There is a growing danger in the expansion of charter schools. Propelled by the Obama administration’s Race to the Top, charters are increasing wherever they are legal (they are not authorized in nine states). They are supposed to be fonts of innovation, but most are just focused on test scores, to prove they are better than public schools.
But the danger is that when students leave for charter schools, those left behind are disproportionately ELL, special ed, and struggling students. This threatens the future of public education, which enrolls most students in America.
Competition was supposed to make schools better, but it doesn’t work that way. The charters are siphoning off the top students and weakening the whole system. What is odd is that charters on average do no better than public schools, and many are far worse, even with the skimming.
This teacher tells what is happening in her school:
Enlisting parents is no easy task. At least not in my school. Every year more than half my students opt for charter schools. Charters don’t allow pre-k yet so parents have no choice.
Many parents see charters as a magic bullet and those children who are compliant do well.
As a result, my school continues to have more and more high needs students; students whose parents already know that the charters won’t take their child and students who are been “counseled out of a charter” and are back in my school. It’s a downward spiral.