February 15th, 2012
02:00 PM ET

Charter school pays students to attend

Dohn Community High School, a charter school in Ohio, pays students to attend, CNN affiliate WLWT reported. It helped, at least for the first day: Attendance was at 100%. The money comes from Easter Seals and private donations; seniors get $25 a week and younger kids get $10. Every time students get paid, $5 goes into a savings account they can access when they graduate.

What do you think? Should schools pay students to attend?

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Filed under: Charter schools • Economy • video
February 15th, 2012
06:50 AM ET

Controversy over school's fine policy

Judy Browne-Dianis, Advancement Project co-director, explains why she is protesting a Chicago charter school's policies.

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Filed under: Charter schools • Issues • Policy • Voices
January 25th, 2012
07:45 AM ET

My View: Education reform based on school choice

Andrew Campanella By Andrew Campanella, Special to CNN

Editor’s note: Andrew Campanella is the vice president of public affairs for National School Choice Week. He is the former national director of communications at the American Federation for Children, the school choice movement’s largest lobbying and political organization, and was also a senior adviser for the federation’s nonprofit affiliate, the Alliance for School Choice.

For a moment, try to envision an America where, regardless of how much money you make or where you live, the government empowered you - even encouraged you - to send your children to better schools.

I’m talking about schools that inspire your children, challenge them to excel, and encourage them to dream big and plan for their futures, all while teaching them to love learning.

Sounds impossible. Sounds impractical. Sounds expensive.

But it isn’t.

It’s called school choice, and it’s the notion that across the country, families should be empowered to choose the best educational environments for their children - public schools, public charter schools, private schools, virtual schools and even home schooling.

Millions of Americans now agree that we must abandon archaic central planning that told us that if you live in one ZIP code, you can choose only one public school. Choice has become a centerpiece of American life, so why shouldn’t it extend to education?

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Filed under: At Home • Charter schools • Issues • Policy • School choice • Voices
Five minute primer: School choice
January 24th, 2012
07:45 AM ET

Five minute primer: School choice

By John Martin, CNN

More than likely, when you were growing up there were three education options: your neighborhood public school, private school, and maybe homeschooling. Since the early 1990s, the options have expanded to include virtual schools, charter schools and school vouchers, among others. Those are the kinds of options being celebrated by the organizers of National School Choice Week through more than 300 events around the country this week. More than 25 governors have issued proclamations supporting School Choice Week in their states.

School choice is a multi-faceted concept that encompasses several education options, including the ability to enroll a student in a charter school, online school, homeschool or to receive school vouchers. If you've heard these terms before, you know that there is a debate over these options. If you’ve got five minutes, here’s a primer that will help to break down some of the components of school choice. FULL POST

Filed under: Charter schools • Issues • Policy
January 20th, 2012
11:17 AM ET

Mission to educate

CNN Student News anchor Carl Azuz talks with former NFL star Derrick Brooks about his work in the field of education.

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Filed under: Charter schools • Extracurricular • Voices
January 2nd, 2012
11:59 AM ET

Today's Reading List

Here's what the editors of Schools of Thought are reading today:

USA Today:  Schools marred by testing scandals in 2011
In education, 2011 may be remembered as the Year of the Test Scandal.

LongIslandPress.com: SAT taker-for-hire Sam Eshaghoff Goes on 60 Minutes
Sam Eshaghoff, the student at the center of the Long Island SAT cheating scandal, tells 60 Minutes that he was ‘saving the lives’ of students who allegedly paid him to take the SAT.

Education News: Underperforming St. Louis Charters to Close, Go on Probation
In St. Louis, two Imagine charter schools will be closed at the end of the school year for poor performance, and four more will be put on probation.

Los Angeles Times: Sandra Day O’Connor Promotes Civics Education
Retired Supreme Court justice Sandra Day O’Connor started an online program to educate Americans about their government.

NewsOK: Teacher evaluation reform spreading across nation
Oklahoma becomes one of the states moving toward a system of teacher evaluation that considers student tests scores in its formula.

Charter schools: The debate continues
First Lady Michelle Obama speaks with students during an event to build a playground at Imagine Southeast Public Charter School in Washington, D.C. on June 15, 2011.
December 22nd, 2011
03:04 PM ET

Charter schools: The debate continues

by Donna Krache, CNN

With recent statistics indicating that more students than ever are enrolled in charter schools, there’s no end in sight to the ongoing debate over which is more effective in educating our kids: Traditional public or charter schools. A newly released report offers potential talking points for both sides.

On Wednesday, the Center for Education Reform  issued “The State of Charter Schools.”  According to the report, 1,036 of  about 6,700 charter schools – about 15% - have “closed for cause” since the first charter law was passed in 1992. Among the major reasons cited for those closures, according to the report, are financial, mismanagement, academic performance, facilities and district obstacles.

Jeanne Allen, president of the Center for Education Reform, called performance-based accountability “the hallmark of the charter school concept,” in the report, but also noted the importance of parental choice: More than 19 million parents “have had public school choices they would otherwise never have had,” according to Allen. This is especially the case for those who do not have the financial means to pay for a private education, she said.

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Filed under: Charter schools • Issues • Policy • Practice
Charter schools: Wave of the future?
Students study American History at Coney Island Prep, a charter school in Brooklyn, New York.
December 15th, 2011
07:35 AM ET

Charter schools: Wave of the future?

By Steve Kastenbaum, CNN Radio

(CNN) More students are attending class at charter schools across the U.S. than ever before, and the number is expected to continue growing in the coming years.

Listen to CNN Radio's podcast on charter schools from Steve Kastenbaum.

The National Alliance for Public Charter Schools recently released a report saying that more than 2 million children are enrolled in public charter schools this year. The nonprofit resource for charter schools said that more than 500 charter schools opened their doors across the country in the 2011-12 school year.

In speech after speech, President Obama has said the charter schools play an important role in his education policy. His administration hopes to double the number of charters that were existence when he took office.

“We’ll encourage states to take a better approach when it comes to charter schools and other innovative public schools,” Obama said in a recent speech on education reform.

Coney Island Prep opened in Brooklyn, New York, in 2009. But it took founder Jacob Mnookin two years to get to that point. He first had to get through the application process.

“When I submitted it, it was about 1,800 pages,” the graduate of Princeton University’s public policy school said.

Mnookin said a tremendous amount of information is required for the application. “Everything from daily schedules and annual calendars to five-year budget projections and personnel policies, curriculum, assessments, etc. So it’s a very detailed and lengthy document.”

He also had to put together a board of trustees that would oversee the school, find a location for the school and hire a staff. Most charter schools go through a similar process, but the details can differ greatly from state to state and city to city.

While Coney Island Prep is housed in a traditional school building, the similarities between the middle school and other public schools end at the door.

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Filed under: Charter schools • Policy • Practice
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