Blog: The Educated Reporter

Charters & Choice: EWA in Denver

Paul Teske, dean of the University of Colorado Denver School of Public Affairs, and EWA Executive Director Caroline Hendrie.  (EWA/Emily Richmond)

We spent two days in Denver last week talking about charter schools and choice with a wide range of academic experts, policymakers, and educators. 

Also presenting were journalists who recently undertook large-scale investigative reporting projects of the charter school world: David Jesse (representing the reporting team at the Detroit Free Press) and Dan Mihalopoulos of the Chicago Sun-Times:

(You can read the Free Press series, the culmination of a year’s worth of reporting, here. The Chicago Sun-Times project won first prize in last year’s EWA Education Reporting Awards.)

In the coming weeks, we’ll be sharing guest blog posts from our journalist attendees, as well as podcasts and videos from key sessions. In the meantime, here’s a roundup of the top tweets from some of the event panels, gleaned by my colleague Mikhail Zinshteyn:

In the day’s first session, we considered the politics of school choice:

The seminar was held at the University of Colorado Denver, making a focus on school choice in the Mile High City a natural fit:

While only a tiny fraction — just under 1 percent — of charter school students are learning exclusively online, it’s a growing field that bears watching:

Authors Richard Whitmire (On the Rocketship) and Richard Kahlenberg (A Smarter Charter) discussed their books and respective views on charter schools:

Should charter schools be held to the same accountability standards as traditional public campuses? More than 20 years after the nation’s first charter school opened, what do we know about measuring, and predicting, a model’s success? 

For many families, choice is limited by logistical challenges like transportation, or too few high-quality options in their districts. Our panel considered the challenges and potential for improving access for historically underserved student populations: 

The evolving landscape of public education in New Orleans, overwhelmingly populated by charter schools, was the focus of our panel’s conversation: 

How are vouchers and tax credit scholarships influencing and reshaping the education debate? What does it mean for public dollars to make their way to private schools?