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Friday, September 13, 2013

Charter schools routinely counsel out poor performers and wishing they didn't doesn't change that fact..

The pro choice, err pro privatization crowd really like to seize on any sliver of evidence that says what they are doing isn’t reprehensible and run with it. Take for example Patrick Gibbons of Redefined ED who takes a crack at charter schools not counseling out poor performers:  Mr. Gibbons writes: Even if the worst fears are true – and a few bad charter schools are abusing rules to weed out low-performing students – we must ask ourselves if it’s worth condemning an entire system. but the thing is they do it and at an alarming rate and yeah we should be condemning the entire system.

First teachers all over the nation report that after FTE time (when the money is paid out) their schools get an influx of poorly prepared charter school students, but that’s anecdotal so let’s look at some actual studies and news reports.

First the Success Schools in New York City have a history of weeding out poor performers. It was hardly just two ESE students as Redeined Ed would have its reader believe. According to the NYDaily news between 14-22% of kids were suspended from the 5 success schools and at least dozens were forced out.

Then there are the DC charters schools who not only expel more kids but also have more kids drop out than their public school counterparts do.  The DC student mobility project reveals that 6.6% of charter school students drop out over the course of a year.
All schools have some degree of mobility but the study reports essentially no overall attrition from the regular public schools. Expulsion undoubtedly counts for some of the charter school losses but low performing kids being counseled out also undoubtedly play a role as well. Public schools not charter schools take all the kids that show up at their doors and do their best to educate them.

I guess Mr. Gibbons could chalk it up to bad luck or coincidence but the rest of us know what is happening.

Some charter school operators admit counseling out is a practice they follow such as this Florida Charter School Superintendent who not only admits he counsels out underachievers but revels in it.

Then don’t get me started about KIPP which counsels out so many of their kids.

The thing is our worst fears are true but it’s not a few charter schools that do it, it is a lot of charter schools and when the pro-privatization crowd gives them cover it does the few that are doing things the right way a disservice.  

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