Excerpt from the Chalkbeat Colorado article:
Those two hats [that Denver Public Schools (DPS) wears] are school authorizer and school operator. DPS says it has a “firewall” separating those who help run and support district-managed schools, and those who approve schools that make up the district’s nationally recognized “portfolio” of traditional district-run, charter, innovation and magnet schools.
Managing that separation can be complicated, messy and — this year — tension-filled.
In a district that has long supported charter schools, it is charter schools that are leading the criticism. Even after DPS took extra steps this year to address the operator/authorizer conflict, charter operators are saying the restart competitions have not been fair.
Such tensions are not uncommon in school districts, especially at those with significant charter school growth, said Robin Lake, director of the Center on Reinventing Public Education, a research and policy group at the University of Washington.
Bias may not be intentional — especially in districts like Denver committed to different governing structures — but it can be damaging to promoting great schools without labels, she said.
“There can be an internal schizophrenia in the main office about what its core job is,” Lake said.