What makes a public school ‘public’? It is more than how schools are governed and funded. It is also a matter of the ethical and legal obligation to serve all students.
In Valerie Strauss’ latest Washington Post article, she reports on former New York principal, Carol Burris’ study of the sort and select enrollment practices in New York charter schools.
These are charters that are so often held up as success stories, so to speak. Are they?
Tracking students across grade levels, it is apparent that charter students ‘disappear’ at a high rate.
Over time there are fewer students at each grade level. Charters did not fill vacancies.
Using Success Academy charters as an example, even charters targeting lower income areas, they enroll a lower percentage of economically disadvantaged students. Charter screen applicants by using admission tests, parent involvement requirements and many other devices.
Charters enrolled 15-20% fewer economically disadvantaged students
Charters enroll lower percentages of students with disabilities and those disabilities were less severe.
Public schools take all comers. When children leave, public schools replace them. This is not so in the large New York charter school chains. She compares suspension rates between Success charters and their counterpart public schools. Suspensions are a ‘push out’ strategy.
Charters suspend students at a much higher rate, but they report very few serious discipline problems.