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View Diary: New York City charter school chain tries to push special needs kids out (31 comments)

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  •  I am a huge supporter of Public Schools (21+ / 0-)

    and not at all a fan of Charter School.

    But I work in one, and I took the job because of three things (aside from the pay is a little better than the DISTRICT):

    1) It functions as a true lottery that ONLY services specific zip codes, all of them largely poor, and doesn't weed out students with behavioral/special needs. if you draw you get in, no exceptions, and we don't try to lose them once they are here. It is our duty to accommodate every student and we do. That is a tall order, too. We have kids with Downs and other special needs, autism spectrum, behavioral, etc. Also, because we are very small, that allows for a low student/teacher ratio.

    2) The teachers and administration care deeply about students and each other. Admin especially is extremely progressive and gives much room for teachers to develop their own curriculum without sacrificing accountability and standards like happens in some charters. I knew it the moment I walked through the doors. Students LOVE their teachers and vice versa. That can't happen unless things are working, and they are.

    3) In a state where testing rules, at my school it does not. We take the tests because we have to, but we do not teach to the tests and curriculum is developed by the teachers themselves, all of whom have EdM's or PhD's in their subjects.  Our focus is on actual learning and teaching kids how to think. The result? By the State's metrics, we meet or beat the white schools in the upper income areas, with our little school that is mostly brown/black and 85% free lunch (not free and reduced; free).

    And a bonus reason: full Arts programming.

    Please don't ask the name of my school. I'm not going to say for all the obvious reasons. But this isn't too good to be true, it's very real, it's just very rare. I would be in public if I hadn't found this place, because I am a true believer. But sometimes in life you come across the rare exception to your own rules, and this is one of those exceptions.

    The place was utterly dark—the oubliette, as I suppose, of their accursed convent.

    by bastrop on Tue Sep 03, 2013 at 03:03:22 PM PDT

    [ Parent ]

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