National Report Finds Improved Relationships Between Charter Schools and Districts
Charter schools and traditional districts now are “commonly finding themselves sitting down at the bargaining table to work out deals,” an evolution from a relationship that has been marked by antagonism and isolation, according to a new report from the Center on Reinventing Public Education (CRPE).
“Districts and charter schools are working on some of the most difficult problems that choice creates in order to reap the deepest and most widespread promise that choice offers,” according to Hopes, Fears, & Reality: A Balanced Look at American Charter Schools in 2011. “But moving away from antagonism and defiance and toward true collaboration and problem solving isn’t easy.”
Charter-district collaboration compacts have been created in at least 16 cities -- from Los Angeles to Central Falls, Rhode Island, and from Chicago to Spring Branch, Texas. Collaboration between charter schools and districts has been supported by a Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation program.
The January 2012 report from CRPE covers enrollment systems, access for students with special needs, allocation of building space, improving information for parents about choices, and analysis of where charter-district cooperation fits in education reform. It also includes a review of the charter school landscape and emerging trends, among them that charter schools are serving “a growing share of minority and Hispanic students,” rural charter schools “appear to be on the rise,” and charter management organizations appear to be driving less of the growth in the charter school sector.
The report is funded by the National Charter School Resource Center at the American Institutes for Research. The Resource Center is funded by the U.S. Department of Education.
"Hopes, Fears, & Reality is an invaluable resource to help districts and charter schools provide the best opportunities available to improve student outcomes,” said Kelly Sparks, Director of the Resource Center. “The report provides concrete strategies and ideas for districts as they manage traditional schools, charters, and other school choice programs.”