What We're Doing, What We're Reading - August 23, 2016

Connecticut's Smarter Balanced test scores were released on Thursday, and charter schools continue to outpace schools in their host districts in ELA and math. NECSN Connecticut State Director Jeremiah Grace said of the results:

"The second year of Smarter Balanced test results are in, and there is promising news for charters. Overall, charter schools' scores were higher this year than last year. Their rate of improvement was also better than their host districts' and about on par with the state's growth. Seventy-one percent of charters outperformed their districts in math and 82 percent outperformed in ELA. This is great news for thousands of families across Connecticut."

You can read our full statement to the media on the scores here, and a breakdown of the data here.

Also, big shout out to Brass City, the state's highest performing charter school!


Jeremiah Grace took to The 74 to discuss a miracle: The 20th anniversary of Connecticut charter schools. He said:

"These schools are miracles for families. At one time, Connecticut had the worst achievement gap in the nation — a blight on the state’s record. But charters have been closing that gap by providing a great education for kids who have traditionally been underserved."

You can read the full piece here.

Charter schools all over New York and Connecticut are getting in the back to school spirit, and we are celebrating on Facebook! Over the next few weeks we'll be sharing perspectives from school leaders, teachers and parents as the new school years get underway.


Head on over to Facebook to share with us what you love most about this time of the year!

We need your support in Rochester!

On Wednesday, September 7th the families of the Brown v. New York lawsuit will be back in court, fighting the state’s effort to dismiss them. This landmark lawsuit challenges the state’s funding scheme for charter school children, which short-changes students statewide. That is fundamentally wrong - and we need to make our voices heard if we want to fix it.

Come rally with us before the hearing to show how important this is to schools and families. Share the following flyer and information with your community. Let's make some noise!


What: Brown v. New York rally
When: Wednesday, September 7th at 8:40am
Where: 275 East Main St. (Near the Appellate Court at 50 East Avenue), Rochester, NY 14604

RSVP to dkirkwood@necharters.org.

On the Blog


We just wrapped up our Overtime series! It was a joy getting to share the stories of remarkable charter schools in New York and Connecticut that are going above and beyond for their students. This type of dedication not only staves off the summer slide, it really helps students to develop and improve thanks to unique opportunities you won't find at many schools.


Students at Invictus Preparatory Charter School beat the summer slide with an excellent program that kept them active both physically and mentally. Under the theme of "A Better Me," kids at this Brooklyn charter school were able to grow - and have a good time doing it!

Read more on Extra Credit


DREAM Charter School's summer program was just that - a dream program for kids of all ages! DREAM's program on academics, literacy workshops, critical thinking, physical fitness, and teamwork. On the field and in the classroom, it was a huge success!

Read more on Extra Credit

Also, see how Broome Street Academy Charter High School used technology in the arts - including virtual reality - to give their students endless possibilities to create some extraordinary projects!

And for Discovery Charter School in Rochester, strong community partnerships and the help of an Olympian made summer learning fun!

We want to extend a huge thanks to all of the schools that participated in this series. Your work is changing lives and we love getting to share your stories!


Following NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio's recent round of charter hating, Bob Bellafiore stopped by Extra Credit to offer up an observation: When it comes to charters, Mayor de Blasio heading for the wrong side of history.

NECSN in the News

Make sure you read Jeremiah's piece in The 74.

NECSN Western NY Advocacy Manager Duncan Kirkwood spoke about Charter School for Applied Technologies starting classes up again this week.

Interesting Reads

Nelson Smith of the National Association of Charter School Authorizers responds to John Oliver's charter school segment: A Few Thoughts About John Oliver’s Bleak, Unrepresentative Sample of Public Charter Schools.

From Watchdog.org: Education reformers clash with NAACP, Movement for Black Lives over charters.

And from The New York Times: Condemnation of Charter Schools Exposes a Rift Over Black Students.

New York News

Despite Mayor de Blasio's charter bashing, what power does he actually have to stop charters? Chalkbeat takes a look.

NYC schools Chancellor Carmen Farina also weighed in on charters, taking considerably more measured approach than Mayor de Blasio.

Students with disabilities and English language learners at New York City charter schools are outperforming their peers in traditional district schools.

Charter and education reform groups are gearing up for a battle over control of the State Senate.

Education leaders weighed in on the increase in the state's ELA and math scores.

Gary Stern of the Journal News: Time for some real analysis on charter schools.

Connecticut News

From the Hartford Courant: Gov. Malloy Touts Smarter Balanced Scores.

While students made gains on the state exams, half of children tested were still below grade level.

Read this. Read this. Read this. Powerful piece from Amistad Academy grad Kaylani Rosado: Charter School Made All The Difference For Me. She discusses her journey as a charter student to now working at a charter, and says of charter criticism:

"I am continually astounded by the attacks on schools like Amistad and on students like me. What I find most disheartening, and frankly offensive, in all of the conversations about charter schools, and, specifically, Achievement First, is the opposition and outright dismissal of real results. When you dismiss the accomplishments of the students who work so hard to defy the stereotypes placed upon them by society, you are part of the problem. As a former charter school student, I find this demeaning and unacceptable."

Students at Achievement First Hartford are back in the swing of things thanks to an early start to the year.

Following an investigation, the State Department of Education found that Hartford and Bridgeport, the state's two largest school districts, are violating special education laws.

New Haven Superintendent Garth Harries is gearing up for another hard year due to a contentious relationship with the school board.


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CT charters outpace districts; Hitting back at Mayor de Blasio
What We're Doing, What We're Reading - August 23, 2016
Read the blog at Extra Credit