Thursday, March 23, 2017
Charter Sector High Schools Are The Stepchildren Of The NYC School System
One of the little known issues in the New York City schools is how terrible most of the charter sector high schools are when it comes to receiving a quality education. This post will discuss the many shortcomings that the New York City charter high schools suffer from.
Many of the students have previously struggled in public schools and see the charter high school as a "second chance" to continue their education. In far too many cases these charter high schools are more like the "transfer schools" than a traditional public high school. In talking to teachers who work or have worked in charter high schools, they tell me that the students have academic problems and many of them have some sort of disability. Academic achievement is simply a joke in many cases.
All the charter high schools suffer from extremely high teacher turnover. It is not unusual for students to have had three or more teachers from the beginning to the end of the school year. In one charter high school, I was told that five different teachers were used last school year for a Math class. It's not unusual for many of the charter high schools to have uncertified teachers instructing students, especially in Math and Science. In one school I was told that a 22 year old "newbie" English teacher, fresh out of Teach For America, was hired to teach a Regents Science course.
Many of the charter high school administrators are new to their administrative role and hiring and firing is a common occurrence, even during the school year. At best, administrative quality is uneven and at worst incompetent. Is it little wonder that poor administration goes hand in hand with high teacher turnover and poor academic student achievement.
Contrary to what many of us think, charter high schools suffer from tight budgets, lack of resources, and technology issues. This is especially true for profit-making organizations that run the school. These private charters must turn a profit for their hedge fund sponsors or risk being closed. Therefore, the bottom line must be met and its not education. Moreover, the people above the school administration are usually business people and have no experience in education so there is almost always a disconnect between the school academic goals and the profit obsessed board that oversees the school, usually with disastrous results.
Lack of Community Roots:
Almost all charter high schools have no roots in the community they reside in and many of the students do not live in the community. Without the community support and a reason to embrace the school by the neighborhood, it makes it very difficult for the school to be able to survive long-term and almost impossible to thrive as an educational entity.
The bottom line is that the charter highs schools are the stepchild of not only the New York City charter schools but the entire educational system and the joke is on the students who end up at these schools looking for a quality education..