Selected readings on US charter schools
Charters and district schools around the city will engage in partnerships under the ‘Charter School Dissemination Grant’ program.
Eight high-performing charter schools in the Bronx, Queens, Brooklyn and Manhattan will share instructional techniques with traditional district schools starting in September.
The city’s publicly funded, privately run charter schools have clashed with district schools over resources, but educators hope the new program will help make peace.
“We should all work together, because we all have the same goals,” said Bronx Charter School for Excellence leader Charlene Reid, who is collaborating with educators at nearby Public School 85. More than 86% of students at Reid’s school passed state reading exams in 2012, compared with just over 20% of students who met literacy standards at PS 85.
But PS 85 is a popular neighborhood school with a community of devoted parents, and the charter school wants to build its own connection to local families.
The two schools will use a $500,000 grant from the state Education Department to fund their collaboration until 2017, with most of the money going to pay staffers to learn from each other.
The schools will also swap teachers in an unusual program designed to expose visiting instructors to different teaching techniques.
Other charters and district schools around the city will engage in similar partnerships under the state’s “Charter School Dissemination Grant” program.
Promoting charters has been a key of Mayor Bloomberg’s overhaul of the city’s system of education system.
Charter schools outperform traditional public schools on many standardized tests, but critics say the comparisons are unfair because charters serve fewer kids in need.
Charters and district schools have fought bitterly at times over shared space in public school buildings, which the city rents to charters at no charge.
But New York City Charter Center CEO James Merriman believes that the new collaborations fueled by the grant will promote positive outcomes for everyone involved.
“When schools start working together, the transfer of knowledge is going to start flowing both ways,” Merriman said. “It’s a real partnership.”
Source: New York Daily News – by Ben Chapman