Ch. 2 - Mastering Change: When Charter Schools and District Schools Embrace Strategic Partnership (HFR '11)

January 2012

This chapter examines the factors that are driving districts to collaborate with charter schools, what those collaborations look like, and what kind of political landmines both sides must deal with. The authors discuss the current trend toward portfolio districts and efforts to develop charter–district compacts and argue that by sharing resources and building trust with charter schools, districts gain tremendous leverage to demand greater equity and accountability.

Because districts have historically viewed charter schools as liabilities, forward-thinking urban superintendents risk angering local teachers unions and losing board support when they push for strong district-charter relationships. But some superintendents are taking risks and building the relationships anyway, in hopes of turning charter schools into a powerful new asset for reaching students who districts have failed to serve for decades.