March 24, 2014
My name is Sean Roberts, and I’m the executive director for the Milwaukee Charter School Advocates, a non-profit organization representing the independent 2R and non-instrumentality public charter schools in Milwaukee and Racine.
I’m here today in support of DPI’s proposal for the PI34 3-year charter school license.
Charter schools are public schools that are held accountable to performance standards by their authorizers. In exchange for this accountability, charter schools are given additional flexibility in their schools. All successful charter school leaders will tell you that their success is contingent upon the people they hire to educate students. By giving these schools flexibility in who they hire they can better make hiring decisions to best meet the needs of their students, and will be held accountable for those hiring decisions in their charter contract.
While this flexibility is important for allowing schools to make the hiring decisions they need to be successful with students, we should also ensure that candidates know their subject matter well. In the proposed DPI rule, we also support the use of the Praxis II to determine subject-area competence for candidates.
Autonomy in hiring is one aspect that has led to independent charters being the highest-performing public option to students in the city of Milwaukee. We fully support this flexibility to remove barriers that might impede getting high-quality teachers in the classroom so they can continue to work to close the achievement gap in our state, as has been evidenced from the gap-closing and growth scores in our charter schools based on the state report card.
Sean Roberts, Executive Director
Milwaukee Charter School Advocates