Monthly Archives

December 2022

Charter parent Jamila Lindsay on the power of parent investment

By News

‘You make things happen for your children’

Real estate broker Jamila Lindsay understands the power of investment. In fact, she began her career as an underwriter, so forecasting the potential return on an investment just might be second nature. Not surprisingly, she brings a similar perspective to education. Parental investment, she believes, positions a child and school for long-term success.

Jamila has found a philosophical home at Lake Norman Charter School (LNC) in Huntersville. Her son, Bryce—who loves books, baseball, and band—is a 6th grader there. Jamila is often on campus, too. The president of LNC’s Middle School PTO (Parent Teacher Organization), she has volunteered extensively in her six years as a school parent, starting with LNC’s lunch program.

Clearly, parents are valued partners at LNC; the school was founded 25 years ago by a group of parents. LNC remains anchored to its origins today. The school promotes involvement through an ongoing Serve 10 program, encouraging parents to volunteer 10 hours annually.

Helping with school lunch may seem trifling against the broader backdrop of a child’s K-12 education. But Jamila believes it reinforces a powerful message. “As far as the investment, it matters to Bryce. I think it always has,” she says. “He sees that if it’s important to me, it’s going to be important to him. I have to continue investing in his education, so he can continue to know that matters in our home.”

Real estate broker and charter parent Jamila Lindsay. Photo credit: Jamila Lindsay.

‘I wanted to go to a school where parents were engaged’

Jamila’s belief in parental investment, while instinctive to her, was not widely shared at her son’s first school. Bryce began kindergarten in the Charlotte Mecklenburg School System. While his elementary school was walkable—the embodiment of a neighborhood school—it lacked community cohesion.

“It was only kindergarten, but I just knew that was not the route,” Jamila says. As the classroom mom and PTA member, she had difficulty drumming up parental interest. That didn’t feel right. “I wanted to go to a school where parents were engaged and helping to support the staff,” she adds.

So, she and her husband, Taswell, began looking earnestly at charter and private school options. “I was on a mission for about 6 months,” she says. She applied for first grade at several schools, including LNC. Bryce was waitlisted. Two weeks before school started, they got the call. He had gotten in.

Jamila, Bryce, and Taswell Lindsay. Photo credit: Jamila Lindsay.

Community—and teachers that ‘speak the love language of your child’

This time around, things felt different. Other parents were highly invested, creating a school community that felt like family—and watched over kids. “It definitely makes you more connected to each other,” Jamila says. “Our group of friends knows that if I see their child and something is going on, we’re going to find out!”

Bryce has flourished amid the attention. “This year, he and his novels are taking off,” Jamila says. “I am loving his English Language Arts teacher. She knows him. She knows him from the books he reads; she knows his personality. She knows what makes him tick, how to get him motivated.”

“That’s a difference, too,” she adds—”the quality of teachers that can home in and speak the love language of your child.”

As she invests in her son’s education and school, Jamila is working to reframe discussions with friends about charters. A recent gathering offered an opportunity, she says. “The conversation was, ‘Well, charter school is not an option for people who can’t provide transportation or pack a lunch every day.’”

“My rebuttal to that is, ‘It could be. You make things happen for your children. We carpool. There are ways to make it work,’” she says. “We find a way.”

U.S. Senate rejects resolution to overturn new federal charter regulations

By News

The U.S. Senate yesterday rejected a resolution to overturn new federal charter requirements. Senator Tim Scott led the effort to invalidate the regulations, sponsoring the resolution under the Congressional Review Act.  More than 20 other senators, including Senator Richard Burr and Thom Tillis of North Carolina, co-signed the resolution.

Watch Senator Scott’s floor remarks the day before the vote.

Background on the regulations

The burdensome new requirements, which govern grants under the federal Charter Schools Program, elicited swift and strong backlash in the spring. In response, the Department of Education made some changes. But, advocates remain concerned about the requirements as well as their detrimental impact on charter growth.

In fact, this fall the Coalition joined a lawsuit from the Pacific Legal Foundation challenging the regulations and the Education Department’s authority to make them. Read more about that lawsuit in North State Journal. Learn more here about congressional efforts to overturn the regulations.

