Monday Churn: Authorizer report card

Updated 12:15 p.m. – The number of charter school closures has declined over the last three years, according to a study released today by the National Association of Charter School Authorizers.

The finding was part of the association’s 2011 review of charter authorizing practices around the nation.

According to the association’s news release, in 2010-2011, 6.2 percent of charter schools that were reviewed for renewal were closed, down from 8.8 percent in 2009-2010 and 12.6 percent in 2008-2009.

“These findings don’t tell us whether the right number are being closed,” said NACSA President and CEO Greg Richmond, “but our experience suggests that authorizing agencies should be closing more, rather than fewer, poor-performing schools.”

The news release highlighted Denver Public Schools as an example of responsible authorizing, noting the district has closed six schools over the past three years, nearly 20 percent of its charters.

The annual report relies on voluntary responses to questionnaires by authorizers so doesn’t provide full data.

For Colorado, 21, or 44 percent, of the state’s 48 authorizers responded to the association’s questionnaire. Those authorizers cover 65 percent of Colorado charters. The report found one Colorado charter was non-renewed last year and one charter was surrendered.

Of the 14 Colorado authorizers who responded fully to the association’s questions about compliance with “essential practices,” the average score was 7.7 out of 12. Nationwide the average score was 8.7.

The quality of charter authorizing is a current topic of discussion in Colorado. The State Board of Education recently approved guidelines on the issue (see story), and legislation on charter standards and authorizing is pending at the Capitol (see story).

More information

Daily Churn logoWhat’s churning:

Two big bills are on legislative calendars this week.

Senate Bill 12-015, the proposal to create special college tuition rates for undocumented students, is calendared for preliminary Senate floor consideration on Tuesday. The bill came out of the Senate Education Committee after a long and emotional hearing last Thursday (see story).

Full disclosure – bills set for Senate floor consideration often get held over for a variety of reasons, so we’ll see if this one actually gets debated Tuesday.

On Thursday, Senate Bill 12-068 has its first hearing, in the Senate Agriculture, Natural Resources and Energy Committee. This is the measure that would ban the use of trans fats in food served at schools.

See the week’s schedule of education-related legislative meetings here.

What’s on tap:


Adams 12-Five Star school board members meet at the Educational Support Center, 1500 E. 128th Ave. The time has not yet been set. Agenda items are expected to include school bonds and the 2012 legislature.

The University of Colorado Board of Regents has a two-day meeting scheduled on the Colorado Springs campus. Agenda

The Metro State trustees open two days of committee sessions Wednesday and a full board meeting Thursday. Agenda


Denver Public Schools board members meet for a four-hour “focus on achievement” study session, starting at 4:30 p.m. at 900 Grant St. The single agenda item is “strategic management of financial resources.”

Douglas County school board members have scheduled at special meeting at 6 p.m. at district headquarters, 620 Wilcox St. in Castle Rock. The agenda is not yet available; it will be here when ready.

Jeffco school board members will meet at 6 p.m. in the auditorium at Lakewood High School, 9700 West 8th Ave. in Lakewood. The meeting location was changed to accommodate what is expected to be a large crowd for public comment. Prior to the 6 p.m. meeting, the board will meet in closed session at 5 p.m. to discuss negotiations with employee groups. Agenda.

Good reads from elsewhere:

U.S. Rep. Jared Polis, D-Boulder, toured Boulder’s Casey Middle School with a White House official, looking at the energy efficient elements in the design. The Boulder Daily Camera went along.

The Delta County School District 50 board of education hired Jerre Doss as interim superintendent, reports the Delta County Independent.

The Greeley-Evans School District 6 board of education is eyeing a possible November bond election and application for state BEST grant dollars to fix structural problems at two schools, the Greeley Tribune reports.

Structural issues have been identified in every Neenan Co. project built with the help of state BEST dollars, the Denver Post reports, and State Board of Education Chairman Bob Schaffer is publicly supporting the company.

