The Back Story
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.