People who believe in a portfolio strategy believe great schools can prosper in many circumstances. The role of portfolio leaders is to create opportunities for innovation and improvement and to ensure all schools are getting results across all of a city’s public schools.
Secretary of Education John B. King Jr. has called on charter schools to take the lead on rethinking school discipline. Speaking at the National Charter School Conference in Nashville on Tuesday, he said, "Don’t get caught up in battles about whether charters are a little better or a little worse than average on discipline. Instead, focus on innovating to lead the way for the sake of our students.” We appreciate Secretary King’s focus on solutions, not finger-pointing.
The Florida Department of Education has provided two competitive grants to Duval County and Miami-Dade County to foster district-charter collaboration. CRPE research analyst Sean Gill spoke with Adam Emerson, the Florida Department of Education’s charter schools director, about his thoughts on how the collaboration work is progressing.
Gill: For readers not familiar, how would you describe the landscape for the charter school sector in Florida? On the whole, what is their relationship like with school districts?
No one doubts that suspension and expulsion rates in too many public schools are far too high. This is true in both charter and district-run schools. No school should treat a child, much less a troubled one, as a problem to be rid of. Yet nor can schools allow a small group of students to continually hinder the learning of many.
On the surface, the current dispute about Title I comparability (the requirement that schools within a district must receive comparable resources from state and local sources for education of disadvantaged children before federal funds are added on) is all about money. On one side, Secretary of Education John King is pressing for regulations that would require districts to demonstrate real-dollar equality of state and local spending.
Charter schools have come under fire recently around student discipline. As someone who spent a decade working with children at the tragic end of the school-to-prison pipeline, I’m deeply concerned about the real-world ramifications of suspensions and expulsions on students. But overuse of harsh student discipline is not just a charter school issue, it’s a public school issue.