More evidence of charter push-outs

By Julie Woestehoff – Don’t miss this great article by the Chicago Reader’s Ben Joravsky, which details the ridiculous inequality between Pritzker College Prep charter high school and nearby Kelvyn Park HS, a regular Chicago Public high school. Here’s how it opens:

On February 16, the Union League Club gave out its Democracy in Action award to deserving local high school students, and Mayor Daley was on hand to give a rousing speech—calling on regular public schools to make like the charters and transform ordinary neighborhood students into high-scoring, high-achieving, college-bound stars.

Specifically, the mayor was hailing Urban Prep High School, a south-side charter school. But his unspoken message to all teachers was “work harder and stop whining.”

Consider it one last middle finger from Daley to the teachers and their unions because—well, why not?

Watching it all with a mixture of revulsion and disbelief was Eric Wagner, a social studies teacher at Kelvyn Park High School on the predominantly Hispanic northwest side. “I was there because one of my students—Jennifer Velazquez—had won the award,” says Wagner. “I’m thinking, this is really inappropriate. There aren’t even any charter school kids who won the award. Why is he ripping us?”

What Mayor Daley didn’t say—what he probably didn’t even know—is that just days before his speech eight students from Pritzker College Prep, a school just down the street from Kelvyn Park, unceremoniously showed up at Kelvyn’s door, having flunked out, dropped out, or been kicked out.

Daley, and the rest of Chicago, should know what charters are doing to get their “dramatic” results, as Arne Duncan would put it.

State law and the new ESEA must include provisions to hold charters accountable for their unfair enrollment and transfer out policies and practices. That data must be included in charter renewal decisions as well as federal watch list considerations.

And we have to hold politicians accountable for the lies and half-truths they tell about charters (e.g. Rahm’s repeated claim that most of the top CPS high schools are charters…).

Posted on by Julie Woestehoff Posted in Uncategorized

2 Responses to More evidence of charter push-outs

  1. Karran

    Julie, you tell a story that is being repeated throughout the country. I have yet to see a charter school take on the entire pre-existing population and make dramatic, transformative improvement. They depend on choosing from the better performing students in the city and kicking out lower performing or expensive to educate students. Why is it that we never see any longitudinal studies of entire cohorts of students where dramatic gains have occurred. Of course I would want that cohort to be the students who were there before. It seems to me that the only way to really improve test scores at these charter schools is to change out the children.

  2. Michael Fiorillo

    And then there’s the next infernal step in the charter process: the students who might endanger the testing stats of the charter schools, when push or “counseled” out, who also are invariably the neediest children, show up on the doorsteps of the local public schools, which are denied the resources to give the students the services they need, and thus the local public schools are set up for failure and eventual closing or re-organiization.

    It’s quite a business model.