Gates Foundation Announces District-Charter Collaboration Compact

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has announced the names of the first nine cities to sign on to the District-Charter Collaboration Compact, an initiative designed to highlight and share best practices and knowledge among public charter schools and traditional public schools.

Agreed to by school and city leaders in Baltimore, Denver, Hartford, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, Nashville, New Orleans, New York City, and Rochester, New York, the initiative will highlight the ways in which charter schools and traditional public schools are working to provide high-quality education to all students. By joining the compact, school districts commit to replicating high-performing charter or traditional school models and improving or closing down schools that are not serving students well.

In addition, each city will work to address persistent tensions between school districts and charters involving things like access to necessary funding and facilities and whether charters are open to all students, including those with special needs and English language learners. In several cities, compact agreements include a commitment by charter and public schools to jointly develop a shared approach to school enrollment and measures of effective teaching; align district curriculums with the Common Core State Standards; and share access to school data systems.

Cities will be eligible for a modest investment from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to advance the goals outlined in the compact. Eventually, cities that have developed compacts will also be able to compete for a multimillion-dollar grant.

"Traditional public schools and public charter schools share a common goal of preparing all students for future success," said Vicki L. Phillips, director of the College-Ready Education initiative at the Gates Foundation. "Too often, issues not tied to academic outcomes can make it difficult for schools and teachers to have the opportunity to learn from each other and build upon successful practices, whether those practices are found in district-run or charter-run schools. We hope this compact helps to fill a void for these cities and will lead the way for a committed partnership to work together to improve all schools."