Will the thing that charter schools love so much be their undoing?
John Oliver, on his HBO show “Last Week Tonight” did a funny, biting segment on the charter schools, which educate a fraction of American school children — somewhere around 5 percent — but get a great deal more attention from policymakers then the numbers would predict.
Here’s a new look at charter schools from Carol Burris, a former New York high school principal who is now executive director of the nonprofit Network for Public Education. Burris was named the 2010 Educator of the Year by the School Administrators Association of New York State, and the same organization named her the New York State High School Principal of the Year in 2013. She has been chronicling botched school reform efforts in her state for years.
In a recent post, she explained why putting the word “public” in front of “charter school” — which are funded with tax dollars but sometimes considered private by courts — is “an affront” to people for whom public education is a mission. In this post, Burris looks at whether charter schools can properly be compared with district public schools — as they often are.
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The New York Post, the charter school cheerleading paper of record, was giddy with delight when New York test scores came out. Describing charter test scores as “sparkling,” the Postaccused New York City Mayor Bill DeBlasio of “dissing” charters when he questioned their tactics. Jeremiah Kittredge, the chief executive officer of Families for Excellent Schools, went so far as to accuse the mayor of kicking little children “in the shins.”
When the mayor refused to back down and said charters have a history of excluding some kids,the Post editorial board jumped into the fray and said his claim was false.
Is the Post or the mayor correct? Are there differences between the kids who go to charters, and those who attend public schools in New York? Are charter scores that much better when you take those differences into account? And perhaps most important of all, are any score bumps worth the scams and scandals that have become a daily feature of charter school news?
New York City charter schools make up 81 percent of the charter schools in the state. Only 4 percent of New York’s charter students are English Language Learners, as compared with over three times as many — 13 percent — of the 3-8 students in New York City public schools. Fifteen percent of charter students in Grades 3-8 are students with disabilities, as compared with 22 percent of the students in New York City traditional public schools. These differences Will the thing that charter schools love so much be their undoing? - The Washington Post: