I received the following Member Alert this morning from the California Charter School’s Association, that charter schools cannot require mandatory volunteer hours. I am really glad this clarification of law has been published, as I wrote in the past about why I thought requiring mandatory volunteerism of parents during work hours was wrong. I’m also glad to see that the association was involved in helping to make this change happen, as I think this might help show detractors of charter schools that as a whole charters are working to do the right thing for students and parents:
First, I want to preface this article that I generally support charter schools (and as full disclosure I work for one), because I support having the freedom to innovate in education, and I have seen first hand how traditional regulations burden education, stopping innovation. As an example of this at the post-secondary level, by the way Title IV regulations are written, Stanford University should no longer be allowed to offer Pell Grants or other financial aid, because they tried to freely share their education with the world via several MOOCs, as I wrote about in the short paper: Why MOOCs Might Be Hindered by the Definition of Correspondence Education. This same type of unintended consequences of regulation occurs in K-12 schools also, and charter schools are one good method of helping to get around this problem.
Charter schools are independent public schools, designed and operated by educators, parents, community leaders, educational entrepreneurs, and others. They are sponsored in California by school districts and county boards of education that monitor their quality and integrity but allow them to operate free from the traditional bureaucratic and regulatory red tape that hog-ties public schools. Freed from such micro management, charter schools design and deliver programs tailored to educational excellence and community needs. – Kimberly B. Born, California Department of Education