Recently, I've been busy doing research on the state of OUSD charter schools. This is my recent posting on the Oakland Public School Parents Yahoo group listserv.
In case you are ever curious about OUSD’s charter schools, I've recently discovered an OUSD charter school website that (to my surprise) is not part of the district's usual server group (ousd.k12.ca.us). It is called the “O.U.S.D. OFFICE OF CHARTER SCHOOLS” and is found at www.ousdcharters.com (that's right, c-o-m).
This site is full of information. For instance, did you know?
49 OUSD charter petitions have been approved since 1993
- 32 OUSD charter schools are currently operating
- 2 more charter schools will be opening in the fall, 2009
- 9 charters have been revoked or closed
- 6 charters have been abandoned
- 1 school is a conversion charter school (Management of Cox Elementary was turned over to “Education for Change” http://www.efcps.org/)
- 1 county-authorized charter is operating in
( Oakland ) Envision Academy
Basically, OUSD's charter schools are now numerous enough that a school district-within- a-school district now exists, complete with its own website. The total enrollment of that sub-school district in September 2008 was 7,845. A number of the schools are already slated to add additional grade levels in the upcoming years, so the enrollment is destined to increase.
On the website, you will find a page labeled "Announcements" (http://www.ousdcharters.com/announcements.html). There you will see a list of "Recent/Upcoming Charter Related Decisions". This is how you can learn who has applied for a charter, and if approval is pending, confirmed or denied.
I particularly enjoyed reading OUSD's denial response last fall to the American Indian Public Charter School's request. To me, it confirmed the suspicions, in bureaucrat-ese, that the school does indeed cherry-pick its students (isn't that a variation of tracking?).
It was also interesting to see that the district recently caught a private school trying to convert to a charter. The petition request for the Herbert Guise Charter (formerly "Christian") Academy was denied. Good job, OUSD!
Since many readers on this listserv are extremely active, informed parents, are you aware of any strageic plan for charter school expansion in OUSD?
At this point charter schools account for about 16% of OUSD's enrollment, most of which was accomplished in the past 10 years. Is there any problem if, in ten more, it has grown to 32%? I do appreciate that the district is being more cautious about granting its charters than it used to be, but shouldn't the number get capped at some point? (Certainly not, according to some...)
To the OUSD school board members who are reading this: Since there aren't many forums to discuss it, and since I'm sure many of us are curious, can you somehow let us know your perspectives?
In the meantime,