I earlier posted a letter from a teacher who said that charters give ambitious students a chance to escape their low-performing and disruptive peers. The teacher noted that charters recruit the best students in the poorest neighborhoods. How could anyone blame parents who want their children to be surrounded by others who are equally ambitious?
I invited readers to respond. Here is a thoughtful comment.
This reader comments as follows:
That’s interesting, because I thought one of the major apologies for charters was that they would help close the “achievement gap” by taking our neediest students and making them “competitive” with the most well-performing students.
The apologia in this post basically states as a matter of fact a criticism that charter school advocates have long-denied. At first it was “We don’t get to cherry pick. We’re subject to the same rules as public schools.” Now it is “Yeah, we cherry pick but someone has to serve the gifted students in poor communities.”
It is moving back of the goal post if you ask me. I went to Bronx Science and then to Brooklyn Tech, two of the “best” public high schools in NYC. The public schools and many others like it do a fine job of educating our brightest students.
An argument against what the teacher in this article posits is to expand the opportunities for our brightest students to go to those “specialized” public high schools. As of now, one test determines whether or not a students makes it in. The application process should be diversified with exams only being part of the measuring stick. GPA, recommendations, interviews and essays should also be part of the process, sort of like college.
We have the tools to educate the type of students described in this article. We just lack the will to make better use of them.