Saturday, December 6

CHARTER SCHOOLS: CHERRY PICKING AND ROTTEN APPLE DUMPING

Crystal Sylvia, Concerned 4 DCPS - The problem with charter schools "counseling out" families or informing parents they can't meet the needs of a particular child is twofold. First, there is the issue of charter schools getting the money for students and then keeping those funds once the child leaves. The charter schools get to use the money to support the remaining students but the public schools have to support the incoming students with no additional funding. And since a lot of these kids come with some type of challenge or need, the effects on the public schools are even more burdensome.

The second concern is that since charter schools are able to do this they can essentially "cherry pick" students while claiming to accept all students. This of course helps with behavior and discipline issues as well as with test scores. Now I know charter schools are not doing this all of the time but it is happening enough to be a significant problem. Last year in April my school received 5 students from charter schools in just one week before DC CAS testing. The children strained an already skeletal staff.

So while charter school supporters can exaggerate success stories, in the end charter schools are not solving the fundamental problems in public education in DC. I know there are parents who are very happy with the charter schools their children are attending so I am not saying all charter schools are bad. But it I think at some point there needs to be an honest assessment followed by changes in the regulations to address these issue and stop charter schools from cherry picking students.

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