array of teachers, community leaders and non-profit organizations located across the state: from Buffalo to Potsdam, and Oswego to Queens. Proposals were submitted in both charter-heavy communities and those with no charter schools at all.

Bill Phillips, president of the Northeast Charter Schools Network, made the following statement:

“With more than 90,000 students anticipated at charter schools this year, and another 50,000-plus names on waiting lists, New York families clearly want more public charter school options. The latest round of 40 applicants shows us that this demand remains strong.

“We look forward to supporting these groups as they take their ideas from proposal to reality. Every New York student deserves a great school, and charters play an important role in ensuring that happens.”

About the Northeast Charter Schools Network
The Northeast Charter Schools Network is a regional advocacy organization for the more than 200 charter schools in New York and Connecticut. Its mission is to support and expand high quality charter schools in the region.

915 Broadway, Suite 110, Albany NY, 12207
http://necharters.org
###


Posted by: CJ Macklin



Monday, September 16, 2013

'Recovery Districts' Could Help Turn Around Schools
By Bill Phillips

Education reform efforts in Buffalo are at the most precarious point in years. Frustration recently led Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, in painfully blunt language, to call for an end to the failure.

This is a particularly fragile time because Albany is focusing its lasers on government institutions that don’t deliver. Education is top of mind because it not only involves our most precious resource – children – but also the politically potent property tax issue.

But any policy that brings consequences without hope of improvement has a limited shelf life. To turn Buffalo’s schools around, we need to double down on providing something better.

No public provider – district, charter or BOCES – can alone solve the supply problem. We need a healthy mix and an environment from Albany that welcomes them all to the table.

Step one: Start with the money, and don’t pick sides. Rather than fund schools and systems, fund students and fund them equally no matter what type of public school they attend. That way all school operators know they have the security to start new schools and to expand good ones. Equal funding must include the charter school sector.

Step two: Instead of the whole district, the state should take over the worst 10 percent of schools, thus creating a “recovery district” that the state oversees but does not operate. A recovery district would have new leaders who would evaluate each school and its operator, and be free to replace leadership and staff as needed.

They could also create schools from scratch that are no more restricted than charters. This requires abandoning the threats of a complete state takeover.

Step three: Welcome new school proposals from district school leaders, teachers with the talent and experience to create better opportunities. Help the district find ways to steal charter-like freedoms and experiment with contracts that meet rather than limit good ideas. Give district staff the first chance to make new schools, but be willing to replace failure with other providers.

This approach would catalyze the creation of better schools, and at the same time it gives the school district breathing room to fix its middle tier of low performers – those that fall outside of the lowest 10 percent. While this would require a change in the law, there is no need to reinvent the wheel, because variations of this idea already exist in other states.

The commissioner, the Regents and the governor all deserve credit for standing up to opposition to their important reforms. Adult interests are attacking with a campaign that uses desperate families to deflect the responsibility of this educational disaster. Call their bluff. Give them an equal chance to create better schools, but be equally quick to take away their right to repeated failure.

Bill Phillips is president of the Northeast Charter School Network.

[This article originally appeared in The Buffalo News]


Posted by: CJ Macklin



Wednesday, September 11, 2013

A Big Choice in the Big Apple
By Bill Phillips

I understand if America’s view of New York City politics might be somewhat jaded – given that yesterday’s Democratic primary election ballot included serial soft-porn tweeter Anthony Wiener and former Gov. Eliot Spitzer (dubbed Client 9 in the hooker scandal that forced him from office).

Jaded or not, the results from last night’s Mayoral primaries will have a profound effect on one of the nation’s most robust public charter school environments. And voter decisions in the November general could dictate whether charters continue to grow in NYC or suffer a politically-inspired slowdown.

Republicans chose Joe Lhota as their mayoral candidate. He is a wonky, former deputy mayor to Republican Rudy Giuliani who was later named by Democratic Gov. Cuomo to run the city’s mass transit system.

On the Democratic side, the outcome is still uncertain. NYC Public Advocate Bill DeBlasio was the clear front-runner, but may have to face teacher union-backed former NYC Comptroller Bill Thompson in an October 1 run-off, if it turns out that DeBlasio did not receive 40% or more of the vote (he’s currently at 40.2%).

