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PELTO: "Why Local Public Schools Should Not Be Turned Over to Charter School Companies to Run"

by: ctblogger

Sun May 06, 2012 at 10:08:57 AM EDT

Cross post from Jon Pelto's Wait What?

Late last week, Representative Gary Holder-Winfield of New Haven and most of the members of the General Assembly's Black and Puerto Rican Caucus held a press conference to speak out about Governor Malloy's "education reform" legislation.

These legislators, some of the finest and most dedicated in the General Assembly, had important things to say about the "education reform" debate.

Despite what the "reformers" sent out in their blast emails, Representative Holder-Winfield made it very clear that the minority legislators were not endorsing Malloy's version of the "education reform bill" or the governor's "Commissioner's Network" plan, but he did say that the minority legislators supported the proposal to allow the commissioner of education to take over a community's school and give it to a charter school company to run.

Rick Green, the Hartford Courant columnist applauded the legislators saying "successful charter school models - such as Jumoke Academy in Hartford or the Achievement First schools in New Haven and Hartford - should be a part of Connecticut's reform plan. To exclude these Connecticut-grown schools - as a current version of the school reform legislation would now do - throws out proven strategies merely because of unfounded union fears that they will lead to "privatized" public education."

Green's statement actually does the Black and Puerto Rican Caucus a tremendous disservice and his anti-union bias limits his understanding of the issue.  His conclusion is also incorrect.

The attitude many of us have about charter schools is not based on union concerns but on the fact that charter schools have proven that they cannot or will not provide educational services to every single child who walks through the door, which is something that district schools must do.

While Governor Malloy's proposal to ban collective bargaining at Commissioner's Network schools is appalling and inappropriate, the notion of turning a public district school over to a charter school company should be rejected because, despite what Mr. Green claims, Connecticut's charter schools DO NOT have a proven track record when it comes to serving the broader community.

Read more below the fold

ctblogger :: PELTO: "Why Local Public Schools Should Not Be Turned Over to Charter School Companies to Run"
Charter schools may be a "successful" model for a sub-set of parents, who want their children to attend a certain type of program, and local legislators have every right to support those parents, but district schools must take every child who walks through the door; the facts make it extraordinarily clear that charter schools do not do that.

The follow chart (some of which I've published before) indicates that charter schools cream off a select group of students - students who end up doing statistically better on standardized test scores.

In every category - and in nearly every case - Connecticut's major charter schools have fewer poor children, fewer children who need special education services, fewer Latino students, fewer students who are not proficient in English and far fewer students who go home to households where English is not the spoken language.


As noted, these charter schools may be providing a successful educational experience to some students but they are definitely not serving the broader urban community.  To suggest that they are ready and able to take over any urban school and "turn it around" simply flies in the face of the fact that charter schools have done well because they don't have to serve everyone who might walk through the door  - they only have to serve those that they recruit and retain.

While Connecticut's minority legislators are absolutely right to be demanding that the state support successful educational models that provide all children with a quality education, Connecticut's charter schools are simply not one of those models.

This part of the debate IS NOT about whether parents should or should not be able to choose a charter school should, it is about whether an entire district school should be turned over to a charter school management company.  The answer is no - where intervention is needed to turn around a district school it must be done in such a way as to ensure that all students benefit.

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