Comstock's magazine 0818-August 2018 - Page 32

n DISCOURSE a certain methodology. So I don’t know what kind of information you would get when you compare this very different set of unique schools that serve very differ- ent populations to the traditional system. In that regard, we need to look at what we want to measure when it comes to char- ter schools. The accountability measure should be how well your theory of action is working with those students. Some critics contend that charters informally encourage de facto segre- gation, by race, economic class and even by disability. How do charters address these concerns? You belong here. Digital security concerns don’t. • Cybersecurity • Managed IT / Cloud • Professional Services • Disaster Recovery • IT Infrastructure You have to look at each charter school a little bit differently. You can’t cast all of them in the same light. Charter schools are public schools, and there are clear non-discrimination laws in place that apply to us. The larger issue is around school choice. I think the perception is that some parents who are more well-in- formed will be able to do the research and find the school option that’s just right for their child, whereas there may be other student populations that will not have that access. That’s not a function of charters discriminating; it is more of a function of how we ensure access to the information around education options available within the public school sys- tem. The original idea was that charters were supposed to actually be a tool to reform school districts, so there would be more site-based decision making and there would be choices within a school district. But now that we have charters that ignore districts and districts that ignore charters, the information around educational options within that district falls through the cracks for a lot of our parent population. What advice would you give to some- one looking to start a charter in their community? With any charter, you should be moving toward a vision and not running away from something. Don’t start a charter school because you don’t like the school down the street. Start a charter school because you have a vision for how you are going to serve certain types of stu- dents. Second is to remember that with the flexibility of chartering there is also accountability. You need to hold your- self accountable. You have to set your goals high and you have to make sure that you’re going to be achieving them because it’s a privilege to be able to do something like this. The third thing is don’t start a school just to repeat what already exists. It’s about innovation, and if you’re not going to take a risk and do something innovative because you pas- 32 | August 201 8