April 26, 2012

New SABIS® licensee to open in Jersey City, New Jersey, in fall 2012

SABIS® is proud to announce the impending opening of a new licensee school to be located in Jersey City, New Jersey, U.S.A. With a mission to “develop values, skills, knowledge, confidence, and character in its students,” BelovED Community Charter School will open in September 2012 and is expected to serve 360 students in grades K-2. The school will expand by one grade level in each subsequent year of operation until it offers a K-5 program.  (See Press Release of April 26, 2012.)

April 15, 2012

National Charter Schools Week - State Advocacy Webinar

In preparation for National Charter Schools Week (NCSW), the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools will be hosting a webinar on Wednesday, April 18th (4pm to 5:30pm EST) that will review the 2012 NCSW Advocacy Toolkit, offer guidance on potential activities, and answer any questions that you may have about how to improve public charter school laws and regulations at both the state and federal levels.

To join the first in a series of webinars designed to offer tips and tools to more fully engage the collective action of charter school individuals and communities in policy advocacy, register HERE.

The meeting will be facilitated by Lisa Grover, Senior Director of Advocacy at the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools. Please feel free to contact her directly at lisa@publiccharters.org if you have any questions related to the webinar.

April 5, 2012

There is no place for discrimination of any kind in public charter schools!

A Louisiana state Senate committee approved legislation last week that would allow charter schools to refuse to admit students on the basis of their ability to speak English, their sexual orientation or other factors.  Regrettably, a New Orleans charter school managed by SABIS, the Milestone SABIS Academy, has been inadvertently drawn into this controversial issue because of testimony by the President of the school governing board.   The bill, SB217, would prevent state agencies and local governments from adding protections against intolerance for all manner of traits and practices that are not explicitly spelled out in state law. Statutes now forbid bias against people based on race, religion, ancestry, age, sex or disability, but not against sexual orientation or language proficiency, which the Department of Education includes in its nondiscrimination clause in contracts with charter schools.

In her testimony, in favor of SB217, Ms. Leslie Ellison apparently stated, according to newspaper accounts, that she is opposed to the Department of Education including a ban on discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation and language proficiency.

Ms. Ellison was speaking as a private citizen and in no way do her comments or views reflect those of SABIS Educational Systems, or the policies of Milestone SABIS Academy of New Orleans.  SABIS is supportive of the Department of Education's more expansive inclusion of sexual orientation and language proficiency in its nondiscrimination rules governing charter schools.  In fact, a review of the SABIS website clearly states the following in its Frequently Asked Questions page:
How are students enrolled in a charter school?

As public schools, charter schools are open to all students and are tuition-free. Charter schools typically serve students who reside in the district in which the school is located. If more eligible students apply than there are places available, the school holds a lottery. Charter schools may not discriminate on the basis of race, color, creed, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, age, or ancestry, nor may they discriminate on the basis of a student's mental or physical disability, athletic performance, special needs, proficiency in the English language or a foreign language, or prior academic achievement. A charter school can administer diagnostic testing after students are admitted for the purpose of determining proper grade level placement.
SB217 is a step backward and is not in the best interest of schools.  Below is a public statement released today by SABIS reaffirming its commitment to non-discrimination of any kind.

April 3, 2012

State charter school laws earn a 2.1 GPA, says the Center for Education Reform

The Center for Education Reform’s newly released report, The Essential Guide to Charter School Law: Charter School Laws Across the States, 2012, is the center’s 13th annual analysis of charter school-related legal policy and issues. The report documents current conditions for effective laws able to support the growth and success of models of public, charter schooling.

The Charter School Laws Across the States report indicates the wide variations in charter school laws, state by state, average out to a national 2.1 GPA grade on charter school policy, revealing a compelling need for improvement, especially in failing states. District of Columbia and 29 states earn A, B, and C scores

“Charter schools — public schools, open by choice, accountable for results and free from most rules and regulations that stifle progress in traditional schools — are permitted in 41 states and the District of Columbia, and yet the conditions for success in those states compromise the availability of great new public schools that parents and students most need and deserve,” said CER President Jeanne Allen.  

The national GPA of 2.1, essentially a C grade on state charter school laws, is a result of analysis of 41 states and the District of Columbia. The final, national tally combines state-earned scores of five A grades, nine B grades, seventeen C grades, and a dismal seven D grades and four F grades.  (Read more by visiting the Center for Education Reform)