/No new charter schools make the grade

No new charter schools make the grade

A state board rejected Monday’s final hope for a charter school, raising concerns about the possibility that other groups might be discouraged from visiting Mississippi. Monday’s Charter School Authorizer Board voted 4-2 in favor of denying the application by Ohio-based I Can Schools. This group was the fourth to apply this year for new charter schools. Collegiate Academies withdrew their application last month following a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality and funding of Mississippi charter schools. In the meantime, the organization stated that it will reapply to open a charter school in the same timeline. Shades of Elegance proposed a Drew K-12 program. Excellence 2000, a Dallas-based group that hoped to open a charter school for Jackson, was not able to make it past the last stages of the application process. During the discussion on I Can Schools’ application, Tommie Cardin, Board Chair, stated that “I have difficulty getting to the point where I can satisfy myself that there is clear evidence of statistically substantial gains” and “they are consistently producing proficiency levels.” Since 2014, the Mississippi charter school law requires companies that want to open charter schools in Mississippi to show “clear evidence” that they have made “statistically significant student achievement gains or consistently produced proficiency levels (as measured by state achievement test). The board approved four charter schools. This year, three of these charter schools – ReImagine Prep and Midtown Public Charter School – are already in operation. Smilow Collegiate will be opening next year. All four schools are located in Jackson. Cardin and the other members who voted against I Can’s opening of a school in Jackson cited a report which highlighted inconsistencies in academic outcomes at the eight schools. The report stated that ICS schools have student performance results that are comparable to those that MPS (Mississippi Preparatory School), expects to enroll in Jackson. It also showed that ICS schools achieve at varying levels in math and reading and that only half the schools in ICS are outperforming their local school district. Karen Elam, a board member, voted for I Can Schools to open a school in Jackson with contingencies. She said that denying the application sends a wrong message to other charter schools groups. “I think we have become so narrow that I think it would – if a number charter schools were opened, such as KIPP I would say ‘Why bother?’ Elam stated that there are many places that would be open for us to operate our operations. “Mr. “Mr. This year, the number of applicants has decreased to four. Krystal Cormack was elected Monday to be the new chair. She said that the disappointing results of Midtown Public Charter School’s first year state test and ReImagine Prep’s second year show the need for tighter standards. Cormack stated that students still faced a difficult challenge when moving from the charter school where they were to now to where they are today. “So I believe the board has to keep up the strictness in their authorizing process.”_x000D