Covering Charter Schools: Agenda

Los Angeles • January 26–27, 2017

This agenda is subject to change. Check back for any updates.

Thursday, January 26

Welcome & Lunch
12:00 – 1:00 p.m.

  • Caroline Hendrie, Education Writers Association
  • Michael Quick, University of Southern California

School Choice Policy & Politics in the Trump Era
1:00 – 2:00 p.m.

What will President Trump and his administration mean for charter schools and school choice? Will the new president put political muscle behind his campaign pledge to create a new, $20 billion school choice program? How will the GOP-led Congress respond? What are the ramifications of key statewide elections, especially gains by Republicans and the defeat of a high-profile Massachusetts ballot measure to raise that state’s charter cap?

  • Lily Eskelsen García, National Education Association
  • Shavar Jeffries, Democrats for Education Reform
  • John Kirtley, American Federation for Children
  • Nina Rees, National Alliance for Public Charter Schools
  • Caroline Hendrie, EWA (moderator)

USC Hybrid High: A Conversation
2:15 – 2:35 p.m.

Charter schools get started in all sorts of ways, but it’s highly unusual for an education school to launch one. The dean of the Rossier School of Education shares the story behind USC Hybrid High College Prep and the lessons learned as that school has evolved and grown into a charter network.

  • Karen Symms Gallagher, University of Southern California
  • Kyle Stokes, Southern California Public Radio (moderator)

Breakout Session: Reporters’ Workshop
2:40 – 3:30 p.m.

Has the Charter Sector Delivered on Innovation?
3:45 – 4:45 p.m.

From the start, an often-mentioned rationale for the charter movement was to create incubators for educational innovation. Twenty-five years later, what does the sector have to show when it comes to experimenting with new practices in instruction, school design, and governance? How much innovation exists, and what does it look like? What barriers have limited the scope of innovation in the charter sector (and beyond)?

  • Alan Arkatov, University of Southern California
  • Adam Carter, Summit Public Schools
  • Emilio Pack, STEM Preparatory Schools
  • Richard Whitmire, author of “The Founders”
  • Erik Robelen, EWA (moderator)

Eye on Los Angeles
5:00 – 6:00 p.m.

Los Angeles is home to more charter schools — and more students enrolled in them — than any other U.S. city. As the sector has continued to grow, debates over charter schooling have intensified. Recently, the L.A. Unified School District, which authorizes most of the city’s charter schools, has taken a tougher stance on approving and renewing charters. What are the lessons to draw from the charter school experience in Los Angeles, and what’s ahead?

  • Myrna Castrejon, Great Public Schools Now
  • Pedro Noguera, University of California, Los Angeles
  • Alex Caputo-Pearl, United Teachers Los Angeles
  • Ref Rodriguez, L.A. school board, PUC Charter Schools
  • Howard Blume, Los Angeles Times (moderator)

The Standard Hotel Downtown L.A.
7:00 – 8:30 p.m.

Friday, January 27

Site Visits to Local Charter Schools
8:00 – 10:30 a.m.

Small groups of participating journalists go to Los Angeles charter schools for structured visits, including time for classroom observation, as well as discussions with school leaders, faculty, and students.

  • Camino Nuevo Charter Academy — Cisneros campus
  • New Village Girls Academy
  • USC Hybrid High College Prep

Tour of Brain and Creativity Institute at USC
9:00 – 10:00 a.m.

A small group of participating journalists are led on a tour of the institute by Mary Helen Immordino-Yang, an associate professor of education, psychology, and neuroscience at the University of Southern California.

Charter School Reporting
11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

Journalists discuss enterprising coverage of the charter sector, including a major investigation of cyber charters, and a look at the efforts by KIPP charter schools in New Orleans to help their students not simply get into college, but also succeed once they’re there.

  • Benjamin Herold, Education Week
  • Danielle Dreilinger, New Orleans Times-Picayune
  • Emily Richmond, EWA (moderator)

12:00 – 1:00 p.m.

Researching the Impact of Charter Schools
1:00 – 1:45 p.m.

What is the state of play on charter schools research — and what it reveals — as the charter movement turns 25? What are the key questions scholars need to focus on today, especially amid continuing growth in charter schooling and political divisions over the issue that seem more intense than ever? How can and should reporters process and interpret the many diverging conclusions among researchers?

  • Macke Raymond, Stanford University
  • Kevin Welner, University of Colorado Boulder
  • Sarah Sparks, Education Week (moderator)

Quality Control: Charter School Accountability
2:00 – 2:55 p.m.

A core tenet of the charter school “bargain” since the outset has been accountability for results in exchange for freedom. And yet, skeptics routinely label charter schools as “unaccountable” and even many staunch charter advocates lament that accountability in practice does not always live up to the promise. Experts discuss what accountability means, including the roles of state laws, authorizers, and charter school boards, and what’s needed to ensure more effective quality control among charter schools.

  • Richard Gray, Annenberg Institute for School Reform
  • Robin Lake, Center on Reinventing Public Education
  • Greg Richmond, National Association of Charter School Authorizers
  • Erik Robelen, EWA (moderator)

Race and Segregation in Charter Schools
3:10 – 4:05 p.m.

Concerns about student segregation in charter schools are generating renewed attention and debate, including calls for moratoriums on new schools and even legal action. What is the on-the-ground reality, and how does the demographic makeup of charter schools compare with enrollment in nearby, district-run schools? Should charters actively seek to promote greater diversity by race, ethnicity, and family income? If yes, what are the barriers to doing so?

  • Chris Stewart, Education Post
  • Gary Orfield, University of California, Los Angeles
  • Kriste Dragon, Citizens of the World Charter Schools
  • Mario Koran, Voice of San Diego (moderator)

Breakout Session: Reporters’ Workshop
4:15 – 5:00 p.m.