December 14, 2021
Prompted by COVID-19, Michael Bloomberg Commits $750 Million!
Former New York City Mayor and billionaire Michael Bloomberg announced last week that Bloomberg Philanthropies is launching a national five-year $750 million effort to support the success and growth of existing charter and autonomous schools, open new high quality charter schools, and create city- and state-level conditions that will help sustain this progress. Bloomberg’s goal is to create150,000 additional seats for children in charter schools in 20 U.S. metro areas, including New York City. In a Wall Street Journal editorial, Bloomberg said the seed capital to open new charter schools will focus on prioritizing leadership and staff members that reflect students’ diversity.
The organization's’s website explained the timing of the gift, saying, “The past 18 months have shown that the American public education system is tragically broken, and we must act immediately to close the student achievement gaps which have existed for years but have been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly for students from lower-income families.”
Schools Chancellor-to-be is Pro Charter School
Eric Adams takes office on New Year’s Day as the Big Apple’s mayor. He clearly understands the need to move quickly before more frustrated parents give up on New York City. “The cavalry is coming. Help is on the way,” he said at an animated press conference where he introduced David Banks, his pick for schools chancellor of the nation's most populous school district. Banks, like Adams, supports public charter schools and, in 2004, even started one of his own, the first of six all-boys Eagle Academies for Young Men. Currently, 14 percent of the city’s public school population attends a public charter school, and most charters in the city have long waiting lists. One test for Adams and Banks will be how hard they push Albany to raise the cap on city charters.
Banks also announced an appointment of his own: Daniel Weisberg to be deputy schools chancellor. Weisberg previously worked for former Mayor Michael Bloomberg on the effort to get rid of bad teachers. The effort was only modestly successful, but the Weisberg appointment has the union worried that soon-to-be Mayor Adams will pick up that baton. Michael Goodwin, Eric Adams’ DOE Pick David Banks is a Change of Course From de Blasio, New York Post, December 11, 2021

LAUSD Lures Carvalho from Miami-Dade
The Los Angeles Unified School District Board rarely agrees on anything, but it voted unanimously to hire Alberto Carvalho as the new superintendent of the nation's district with the most charter schools. An advocate of school choice, Carvalho expanded school options in Miami-Dade, offering programs that focus on bilingualism, fine and performing arts, biotechnology, engineering robotics and others. He is recognized as a school reform advocate, winning the 2012 Broad Prize for Urban Education, awarded by a foundation founded by the late Eli Broad, a billionaire charter school advocate. Under Carvalho’s leadership, the Miami-Dade district has become one of the highest-performing urban school districts in the country. Lihn Tat, LAUSD School Board Chooses New Chief, Longtime Florida Superintendent Carvalho, Los Angeles Daily News, December 9, 2021


Charter School Enrollment Grew Dramatically During the Pandemic! 
Many parents expressed dissatisfaction with traditional public schools during the pandemic. Studies show that thousands of them expressed that dissatisfaction during the pandemic's first year by dis-enrolling their children, or, "voting with their feet." At the same time, public charter schools, known for adopting innovative approaches to educating students, dramatically increased enrollment from the end of the 2020 school year to the end of the 2021 school year. So now what? How can parents and policymakers keep the momentum going to increase options for parents who want them? And, what role will Bloomberg Philanthropies' new, huge financial commitment play? 

If you enjoy Charter School Investor, you'll want to catch this webinar, because CSI's chief content creator is hosting the panel! The webinar is part of a series co-sponsored by Reinventing America’s Schools project and The 74 Million Join us for that discussion tomorrow. December 15, 2021 at 2:00 p.m. EST. Register for free here:


Powerful Lobby has Charter Schools in its Crosshairs
The Colorado Association of School Boards (CASB) is a powerful interest group that lobbies heavily at the state legislature and successfully influences education legislation. The resolutions CASB recently adopted at its annual meeting, which preview the issues it will push in the next legislative session, should alarm public charter school supporters because they aim to make the establishment and expansion of charter schools much more difficult.

Currently, when considering an appeal of a charter application or renewal denial, the State Board considers whether a denial was “contrary to the best interests of the pupils, school district, or community.” CASB wants to change the law to require charter schools to demonstrate that a denial was “arbitrary and capricious” — a much higher legal bar to meet. The change would not only make it harder for charter applicants to win on appeal, it would also provide cover for school boards that issue denials for purely political reasons.

CASB also intends to lobby for a requirement that charter schools provide a written rationale for seeking waivers from certain sections of Colorado education law. Forcing charter schools to justify any given waiver raises the possibility of that waiver being more easily rejected. Thus, this proposal could -and is likely intended to - become a backdoor avenue for bureaucrats to kill or hobble new charter schools. Rob Moulton, Lobby Attempts to Curb School Choice, Colorado Politics, December 3, 2021


Bipartisan Cooperation on a Florida Charter School Bill
Florida HB 225 would require school boards to renew charter schools at least 90 days before the school year ends, or the charter would renew automatically. St. Cloud Republican Rep. Fred Hawkins sponsored the bill after the Hillsborough County School Board voted to deny four charter school renewal applications just 56 days before the start of the 2020 school year, only reversing course when the state threatened to withhold funding. If there’s a problem with a charter school, districts should start addressing it with “plenty of time,” Hawkins said. Committee member Rep. Mike Caruso agreed.

“Kids are being abused and bullied and their lives (are) being turned upside down, as we’ve seen over the last two years, because of COVID and the masking and vaccine mandates, etc.,” Caruso said. “Like that wasn’t enough, and then this happens.” In a rare but welcome move, all Democrats on the committee joined the Republican majority in passing the bill. A similar measure is moving through Florida’s Senate. The new law will take effect July 1, 2022. Renzo Downey, Charter School Bill Draws Rare Bi-Partisanship in House Panel, Florida Politics, December 1, 2021
From all of us at School Improvement Partnership:
We wish you more joy, more peace, more hope, more cheer, but most especially,
we wish you a VERY happy, healthy New Year!
Thanks for the clicks! See you in 2022!
School Improvement Partnership improves transparency and accountability in the charter school bond market. The School Improvement Partnership Database (or SIP Database) contains financial, academic and operating data on charter schools and charter school borrowers around the country. It is being built out to include all charter schools and charter school borrowers in the coming months. From each financial audit for a CMO or charter school, the SIP Database contains 50 financial data points, always refreshing automatically to include the three most recent years. The SIP Database has a dashboard for subscribers that displays requested data points in an easy-to read-fashion, and such data can be exported in Excel from the SIP Database to the subscriber. Please view our website or call us at 215.854.6322.
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