Alpha Academy special to premiere on WRAL

By News

You won’t want to miss “The AIR Show” from Alpha Academy on WRAL this Christmas Eve. The show is part of a new reading program for the Fayetteville charter school, a Coalition member school. AIR stands for “Alpha Inspirational Reading.”

This past Friday, December 9, Superintendent Truitt and Coalition Executive Director Lindalyn Kakadelis caught the show’s premiere at the school’s campus. Learn more about the AIR Movement here.

In addition to the show, the AIR Movement features family book clubs and school read-ins. All students receive library cards.  Celebrities, community leaders, parents, and others visit the school to read book excerpts. On Friday, Superintendent Truitt served as a guest reader, posting about her experience on Twitter. She noted, “What a fun and hands-on way to inspire a love for reading.”

Here’s “The AIR Show” poster:


Here’s a photo of the Superintendent during her visit to Alpha Academy.


Superintendent Truitt stands with students and Alpha Academy’s Superintendent/CEO Eugene Slocum.

Leveraging facts to argue for charter schools

By News

Writing on Fordham’s Flypaper blog today, David Griffith provides a compelling response to a recent critique of charter schools. That critique, in the form of a policy paper from former Duke professor Helen Ladd, argues that charter expansion should be limited. Why? Charters, writes Ladd, “undermine good education policymaking.”

Ladd outlines four areas in which she believes this is so; Griffith tackles them one by one. For instance, Ladd claims that charter schools “disrupt” the establishment of “coherent educational systems.” One way they do this, she says, is by harming district funding.

That doesn’t follow from the facts, says Griffith. Here’s an excerpt:

Veterans of the charter school movement will recognize many of Ladd’s arguments. For example, she asserts that “given public funding follows students to charter schools on a per-pupil basis, the outflow of students to charters means that the local districts will be financially worse off.” The first clause of that sentence deserves at least three Pinocchios, given the well-documented exclusion of many charters from many local funding sources.

Read the full post here.

U.S. Dept. of Education drops newly-formed parent council

By News

The U.S. Department of Education on Monday announced its decision to drop a new parent advisory council. The decision came in response to a lawsuit from parent groups, citing partisanship and a lack of political diversity in representation. In addition, five U.S. Senators, including Senator Richard Burr of North Carolina, wrote to Secretary Cardona on December 2 to express concerns about the council’s make-up. Lawmakers identified a lack of representation from local education officials, among other things.

Here is a portion of the Department’s statement:

On June 14, the Department announced the creation of the National Parents and Families Engagement Council. Several organizations subsequently sued, alleging that the Department violated the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA) when it established the Council. The Department disagrees but has decided to not move forward with the National Parents and Families Engagement Council. The Department will continue connecting with individual parents and families across the country, including through townhalls, and providing parents and families with a wide array of tools and resources to use to support our students.

Following yesterday’s announcement, the parent groups dropped the lawsuit. See the joint notice of dismissal.

Background on the Ed. Department’s parent council

The Department’s goal for the council, according to its June announcement, was to provide a conduit for parent input about learning recovery following the pandemic. Council members included representatives from 14 national organizations. Read a Coalition blog post about the council here. Parent groups filed the lawsuit challenging the parent council in July.

Read more about the Department’s decision from The 74.

View the Coalition’s new video featuring inspiring charter voices

By News

The Coalition is debuting a new video featuring inspiring charter voices in North Carolina. Recorded at the Coalition’s reception during the 2022 A.I.M. Conference, the video includes vignettes from Charter One’s Joe Maimone and charter educator Renee Goodwin. In addition, the video includes interviews with Dr. Joanne Woodard, the founder and executive director of Sallie B. Howard School, and Jonathan Bryant, the chief administrator at Lincoln Charter School. Jonathan also chairs the Coalition’s Board of Directors.

Charter schools, as these leaders point out, can make a powerful difference in a child’s life. Dr. Woodard, whose school is a 2021 National Blue Ribbon School, says of students, “They come in not having a good foundation. We’ve got to get them to a high place. And how do we do that? We have very good instructional strategies.”

Learn more by watching our new Charter Voices video below.