‘Maybe I should be more territorial, but I’m simply not’

Two more signs in the past week that the world is changing in ways that make sense to us:

* In Orlando, Florida on Friday, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan announced a new federal program that aims to spark more public-private partnerships to support low-performing schools. The quote here that caught our eye: “Every child deserves an education that will enable them to succeed in a global economy,” Joshua DuBois, special assistant to President Obama and executive director of the White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, said in a press release. “Faith and community groups are critical partners in this all-hands on deck moment.”

* In Austin, Texas on Monday, the local district and a handful of charter schools announce a partnership that will allow them to share resources on everything from a teacher training center to discounted insurance premiums. The money quote here: “At the end of the day, I really want to see more kids graduate,” Austin Superintendent Meria Carstaphen told the Austin American-Statesman. “Maybe I should be more territorial, but I’m simply not. They can graduate from us. They can graduate from partners in this collaborative.”

Both initiatives are refreshing. Both show, again, that the walls between public and private are crumbling and, in the end, kids will be better off. Now, we could quibble here and wonder why the Obama administration’s professed support for an all-hands-on-deck world view doesn’t extend to private school vouchers and tax-credit scholarships, but that’s a post for another day. Until that view is carried to its logical extension, we can at least celebrate the disintegration of a couple more bricks.

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BY Ron Matus

Ron Matus is director for policy and public affairs at Step Up for Students and a former editor of redefinED. He joined Step Up in February 2012 after 20 years in journalism, including eight years as an education reporter with the Tampa Bay Times (formerly the St. Petersburg Times). Ron can be reached at rmatus@stepupforstudents.org or (727) 451-9830. Follow him on Twitter @RonMatus1 and on facebook at facebook.com/redefinedonline.