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Santa Clara County friendliest to charter schools

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alp227 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Nov-24-11 05:56 PM
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Santa Clara County friendliest to charter schools
Charter schools, once considered the experimental outliers of public education, are poised to go mainstream in Santa Clara County.

That's due in part to sheer numbers. Eight new charter schools opened this school year, taking in 1,600 students. Last week alone, five charter schools were approved to open next August in the county. But perhaps more important, key places in the county have seen a transformation in attitude, from hostility and suspicion to acceptance and collaboration.

The growing number of charters cements the county's reputation, along with the giant Los Angeles Unified district, as the most charter-friendly place in the state. In a month or so, the county school board will consider approving 20 more charters schools for Rocketship Education. The increase comes amid widespread growth of charter schools in California. Today about 7 percent of the state's public school children attend a charter, which are public schools operating independently from local school boards and most of the state Education Code.

This month, two charter school operators whose first schools were rejected several years ago won easy approval from local school boards. Both focus on educating poor and struggling students. Rocketship Education, whose initial charter application was rejected by the San Jose Unified School District in 2006, received unanimous approval from the district to open an elementary charter school next August. ACE Charter had to apply four times in 2006 and 2007 to get a middle school approved in East San Jose. But on one try, ACE won an OK from the East Side Union High School District to open a high school, possibly in San Jose's Mayfair district, next year.

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