Thursday, November 11, 2010

:: UPDATED 11/12 :: NEW REVOCATION REGS FOR LOW-SCORING CHARTER SCHOOLS: About 2 percent could be hauled before State Board of Ed

-----------------SEE UPDATE FOLLOWINg ------------------

By John Fensterwald - Educated Guess |

Posted on 11/10/10 • After months of public comments and revisions, the State Board of Education on Tuesday passed new regulations for closing down low-achieving charter schools that one charter leader praised and another charter leader condemned.

Each year, the State Board will consider revoking charters of schools whose  API scores fall in the bottom 10 percent two consecutive years and also haven’t risen at least 50 points in the previous three years. Those schools, which must be at least five years old, will then be entitled to a hearing, at which they can cite evidence why they shouldn’t be closed. The Board will have the discretion of requiring corrective actions or revoking the charter.

The law, which will go into effect next year, will probably ensnare an estimated 15 charter schools initially. That represents less than 2 percent of the state’s 900 charter schools.

The State Board acted in response to criticism that charter authorizers, usually districts, have been lax in taking action against failing charter schools.

“For many years, local authorizers have been inconsistent in their evaluation of charter schools, which has left some lower performing charter schools without rigorous oversight or corrective intervention,” said Jed Wallace, president and CEO of the California Charter Schools Assn., in praising the board’s action.

Wallace  also said that early next year, the association will be recommending the adoption of higher standards for the renewal of charters,  which is usually every five  years.

But Eric Premack,  director of the Sacramento-based Charter School Development Center, said that some elementary schools are now in the lowest decile with API above 700 – a respectable score. They will be shut down by a “kangaroo court” of State Board members who will feel political pressure to act tough on charters, he said.

Premack also predicted that some effective charter schools serving at-risk children and former dropouts will be shut down. These will never have high API scores, and it’s difficult, without spending considerable time in the schools, to tell which ones are successful, he said.

Schools where 70 percent of the students are in high-risk groups – recovering dropouts,  habitual truants — will be exempt from the  revocation regulation. But Premack said that schools serving lower numbers of these vulnerable students  will now feel pressure not to admit them – out of fear that they would lower the charter’s test scores.

If they aren’t formally designated as an exempt alternative school, “they’ll be dead meat,” Premack predicted.



from ccsa captol update by Colin Miller – Vice President, Policy, Tanya Wolters – Manager, Governmental Affairs, Nicole Virga-Bautista – Legislative and Policy Assistant |

November 12, 2010

We have important information for you today on recent State Board of Education (SBE) actions affecting charter schools during the SBE meeting in Sacramento this week and changes to the state budget situation.

SBE Charter School Revocation Regulations

This week, the SBE voted in favor of approving new regulations that establish academic standards and lay out a clear process for triggering close reviews of charter schools that may result in their revocation by the SBE.

The proposed regulations would evaluate all charter schools five years and older each year. A school that has had a statewide API rank of 1 for two consecutive years, failed to gain 50 cumulative points on its API over the last three years, and is not classified as an Alternative School Accountability Model (ASAM) school, would be identified by the SBE and then evaluated further on additional data that could help demonstrate whether the school's program is adding significant value to students.

Upon this deeper analysis, the SBE could impose a wide range of interventions or corrective action, up to and including revocation and closure of the charter school. The proposed regulations will go to the Office of Administrative Law (OAL) for official enactment around January 2011. However, the SBE may provide notice to schools that are identified under the metric this year, even though the regulations will not apply fully in 2010-11.

This is a victory for charter schools and CCSA. We worked closely with the California Department of Education (CDE) and SBE staff to test and evaluate various proposals to make sure the final metric and process were aligned with our principal of school evaluation. The regulations approved by the SBE are very much in line with the accountability work that CCSA has been leading, with our members, for some time now. The SBE's common sense metric analyzes multiple years of data over a period of time, offering an early warning system that empowers charter schools to take corrective steps before any revocation procedure is considered.

SBE Charter School Revocation Process and Appeal Regulations

The SBE also voted in favor of approving regulations that establish clear timelines, processes and procedural protections for charter schools facing potential revocation or revocation appeals. CCSA has been working closely with the CDE and SBE for over two years to enact these regulations and we believe they will provide considerable clarity for potential revocations. These regulations will be released for a final 15 day public comment period before going to OAL, but we do not anticipate any further revisions.

Renewal Process and Appeal Regulations

Additionally, the SBE voted in favor of beginning the approval process for regulations that may establish clear timelines, processes and procedural protections for charter schools as they submit for petition renewal. These regulations will be released for an initial 45 day public comment period, and we expect future discussions and revisions as the regulations move forward. These and all proposed regulations will be posted HERE. Charter schools are encouraged to review these regulations and provide comment.


  • Sharon Scott Dow

    November 10, 2010 • 1:20 pm

  • I wonder if people pushing for the elimination of low performing charters are the same ones that like to fund evaluations comparing charters to regular public schools.

  • CarolineSF

    November 10, 2010 • 2:45 pm

    Quick, somebody name one of those innovations supposedly being pioneered by charter schools.

    Can’t think of any?


    OK, so can we put that myth to rest? 

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