Ben DeGrow Covers Indiana, Rhode Island Charters for School Reform News

In his role as writer and contributing editor for School Reform News, my Education Policy Center friend Ben DeGrow recently came out with two articles on charter school developments in other states. First up is a research-based boost for nontraditional public school excellence in one of the Heartland’s cities:

Researchers at Vanderbilt University’s National Center on School Choice followed students in Indianapolis who switched from traditional public schools to charter schools. The study found the group, which included students from 2nd through 10th grade, made substantial strides in math achievement and smaller gains in reading. African-Americans made statistically significant gains in math, and Hispanics demonstrated significant growth in reading.

“Indianapolis was a district in high need of innovative schools,” said Anna Nicotera, coauthor of the study and director of research and evaluation at the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools (NAPCS). “These schools appear to have filled that niche.”

The other article highlights a controversy in a small East Coast state about a proposed new system of accountability for public charter schools:

Charter schools have finally caught on in America’s smallest state, but charter advocates in Rhode Island say state regulators seeking to impose a double standard on the publicly funded but independent schools risk stifling growth and innovation there.

Motivated by the lure of federal Race to the Top dollars, Rhode Island lawmakers in March lifted a statewide charter school cap from 20 schools to 35. But charter operators question a proposed accountability system that would require charters to meet higher academic proficiency targets than traditional public schools.

“There are many of us that are concerned about creating two systems of public schools,” said Rhode Island League of Charter Schools president Julie Nora.

Ben’s work with School Reform News is one key way to keep tabs on important education policy developments around the nation. If you’re not reading the publication already, I recommend you to take a look.