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Newswire: May 8, 2012

Vol. 14, No. 19

FREEDOM TO LEARN. This week the nation celebrates National Charter Schools Week, with a Presidential proclamation that trumpets charters as “incubators of innovation…[that] give educators the freedom to cultivate new teaching models” and more. In today’s global economy, the prerequisite for the U.S. to be competitive is a world-class education system. And, charters are leading the way to securing a quality education for all children. Here’s a round-up of the latest headway made by charter schools and their advocates:

• BASIS Tucson, a high-achieving charter school located in Tucson, Arizona, is ranked number one charter school in U.S. News & World Report’s 2012 rankings of high schools. But, the charter goes one step further securing the number six rank of all high schools nationwide! Even better news: BASIS Tucson is bringing its high-octane, high-quality learning to Washington D.C. this September.

• Massachusetts education officials are lifting a temporary moratorium on proposals to open charter schools in several cities across the state, including Boston. Mitchell Chester, Massachusetts commissioner of elementary and secondary education, points to fever-pitched demand as the reason. Case-in-point, the Boston Globereports that in Boston, the wait list at charters ranges from 550 to 2,647 students!

• Legislation that would allow higher education institutions to become charter school authorizers is heading to South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley, who indicates she will sign the bill.

• The prestigious Frank Newman Award for State Innovation, presented by the Education Commission of the States, this year goes to New Hampshire for its success in moving beyond the time-worn Carnegie units, exemplified in the state’s Great Bay eLearning Charter School, which along with several other schools was named as part of the state’s Circle of Excellence. The Great Bay charter boasts high-quality learning in a 21st-century environment.

• Cherokee Charter Academy was host to Georgia Governor Nathan Deal as he signed into law legislation that would fund charter schools. For all of his efforts, Deal was presented with the 2012 Champions for Charters Award by the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools.

TRANSFORMERS. For the most part, charter schools and their dedication to high performance and innovation are sailing through legislatures. But, not only do they lead the way in reform, the cause a “transformative effect on children, families, communities and state policy,” says Jeanne Allen, president of The Center for Education Reform. “Because of their impact, not only are they propelling student achievement forward for the 2 million children in them, but charter schools are also causing traditional education to act and react in dramatic ways.” Read more about how charters are guiding all schools into 21st-century learning here. Also, visit the Media Bullpen for everything you want to know about charter schools over the past year, including daily updates from around the states.