On October 11–13, 2017 educators and advocates representing charter schools in 24 states gathered in Queens for candid conversation on critical issues in education reform and democracy, persistent inequity around race, gender and immigration status, and the future of chartering.
At our Town Hall Meeting on the morning of October 12, we debated and passed the following:
Whereas: Our schools embrace our diverse communities, which include immigrants, people of color, children with disabilities, the homeless, English language learners, people of all faiths, and the LGBTQ community.
We are united behind the original chartering principles, including the requirement that every state have at least one independent entity that is empowered to authorize, evaluate, and either renew or close a school, based on its contract.
The idea of “charter schooling” has become too narrowly defined, charter advocacy has become overly divisive, and many in the charter arena seem to be losing sight of a fundamental truth: public schools, including charter schools, are a public trust.
We aspire to be great community schools of choice for the students and the families we serve.
We support the empowerment of educators..
Public education options for students and families expanded dramatically as states began to pass charter school legislation in the 1990s. The success of early charter schools led to a push from the U.S. Department of Education and others for charter school expansion and replication which, in turn, gave birth to charter networks, led by both for-profit and nonprofit management organizations. The charter management organizations (CMO’s) attracted, and continue to attract a great degree of institutional and investor capital which have accelerated its growth. Currently there is rough parity in the number of schools operated by management organizations and those that are independently managed but network schools far outpace independent schools in funding and political influence. This has had a pronounced effect on the concept of “chartering” and how charter schools are perceived by the public.
On October 12–13 of 2017, the NYC based advocacy group, The Coalition of Community Charter Schools, held a national Symposium bringing together leaders of independent charter schools from 26 states, education advocates and social justice activists. The purpose of the Symposium was to celebrate 30 years since the concept of “chartered schools” was first discussed in a public forum at the “Itasca Seminar” and to have deep and candid conversations about pedagogy, race and the bruising political and social battles that have unfortunately arisen between advocates and foes of the movement for charter schools. The highlights of the Symposium can be found here.
On October 13, 2017, the group unanimously ratified a Statement of Principles and passed the following resolution.
“Students, families, educators (and indeed the entire country) need a national, independent, democratically organized group to advocate for independently managed, financially transparent, community oriented public charter schools as articulated in our Statement of Principles.”
CPICS was born on that day.