Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Compact Newsletter, Sept - Oct 2013

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CRPE Reinventing Public Education
COMPACT NEWSLETTER September - October 2013
Timely updates and news from Compact sites coupled with easy access to relevant resources.
Why the Gap? Special Education and New York City Charter Schools
This new CRPE study analyzes the special education enrollment gap between charter and traditional public elementary schools in New York City. Among the report's findings: students with disabilities are less likely to apply to charter schools in kindergarten, and charter schools are less likely to place students in special education—and less likely to keep them there as they progress through elementary grades. Given the complex factors driving the gap, the report cautions against simplistic policy solutions like quotas and enrollment targets. Instead, the report suggests that policy attention might be more usefully spent identifying and replicating effective academic or behavioral interventions that allow schools to declassify students with mild disabilities, and investigating why parents of students with special needs are not choosing charters early on.
Each month we'll profile a city or metropolitan area to highlight new and promising developments in collaboration between district and charter schools.
In Boston, 128 district schools, 16 charter operators, and 22 Catholic schools are represented in their Collaboration Compact. Under this agreement, the three sectors have joined forces to figure out how to best implement the Common Core State Standards, share and develop effective instructional practices via school-to-school partnerships, better align the student enrollment process, deepen the pipeline of well-prepared school leaders, and address the unique challenges of black and Hispanic boys. Compact discussions have recently resulted in Boston Public Schools’ leasing three empty school buildings to charter school tenants, and the district is planning to lease one more before the end of 2013.
As Boston’s education and civic leaders continue to implement collaborative initiatives amidst a rapidly changing landscape, two strong Compact leaders, the mayor and the schools superintendent, are stepping down. The upcoming mayoral election may have serious implications for charter school policy. Some believe the election of a pro-charter mayor could “shift the balance on Beacon Hill toward lifting the charter cap.” The gains in student achievement by “proven” charters like Brooke Charter School and Excel Academy Charter School have generated interest among the public. In a recent poll, 73 percent of respondents were particularly supportive of “allowing schools with a proven record of success to expand.” 
These Boston charter schools are not alone in their success. Boston Public Schools (BPS) recently announced “MCAS ELA proficiency rates for African American and Hispanic 10th grade students are at their highest levels in Boston’s history." New figures indicate that the achievement gap between white and minority students in BPS has dropped by two-thirds since 2007. 
Next fall, New York City parents can apply online for district and charter kindergarten programs. However, there appears to be "little local enthusiasm" for a district-wide unified enrollment process.
A co-location turns into collaboration in NYC. 
In New Orleans, the RSD is improving and growing. 
Cleveland’s mayor pushes for more charter oversight. 
Spring Branch’s SKY partnership kicked off an ongoing series of events to help others learn from their collaboration efforts. Customizable “tours” will be held monthly between November 2013 and May 2014. 
Results are in from the first year of Chicago’s new teacher evaluation system.
The graduation rate in Central Falls has increased 22% in 3 years.
Spokane is Washington State’s first district to become a charter school authorizer. 
Minneapolis Public Schools will create a new department dedicated to closing the achievement gap for schools and specific student groups. 
Michael Lomax pushes for more charters in Nashville
Los Angeles Unified School District’s plans to share old buildings with charters may be complicated by the presence of asbestos. 
In D.C., charters will lease empty district schools. 
Hartford Board of Education green lights the expansion of Achievement First. 
Columbus charters must meet standards to receive levy funds. 
Commit! shares success stories from Dallas/Fort Worth schools that are increasing academic outcomes for their students. 
Did we miss some compact news in your city? If so, please send a link to and we’ll post it in our next compact newsletter. 
Paul Hill article in the Atlantic, photo by Eduardo Munoz/Reuter

Bloomberg's Education Plan Is Working: Don't Ditch It
Paul Hill assesses how NYC children have benefited from the mayor's initiatives, in The Atlantic.
On MPR, Robin Lake explains the potential of Maine's newest charter schools to benefit students with special needs.
Paul Hill’s work on the portfolio strategy is highlighted in a District Administration article on New Orleans. 
Center on Reinventing Public Education
Improving education through transformative, evidence-based ideas
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