The EdNews’ Churn is a daily roundup of briefs, notes and meetings in the world of Colorado education. To submit an item for consideration in this listing, please email us at [email protected]

What's Your Education Story?

As the 2018 school year begins, join us for storytelling from Indianapolis educators

PHOTO: Dylan Peers McCoy/Chalkbeat
Sarah TeKolste, right, and Lori Jenkins at a Teacher Story Slam, in April.

In partnership with Teachers Lounge Indy, Chalkbeat is hosting another teacher story slam this fall featuring educators from across the city.

Over the past couple of years, Chalkbeat has brought readers personal stories from teachers and students through the events. Some of our favorites touched on how a teacher won the trust of her most skeptical student, why another teacher decided to come out to his students, and one educator’s call to ramp up the number of students pursuing a college education.

The event, 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 13, is free and open to the public — please RSVP here.

Event details:

5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
Thursday, Sept. 13, 2018
Tube Factory artspace
1125 Cruft St., Indianapolis, IN 46203
Get tickets here and find more on Facebook

More in What's Your Education Story?

School safety

Hiring more security officers in Memphis after school shootings could have unintended consequences

PHOTO: Jahi Chikwendiu/The Washington Post/Getty Images

Tennessee’s largest district, Shelby County Schools, is slated to add more school resource officers under the proposed budget for next school year.

Superintendent Dorsey Hopson earmarked $2 million to hire 30 school resource officers in addition to the 98 already in some of its 150-plus schools. The school board is scheduled to vote on the budget Tuesday.

But an increase in law enforcement officers could have unintended consequences.

A new state law that bans local governments from refusing to cooperate with federal immigration officials could put school resource officers in an awkward position.

Tennessee Education Commissioner Candice McQueen recently reminded school personnel they are not obligated to release student information regarding immigration status. School resource officers employed by police or sheriff’s departments, however, do not answer to school districts. Shelby County Schools is still reviewing the law, but school board members have previously gone on the record emphasizing their commitment to protecting undocumented students.

“Right now we are just trying to get a better understanding of the law and the impact that it may have,” said Natalia Powers, a district spokeswoman.

Also, incidents of excessive force and racial bias toward black students have cropped up in recent years. Two white Memphis officers were fired in 2013 after hitting a black student and wrestling her to the ground because she was “yelling and cussing” on school grounds. And mothers of four elementary school students recently filed a lawsuit against a Murfreesboro officer who arrested them at school in 2016 for failing to break up a fight that occurred off-campus.

Just how common those incidents are in Memphis is unclear. In response to Chalkbeat’s query for the number and type of complaints in the last two school years, Shelby County Schools said it “does not have any documents responsive to this request.”

Currently, 38 school resource officers are sheriff’s deputies, and the rest are security officers hired by Shelby County Schools. The officers respond and work to prevent criminal activity in all high schools and middle schools, Hopson said. The 30 additional officers would augment staffing at some schools and for the first time, branch out to some elementary schools. Hopson said those decisions will be based on crime rates in surrounding neighborhoods and school incidents.

Hopson’s initial recommendation for more school resource officers was in response to the school shooting in Parkland, Florida, that killed 17 people and sparked a wave of student activism on school safety, including in Memphis.

Gov. Bill Haslam’s recent $30 million budget boost would allow school districts across Tennessee to hire more law enforcement officers or improve building security. Measures to arm some teachers with guns or outlaw certain types of guns have fallen flat.

For more on the role and history of school resource officers in Tennessee, read our five things to know.

Sheriff’s deputies and district security officers meet weekly, said Capt. Dallas Lavergne of the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office. When the Memphis Police Department pulled their officers out of school buildings following the merger of city and county school systems, the county Sheriff’s Office replaced them with deputies.

All deputy recruits go through school resource officer training, and those who are assigned to schools get additional annual training. In a 2013 review of police academies across the nation, Tennessee was cited as the only state that had specific training for officers deployed to schools.