Themes

The following themes are ones that we explore here at CharterFolk on an ongoing basis.

Understanding the Attack that has Come Against Us

In recent years, the charter school movement has been subject to an unprecedented attack coming from forces seeking to protect the public education establishment. Those of us working in charter schools can get so bogged down in the day-to-day, it can be hard to get the distance to see what our adversaries have done in recent years to sharpen their attack and to see how our initial responses have not always been helpful.

From Thunderbolts and Mountaintops –
How We Smash Through the 2×2

The Loss of Vision

Another topic we return to often is how our inability to articulate an updated vision for our movement is hampering our collective ability to overcome the new attacks that have come against us.

From Why It’s Imperative We Occupy the Moral High Ground

The Need for Greatly More Public Education

Perhaps the most oft-returned to theme here at CharterFolk is the need for Greatly More Public Education in our society and the unique contribution that the charter school movement can make to bring it about.

From DC – Where Charter Schools Next Make Education Greatly More Public for All

The Great Disconnect of 2021

Another subject we return to regularly is the disconnect between what public education is offering and the bare minimum that parents and the general public will accept.

From The Great Disconnect of 2021
Public Education’s Year of Reckoning

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs for Greatly More Public Education

Another topic we return to here again and again is how our existing needs hierarchy for public education today is mis-designed and risks collapse, necessitating that we bring forward a new needs hierarchy that would support the creation of greatly more public education for all.

The Need for Improved Advocacy Infrastructure and Capacity

For decades we have struggled to make the long term advocacy infrastructure and capacity we need to support the movement.  But now we are in the middle of a spreading recognition that membership associations focused on advocacy and creating all the structures they need to engage in policy and political work have great potential to increase charter schools’ collective advocacy strength.

From Beyond Cellophane and DuBois
The Strength We Need to Survive
  • Thunderbolts and Mountaintops – How We Smash Through the 2×2 – This post explains the two great imperatives that charter school advocacy strengthening must embrace: getting smarter/better in all the various advocacy domains (casting thunderbolts) and building an aligned base of constituents taking collective action toward shared priorities (having a mountaintop from which to launch your thunderbolts.
  • Membership Like Democracy – The Worst Except For All Others – Attempts to build advocacy strength for charter schools have been hampered for years, but a recognition is spreading that, while state associations have limitations, they are better than all other alternatives for building collective advocacy strength and long term advocacy infrastructure.
  • Associations Associate – The Origins of Charter School Power – Collective strength requires that connective tissue link stakeholders together, something that membership associations are uniquely positioned to facilitate.
  • Beyond Cellophane and DuBois – The Strength We Need to Survive – When I moved to Sacramento to take the CCSA job, people looked right through me because our organization did not have the ability to get involved in politics. It’s a circumstance we changed quickly by making a new 501c4 organization that could take on political work. Now we see many other state associations developing their own C4 organizations and greatly building our collective advocacy strength in the process.
  • No Rocket Science – The National Advocacy Infrastructure We Need – Charter opponents have linked advocacy organizations at a national, state and local level. If we are going to succeed for the long term, we will need something similar.
  • Cards on the Table – The Quest for Better Vision Now – This post lays out a “full deck” of 52 suggestions for the movement to protect itself and build advocacy strength as quickly as possible and for the long term.

25X25X25

While having the right membership organizations in place to drive our advocacy efforts is key, it is also essential that those organizations have membership dues at rates allowing them to build capacity and sophistication over time. Fortunately, we are going through a period where many are recognizing that, with the scale that the charter school movement has at this time, increased membership dues can go a long way toward making our advocacy efforts self-sustaining. A key priority at CharterFolk is to help a transition to higher membership dues happen as quickly as possible across the nation. A goal I have established is trying to have 25 states where members are willing to contribute $25/student in membership dues by 2025.

Getting in the Game

A part of advocacy strengthening is simply encouraging more CharterFolk to get involved in politics and giving them meaningful opportunities to participate.

From Election Takeaways? CharterFolk, We Got to Get in the Game!

Nuts and Bolts

I have gotten comments from readers requesting that I get more specific in my suggestions for people regarding how to take on various advocacy related challenges.

From Nuts and Bolts – Breaking Down Step-by-Step What to Do When Someone Attacks You Because of Your Support for Charter Schools

Personal Connection to the Work

People report liking different things about CharterFolk. While they don’t always have the highest open rates, posts that feature my own personal connection to the work tend to be the ones that people email me the most about.

From Lessons From Colombia
A Better Strategy for Finding the Lost