The Coalition of Public Independent Charter Schools is a new national organization advocating for charters that are not part of for-profit and nonprofit charter management organizations.
- The announcement of the new organization follows an October symposium in which charter school leaders, advocates and others met in New York City to discuss their desire to create an organization that represents independent charter schools. The coalition’s strategies are to provide school leaders with resources to make good decisions for their school communities, to inform state and federal policy and to create an “exchange of ideas.”
- According to the organization, independent charters are located in 43 states and Washington, D.C. Members of the organization commit to several guidelines, such as maintaining nonprofit status, practicing site-based decision making and not using admission tests or other “exclusionary” requirements for admission. “As members of a larger community of educators and stakeholders in public education,” the statement says, “we know that chartering can encourage innovation in the organization and programs of public schools.”
The organization’s website includes a blog where members can publish stories of their schools as well as a discussion board with topics, such as ethics and transparency, collaboration between district and charter schools and how the organization will be funded.
With Education Secretary Betsy DeVos’s focus on expanding school choice and more than 2.7 million students now attending charter schools, the charter sector is receiving more attention than ever. Much of the attention has centered on how traditional public schools and charter schools compare in areas such as student achievement and cost-effectiveness — with parents, teachers, politicians and others often taking sides. In such a climate, it can be easy for the experiences and voices of those in independent charters to be lost. This new platform will help to provide another perspective on school choice and innovative educational models.