State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson is creating an “Action Team on Charter Schools” to review laws governing California’s charter schools and provide recommendations to the governor, state board of education and Legislature.
The guiding law for charter schools – the California Charter School Act – was enacted 26 years ago. It has had few changes and little comprehensive review since then, Torlakson said. Since the law was created, California’s general population and student population have increased significantly, demographics have shifted and the education system has transformed with the introduction of new academic standards and new systems for funding and evaluating schools.
“In the past few years, we have updated virtually our entire K-12 education system. Now it’s time to look at the key laws governing charter schools, which have not been significantly changed in 26 years, to see how they can be modernized to better meet the needs of all public school students, including those who attend charter schools,” Torlakson said.
The team is comprised of members representing diverse organizations and perspectives, including philanthropists, charter schools, teachers, parents and administrators. The team will be co-chaired by Action Team members Carl Cohn, professor emeritus at Claremont Graduate University, and Susan Bonilla, of the Council for a Strong America.
“This is a balanced team that will objectively examine issues regarding charter schools with the goal of promoting equity for all students and helping all students succeed in 21st century careers and college” Torlakson added.
California has developed the largest charter school sector in the United States, with nearly 1,300 charter schools serving 620,000 students, or 10 percent of the state’s total student population. The team will review existing research and analyze issues around charter school authorizing, support and accountability; recommend specific components for California’s approach; suggest modifications of existing law, regulations and support systems; and make recommendations by the end of 2018. For information, visit cde.ca.gov.
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