Tuesday, July 10, 2012

To IEP, or Not to IEP?

Diane Ravitch today notes what it takes to build a successful charter school. First, of course, you have to spend money. Then, rid yourself of the regulations that burden real public schools. Most of all, avoid those troublesome high-needs students, the ones who don't speak English, or have learning disabilities.

That's true, of course. One of the most important things you can do if you want those great stats is to get great kids. They pass tests, and you look like a genius.

But not all high-needs kids are equal. If you take ESL students, have they been here for three years, acquiring passive knowledge, or did they just arrive three days ago? There is a huge difference. Yet, for the sake of record-keeping, ESL is ESL. So stock up on the ones that know English already, and take complete credit for them, even if they learned in those awful public schools.

And special education really runs the gamut. You have some kids who just need extra time on tests, and some who need a little help in a resource room. You have others, called "alternate assessment," who are not expected to graduate. I don't anticipate Eva Moskowitz taking alternate assessment kids anytime soon. Not even all public schools take those kids.

So don't look at the stats without looking more closely. If both my school and yours take 10% high-needs kids, they may not be the same.
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