Monday, August 22, 2011

I'm Shocked and Stunned

What else would I be, facing the revelation that charters serve fewer special needs kids than public schools? I mean, do they have some advantage when their kids actually understand English and have no learning disabilities? This shell game has been going on for years and the remarkable thing is how rarely we read about it in the papers.

And, in fact, it goes beyond the percentage game. Are the ESL students classified that way because they need a little help, or did they just get off a plane last week? If, in fact, they just set foot on American soil, the likelihood of their parents applying for a charter hover around nil.

And let's talk special education. While I'm no expert, I know there are degrees of special education. Some kids simply need resource room. Others, perhaps, require only testing modifications. However, that's not the same as kids who need self-contained classrooms with very small class sizes. How many kids like these are in charter schools? There are even more severe categories of kids who are non-diploma bound, and sure to damage the statistics of those schools that take them. How many of those kids are in charters?

It's not an even playing field, not by a longshot. We've known this for years. Charters, if they were worth a damn, would actively solicit the very most difficult kids and work their magic. The fact that they do the opposite speaks volumes.
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