Students dressed in uniforms standing in military-straight lines under a dangling line of college pennants. An ethos of "no excuses" for low academic achievement.
That, perhaps, is the most popular notion of what makes a charter school. And that's because a relatively small number of charter networks—KIPP, Success Academy, and YES Prep to name a few—dominate the sector in ways that over the last decade or so have shaped the national debates and policy agendas around charters.
But that dominance, say some charter school supporters, has to change.
To do that, a group of independent charter schools and some founders of the 25-year-old charter movement are organizing efforts to muscle their way back into the spotlight. An inaugural national gathering of leaders in independent charters is on tap next month in New York, and its organizers are hoping the event will spawn a new national organization to represent their specific interests.