On Thursday, DISD Board to Discuss Proposal That'll Make It Easier to Create Charter Schools

On Thursday morning, the Dallas Independent School District's board of trustees will take its first long, hard look at a proposal to "streamline the process for implementing a charter school." It's the result of months of work by the board's Charter School Ad Hoc Committee, which was tasked with exploring the possibility of making it easier to convert some of the district's struggling campuses into charters following the April 2010 announcement that DISD was partnering with Uplift Education to establish a leadership academy intended to train new principals and teachers for West Dallas schools.

Per the intro to the board briefing, the Charter Ad Hoc Committee has "been discussing best practices pertaining to charter schools," which, of course, are public schools run by private groups outside the district's standard rules and regs -- like Gabe P. Allen, a longtime AVANCE-Dallas partnership and the only DISD charter at present. The committee's stated mission was to "explore nationally best practices for interactions between public and charter schools and to envision the schools of the future." And among the cities studied was Denver, where two charters were recently awarded $1.8 million following significant student gains.

Messages have been left with trustee Edwin Flores, who spearheaded the committee; Donna Micheaux, DISD's chief of schools; and Uplift's founder Rosemary Perlmeter. We've got plenty of time to review, since this is but the first reading at a board briefing, and it's not till Thursday. Till then, the current and proposed charter policies follow. From the "streamlined" version, this introduction:

A school shall become eligible for conversion into a Campus Charter, Program Charter, an Innovation School or a Cooperative Program Charter if it fails to meet state or federal man- dates for improvement or performance for three continuous years and without significant improvement in student achievement or as may be mandated by state or federal law. Significant improvement in student achievement is defined herein as an SEI in the top 25% or at least double the growth in student achievement of a school having a comparable grade configuration, size and demographics.
Much more after the jump.

Current DISD Charter PolicyProposed Revision to DISD Charter Policy