Katie Osgood teaches children in a hospital setting in Chicago. Here she responds to a comment from a charter advocate who insists that charter schools are no different from magnet schools:
In regards to magnet schools, I have always believed that there are equity issues surrounding this practice. However, they were begun with integration in mind and do tend to be, at least in Chicago, our most integrated schools (but with an overrepresentation of white/middle class students). Most that I know of do not have tests to get in, they are random lotteries (Maybe you are thinking of selective enrollment??). Magnets are also unionized schools with local school councils (democratic voice in community school governance for parents, teachers, community members and in high school, students) and some do provide special education services similar to neighborhood schools. They are staffed with fully-certified, experienced teachers and use proven creative curriculum and specialty programs. Their demographics tend to look like this:
Charters are another beast altogether. They are almost without exception highly-segregated schools that tend to look like this: http://www.cps.edu/Schools/Pages/school.aspx?id=400033 There is no democratic voice, the teachers are often not unionized (although this is changing in Chicago, one school at a time), and many use questionable practices like hiring many uncertified teachers, having scripted curriculum, and using cruel, borderline corporal punishment “no excuses” discipline.
I would love for ALL schools to look more like magnets. I do not want all schools to look like charters. Charters provide low-quality education for low-income students of color. And that is wrong.