ABC's of Charter Schools
National Charter Schools
Related Educational Issues
MACS Newsletter - May 2007
The Education Committee considered two bills that would assist
alternative education programs. They approved LD 1758, which
authorizes a survey and study of alternative education approaches.
They voted down LD 1325, which aimed to ensure that funds would
follow students who attend alternative public and private programs
with their superintendent’s approval. Rep. Boyd Marley’s bill, LD
272, a weak concept draft about charter programs, was also defeated.
Part of the charge of the LD 1758 study committee is to review
approaches to alternative education in other states and to research
sources of funding. Those investigations should bring attention to
public charter schools as models and as sources of federal grant
funds. LD 1758 empowers the Education Committee to introduce new
legislation in January 2008, so the Committee could include some
form of the public charter school model in its proposals. Those
interested in volunteering to help with the study should contact
Shelley Reed, email@example.com.
2. Expanding public awareness about public school
Supporters are encouraged to work with other groups around the state
to get out the word about the benefits of public school options,
especially their ability to empower poor parents to access education
programs that meet the needs of their children. Contact MACS with
suggestions and for information that can be distributed.
For example, MACS provided information on the importance of public
school choices at the Kids Legal Conference in Augusta on May 17.
Over 150 people heard excellent presentations on special education
issues, students’ rights to school access, and a panel on
alternative education programs. Presenters included long-time Maine
educators trying to reach students at-risk: Pender Kimball of the
Real School of Windham, Alan Morris of the Carletonn Project in
Presque Isle and Houlton, Helen Nichols of BCOPE in Belfast and now
Director of the Community School in Camden. More information about
alternative approaches will be presented at the Dropout Prevention
Institute at UMaine Orono July 23-24.
The EdLaw Conference in Portland July 24-25 will have sessions on
innovation and public charter schools. Scholarships are available to
Maine residents; see www.edlaw.org
3. Proposal for a “Design Your Dream School”
MACS would like to organize a festival for students to present
designs for their “dream school.” There would be two divisions - for
high school and college students, and two models to select from - a
public charter school or a within-a-district school. MACS would set
parameters for each model, advertise around the state to get
participants, faculty team advisors, evaluators, and organize a
festival day for presentations.
We need some experienced organizers to help with this project. We’ll
look for grants to help out and try to partner with other
organizations. Such an event would be helpful to potential charter
school organizers, authorizers and the Department of Education, to
expand their understanding of student needs and public school
4. National Progress on Public Charter Schools
During the 2006-2007 school year, the number of charter schools
increased by 11 percent:
3,940 charter schools represent an increase of 323
from last year. A total of 1,156,874 students are enrolled in
charter schools in the United States this school year, up 7.4
percent from last year's 1,076,964. They
serve a student body that is on average 53 percent
minority and 54 percent low-income, and more than four in ten public
charter schools serve a student body composed of 60 percent or more
"at risk" and/or minority students. FMI, see www.edreform.com and
5. NEXT MACS MEETING: June 20, 2007, in Portland,
The Family Workshop, 215 Congress Street.
Directions: From I-295, take Exit 7 - Franklin Arterial. At about
the fourth light, turn left on Congress Street. The Family Workshop
is on the left immediately after the second light at Washington
Please join us! Draft agenda items: Our vice president and
treasurer, Bob Summers, is taking a leave of absence to work in Peru
for a year. We have nominated Laura Friedman as treasurer, and we
are also looking for a secretary, newsletter editor, and database
manager. We will also need volunteers to help develop the “Dream
School Festival.” Please contact Judith if you would like to get
involved in any of these efforts!
Thank you for your interest in public school options
and public chartered schools!
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