The 74, August 25, 2020, by Linda Jacobson
Charter schools appeared to follow a more routine class schedule and stay in closer contact with students and families following shutdowns than district schools, according to a new analysis out Tuesday from Public Impact and the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools.
But similar percentages of both charter and district schools distributed devices to students, and districts were more likely than charter networks to provide students with internet access, according to the report. Less than half of both district and charter schools clearly explained through websites or social media how they would deliver services for students with special needs.
“This fall, which likely will bring continued disruptions from the pandemic, all public schools can work to improve access and consider changes to schedules, instruction delivery, and student progress monitoring to address learning losses,” the authors wrote.
Drawn from the Center on Reinventing Public Education’s widely used database of how districts and networks of charter schools planned to handle remote learning, “Learning in Real Time” focuses on “bright spots” where charter school organizations set expectations for teachers regarding live instruction, taking attendance and staying in touch with families.
The report finds that charters have the biggest advantage in terms of teachers providing instruction, with 74 percent of charter networks reporting this expectation, compared with 47 percent of districts.
On another indicator, 54 percent of the networks said they expected teachers to check in with students, compared with 37 percent of districts. The authors highlight, for example, Excel Academy Charter Schools in Massachusetts and its “relentless outreach” to students.