Friday, April 17, 2009
The DOE's Unfair Comparison Between The Charter Schools And The Public Schools
Time and again the New York Daily News and New York Post praise how Charter Schools are giving the minority children in the poorest neighborhoods a "choice" However, it is a choice for who? The astute parents with well-behaved children? Or is it the dysfunctional single parent who has a student with behavioral or attendance issues? Of course it is the former group that is given the "choice". Further, few Charter Schools accept English language learners or special education students, claiming they do not have the resources to meet their educational needs. The result is that the student body is highly selective and do not represent the community. Furthermore, the neighborhood school suffers by not only losing their top students but lose precious public school funding to the Charter School. Routinely, the Charter School students are selected after interviews with both the student and parents. Take for instance the Carl C. Icahn Charter School. According to the New York Daily News this Charter School only accepted 3% of the applicants. It also caps it's class size at 18, not 25 or 32 like in the Public Schools ( To see the Carl C. Icahn school's requirements you can go to their website). Interestingly, you will find parent and student requirements that cannot be enforced in the Public Schools. EdNotes Online states it best by challenging these Charter Schools to take the same student population as the Public School and see if they can get better results.
The Charter Schools have an unfair advantage because they are allowed to "skim the top" of the best students in the area and can impose discipline, attendance, and parent participation requirements as a condition for acceptance in the Charter Schools. It is a wonder that the Charter Schools don't do better since they have the better student and more involved parent. However, the Charter Schools suffer from an inexperienced teaching staff, high teacher turnover, and staff burnout. This limits academic progress to a degree because of the ever changing staff situation.
To compare the Charter Schools with the neighborhood Public School is unfair and for the DOE to do so is disingenuous.