Top story in 2011: Without a doubt, this is the final report of the HB 10-1412 state advisory committee to write charter school and charter school authorizer standards. The final report, which came out during the summer, will drive State Board rules and legislation. For the first time in our state, authorizers will have a clear definition of what monitoring and oversight is appropriate and what it means to be a "fair" authorizer. The report also recommends several changes to the Charter Schools Act, including an update to charter school application components that haven't been changed since they were first adopted when the law passed in 1993, except to eliminate the "Statement of Need" section early on. The model standard application has a more comprehensive list of components, for example including management companies. This results in a better evaluation of charter school applications and mitigates the "gotcha" several applicants have felt when they were asked to provide additional information after the application was submitted.
Best blog post: For this category, I'm going with my personal favorite since I wrote about something I'm passionate about: regulation creep. This is the gradual, step-by-step, return to the same overly-regulated public schools the charter school movement grew out of. I wrote about this in two posts, so I'm actually including both the first and second posts as my "best."
Predictions for 2012: First, I predict we're going to see a significant decline in the number of new charter schools getting approved for the next few years. Primarily, I think this will occur because of resistance to charter schools, but even more so because districts haven't figured out how to use charter schools to their advantage in offering a variety of choice options to parents.
I also predict we're going to see more charter school closures than in recent years because small charter schools that haven't prepared financially won't be able to make their budgets work any longer and have to face closure. The financial situation is tight for everyone in public education, but small charter schools have less to work with and so feel restrictions to an even greater level.