Below is an email (pasted with permission) from Scott Pearson, the head of the Washington DC Public Charter School Board.
On this blog, as well as on twitter, we debate a lot about regulation. We have a lot to figure out and these debates help me get smarter.
But leaders on the ground have to lead, always with imperfect information and complicated local contexts.
The DC Public Charter School Board has chosen to regulate the charter community fairly tightly on performance, but more loosely on other inputs. As Scott notes in his letter, over 40 charters have closed in Washington DC over the past decade. While I don’t know if this is right for every community, the DC charter community is providing a lot of great options for tens of thousands of children, and they have undoubtedly made DC a better city.
The continuity of the DC charter community’s success also reinforces my belief in the importance of non-profit governance. It’s hard to think of a better school district in the country, and I’m highly confident that a primary key to their success is their structure: the DC Public Charter School Board regulates and non-profits operate.
It’s a winning formula for kids.