If you are having a busy summer like me, then you probably got lost in the whirlwind of charter school political changes that were made this summer. Below are some highlights for those of you are with charters or thinking of homeschooling with charter schools this year.
Completely new to charters? If this is your first year homeschooling and are still looking into options, you may want to start off with this FAQs page from the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools website. From there you may want to view the websites of individual charter schools and compare their requirements to see which best would support your family.
You may also enjoy reading this recent article detailing common misconceptions about Charter schools in this article by Nathan Barrett, Ph.D. who serves as the senior director of research and evaluation for the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools. This article also includes several links to various other resources that will help you decide if homeschooling through a charter works for your family.
California Charter Legislation Brief This year two anti-charter school bills moved through the legislature. AB 1505 and 1507 were passed out of the Senate Education Committee in early July. They will now move to the Senate Appropriations Committee. Among other provisions, these bills would allow districts to consider fiscal impact when making decisions about charter school applications and would significantly restrict the ability of charter school applicants to appeal district denials. To be a little bit more specific here are some concerning issues that I found during my research:
AB1505: Eliminates the right of a charter group and its parents to appeal politically motivated decisions to close charter schools. AB 1505 increases difficulty for high-performing charters to rely on student learning gains for approval.
AB1506: caps the number of new charter schools in California based percentages of pupils enrolled in a district; limits new charter schools from being able to serve pupils in need and limits existing charters from extending service areas to new counties where they can reach students in need.
AB1507: makes it harder to locate school facilities in places that make the most sense for families by deleting common-sense flexibility that already exists in current charter law. This bill has been fast-tracked because it was deemed to have no fiscal impact on the State of California.
Although these bills initially sound like they are distant from impacting our daily lives, they are definitely having unforeseen impacts on our charter experiences. Those of us who homeschool with Charter have seen lots of changes which alter the way we utilize our educational funds go into effect this summer. In some cases, charters have shut down enrichment programs we heavily rely on. Some of those changes have made it impossible for families to continue to homeschool while others were not affected as greatly. Regardless of how you feel about the changes there are plenty of resources out there to help you navigate through what happened with each specific charter. The California Charter Schools Association has a Legislative Advocacy list of bills they approve and oppose to make it easier for us to follow collectively.
Please remember that this link is biased to what works for my family viewpoint and what a majority of California charter families follow based on the collective association. I encourage and appreciate anyone who would like to post alternative resources to these in the comments. I completely understand that these views may not work for you and may appear limited. Please find or share your resources kindly below so that we can create a dialogue that serves all charter affiliated homeschoolers which will allow them to make the political decisions that best assists their family.
Charter Schools Work Facebook Group also has a fair amount of resources to add to your Facebook timeline. Lastly, Homeschool Concierge Facebook Group is hosting a Charter School Legislation Update July 24th on Facebook Live from 8-9 pm where they will provide space and time to address questions with the viewing party.
Laurie Gracia-Alikhan- Editor The Homeschooler Post