Charting New Territory: Tapping Charter Schools to Turn Around the Nation's Dropout Factories
This report begins with a Cinderella story: high school (the infamous Locke in Los Angeles) meets charter management organization, is taken over, transforms from drop-out factory to a high-performing charter. How widespread should the involvement of charter management organizations be in turning around the nation’s lowest performing high schools? CAP takes on this question in its latest report.
Low-performing district schools opting to become charters are rare; only five percent of schools awarded a federal School Improvement Grant have chosen to restart as charter schools, and very few of those are high schools. But the report argues that the use of Charter Management Organizations (CMOs) in school overhauls is an area ripe with opportunity. This policy paper offers observations, largely based on conversations from charter operators and district leaders in two cities, on how district-charter partnerships are taking shape.
CMOs attempting to turn around failing schools face different obstacles than those working solely with start-ups. Money and resources are obviously a key component in the district-charter relationship. The ability and willingness of school districts to invest funding into facilities and maintenance, and to provide human capital resources, can create a great support system for a failing school. Administrative barriers and issues of autonomy are cited as the largest hurdles for districts becoming charters under the CMO direction. CAP’s anecdotal evidence confirms what we already knew: CMOs undertaking turnaround projects are forced to grow in new directions.
These are fine “first looks” at the role of CMOs in district schools turned to charters. However, CAP’s paper shows little information on the advancement of student performance in the schools studied, nor the likelihood that districts will look to charter operators to turn around drop-out factories using School Improvement Grant money.
Charting New Territory: Tapping Charter Schools to Turn
Around the Nation’s Dropout Factories
Center for American Progress
blog comments powered by Disqus