Whoever wins in November, the victor takes over for Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who during his 12 years in office has been a Herculean champion of charter schools.

New York charter school law is the purview of the state government in Albany and the next mayor will need to play nice with state lawmakers if he wants to enact other parts of his agenda. But the mayor can still influence on one of the most important issues to charters in New York City: real estate.

Bloomberg made waves when he gave charters access to space in city schools. By removing real estate as an obstacle, charters were able to focus on curriculum, students and school culture – especially important because New York charter students receive several thousand dollars less per pupil than children in district schools.

Lhota likes charters. It’s safe to assume that if he’s elected, the Bloombergian charter support can be expected to continue. He’s said he’d push to double the number of charters in the city.

DeBlasio and Thompson have each supported policies that would harm city charter schools. Whether it’s essentially taxing charter schools by charging them rent to use city school buildings, like DeBlasio wants; or otherwise throwing sand in the gears of charter growth by halting new co-locations, like both men want, the stakes are high for charters in this election.

Even though registered Democrats outnumber Republicans 6 to 1, the outcome in this election is not predetermined. Twenty-one percent of voters are independent and the city hasn’t elected a Democratic mayor since 1989. You can be sure the families of the nearly 70,000 students in NYC charters this school year, and the additional 50,000 on charter school waiting lists will be watching.

Bill Phillips is president of the Northeast Charter Schools Network.

[This article originally appeared on the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools' blog]


Posted by: CJ Macklin



Monday, September 09, 2013

Applause for Hartford Charter School Expansion
By Jeremiah Grace

Last week, the Hartford Board of Education voted to expand its nationally recognized collaboration with Achievement First Charter Schools, and parents and students stand to benefit [Aug. 28, news, "Charter Gets Green Light"].

Under the new agreement, Hartford will help Achievement First obtain facilities and funding needed to add 96 fifth-graders next year and eventually grow into a full middle school. The agreement also continues successful training partnerships and allows the two to share student test scores for state accountability purposes.

This is a tremendous opportunity for the city, and builds upon a successful history that has brought more than $5 million in grants to Hartford. 

As a regional organization operating in two states, we have seen some school districts go to great lengths to oppose public charter schools, including illegally withholding money meant for students. It's heartening to see the relationship flourish as it does in Hartford. 

There are still many inequities facing charter schools in Connecticut -- including a sizable difference in per-pupil funding -- but common-sense collaborations like these can help close that gap and give more children access to quality public schools.

Jeremiah Grace, Hartford
The writer is Connecticut state director for the Northeast Charter Schools Network.

[This article originally appeared in The Hartford Courant]


Posted by: CJ Macklin



Thursday, September 05, 2013

When Charters And Districts Collaborate, Parents And Kids Win
By Jeremiah Grace

Hartford is a national example of the success that is possible when school districts and public charter schools collaborate — and parents and students benefit most.

The Hartford Board of Education has voted to expand its nationally recognized collaboration with Achievement First, which currently operates three public charter schools in the city, serving students from grades K-10. Under the new agreement, Hartford will help Achievement First obtain facilities and funding needed to add 96 fifth graders at a fourth public charter school next year.

The school will add grades in subsequent years, and will grow into a full-sized middle school. The agreement continues successful training partnerships in school leadership and data-driven instruction between Achievement First and Hartford Public Schools.

Achievement First and the district also share student test scores for state accountability purposes.

The opening of a new Achievement First school in Hartford is a tremendous opportunity for Hartford families. Achievement First Hartford Academy Elementary and Middle Schools are already the highest performing neighborhood schools in the City of Hartford, according to Hartford Public Schools’ performance index. The elementary school is, by far, the No. 1 choice for parents of kindergarten students in the district’s citywide open-enrollment system. And, it is stable. The school has a low 6 percent attrition rate of students who leave for another school in the city.

This is a clear win-win for everyone, especially Hartford kids in need of better public school options.

But how did we get here?

In 2008, the Connecticut General Assembly created a pilot program for public charter schools and districts in the state’s three biggest cities to create these voluntary agreements.

