Friday, September 10, 2010

Charters--Taking Only The Best and Brightest?

It's a common refrain from the anti-school-choice crowd, but I haven't seen a lot of evidence that it's so. Joanne has a post today that would be funny if it weren't so sad (from a hypocritical standpoint):

Albany’s charter students (85 percent poor, 96 percent black or Latino) are outperforming students in district-run schools (68 percent poor, 80 percent black or Latino), reports the Albany Times Union. But those poor, little, high-performing charter kids are racially isolated, the Times Union charges in a front-page story. There aren’t enough white students in their classes.

That’s because the Brighter Choice Foundation, which runs all of Albany’s charters, opened schools in the neediest neighborhoods, writes Jason Brooks of Foundation for Education Reform and Accountability.

After nearly a decade accusing Brighter Choice schools of “creaming” the best students, it takes chutzpah to accuse the schools of segregation, writes Peter Meyer, who wrote an Ed Next story on Brighter Choice’s success.

It doesn't matter if their complaints are valid or even honest. All that matters to them is getting rid of charter schools. Since charters are public schools, what is it these types of people object to? Is it simply that these schools are often not beholden to teachers unions, and can do things that actually help kids instead of just adults?

1 comment:

mazenko said...

No, that's a huge oversimplification. I won't argue about segregation of them or a lack of white students - that would be naive. However, the keeping of the best students is key. It's not simply about teacher unions and wanting to help kids - it's about performance/attendance mandates for students. That cannot be denied.

While charters don't/can't set restrictions on getting in, all the successful charters set restrictions on being "allowed to stay." If kids don't meet grade and attendance requirements, they must return to their home school. If the neighborhood schools were allowed the same student guidelines, they too would be left with the motivated and successful students.

Additionally, not all or even most charter schools are successful. Most studies have the results as about even in terms of testing and performance. And in Colorado who is king of charter schools, LESS than 3% of eligible students actually seek an alternative to their neighborhood schools, even if that is a "failing school."

"These types of people" object to naive and myopic cherrypicking of data in determining that unions and teachers not caring about kids make neighborhood schools worse than charters.