The Minneapolis School Board closed down Cityview, one of its public schools whose test scores were too low, it replaced Cityview with a charter school, Minneapolis School of Science. The charter school has told the families of 40 children with special needs–children with Down Syndrome and autism–that they are not wanted at the school. Clearly the schools is bouncing these children to improve their test scores.
Is this what “no child left behind” means? Does it mean pushing out the most vulnerable children to inflate the school’s scores?
In a half-minute of Googling, I discovered that the Minneapolis School of Science is part of the chain called Concept Schools, which is affiliated with the Gulen charter chain. The Gulen schools are part of the nation’s largest charter chain. Most get high test scores. Most focus on math and science. They have some sort of association with a Turkish imam named Fethullah Gulen. The New York Times wrote a front-page story about the cleric a few months ago. The Gulen schools have occasionally become involved in controversy having to do with audits and ties to Turkey.
Oh, well, as long as they get high scores, who cares about all these other issues?
I periodically get letters on this blog from readers who say, “I work in a charter school and we never ask any child to leave, not ever.” I hope that some of them will respond to this story.