Hartford Public Schools and Achievement First were the first ones to give it a try, and they were eventually rewarded for their pioneering spirit with significant philanthropic support. In 2010, Hartford received a $100,000 grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation’s district-charter compact initiative, which grew to a new $5 million grant in 2012.

Now, Hartford’s success is on the national radar. It was recently rated as one of the most successful collaborations by the Center on Reinventing Public Education.

This success also led state lawmakers, such as Gov. Dannel P. Malloy and State Education Committee Chairman Andy Fleischmann, to strip the “pilot” label and make this a permanent program in the state’s 30 lowest-performing school districts.

I’d like to commend them and other legislative leaders for leading the charge to expand this successful program.

As a regional organization operating in two states, we have seen some school districts go to great lengths to oppose the very existence of public charter schools in their towns — including illegally withholding money meant for students. We’ve also seen other district-charter partnerships fall apart. That’s why it’s heartening to see the relationship flourish as it does in Hartford.

There are still many inequities facing public charter school students in Connecticut – including a sizable difference in per-pupil funding – but, common-sense collaborations like these can help close that gap and give more children access to quality public schools.

Jeremiah Grace is Connecticut state director of the Northeast Charter Schools Network.

[This article originally appeared in the CT Mirror and The Norwalk Hour


Posted by: CJ Macklin



Tuesday, September 03, 2013

First New Connecticut Public Charter School in Five Years Opens Today in Waterbury
By CJ Macklin

For Immediate Release: Sept. 4, 2013
Contact: CJ Macklin, 518-390-5592, cjmacklin@necharters.org

First New Connecticut Public Charter School in Five Years Opens Today in Waterbury
Brass City Charter School will educate some of city’s most at-risk children

Hartford, Connecticut – Today, Brass City Charter School opened its doors to 114 new students for its first day of class. The Waterbury, Conn. school, which was approved by the Connecticut State Board of Education in June, is the first new public charter school to open since 2008.

Beginning with grades pre-K through first, Brass City will educate some of the most at-risk students in the state’s fourth-largest city. Its goal is to eventually expand into a full elementary and middle school. School administrator, Barbara Ruggiero, and Northeast Charter Schools Network Connecticut State Director, Jeremiah Grace, made the following statement:

“Our goal is to provide some of Waterbury’s most underserved children with a high-quality education and a strong social and emotional learning program. Brass City will enable students to soar academically and develop as people of character, leading meaningful and productive lives both for themselves and for their community,” Ruggiero said. “This is an exciting day for us, and it is an exciting day for our students as they begin a new chapter in their academic lives.”

“As Waterbury’s first public charter school, Brass City is playing a major role in closing our state’s worst-in-the-nation achievement gap. Their efforts will help ensure that more public school students get a great education, regardless of race, wealth or zip code.” Grace said. “We look forward to working with Brass City as they grow and expand, and encourage other community groups to come together to open additional good schools in the city."

[Click here for photos of the first day of school.]

About the Northeast Charter Schools Network
The Northeast Charter Schools Network is a regional advocacy organization for the more than 200 charter schools in Connecticut and New York. Its mission is to support and expand high quality charter schools in the region.

846 Asylum Avenue, Hartford, CT 06105
http://necharters.org

###


Posted by: CJ Macklin



Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Hartford BOE, Achievement First Charter Schools Build Upon Strong History with Expanded Relationship
By CJ Macklin

For Immediate Release: Aug. 27, 2013
Contact: CJ Macklin, 518-390-5592, cjmacklin@necharters.org

Hartford BOE, Achievement First Charter Schools Build Upon Strong History with Expanded Relationship

Hartford, Connecticut – Today, the Hartford Board of Education approved the expansion of its collaboration agreement with Achievement First Hartford charter school. Under this new agreement, Hartford will help Achievement First obtain funding and facilities to add 96 fifth graders at a fourth public charter school next year. The school will add grades and grow into a full-sized middle school in subsequent years.

This marks the latest development in a nationally recognized collaboration between Hartford and Achievement First, and builds upon a successful history of cooperation that recently led state legislators to expand this voluntary program and make it available to 30 other low-performing school districts. Northeast Charter Schools Network Connecticut State Director, Jeremiah Grace, made the following statement:

“Hartford is a national example of the success that is possible when school districts and public charter schools collaborate — and parents and students benefit most. This expansion will ensure more Hartford public school students and their parents have access to a high-quality public school option and is a clear win-win for everyone. I’d like to commend the Hartford BOE and Achievement First for their vision and persistence in ensuring that every child has access to a good education, regardless of race, wealth or zip code.”

About the Northeast Charter Schools Network
The Northeast Charter Schools Network is a regional advocacy organization for the more than 200 charter schools in Connecticut and New York. Its mission is to support and expand high quality charter schools in the region. 

846 Asylum Avenue, Hartford, CT 06105
http://necharters.org

###


Posted by: CJ Macklin



Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Connecticut Charter Community Continues to Make Progress in Closing Achievement Gap with Latest Test Results
By CJ Macklin

For Immediate Release: Aug. 13, 2013
Contact: CJ Macklin, 518-390-5592cjmacklin@necharters.org

Connecticut Charter Community Continues to Make Progress in Closing Achievement Gap with Latest Testing Results

Hartford, Connecticut – Today, the State Department of Education released the results from its Connecticut Mastery Test (CMT) (grades 3-8) and the Connecticut Academic Performance Test (CAPT) (grade 10).

Based on the high CMT standard of "goal" or above, Connecticut charter schools continued to out-perform their host districts, by an average of 9 points in reading and 13 points in math. More than two thirds of the state's charters (10 of 14) outperformed their host district in both subjects. Some charters are even approaching statewide averages in reading and math – a significant feat considering the statewide average includes affluent communities while the host district average is more heavily weighted towards high-poverty districts. Some of Connecticut's highest-performing charters are even exceeding those statewide averages in math, such as New Haven’s Elm City College Preparatory and Manchester’s Odyssey Community School. 

On the CAPT, charter high school student performance was mixed, with the charter average outpacing host districts by 7 points in reading, but lagging by 8 points in math.

NECSN Connecticut State Director, Jeremiah Grace, made the following statement:

"It is significant that, on average, Connecticut's charter schools are both out-performing their host districts in both reading and math, and some are even approaching statewide averages that include the best schools in a state with the worst-in-the-nation achievement gap. While work remains, charters are showing promising results while teaching students in some of our most challenged communities. These results demonstrate why parental support for more charter schools is higher than ever, and why state policymakers have made a commitment to grow the number of public charter school seats across the state."

About the Northeast Charter Schools Network
The Northeast Charter Schools Network is a regional advocacy organization for the more than 200 charter schools in Connecticut and New York. Its mission is to support and expand high quality charter schools in the region.

846 Asylum Avenue, Hartford, CT 06105
http://necharters.org

### 


Posted by: CJ Macklin



Wednesday, August 07, 2013

State's Latest Testing Snapshot Reveals New Baseline for All Schools Across the State
By CJ Macklin

For Immediate Release: Aug. 7, 2013

Contact: CJ Macklin, 518-390-5592cjmacklin@necharters.org

State’s Latest Testing Snapshot Reveals New Baseline for All Schools Across the State

Albany, NY – Today, the New York State Education Department released scores from the 2013 English language arts and mathematics exams, effectively setting a new bar for school performance. Charter schools performed as well as the state average in mathematics, but underperformed the state in English language arts. These schools continued to exceed the host district averages in both subjects, emphasizing their importance to educationally struggling areas. Bill Phillips, President of the Northeast Charter Schools Network (formerly the New York Charter Schools Association) said:

“These new baseline scores are bracing. Despite better relative performance in math and English when compared to host districts, the hard reality is most charter schools are challenged by low proficiency rates. Fortunately, charters are known for being flexible and accountable for performance, because we all have a lot of work to do.”

About the Northeast Charter Schools Network
The Northeast Charter Schools Network is a regional advocacy organization for the more than 200 charter schools in New York and Connecticut. Its mission is to support and expand high quality charter schools in the region.

915 Broadway, Suite 110, Albany NY, 12207
http://necharters.org

###


Posted by: CJ Macklin



Wednesday, June 26, 2013

CT State Department of Education Approves New Haven Montessori Charter School
By CJ Macklin

For Immediate Release: July 15, 2013
Contact: CJ Macklin, 518-390-5592cjmacklin@necharters.org

Connecticut State Department of Education Approves New Haven Montessori Charter School

Hartford, Connecticut – Today, the Connecticut State Department of Education approved Elm City Montessori Charter School in New Haven, the final step in paving the way for the city’s first public Montessori school to open. Elm City Montessori will be Connecticut’s third new charter school approved this year, as well as the state’s only “local” charter school (click here for an infographic tracking the growth of Connecticut charter schools). Local charter schools are overseen by the state and funded by local school districts, while receiving a $3,000-per-student state grant. NECSN Connecticut State Director, Jeremiah Grace, made the following statement.

“The approval of Elm City Montessori Charter School is a step in the right direction for New Haven’s public school system. The school has broad public and parent support, and is highly desired by the local board of education. Elm City Montessori will provide a lifeline to some of the over 900 names currently stuck on charter school waiting lists in New Haven, as well as another desperately needed quality pre-K program.

“We’d like to commend the New Haven Board of Education for offering more high-quality options to its children, and commend the state for approving the school’s application. We look forward to working with the board, the school and the State Department of Education to ensure that more students have access to a quality public school education, regardless of race, wealth or zip code.”

About the Northeast Charter Schools Network
The Northeast Charter Schools Network is a regional advocacy organization for the more than 200 charter schools in Connecticut and New York. Its mission is to support and expand high quality charter schools in the region.

846 Asylum Avenue, Hartford, CT 06105
http://necharters.org

###


Posted by: CJ Macklin



Thursday, June 20, 2013

NECSN Praises Lawmakers for Championing Public Charter School Children
By CJ Macklin

For Immediate Release: June 20, 2013
Contact: CJ Macklin, 518-390-5592cjmacklin@necharters.org

Northeast Charter Schools Network Praises Connecticut Lawmakers for Championing
Public Charter School Children

Hartford, Connecticut – Yesterday, Governor Dannel P. Malloy signed into law Connecticut’s biennial state budget (Public Act 13-247), capping off a very successful legislative session for public charter school students.

Gov. Malloy, a major champion of education reform, successfully worked with the General Assembly to fund the vast majority of last year's education reform package (Public Act 12-116) – despite declining state revenues. In addition to increasing funding to help close the per-pupil funding gap between charter and district schools, Connecticut lawmakers were able to expand an innovative district/charter partnership program to more than 30 districts and provide funding to offer more new charter school seats to the nearly 4,000 kids stuck on waitlists.

(Click here for an infographhic tracking the growth of Connecticut charter schools).

“Gov. Malloy and the legislature continue to make strong and steady progress this session in ensuring that every child has access to a high-quality public school education. Their leadership has provided a lifeline to the 65,000 Connecticut kids still stuck in failing schools,” Jeremiah Grace, NECSN Connecticut State Director, said. “While we still have a long way to go in order to close Connecticut’s worst-in-the-nation achievement gap, we look forward to continuing to work with Gov. Malloy and the General Assembly on behalf of all public charter school children.”

Key education reform measures that passed during the 2013 legislative session include:

  • Per-pupil funding increases for charter students: The budget includes per-pupil funding increases for public charter school students ($10.5K/pupil in FY14 and $11K/pupil in FY15 and beyond).
  • Over $11 million for eight new charter schools: The budget also provides more than $11 million in funding for the first new charter schools in five years, with four new state charter schools and four new local charter schools.
  • Innovative district/charter collaborations: The District Partnership law (Public Act 13-206) allows charters in 30 of the lowest-performing school districts to form collaborations with their host districts in exchange for sharing the charter's test scores. There is great potential in this law because it is entirely voluntary and there are a number of ways districts and charters can creatively design mutually beneficial arrangements.

About the Northeast Charter Schools Network
The Northeast Charter Schools Network is a regional advocacy organization advocating for charter schools in Connecticut and New York. Its mission is to support and expand high quality charter schools in the region.

846 Asylum Avenue, Hartford, CT 06105
http://necharters.org

###


Posted by: CJ Macklin



Thursday, June 13, 2013

New York charter schools forced to redirect millions of dollars away from classrooms to pay for facilities, new study finds
By CJ Macklin

For Immediate Release: June 13, 2013
Contact: CJ Macklin, 518-390-5592, cjmacklin@necharters.org

New York charter schools forced to redirect millions of dollars away from classrooms to pay for facilities, new study finds

First-Ever Statewide Survey of Charter Schools Finds Charters Forced to Spend Up to 17% of
Operating Costs on Facilities

Advocates Call for Facilities Financing and Expanded Access to Space Inside Public Buildings

June 13, 2013 (New York, NY)—An average-sized New York charter school with 254 students in private space is diverting more than $515,000 each year out of the classroom to pay for facilities that traditional public schools get for free, according to a first-ever study released today about charter school facilities funding. The study, conducted by the New York City Charter School Center and Northeast Charter Schools Network in partnership with the Colorado League of Charter schools, surveyed the state’s 184 charter schools (as of the 2011-2012 school year) about where they house their schools.

Survey results found that New York charter schools in private space spend on average $2,025 per pupil (15% of total) to pay rent or mortgage. In New York City, where 38% of charters are in private space, schools spend on average $2,350 per pupil (17% of total) on their buildings—dollars that would otherwise pay for teachers, guidance counselors and instructional materials, among other things.

The survey found that many charters in both private and public space lack basic amenities such as auditoriums, cafeterias and playgrounds. Libraries, music rooms and science labs are each present in less than half of charter schools.

“Charter schools are asking for basic fairness when it comes to educating their public school students and a system that forces schools to take funds out of the classroom to pay rent is clearly one that is broken,” said James Merriman, CEO of the New York City Charter School Center.  “These struggles will only intensify as the demand for charter schools continues to grow across the state. With 45,000 new seats needed over the next four years, we need to address this problem today and make sure that students have access to the great public schools they want to attend.”

"This is about funding equity. Charter schools teach some of our state's most at-risk children, and we should be sure they receive their fair share of public support," said Bill Phillips, President of the Northeast Charter Schools Network. "It is time for a serious discussion about how to restructure the school finance system so all students benefit from the same investment." 

Charter advocates recognize that colocation, while critically important, cannot be the only solution because there isn’t enough space to accommodate every school. As such, the report lays out four recommendations to address the funding inequities and provide charters with easier access to space. It asks state and local officials to:

  • Create a steady source of funding for charter school facilities.  New York State should create a new, annual funding stream for charter schools’ facility needs. Like funding for charter school operations, charter facility funding would be allocated on a per-pupil basis. Unlike operating funds, facility funding could be paid from the state budget and not require reallocating funds from within school districts’ budgets.
  • Continue the practice of colocation in NYC, and require other districts to share available space also.  New York City’s next mayor should respect charter schools’ existing colocation arrangements and approach new siting decisions—for charter and district schools—with a genuine commitment to fairness, transparency and educational choice.
  • Ensure that new funding programs foster equity, autonomy, and accountability.  A new system for charter school facility funding requires more than dollars and must take into account charter schools’ autonomy. For example, new funding should not simply flow through existing state programs, such as building aid, which are burdensome to administrators and not designed for charter schools.
  • Make equitable, student-based funding a reality for all public schools, district or charter.  Equal facility funding for charter and district school students would resolve a severe inequity, but other problems would remain. New York’s entire system for financing public education is on an unsustainable and inequitable path. Spending mandates, tax caps, and incompletely implemented reforms from past years all prevent education funding from benefitting all students equitably.

 “Without facilities funding, we were forced to break our school up into two parts, and the geographic division of our campus is a major strain on the daily work of our staff.  Half of our school is housed in a portable trailer provided by NYC DOE rent-free and the other half is in private space in a Catholic school building; the two halves are separated by a 20-minute walk. This means we have to pay for staff at each location; two deans to handle discipline issues rather than one, two front-office administrators rather than one – it really adds up. And, just as important, we aren’t able to have as much teacher collaboration at all grade levels as other public schools housed in the same building.  When we have staff meetings or professional development opportunities, not everyone is able to attend because of the distance. It’s very unfortunate, but we make the best of what we have,” said Christina Reyes, School Leader of Inwood Academy for Leadership Charter School, in Upper Manhattan. 

The space crunch will only grow as existing charters grow to scale and new schools come on line to meet some of the overwhelming demand from families across the state. New York State is likely to need 45,000 new charter seats in the next four years and colocation can only address part of the problem. Even if public space continues to be available, an estimated 30,000 other seats will be needed in the next four years just to keep up with demand.

A link to the full study can be found here

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The New York City Charter School Center is an independent non-profit committed to fostering an environment in which public charters can open and flourish, and, through their innovative approaches, provide models for improving all public schools. The Charter Center helps new charter schools get started, supports existing schools, and engages the charter school community around key issues.

The Northeast Charter Schools Network is a regional advocacy organization advocating for charter schools in New York and Connecticut. Its mission is to support and expand high quality charter schools in the region.

About NYC’s/NYS’ Charter Schools
Charter schools are free, independently run public schools that are able to innovate in their classroom structures, curriculum, and teaching methods. In return, they’re held to higher standards of accountability. More than 90 percent of the City’s charter school students are African-American or Latino, and more than 75 percent are from low-income families. There are currently 159 public charter schools serving students in all five boroughs, with a total of more than 200 schools across the state. All together an estimated 75,000 students in New York attend charter schools.


Posted by: CJ Macklin



Thursday, June 06, 2013

NECSN Praises GA for Keeping Promises to Connecticut Public School Children
By CJ Macklin

For Immediate ReleaseJune 06, 2013
Contact: CJ Macklin, 518-390-5592cjmacklin@necharters.org

Northeast Charter Schools Network Praises General Assembly for Keeping Promises to Connecticut Public School Children

Hartford, Connecticut – Last night, the Connecticut General Assembly passed Connecticut’s biennial state budget, which will fund education reform efforts for the next two years. The budget maintains key measures outlined in Gov. Malloy’s original proposal – including fairer per-pupil funding for public charter school students ($10.5K/pupil in FY14 and $11K/pupil in FY15) and money for more new charter schools (four new state charters and four new local charters). NECSN Connecticut State Director, Jeremiah Grace, made the following statement:

“We are grateful that the General Assembly has demonstrated their seriousness about improving Connecticut’s public education system. Their efforts will go a long way towards creating a fairer playing field for all public school children, including charter students. The per-pupil funding increases they’ve granted will help close Connecticut’s worst-in-the-nation achievement gap, and the money for more charters will act as a lifeline for the 65,000 Connecticut kids still stuck in failing public schools.

“Our state still has a long way to go to ensure that every child receives a high-quality education, regardless of race, wealth or zip code, but this budget is a major step in the right direction. We would like to praise the General Assembly for their steadfast efforts towards education reform, and look forward to continuing our efforts in improving the educational experience for all of Connecticut’s children.”

About the Northeast Charter Schools Network
The Northeast Charter Schools Network is a regional advocacy organization advocating for the more than 200 charter schools in Connecticut and New York. Its mission is to support and expand high quality charter schools in the region.

846 Asylum Avenue, Hartford, CT 06105
http://necharters.org

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Posted by: CJ Macklin



Wednesday, June 05, 2013

Connecticut State Board of Education Approves First New Public Charter Schools In Over Five Years
By CJ Macklin

For Immediate ReleaseJune 05, 2013
Contact: CJ Macklin, 518-390-5592cjmacklin@necharters.org

Connecticut State Board of Education Approves First New Public Charter Schools In Over Five Years

Hartford, Connecticut – Today, the Connecticut State Board of Education approved Brass City Charter School in Waterbury and Path Academy in Windham, paving the way for the first new public charter schools to open since 2008. NECSN Connecticut State Director, Jeremiah Grace, made the following statement regarding the schools.

“The approval of Brass City Charter School and Path Academy mark a significant step forward in providing more high-quality public school options to the families of Connecticut. We are incredibly heartened to see that the State Board of Education looked at the 4,000 names on public charter school waitlists and decided to move forward with its first two new state charter school applications in more than five years.

“These schools will help close our state’s worst-in-the-nation achievement gap by acting as a lifeline to the 65,000 Connecticut kids still stuck in failing public schools. We congratulate the State Board and the schools for their hard work, and we know they are ready and eager to serve communities in need. This momentum needs to continue as lawmakers finalize funding for these new schools in the home stretch of the budget process.”

