With the aim of encouraging cooperation between school districts and charter schools for the good of local children, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation announced a $25 million investment in seven lead cities in 2012. Their “Collaboration Compacts” require operators of different kinds of schools, local leaders, and community members to hammer out citywide agreements for sharing ideas, buildings, teacher training, school sign-up websites, assessment tests, and other resources between conventional district schools and charter schools. The Compacts in Philadelphia and Boston also fold the Catholic archdiocese schools into the mix.
The highest aim of the Compacts is to make it easy for families to find good options in their neighborhood. The idea is that authorities shouldn’t care what sector a child gets instructed in, so long as the youngster and his family are well served. In addition to the seven cities that divided this $25 million grant, Gates is offering financial support and leadership in other cities to encourage additional experimentation with Compacts.
- Karl Zinsmeister, From Promising to Proven, (The Philanthropy Roundtable, 2014)
- Press release for $25 million Gates donation, gatesfoundation.org/media-center/press-releases/2012/12/gates-foundation-invests-nearly-25-million-in-seven-cities