New Accountability Agreement for Charter Schools
Compact created by Newark Charter School Fund
Read this article as it originally appeared on Patch.com
Charter schools in Newark can be part of a new self-governing agreement that will ensure high quality education, transparency and accountability for each institution that signs on, according to officials from the Newark Charter School Fund, which has doled out money to schools and created the document.
Under the new agreement or "compact," charter schools pledge to serve the widest range of students in the city whether they need ESL classes or special education services, eliminate obstacles to applying to schools, release clear and correct information on the schools and the application process, post data on students on the schools’ websites such as how many kids qualify for free school lunches and information on college matriculation rates, and collaborate with the school district, according to the compact.
The agreement will also hold charter schools accountable to their students and parents by having schools who signed on to the compact to report required data in an annual report to state officials.
It is a way for charter schools to hold oversight on each other and for stakeholders such as educational leaders and other organizations, who can also sign on to the compact, to hold those schools accountable as well, said Janellen Duffy, the Newark Charter School Fund’s Vice President for Advocacy and Policy.
Duffy also envisions that compact will encourage charter schools to share tips on improving education and discourage approaches that may not work.
"There is a healthy competition across the charter sector," she said.
So far, according to Duffy, the majority of the 18 existing charter schools across the city have expressed support for the compact.
Eventually, the compact should be one of the first steps towards another, larger compact between the charter schools and the district, she said. Other cities have enacted these kind of agreements.
"We are working towards it," Duffy said.
Mashea Ashton, the chief executive officer of the Newark Charter School Fund, also said in a press release, "We believe this compact will go a long way toward erasing the false perception that Newark's charter schools are somehow different from public schools in terms of accountability,
transparency and equity. Charter schools are public schools that serve students across the city regardless of economic status or learning difficulties. This agreement reaffirms that."
The announcement on the compact has come after the state Department of Education recently said they will be taking a closer look at charter schools' recruitment and enrollment process, Duffy said.