Excerpt from Richard Whitmire's piece in The Seventy-Four:
Districts need what charters have, and vice versa. Why not make nice?
That’s pretty much the story in Cleveland, home to a beleaguered school district that was losing students fast to both the suburbs and charter schools, many of which were not much better than the city’s troubled traditional schools.
That led to an interesting collaboration between charters and district schools, an agreement that hasn’t solved every education challenge but has gone a long way toward establishing a simple principle: Let’s grow quality schools, shut down terrible schools, and not worry so much about whether they are charter or traditional schools.
So it makes sense that Cleveland was chosen for a conference organized by the Center for Reinventing Public Education (CRPE), a Seattle-based group that tracks collaborations across the country. Last week, Cleveland charter and district folks swapped stories with other collaborators around the country in cities such as Denver, Tacoma, Nashville, Indianapolis, Providence, Tulsa, Houston, San Antonio, Washington, D.C., and yes, surprisingly enough, New York City, where Uncommon Schools has convinced the charter-unfriendly de Blasio administration that it has something valuable to offer city schools (and vice versa).
The move toward looking at schools as neutral platforms can be seen in both Cleveland and Newark, cities with severe challenges that never had the luxury of debating education reform rather than simply doing it as fast as possible.