If all you care about are test scores, one of the big advantages charter schools have over traditional public schools is that they don't have to take every kid who shows up. Charters can push out the weak students, leaving them for someone else to deal with. That certainly looks like what's happening in Nashville, Tennessee, where the eight schools with the highest net loss of students are all charter schools
, WSMV's Dennis Ferrier reports. The only schools losing more than 10 percent of their students are charters, which are losing up to 33 percent.
The highly regarded national KIPP chain's Nashville school lost 18 percent of its students, a situation its principal says is unacceptable. Which it might be easier to believe he really meant if it wasn't such a common occurrence and if it didn't work out so well for his school:
[Metro Nashville Public Schools[ feels it's unacceptable as well, because not only are they getting kids from charter schools, but they are also getting troubled kids and then getting them right before testing time.
"That's also a frustration for the zoned-school principals. They are getting clearly challenging kids back in their schools just prior to accountability testing," said MNPS Chief Operating Officer Fred Carr.
Nineteen of the last 20 children to leave Kipp Academy had multiple out-of-school suspensions. Eleven of the 19 are classified as special needs, and all of them took their TCAPs at Metro zoned schools, so their scores won't count against Kipp.
Then those kids' test scores—the scores the charters didn't want to have on their records—get held against public schools. And we're told charters are such an amazing answer to all the problems our school systems supposedly have. If charters are so great, they should be great for all kids, not just the ones it's convenient for them to take.
(Via Diane Ravitch)