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Charter Schools

School Board approves charter renewal, discusses district test scores

After months of debate and community campaigning, the West Contra Costa Unified School District board members voted 4 to 1 in favor of renewing the charter of Aspire Richmond California College Preparatory Academy (Cal Prep) before a large and passionate crowd. The board was also presented with data from the California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP) on test score performance within the district. Nearly 35% of WCCUSD students overall met or exceeded standards for English Language Arts (ELA),…

Cal Prep members advocate for charter renewal

Faculty, students, and parents from Aspire Richmond California College Preparatory Academy (Cal Prep) urged the Board of Education to renew the school’s charter at this week’s meeting of the West Contra Costa Unified School District (WCCUSD) at Lovonya DeJean Middle School. Cal Prep is a public charter and early college secondary school in Richmond. During a public forum at Wednesday night’s meeting, Cal Prep supporters testified that the charter renewal would allow Cal Prep to continue with its mission statement…

West County leads the state in pushing for a moratorium on new charter schools

In December, the DeJean Middle School multipurpose room brimmed with onlookers—community leaders, public officials, parents and students—who cheered wildly as Stephanie Hernández-Jarvis and Consuelo Lara took their new seats on the West Contra Costa Unified Board of Education. The two newcomers had arrived ready and confident. The celebration was a pleasant, gratifying end to their campaigns, and they were prepared to make the hard-fought decisions of public office, including one that day: Whether to re-approve the charter of Benito Juarez…

School board passes resolution asking for a state moratorium on charter schools

On Wednesday, the West Contra Costa Unified School District Board of Education passed a resolution calling upon the state to establish a moratorium on charter school expansion. The final resolution received widespread support from the public—including former and current city councilmembers, union leaders, teachers and parents—and from most of the board, who passed it with a 4-1 margin. The passing resolution was devised by board members Consuelo Lara and Valerie Cuevas and was first presented at a meeting earlier this…

School board discusses charter school moratorium

The proposed resolution, inspired by several others—including one that passed last month following the teachers strike in the Los Angeles Unified School District—calls for a moratorium on charter school expansion from the California State Board of Education and seeks to establish additional oversight over existing charter schools.

‘We’re school shopping for mediocre:’ Richmond’s students and parents try to navigate a ‘broken’ education system

Seventeen-year-old Phillip Poe starts his days early. He gets up at 5:45 a.m. so that he can catch a ride to BART with a family member. Then he takes a train to catch a bus, arriving at school just before 8 a.m. His days end late, too. He often doesn’t return until 10 p.m., sometimes taking a long bus ride home after evening varsity basketball practice. After finishing homework, he gets to bed by midnight, catching less than six hours…

Report shows half of Richmond’s charter schools have substandard financial accountability and lack parent engagement

Seven charter schools in Richmond were among 43 charter schools in the state found to have faulty records for funds generated by high needs students, says a report by nonprofit law firm Public Advocates. The report published this year by the advocacy organization known for working with low income communities to bring strategic policy reform found that the charter schools were not abiding by state guidelines. The Local Control Accountability Plan and Local Control Funding Formula are state guidelines adopted…

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