80th Annual Meeting

WHEREAS, 5 percent of all public schools are public charter schools, serving over 2 million students; and

WHEREAS, over 500 new public charter schools have opened in the past year; and

WHEREAS, the number of charter schools in our country is steadily increasing; and

WHEREAS, forty states and the District of Columbia all have charter schools; and

WHEREAS, the majority of charter schools are located in urban areas; and

WHEREAS, certain public charter schools, through their autonomy and ability to innovate, have outperformed their district counterparts in areas such as graduation rates, college acceptance rates, and performance on student assessments; and

WHEREAS, with their increased autonomy, charters have been able to develop best practices in human capital development, break down barriers in digital learning capacities, create specialized instructional models that serve a variety of student populations, and establish public-private partnerships that increase studentsí college readiness; and

WHEREAS, for students who are low-income and students who are English Language Learners, charter schools have a larger and more positive effect than for similar students in traditional public schools; and

WHEREAS, public charter schools and traditional public schools are often located in close proximity to each other, serving students in the same neighborhoods; and

WHEREAS, both traditional public school districts and public charter schools share common goals of raising student achievement, eliminating the achievement gap, and expanding educational opportunities for all children; and

WHEREAS, public charter schools are designed to innovate and develop new models for instruction, leadership, development, human capital management, and operations, but often lack the capacity to scale up across a large number of schools so that innovations can impact a greater number of students; and

WHEREAS, districts that have collaborated with charters to increase student achievement have created exciting models for improving instruction and have increased parental access to high quality school options within those districts.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that The U.S. Conference of Mayors supports the following district-charter collaboration initiatives:

  • Through the formation of district-charter compacts, empowering and incentivizing districts and public charter schools to work together in collaboration and sharing of best practices and programs;

  • Working together to help the most successful schools expand and replicate, whether those schools are district or public charter schools, in order to extend quality offerings to a greater number of students;

  • Creating opportunities for teachers and principals to learn from each other and participate in joint professional development;

  • Establishing mechanisms for collaboration through which districts and public charter schools share best practices and design innovative solutions to improve student outcomes;

  • Facilitating equitable access to and sharing of school facilities;

  • Creating clear lines of communication between district and charter schools for tracking students, including those who have been expelled;

  • Facilitating collaboration regarding enrollment policies and student disciplinary procedures, in order to ensure that charters have access to and are serving the highest needs students, including those with special needs, and those in foster care or the juvenile justice system;

  • Pursuing a common accountability framework and transparent reporting process for all schools, whether district or charter, which uses longitudinal data to support schools and institutes measures that immediately address poor-performing schools, including, when appropriate, closing schools;

  • Committing to a discussion with state legislators to advance legislation in areas of mutual interest;

  • Facilitating access to equitable financing and public funding.