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DA readers respond

National Conference on District-Charter Collaborations

I enjoyed your article, "District-Charter Collaborations on the Rise," (September 2011) and wanted to add that the Ohio Alliance for Public Charter Schools held the first national conference on best cooperative practices (another is scheduled for the fall of 2012) between districts and charters funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The conferences have two purposes. First, we hoped that the demand for innovation and reform in American education would transcend "tribal" differences between traditional districts and charter schools. Second, there are great examples of innovation germinating in both sectors of public education, and therefore we need to encourage and reward collaboration and cooperative practices. Collaboration is a powerful multiplier of invention and it can also be an important source of ecumenical satisfaction. William J. Sims, President and CEO Ohio Alliance for Public Charter Schools

RTI Promoting Triage Education?

I read with interest "Multi-Tier Systems of Support," (September 2011). Identifying students who demonstrate need is relatively easy.  The hard part comes in distinguishing student need and teacher need. Student data may help teachers become aware of an instructional mismatch, but such data often don't help teachers to design more effective instruction. In other words, consciousness doesn't equal competence, and we're ultimately looking for both. I am concerned that RTI promotes instructional systems where resources are invested heavily toward screening and sorting of students—in other words, "triage education." If effective instruction is our bottomline, we have to ask ourselves whether investing resources into screening and sorting students helps classroom teachers to develop the skills they need to teach all learners. Jim Ansaldo, Project Coordinator Instructional Consultation Teams