Board Brief: Q&A with Dale Chu
Monday, September 16, 2019
Board of Directors, Colorado League of Charter Schools
Independent Consultant / President, DC Strategies
Dale Chu recently joined the League board after being appointed to an at-large seat in August 2019.
Q. Tell us about your background, expertise, and by extension, qualifications to serve as an appointed member of the League board.
A. Charter schools are near and dear to me, having founded a charter school in the early aughts. I also served as chair of the Charter Schools Appeals Commission during my time in Florida. I’m passionate about school choice, educational pluralism, and ensuring every child in our state has access to a world-class education, especially those too often marginalized by society.
My experience in education and education policy spans two decades, having served as a teacher, assistant principal, principal, assistant superintendent, and a senior education official in two states. I began my career in education as a Teach For America corps member. During my second year of teaching, I was recognized as my district’s teacher of the year.
Q. Tell us about your current work.
A. I’m a Senior Visiting Fellow at the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, an education think tank in Washington, D.C., and I serve on the President’s Advisory Council for Communities in Schools. I also blog regularly for a new website called Assessment HQ. The site is designed as a go-to resource for understanding how states are leveraging quality annual assessment to improve education.
My current work focuses on improving K-12 schooling through policy analysis, strategy and execution, and implementation support. I work closely with schools, non-profits, and policymakers locally and nationally.
Q. Why do you want to serve on the League board? What about the opportunity attracted you to it?
A. My interest in the League board reflects my belief in school choice. No single school can possibly meet the needs of every student, so a sound public education system must avail parents and families to a robust supply of high-quality options. Charter schools are an important piece of this puzzle, and I believe the League is uniquely positioned to play a central role in advocating for a pluralistic ecosystem.
Q. What do you see as the unique/distinct impact that the Colorado charter movement can have?
A. There’s an opportunity for Colorado’s charter movement to play a leadership role in defending the important tenets of testing and accountability while offering new and innovative solutions that build upon how school and student performance have traditionally been gauged. The recent blowback against testing and accountability have somewhat subsided, but my sense is there’s more rough sledding ahead. I’m excited about the potential for Colorado’s charter community to help blaze a path forward.
Q. How do you see the opportunity for the charter school movement to have an impact nationally, especially in the face of such adverse/mixed conditions?
A. Colorado has always been a national leader in charter schools and education reform. Politically, these are trying times for the movement, and a far cry from the state of play just a decade ago. That said, public support for charters has rebounded, and it’s especially high among black and Hispanic voters. Is there a way we can seize this momentum and turn it to our advantage? It’s tempting to say we should circle the wagons and wait out the storm, but what would it look like for the movement to take a more assertive posture? How can we expand the tent and broaden our coalition? To advance the ball, we must be willing to wrestle with these sorts of questions.