Those reading posts from this blog may have wondered, “Why is he critical of charter schools?”. There are many reasons why charter schools hurt public education and today I’d like to focus on the fact that they aren’t fair. As public educators, we always feared that charter schools would skim off the “good” students and leave public schools with those students who require the most assistance. A recently released report has substantiated that concern.
Authors Mark Weber and Julia Sass Rubin released the report titled “New Jersey Charter Schools: A Data-Driven View, Part 1“. Click on a synopsis of their report HERE. In the words of co-author Mark Weber:
The data is quite clear: as a sector, charter schools do not educate the same students as their host districts. On average, charters educate proportionately fewer students in economic disadvantage (as measured by eligibility for the federal free lunch program) than do the district schools in their communities.
Charters also educate fewer students with special education needs; further, the students with those needs that charters do educate tend to have less costly disabilities. In addition, the sector enrolls very few students who are English language learners. (NJ Spotlight, 11/14/14)
Is this what “choice” is all about? Leave the kids with the most needs in public schools while the charter schools skim off the kids who are less expensive to educate? If public schools have a disproportionately higher percentage of students in economic disadvantage, special education needs, and English language learners what will their test scores look like compared to the charter school down the block? If their test scores are lower, then I guess that would prove that public schools are failing and should be “reformed”.