Recently, Education Secretary Arne Duncan described the charter school movement as "absolutely one of the most profound changes in American education, bringing new options to underserved communities and introducing competition and innovation into the education system." ABC News) A recent hearing (wvx file) by the congressional Committee on Education and Labor regarding what works at charter schools focused on how outstanding charter schools are closing the achievement gap between students of different ethnic and financial backgrounds. The California Charter Schools Association released an analysis of charter schools in Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) comparing charter and traditional public schools performance based on 2006-07 API data, and found that charters in LAUSD outperform traditional public schools on a variety of student achievement measures. (See CSA press kit here) Although quality charter schools are more popular than ever in Los Angeles, finding the right site and navigating the entitlement process are still prerequisites for most new charter schools. In the July/August issue of Los Angeles Lawyer, I address many of the practical issues involved in the City’s entitlement process to secure the necessary zoning approval for a new charter school.