Are Charter schools, such as Magnolia Science Academy Santa Clara in Sunnyvale, a good educational solution for all Sunnyvale public schools? Here are some current facts about Charter Schools in California:
- More than 250,000 students currently attend approximately 750 Charter School across the state (small in percentage of total).
- Los Angeles County has 204 and San Diego has 77charter schools. This represents the top 2 CA counties.
- Charter Schools are public schools, publicly funded, and must participate in public tests and law
- Charter Schools can’t charge tuition.
- They have freedom in curriculum choices, budget management, and staffing- however their charter can also be revoked based on these choices.
- There are 42 charter schools listed in Santa Clara County–almost all in San Jose.
- Many Charter schools are run by “for profit” organizations called Educational Management Organizations, or EMOs.
- One of the growing trends are “virtual charter schools”–These are online schools.
- Most of the research is lacking real credibility as to accurate long-term success of Charter Schools–“Most studies offer snapshots, not evaluations,” as reported by the Center for Public Education.
Frederick Hess, education policy director at the American Enterprise Institute had this to say about the reason that Charter Schools may be having a difficult time becoming more widespread. “The most successful charter ventures to date have been boutique-style operations that are extraordinarily reliant on talent and passion, philanthropic funding, and exhausting work schedules. The means of bringing them to scale have been elusive.”
Charter schools need to have a high level of parent participation both in class and fundraising. Teachers would likely need to be willing to work longer hours, for less pay, and fewer benefits than in traditional public schools.
These are some things to consider for our Sunnyvale schools as we seek to solve our educational crisis.