Archive for July 12th, 2011

July 12, 2011

A Taste of Cherry Picking

Michael Winerip’s piece in the New York Times this Sunday, “Message From a Charter School: Thrive or Transfer,” tells the story of a mother whose bright but sometimes unruly son – age 5 – was counseled out of Harlem Success Academy 3. He was placed in Public School 75, where he is “thriving.”

Matthew’s story raises perhaps the most critical question in the debate about charter schools: do they cherry-pick students, if not by gaming the admissions process, then by counseling out children who might be more expensive or difficult to educate — and who could bring down their test scores, graduation rates and safety records?

This story plays right into the hands of the education reform backlash because it points to a very real difference between charter schools and public schools – the difference between schools that are exclusive and those that are inclusive. It’s exclusivity, if that’s the right word, that is part of charter schools’ appeal to parents who worry about the effects of sending their children to the default school – the one that’s open to everyone (or, rather, anyone) in a delineated area on a city map.

Of course charter schools filter. That’s why they’re perceived to have better climates than regular public schools. And it’s the climate – not test scores or teacher quality or track records – that leads to oversubscription, and the lotteries that make getting into a charter school seem like more of a treat than it might prove itself to be.

Exclusive versus inclusive is one way to frame the difference between charters and “traditional” publics. But it’s not the only lesson to be gleaned from this story.

Another is the lesson of the benefits of individual attention. While statistics might show that Harlem Success Academy – a chain of schools – raises performance levels on tests of reading and math, each child is unique. Some cherries are bigger than others. Some riper. Some slower to mature. Some easier to bruise and faster to spoil.

One size does not fit all. 

That’s an argument for differentiating instruction within a classroom. Whether or not it’s a winning argument for public school choice – the turning of public school systems into a marketplace of schools representing an array of educational philosophies – is a separate question.

Related Posts

Notes from a Charter School Lottery

Lessons from the Bronx

Ten Things Everyone Should Know About Baltimore City Charter Schools

Advertisements
People for Public Schools

#FAIRSCHOOLFUNDINGNOW

sachin CTV

"Only For Creative Thinkers"

India Tour Travel Packages

Honeymoon, Family, Pilgrimage Tour Packages- Balajitourtravel.com

Best Side Sleeper Pillows

pillows for side sleepers, side sleeper pillow, side sleeper pillows

Granny Smith: Unleashed

Observations and random thoughts from a "not so teenager."

Teachers' Letters to Bill Gates

Educators from the US and beyond: please share your teaching stories with Mr. Bill Gates. How have the policies of the Gates Foundation influenced your classroom, your students, your teaching, your schools, and your communities?

Lili Coffin's World of Wine

Featuring the best wine, travel and food of California.

A Stairway To Fashion

contact: ralucastoica23@gmail.com

irwanitnm

my personal web

bmorescience

Just another WordPress.com site

The Not-So-Adopted "Adoptee"

...the stories we have been told are someone else's stories ...

theyoungandthebreastless

Just another WordPress.com site

Reflections of a Second-career Math Teacher

“What the best and wisest parent wants for his own child, that must the community want for all its children. Any other ideal for our schools is narrow and unlovely; acted upon it destroys our democracy." – John Dewey, 1900

zahrafahrani

Dreamers

educationalchemy

Authored by Morna McDermott-A blog dedicated to democracy, public education, and the power of the imagination to fight corporate greed--if the truth sounds crazy it is because we have become too accustomed to falsehoods

relativesbookshelf

Just another WordPress.com site

Notes on a Theory...

Thoughts on politics, law, & social science

Alina's Scentsy Scents

scentsy scents, an honest opinion about fragrances

%d bloggers like this: