Charter Pulse

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CONNECTICUT: Charters are high-performing public schools for kids

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John Spink, AJC

For too long, thousands of Connecticut’s children suffered from low performing schools.

Thankfully, the legislature and governor last year went a long way toward fixing the problem by passing an education reform law (Public Act 12-116) that helps ensure every child has a good public school they can go to – whether it’s a charter school, magnet school or a district school.

Last year’s education reform law is good because it allows for more high-performing charter schools and starts to treat charter students more like their district school friends when it comes to funding.

When they passed the education reform law, lawmakers basically promised our children that every one of them will have a chance to go to a good school no matter where they live or how much money their family has.

But then in December, state legislators turned around and cut education funding by $11.4 million. Nearly half of this came from programs started just last year in the education reform law. That included $2 million that was set aside for charter school students, or about $300 per child.

It’s wrong for lawmakers to break a promise, especially a promise made to the children of our state.

Fortunately, in his biennial budget proposal, Governor Dannel P. Malloy protected the promises made to our students with last year’s education reform law by restoring most of the funds to charter school students.

As a way to increase awareness about high-performing charters, ConnCAN has put together a list of quick facts about our state’s charter public schools, including:

  • Nearly 80 percent of Connecticut’s charter public schools out-perform other schools in their host districts, according to the School Performance Index data from the State Department of Education.
  • Charter public schools are providing a high-quality public education for kids despite receiving considerably less money than other public schools.
  • Parents are waiting in line to get their kids into charters with almost as many kids stuck on wait lists than currently enrolled.
  • To meet this demand, 27 letters of interest have been received by the State Department of Education from folks interested in launching charters in Connecticut. The state didn’t accept applications for new charters at all in either 2006 or 2009.
  • Charters are helping students who need it the most, with more than 90 percent of existing and proposed charters located in the lowest-performing districts in Connecticut.

Now lawmakers are putting together the new state budget. We know times are tough but we’re telling them it would be wrong to dial back steps they took just last year that would provide great teachers, principals and public schools for all of our children.

Lawmakers have a responsibility to keep these promises to our children and our future.

Source: Great Schools for All (blog) – by Jennifer Alexander (Acting CEO, ConnCAN)

View more articles on Connecticut charter schools

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This entry was posted on March 27, 2013 by in Advocacy, Charter Schools, Connecticut.

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