Tag Archives: Ridgeview Classical

Krista Kafer Helps You Figure Out What Makes a Charter School Good

A couple days ago I brought your attention to the closure of a struggling Denver charter school, but made the point: For every Amandla that (as far as I can tell) deserves to be shut down, there is a Cesar Chavez, West Denver Prep, Ridgeview Classical, and many other Colorado charter schools that are doing great work providing families successful alternatives to the traditional public education model. That’s great, you might say, but how can I figure out what makes a charter school good or not? Well, have no fear. My friend and Education Policy Center senior fellow Krista Kafer has co-authored a report for the Colorado Department of Education called A Typology of Colorado Charter Schools 2009 (PDF). The more dedicated among you may want to dive right into the report, but I suggest you whet your appetite for this important topic first by listening to a brand-new iVoices podcast that Krista recorded with Center director Pam Benigno: Near the end of the podcast, you also will hear Krista talk about her newly updated issue paper A Chronology of School Choice in the U.S. (PDF). If you haven’t read it already, please check it out!

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Amandla Charter Closure Exceptional, Sign of the Institution's Strength

The Denver Post‘s Jeremy Meyer reports that Denver Public Schools is closing the troubled Amandla Charter Academy — a contract school re-applying to become a charter school. Given the known facts (a checkered past, ongoing financial problems, poor academic results, and lack of a “coherent education program”), it looks like a tough but very good decision by the school board. Public charter schools are an important option in the school choice menu, the institution should be strengthened, and their leaders and managers should be empowered for success. But we have to recognize one of the inherent strengths of charters is that they can be closed down effectively if they fail. That being said, Edspresso is correct to emphasize that decision makers must be “serious about understanding and reviewing original data before making conclusions” about charter school closures. For every Amandla that (as far as I can tell) deserves to be shut down, there is a Cesar Chavez, West Denver Prep, Ridgeview Classical, and many other Colorado charter schools that are doing great work providing families successful alternatives to the traditional public education model.

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