About the Northeast Charter Schools Network
The Northeast Charter Schools Network is a regional advocacy organization advocating for the more than 200 charter schools in Connecticut and New York. Its mission is to support and expand high quality charter schools in the region.

846 Asylum Avenue, Hartford, CT 06105
http://necharters.org

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Posted by: CJ Macklin



Thursday, May 02, 2013

NECSN Joins Gov. Malloy, Students & Clergy to Urge State Legislators Not to Back Down from Education Reform

For Immediate ReleaseMay 2, 2013
Contact: CJ Macklin, 518-390-5592, cjmacklin@necharters.org

Northeast Charter Schools Network Joins Gov. Malloy, Students & Clergy to Urge State Legislators Not to Back Down from Education Reforms

Hartford, Connecticut – Today, the Northeast Charter Schools Network (NECSN) joined Governor Dannel P. Malloy, students and clergy to rally on the steps of the State Capitol and urge state legislators not to back down from key parts of last year’s education reform law (Public Act 12-116). In April, the joint Appropriations Committee released their biennial budget proposal. This budget would invest $47.1 million less in education reform measures than the governor’s proposal and essentially gut funding for new charter schools. Now, lawmakers are preparing to make final decisions on a state budget, which will fund education reform for the next two years. NECSN Connecticut State Director, Jeremiah Grace, made the following statement regarding the rally.

“We are here today to urge state lawmakers to not back down on investing in our kids and their future. For too long, thousands of our school children have suffered from low-performing schools. Gov. Malloy’s budget proposal would go a long way to improve our public education system. It treats public charter students more like their district school friends when it comes to funding and increases access to high-performing public charters.

“Given the serious budget constraints our state is under, we are grateful the Appropriations Committee is attempting to keep one of the key promises made to our children in last year’s education reform law – to better fund the state’s charter schools. However, attempts by certain legislators to try and renegotiate last year’s law and strip these efforts to improve our education system are unacceptable.”

About the Northeast Charter Schools Network
The Northeast Charter Schools Network is a regional advocacy organization advocating for the more than 200 charter schools in Connecticut and New York. Its mission is to support and expand high quality charter schools in the region.

846 Asylum Avenue, Hartford, CT 06105
http://necharters.org

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Posted by: CJ Macklin



Monday, April 29, 2013

RALLY: Students, parents and clergy urging state legislators not to back down from education reforms

Media Contacts:

CJ Macklin, Northeast Charter Schools Network (NECSN)
Phone: (518) 390-5592
Email: cjmacklin@necharters.org

Brett Broesder, Connecticut Coalition for Achievement Now (ConnCAN)
Phone: (406) 565-0083
Email: Brett.broesder@conncan.org

 

HARTFORD, CT. – Students, parents and clergy will gather on the north steps of the Capitol building at 5:45 p.m. on Thursday, May 2 urging state legislators not to back down from key measures in last year’s education reform law (Public Act 12-116).

The education reform bill, passed last year by the state legislature with overwhelming support and signed by Governor Dannel P. Malloy, grows high-performing public school options, provides fairer funding for public charter school students, and creates a Commissioner’s Network to turnaround our state’s chronically failing schools.

Families across Connecticut want state legislators and the governor to continue investing in education reforms. A recent Global Strategy Group survey of more than 600 Connecticut voters found that 73 percent – 79 percent of Democrats and 64 percent of Republicans – support continuing the education reforms included in last year’s landmark law.

Now, lawmakers are making decisions on a budget that will fund education reforms for the next two year’s. Gov. Malloy’s budget proposal continues to invest in key education reform measures. But, the Appropriations Committee recently backed down from their commitment to our kids by gutting $47.1 million from education reforms in their proposed budget.

  • WHO:  Governor Dannel P. Malloy, parents and kids from across Connecticut
  • WHAT: Rally urging state legislators not to back down from education reforms
  • WHEN: Thursday, May 2 @ 5:45 p.m.
  • WHERE:  State Capitol (North steps – facing Bushnell Park) Hartford, CT.

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Posted by: CJ Macklin