charter schools

For the second time this year, the State Board of Education approved a charter school application that a local school board had previously denied.

A group of parents applied to start Le Monde International School, a French and Spanish Immersion charter school in Norman, but the Norman Public School Board of Education denied their application twice.

Cathy Nashert, the President of the Norman School Board, says the application was not very strong.

Emily Wendler / KOSU

A rural Oklahoma school board recently chose not to approve a charter school in their district. But the State Board of Education exercised authority given to them in a new law and overrode that rural board’s decision. This is the first time this has happened, and it’s got some people wondering—who’s really in charge?

In 2015 Oklahoma lawmakers passed Senate Bill 782, which allowed rural school districts to start charter schools. Prior to this only large, urban school districts could have charters.

We're all familiar with the term "hidden in plain sight." Well, there may be no better way to describe the nation's 6,900 charter schools.

These publicly-funded, privately-run schools have been around since the first one opened in St. Paul, Minn., in 1992. Today, they enroll about 3.1 million students in 43 states, so you'd think Americans should know quite a bit about them by now. But you'd be wrong.

With a nearly $900 million budget shortfall, Oklahoma lawmakers want accountability for every penny. But within the coffers of private charter school management companies are millions of dollars that lawmakers can't see. 

Senator Jason Smalley wants to know exactly how much schools are spending on administration. He filed a bill to find out, because right now he said it’s not clear.

“Are all the individuals that should be classified as administration costs, actually being reported as that?” he asked. “I think that’s what the greater conversation is.”

Emily Wendler / KOSU

There is a debate nationwide over the effectiveness of online education, and Oklahoma isn’t immune to it. Here, enrollment in virtual schools is booming, but the schools are performing poorly. There are also questions about the companies that run these schools and their financial practices.

Opponents to online education say the state should stop supporting virtual schools until there’s more information about them. But, others say they are vital to certain types of students. 

Throughout middle school, Toby Carter’s teachers struggled to keep him challenged.

The latest, remarkable misstep of a Cabinet nominee who has misstepped plenty came in answer to a simple question:

"Why do you think their performance is so poor?" asked Senator Patty Murray, D-Wa., in a written question to Betsy DeVos, President Trump's nominee to lead the Education Department.

The State Board of Education approved a new charter school in Seminole, Oklahoma on Thursday.

This makes the school one of the first rural charter schools in the state. It also makes this school one of the first charters to be approved, and sponsored by, the State Board of Education.

Charter schools are typically run and approved by local school boards, but the Seminole Public School Board of Education had denied this charter application twice, saying it was incomplete.

Emily Wendler / KOSU

Epic Virtual Charter School has been operating in Oklahoma since 2011, and just opened a new location in Orange County, California a few months ago. However, local superintendents in the O.C. area already want Epic shut down.

Officials from the Anaheim Union High School District and Anaheim Elementary School District have filed a lawsuit against the Orange County Board of Education for approving Epic’s charter in November 2015, despite staff recommendations not to. They say the charter was approved illegally and in violation of California’s Charter School Act.

It's time to talk about ballot measures. Or rather, those other things voters are deciding on Nov. 8.

This November, there are 156 measures being voted on in 35 states and the District of Columbia. California is in the lead, with a whopping 17 measures on its ballot.

Although these ballot measures are voted on state by state, there are some big national themes.

Emily Wendler / KOSU

After months of debate, the Oklahoma City Public School Board voted to expand KIPP Charter Schools at Monday night’s board meeting. But the expansion will not go as originally planned.

KIPP currently runs a middle school out of F.D. Moon Academy, and has been fighting to extend their rigorous academic model within the district. The charter school proposed starting an elementary school in Martin Luther King Jr. Elementary and hoped to share space with Douglass High School as well. However, Superintendent Aurora Lora says a task force will do more research to decide the locations.

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