Cross-sector organization calls for district-charter cooperation in Detroit
- A cross-sector organization in Detroit is urging local district and charter schools to start working together to improve outcomes for the city’s students, Chalkbeat reports.
- Bringing together leaders from education, business, government, philanthropy and the nonprofit sector, the Coalition for the Future of Detroit Schoolchildren is recommending the creation of a centralized attendance system that would make it easier for all schools, both charter and district, to keep track of children’s absences.
- They would also like to see a #DetroitProud marketing campaign to attract families into district or charter schools in the city, as well as a tool for helping schools to recruit teachers.
Competition has been heating up between traditional schools and charters in recent years, particularly in New York City, where data shows charters receive less funding than district schools even when in-kind support is considered. In other parts of the country, charters are viewed as putting district schools at a disadvantage by luring away students.
Collaboration between district and charter schools is, however, possible. The Center on Reinventing Public Education at the University of Washington is tracking the progress of more than 20 districts that have signed district-charter collaboration contracts. Benefits of such partnerships, they write include giving charters more access to district expertise, allowing school districts to share costs for transportation and recruitment and improving overall school quality in the community.
In a 2014 blog post, comparing district and charter schools as opposing sports teams, Don Shalvey, a co-founder of Aspire Public Schools and a deputy director at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, wrote, “Not surprisingly, the players from both sectors are realizing they have the same goals, the same challenges and the same respect for the craft of teaching and the joy of learning. They are replacing the charter-district battleground with common ground over excellent schools for students. Instead of choosing sides, they are choosing excellence.”
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