This is a follow-up to this last post: Don’t leave school discipline up to Mr. Petrilli
Just to be fair to both sides, I will also be addressing the inaccuracies in this post, a counter to both of Petrilli’s articles: Writing off “Those Kids.”
Michael Petrilli is flat out wrong. I’m a friend of the ed reform movement, but also a licensed school counselor, and very familiar with student discipline & counseling (or lack thereof). However, there are some points I disagree with you on as well.
Is it really okay to openly advocate for charter school discipline policies that weed out a significant portion of the student body (without, in most cases, replacing those expelled or “counseled out” students, of course)?
Public Charter schools do not cherry pick, or exclude, or “weed out.” I don’t know what could be more fair than a lottery, which I believe most have. Also, it makes sense to have some geographic boundaries (just like traditional public schools do). Public charters aren’t excluding, parents are choosing to apply. Please stop confusing “choosing” and “excluding.” Often public charters may not have the resources or skillset to appropriately provide services to special needs students. By law, a variety of accommodations, testing, etc…need to be provided. If one can’t provide it in good faith, it’s best not to. Public charters seem to not be able to win on this one – because if public charters were improperly educating special education students there would still be an uproar. They are making a decision based on capacity, the right one and you still can’t win.
Just would love to point out a public charter school here in DeKalb county, GA specifically for students on the autism spectrum, Tapestry Public Charter School. Are you going to try to say that they are excluding traditional public school students?
Is it really okay to say that our public schools are places of compromises that please no one?
Unfortunately traditional public schools have a variety of constituents and when there is a weak administration, and/or administrator, it can be easy to see the path of least resistance taken. I wouldn’t say all, but I would say plenty. We need stronger folks willing to stand of up kids and make the right choices.
Is it really okay to imply that public schools truly are the schools of last resort, that their highest and best purpose is to serve as dumping grounds for those students who are not good enough (or malleable enough, or terrified enough, or controllable enough) to succeed in charters?
Take a look at this post: When the only option is a failing school
Are they often the last resort for parents? Sure
Their highest and best purpose is not to serve as a dumping ground for students who are not good enough for a public charter. But until every school board/committee/administrator/district admin/superintendents/teachers are willing and able to do whats best for all kids, instead of serving their self interest – then this is going to a reality in some cases.
In other words, we’re supposed to warehouse “those kids” in faux-schools until they drop out or end up in prison, but there’s no point in trying to motivate them, reach them, or educate them.
Of course this isn’t true….but as I mentioned above is too often the case when schools, districts and administrators are too involved with their self interest than their kids.
And how do we distinguish kids worth educating from kids who should be warehoused in alternative environments? Are we weeding out the rebels? The creative thinkers? Those who question authority? Are we rewarding malleability, conformity, and keeping your head down?
These are valid points – but my point is it doesn’t matter whether public charter or traditional public, these things ARE happening everyday in both cases. We need to focus less on what type of school it is and focus on what each school needs to do to best serve the interests of it’s students.
You can’t blame public charters when your own traditional public school are doing many of the same unreasonable things you’ve mentioned.