Charter Schools Able to Maneuver Muddy Political Waters - NBC Bay Area
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Charter Schools Able to Maneuver Muddy Political Waters



    Charter Schools Able to Maneuver Muddy Political Waters
    Small charter schools are making big gains.

    While President Barack Obama kicks off Education Nation Week by calling for a longer school year to help the nation's struggling schools, California public educational institutions are being forced to shorten schools years and lay off teachers to deal with the state's crippling budget crisis.

    The spotlight has been placed on the nation's education system while the president sat down Monday morning to answer the nation's education questions.

    While California schools are struggling to secure money to keep kids in school and teachers on the job, some public charter schools are maneuvering their way around the worst of the crisis by securing private donations and hiring low cost teachers.

    The San Francisco Chronicle reports that close to 90 charter schools could open this fall because of a rash of "government and philanthropic support."

    "Charter schools are not immune to the current recession, but they are more nimble and their budgets have more room to be modified on the fly," Marguerite Roza, a senior data and economic adviser at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation who studies charter schools, told the San Francisco Chronicle.

    The expansion is a key part of Mr. Obama's education plan, which has the full backing of outgoing Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.

    Despite being able to secure private donations, some federal charter schools have been able to improve their financial situation by hiring cheaper, less experienced teachers partly because the schools are exempt from state minimum salary requirements.

    This has caused some criticism of the charter school system and the president's push to open them.

    There were 809 charter schools, with 341,000 students, running in California last year.