Hosted by: American Enterprise Institute
Today, there are more than 4,600 charter schools across the United States with an enrollment of over 1.3 million students. While this represents impressive growth for a type of school that did not exist two decades ago, even staunch proponents concede that not all charter schools are outstanding. Furthermore, the schools that are successful serve only a tiny percentage of the nation's 50 million students.
Recognizing this reality, several charter school networks have embarked on ambitious growth plans. Most noticeably, KIPP, with generous backing from the Pisces Foundation, hopes to nearly double its size, expanding from sixty--six to one hundred schools by 2011.
Secretary of Education Arne Duncan's $5 billion "Race to the Top" allocation in the recent $787 billion stimulus bill provides the opportunity to implement President Obama's promise to expand the reach of the nation's best charter schools. But maintaining excellence while growing quickly creates abundant challenges. How could the growth rate of charter school networks be accelerated? How should they learn to recognize and address potential pitfalls along the way? What would it take to organize and staff these ventures to allow them to expand more readily, to better meet new challenges, and to adapt to new locales? A new report coauthored by AEI director of education policy studies Frederick M. Hess and Harvard Graduate School of Education associate professor Monica Higgins considers these and other questions. Joining Hess and Higgins to discuss the report's findings, and charter schools in general, will be National Association of Charter School Authorizers president and CEO Greg Richmond and two founders of successful charter school networks: Mike Feinberg, cofounder of KIPP, and Donald Hense, founder of Friendship Public Charter School in Washington, D.C.
Added by insideronline on March 24, 2009