This blogger–Better Living Through Mathematics–has a problem with the games played by charters, specifically by Eva Moskowitz’s Success Academy.
Not one willing to suspend his disbelief, he wrote that he has a problem with charters in general and was mightily disappointed by Governor Cuomo standing up for the 6% of children in New York City who attend them (and the 3% in New York State):
What’s my problem with charter schools, you ask? I don’t know where to begin, but here it is in a nutshell: chutzpah. You open a school, take all sorts of private money to fund advertising and publicity, exclude students from enrolling through a variety of strategies, and then expel those for whom you cannot or will not provide essential services or are discipline problems, underpay inexperienced teachers and work them to death so there is high turnover, then you instruct your teachers to “teach to the test” AND then have some students who might not measure up stay home on the day of the test, and then give your students copies of the test before they take it, shut up your students in computer labs to be “supervised” by $15 per hour aids, then rake off money for your shareholders and hire all sorts of corrupt ex-government officials to promote your cause, scream when you are asked to pay your share for the space you use to displace kids in public schools, AND then pat yourself on the back when your test scores show up marginally better than the local public school, which doesn’t do ANY of these things….
and you have the chutzpah to say you are “outperforming” public schools?
But what really bothered our mathematically minded friend was a conversation with a friend whose daughter got a great job at Success Academy–straight out of college–as an “educational coordinator” earning $49,000 a year. This is more than a starting teacher makes. Her sole job is to analyze the test scores, determine what teachers must do to get the numbers higher. And she has never taught!
Mr. Better Living Through Mathematics says that this is the educational equivalent of Moneyball:
What we have here is a the “Moneyball” approach to public education: if you need “good numbers” to prove your value, then hire someone whose full-time job is to analyze those numbers and tell teachers exactly what to teach in order to get those numbers to obey.
And what if the student can’t make those numbers? Well, if you were reading the job description closely, you would have seen this duty:
“Coordinate student Individualized Education Program (IEP) creation, and interact with teachers, parents, and special education providers to determine current and future educational services for all students.”
Hmmm, I wonder what those “interactions” with teachers, parents and special education providers about “current and future educational services” would look like? I can imagine it would sound something like this: “I’m sorry, but this does not seem like the right educational placement for your child. I do have a suggestion for an alternative that might be a better fit….”