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  •  Nonsense (0+ / 0-)

    Charter schools are not "an experiment on poor children". What is the source for that generalization?

    I lived in Massachusetts for years. Charter schools there are nonprofit public schools, and, since, unlike public schools, the state does not pay any infrastructure or capital expenses, only a per child allowance (while reimbursing public schools for the loss of income), most of them start off in the more affluent communities.

    In many cases, the hostility of the local public school district and/or superintendent leads, in the first years, to the schools recruiting students from surrounding, less affluent communities, whose parents are eager to benefit from the smaller classrooms, higher teacher to student ratios, overqualified staff and freedom to innovate and let students be creative - while still being subject to the same standards, expectations (and, in the case of Massachusetts, the same onerous standardized testing) as the non-charter public schools.

    Over time, local parents begin to fight to get their own children into the charter schools, and, eventually, students from other districts can no longer be accommodated (by law, charter schools in MA, just like other public schools, must accept students in their district first - by lottery, if the number of students exceeds the seat. Charters are required to take any student, and provide for their special needs. Since they often tend to do so better than the no-charter counterparts (including the private schools in the district), many charters end up with a larger proportion of special needs students - and they happily take on that responsibility.

    Charter schools in MA are typically started by devoted parents and/or teachers who want to do more for children, but who are hampered in the regular public school system by traditional bureaucracy, lack of community support, and fear of change.

    The intent of these schools is to provide a means to explore and identify best practices, which can then be shared with traditional public schools. In many cases, that has occurred, and the general public school system has benefited. In other cases, resistance from the district has produced unnecessary tension between charter and non charter public schools, and lessons have not been successfully transferred.

    Your knowledge of charter schools seems limited to the kind of right-wing-driven for-profit schools that took over the New Orleans system after Katrina. That is not what the charter school movement is as a whole, nor what it's nature is nation-wide.

    Always make new mistakes - Esther Dyson

    by RandomActsOfReason on Fri Sep 24, 2010 at 11:05:56 PM PDT

    [ Parent ]

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