Can district and charter school partnerships work? : a look at emerging collaborative models




Dominguez, Aaron Alonzo

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The model of competition has existed between district and charter schools for nearly thirty years and has been well researched; however, the idea of collaboration is still in its infancy and lacks deep academic study. Furthermore, the much-researched question of whether or not competition in the educational marketplace makes all schools better has, at best, produced mixed results (Knack and Knack, 2013; Jabbar, 2015). Therefore, as partnerships between charters and districts emerge we are compelled to study them. For this study, a single exploratory case study was used to explore a collaborative partnership between a district public school and a charter public school. The study attempted to answer the following research questions: (1) To what extent are the collaborative elements of exchange, negotiation, role differentiation, and trust evident in each of the ten functions of school districts? (2) What do district-charter collaborative participants perceive about the influence of collaboration on school success? And (3) What changes have participants made to their practice as a result of their participation in a district-charter partnership? This qualitative study employed a single exploratory case study design. The qualitative data collection process included semi-structured interviews and various documents. This single exploratory case study deepens the pool of literature on district-charter partnerships, identifies possible pitfalls and easy wins for school systems considering partnerships, and surfaces additional questions for future study.


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