Friday, October 18, 2013

Moody’s Investor Service Confirms Worry that Privatization is Destroying Urban School Districts | janresseger

Moody’s Investor Service Confirms Worry that Privatization is Destroying Urban School Districts | janresseger:

Moody’s Investor Service Confirms Worry that Privatization is Destroying Urban School Districts

In an earlier post, Creating Public School Districts of Last Resort, I described my own concern that public school policies being driven by the federal Race to the Top grants, School Improvement Grants, and No Child Left Behind Waivers—policies that include incentives to close public schools and expand charters—are creating urban public school districts-of-last-resort.  Charter schools that must keep up their overall test scores or be castigated for failure have little incentive to accept  the children who bring special challenges—disabilities—the need to learn English—extreme poverty or homelessness.  As privatization increases, the public schools that must accept everyone increasingly serve the children who are least desirable from the point of view of the charters and most expensive to educate.
Diane Ravitch agrees, according to her new book, Reign of Error.  She describes school districts in poor urban areas being pushed by the federal government to close traditional public schools in the poorest neighborhoods where test scores are low and expand charter schools to serve the children from schools that have been closed:
“The federal regulations are like quicksand: the more schools struggle, the deeper they sink into the morass of test-based accountability.  As worried families abandon these schools, they increasingly enroll disproportionate numbers of the most disadvantaged students, either children with special needs or new immigrants….  Low grades on the state report card may send a once-beloved school into a death spiral.  What was once a source of stability in the 

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