Could the charter school accountability system work for district schools?
- Charter schools must meet performance expectations to maintain their contracts to stay open, and the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools says a similar model could improve district schools, with the Every Student Succeeds Act allowing the necessary flexibility.
- In its latest report, the NACPS says charter schools have been able to operate under the performance-based model because district schools were always an alternative for students whose charters were closed — and now in cities with expansive charter sectors, charter schools can provide the same alternatives for low-performing district schools.
- The alliance recommends allowing “public school authorizers” to negotiate individualized performance contracts with both charter and districts schools, all of which get similar autonomy, and the district would remain to set policy, negotiate contracts and manage schools.
The NACPS interprets the Every Student Succeeds Act to mean states can have separate accountability systems for their charter schools that could be applied to select urban districts, if states choose. The alliance recommends holding schools in this alternative accountability system to a higher standard so that every school district in the state is held to the same minimum standards, achieving a level of statewide uniformity.
A key shift, however, would be the idea that every school in a district can be held to different standards. Schools claiming to prepare students for careers in science, technology, engineering and math, for example, would be expected to produce higher outcomes in these subject areas among their students. One-size-fits-all accountability systems may not be the best option. Still, it would be important to create a rigorous base so that traditionally disadvantaged student populations are not purposefully left behind.
- National Alliance for Public Charter Schools Charter Accountability For District-Run Schools: Using ESSA to Create Contract-Based Accountability for Urban Public Education
- Education Dive How should school accountability be measured under ESSA?
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