BRIGHT IDEAS: Andrew Sparks on Charter School Boards & Non-Profit Governance

Dave Hoffman

Dave Hoffman is the Murray Shusterman Professor of Transactional and Business Law at Temple Law School. He specializes in law and psychology, contracts, and quantitative analysis of civil procedure. He currently teaches contracts, civil procedure, corporations, and law and economics.

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3 Responses

  1. Neal Millard says:

    I am an attorney and on the board of Alliance for College-Ready Public Schools. The board consists of a judge, a former SEC chair, a former mayor of Los Angeles and state secretary of education, a former ambassador and several well known business leaders. If Mr. Sparks would like to see how a CMO dedicated to students and students only works, please go to our website. All our students are inner city. Today, at our board meeting, one of our students spoke. She, along with 100% of her graduating class, got accepted to college, in her case Yale. I would be happy to make the introductions for Mr. Sparks and take him to visit some of our 16 schools, all of which are highly performing.

  2. Andrew Sparks says:

    I appreciate your comments. Right now there is no shortage of examples of organizations and individual charter schools doing excellent work, and it sounds like Alliance for College-Ready Public Schools is doing a great job of motivating students and successfully directing resources towards improved achievement. As someone interested in policy issues – particularly for low-income, urban populations – the next step in my mind is to take these successes and broaden their scope and impact. I think this can be done, but attention must be paid to issues of sustainability (around financial and human resources as well as governance.)

    I also have some concerns, as organizations grow, that they will begin to “lose touch” with the needs of individual schools, school leaders, and communities (much, as some would argue, as occurs in large urban school districts.) Carefully toe-ing the line between replicating success and recreating the bureaucracy of many large school districts is important.

  3. myles glasgow says:

    Is Dr. Andrew Sparks taking any action to preserve the Hope Charter School in Philadelphia from proposed closure, and if so, is there a way to preserve an idea and effort such as the Hope Charter School without sinking with its corporeal existence of the board of directors, administrators and funding sources who are ready to let the Hope Charter School effort die on their watch?

    The idea and its history from birth in physical reality, initial funding, developers, teachers over the years has probably suffered greatly to now end up as a proposed closure, through incompetence of various efforts. How does one preserve and build on the idea with a history that was proud in its living youth, when its own supporters are too weak and disheartened or without support to protect it now from dismantling attacks by critics, opposing funding options, politicians, etc. especially when the stakeholders of the students are not organized, vocal, articulate, etc.?

    thank you,