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UW Study: Charter Schools Work in Denver, New Orleans, Los Angeles and New York.

from UW Today (excerpted) A new white paper from the UW’s Center on Reinventing Public Education finds a key role for charter schools.

In their paper, authors Robin Lake — the center’s associate director — and Alex Hernandez pull from the experience of charter networks such as Rocketship Education in San Jose, Calif., where its first two schools serving low-income students are demonstrating proficiency at 80 percent in English language arts and 90 percent in math.

The authors propose that the key unlocking effective solutions to the achievement gap problem is for districts to adopt a “portfolio” strategy that includes charter schools to help overcome the political dynamics that can slow reform efforts. Cities as different as Denver, New Orleans, Los Angeles and New York have adopted portfolio strategies that rely on charter schools that have effectively replaced some low-performing district schools and delivered good results.

Portfolio management is where districts manage a portfolio of diverse schools that are administered in many ways — including through traditional district operation, charter operators, and nonprofit organizations — and hold all schools accountable for performance.

…”Using charter schools to replace the worst-performing schools provides proof points that show what can be done in high-poverty schools and creates pressure on teachers unions to agree to charter-like flexibilities in more schools,” the authors state.

… In their conclusion, they observe that “School board members and superintendents who are serious about addressing performance problems that have plagued districts for decades can’t afford to pass by proven solutions for students simply because they are called charter schools.”

Eliminating the Achievement Gap: A White Paper on How Charter Schools Can Help District Leaders is available at the Center on Reinventing Public Education website.


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