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The First Charter

As we mentioned in yesterday’s In The News, Montgomery County (and Kensington specifically) will welcome its first charter school in 2012, run by Catalogue non-profit Crossway Community, Inc. As the Post reported:

The Montgomery County Board of Education approved its first charter school Monday night, sending a cheer through the crowded board room and signaling a breakthrough for a movement that is pushing to expand beyond struggling inner-city districts. [...]

School board member Patricia O’Neill (Bethesda-Chevy Chase) said she was proud to help shepherd in a “historic moment in Montgomery County” by voting for the school.

Nearly 28,000 students are currently enrolled in DC public charter schools, an increase of about 400% in the past decade; but such swift change has yet to appear in the surrounding counties. For example, Prince George’s County is home to less than ten charter and contract schools and Maryland as a whole will have 43 charters schools this coming fall (primarily in Baltimore). But should we predict further and faster growth?

Pressure to open charter schools has increased dramatically in recent years as national and state leaders have embraced the publicly funded, privately run alternatives as a stimulus for school reform. [...]

The board rejected Crossway Community’s first application a year ago. But school officials worked with the organization in the spring to address concerns.

The growing prevalence of charter schools has certainly catalyzed a national conversation about education reform this past year; but can we perhaps expect a more highly-localized conversation in this coming year? And should we expect more charter schools to open in DC’s surrounding counties, or will such schools simply remain less common in suburban or rural areas?

Best wishes to Crossway! You can learn more right here.

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