My colleague Parker Baxter and I were recently in Dallas helping about a dozen cities develop district-charter collaboration compacts. The compacts (and the grants from the Gates Foundation that go with them) are meant to help overcome long-standing animosity between the two sectors and to prod mutual problem-solving on behalf of students in district and charter schools.
Now, there’s reason for skepticism when you hear about initiatives that hope to inspire “collaboration” and “sharing of best practices,” but there’s very little Kumbaya in the compact initiative. These compact signatories are doing pioneering work, and we’re honored to help. Some are working together to recruit and train high-quality teachers. Others are working out agreements to give quality charter schools access to district buildings. In some cases, charters are agreeing to accept more students with disabilities. In turn, districts are agreeing to provide more equitable funding.
Some of the compacts are so substantive and bold, in fact, that they create very real risks for both sides.
More on that tomorrow…