CCSA Statement on Media Articles Regarding Charter School Enrollment/Admissions Practices

October 24, 2011

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Contact: Vicky Waters, CCSA
(415) 505-7575
vwaters@calcharters.org

In the last week, there has been media coverage on the issue of admissions processes at some California charter schools, and correlating those specific practices with the marginalization of many parents and students. Jed Wallace, president and CEO of the California Charter Schools Association (CCSA) would like to address those issues:

Parent founders:

"In response to the L.A. Weekly article 'Getting Your Child On the List:' CCSA opposes offering "Founder" status to new parents past the school's first year of operation, and giving those parents continued preferential enrollment. 'Parent Founder' policies are an important part of many new charter schools, as they incentivize parents that play a key role in the approval and opening of a new charter. To our knowledge, this is an isolated case, and CCSA continues to provide guidance to charter schools to ensure that the policies implemented meet both the letter and spirit of the law."

"Many of California's most successful charters exist today because of that parent support, and prohibition of such an admission policy may slow the growth of successful new charter schools in the future. Yet we believe that extending those benefits post opening is ill-advised and inappropriate."

Lengthy applications:

"In response to the Jay Matthews column 'When Charter Schools Get Too Picky:' while there is nothing expressly prohibiting the use of essays as part of an admissions process, a charter school may only require such essays so long as they are not used as criteria for admissions, and subsequently does not result in protected classes of students being excluded from the school."

"A change in the law, as Mr. Matthews suggests, is unnecessary because the law is already clear in this area in that charter schools must be open to all students and cannot have admission policies or procedures that discriminate against students on the basis of race, ethnicity, religion, sex or disability. It is a fact that many of our charter schools focus on creating a diverse student body through their recruitment and admissions practices."

"Charter schools are public schools that have open enrollment and serve all students. All California charter schools are committed to following fair and appropriate admissions procedures, as we strive to offer parents and students quality education choices across the state."

About the California Charter Schools Association

The California Charter Schools Association is the membership and professional organization serving 912 charter public schools and more than 365,000 students in the state of California. The Vision of the California Charter Schools Association is to usher in a new era in public education so all students attend independent, innovative, accountable schools of choice. The Mission of the California Charter Schools Association is to influence the legislative and policy environments, leverage collective advocacy, and provide resources to support our members in developing and operating high quality, charter schools reflective of California's student population. For more information, please visit www.calcharters.org.

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