The State Role in Supporting District-Charter Collaboration: Opportunities for Action
With the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) in place, state education agency (SEA) leaders face increased pressure to promote innovation, improve school performance, and address issues of equity. One key lever for advancing these objectives is meaningful collaboration among districts and charter schools.
In early 2019, the former Mid-Atlantic Comprehensive Center at WestEd convened representatives from four states in the Mid‑Atlantic region to learn about promising strategies from their district-charter collaborations. The meeting focused on using collaboration to improve the quality of, and access to, schools in both of these public school sectors.
This guide, developed for SEA leaders, other state-level policymakers, and their staff, draws from what was learned during the meeting, addresses four areas of need for cross-sector collaboration, and highlights related opportunities for states to encourage and support that collaboration. They include:
- Promoting equity by providing families with comparable information about their school options;
- Serving students with disabilities and English learners;
- Identifying and sharing best or promising practices across sectors; and
- Recruiting and retaining educator talent.
This guide is designed to prompt deeper thinking among state leaders about the potential of district-charter collaboration to help public education better serve its chief constituencies — students and their families — and, in doing so, to advance SEAs’ own education responsibilities and objectives under ESSA.
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