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Three charters get renewed, and a reminder of great online data

Here’s something to sift through over the weekend: The State University of New York’s Charter School Institute this week decided to renew three New York City charter schools’ right to exist. Two Bronx schools, the Grand Concourse Academy Charter School and the Bronx Charter School for Excellence, and a school in Brooklyn, Excellence Charter School, won the renewal, which lasts five years.

The renewal news is important because it highlights a major way that charter schools are different from traditional public schools. In exchange for being free of Department of Education bureaucracy, they must prove every five years that they should continue to exist — or face extinction from one of the three “authorizers,” of which SUNY is the most respected.

Even more exciting, the renewal news is a reminder of the renewal reports, which SUNY publishes in full on its website — and which are worth a look, particularly as the debate over charter schools heats up. Each one includes not only a detailed description of a school’s plans, but also almost endless charts chronicling its test scores, demographics, enrollment patterns, and how much money it spent per student.

There are tons of miscellaneous tidbits, too, which I hope everyone posts in the comments. Here’s my contribution: According to the most recent report on KIPP STAR, KIPP New York’s plans to build a high school that their middle school graduates can attend are moving along — and slated to cost an initial $188,000 in private donations that initial per-pupil funding won’t cover.

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