Sharing Success

ThriveWhen America’s first charter school law was passed in Minnesota 25 years ago, charters were envisioned as laboratories of innovation that would help inform practices in the broader public education system. It hasn’t worked out that way, however, and the relationship between charters and district schools has instead been one of competition and acrimony. But as charters celebrate their silver anniversary, some of the nation’s largest networks are now charting a course back to that original vision.
Some departments of education are now actively supporting district-charter collaboration. In New York, the city is taking steps in that direction with the help of Collaborate NYC, a new nonprofit that brings educators from district and charter schools together to share best practices. The state Department of Education recently announced a $4 million, three-year initiative to encourage charter schools in New York City and Rochester to join forces to improve student achievement. But more important is the steps charters are taking by themselves to share materials and pedagogy.
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