Charter Schools: From Reform Imagery to Reform Reality by Jeanne M. Powers (auth.)

By Jeanne M. Powers (auth.)

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Proposition 174 was a statewide ballot initiative that was defeated at the polls by voters in November of 1993. If passed, Proposition 174 would have added an amendment to the California Constitution providing all school-age children with a scholarship worth half of the average amount of state and local government spending on K-12 education (estimated to be $2,600 at the time).

The law further specifies that “[t]he goals identified in that program shall include the objective of enabling pupils to become self-motivated, competent, and lifelong learners” (California Education Code of 2006, §47605). Elements two and three focus on standards and accountability. Charter schools must define “measurable pupil outcomes,” or the ways their students will demonstrate that they have achieved the educational goals outlined in Element One and how student progress will be measured. As I noted in chapter 1, in California, charter schools were intended to be different from other public schools because they were (at least in theory) accountable for student performance rather than how well the school complies with the regulations governing public schools.

Duration and Renewal of Charter The three states vary in the length of the charter school contracts they grant to charter school operators. Once a charter school in California is approved, school operators have to renew its charter every five years. 6 In California, all public schools, including charter schools, are required to administer state-mandated assessments to students in grades two through eleven. The results are used to calculate a school’s Academic Performance Index (API), which is a score ranging from 200 to 1000.

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