Charters: Well-Connected Parents Slip Past Lottery
Add something called a "founding parent" loophole to the long list of ways that charter schools are accused of manipulating which children get to enroll and who doesn't. That's the gist of this LA Weekly story about how some of the most popular of the more than 200 charters in LAUSD have stretched a reasonable-sounding provision meant to ensure that parents who help found a charter get a spot - even when there are no founding parents, or when the school was founded long ago. " I'm checking on whether this happens in other cities.
Before you go crazy, however, remember that district schools also have all sorts of ways of letting students slip in through the back door at popular schools, too: elastic definitions of when a school is full, falsified or unchecked addresses, unmonitored waiting lists, early notification of mid-year openings, etc. Wherever there are too few options and too many families looking for spots, a handful of parents and educators are going to bend, stretch, or break the rules. It's not right, but it's not just a charter thing. Chicago only recently closed a loophole called "principal's pick" which allowed well-connected parents to clout their kids into coveted buildings.