Ideas: Differences Among Diverse Charter Schools
It was probably a mistake for Todd Sutler and his band of young teachers to let themselves become part of this week's SchoolBook story about diverse charter schools in mixed-income neighborhoods. Though there are obvious similarities, the school they teach at -- Community Roots -- is far more progressive than the mixed-income Upper West Success Academy that Grannis' wife, Eva Moskowitz, runs. They would have done better getting their own story rather than getting lumped in with Grannis. Or maybe I'm just mad that Sutler let SchoolBook break the news of his next adventure (and that Grannis invited Anna Phillips to one of his parent meet and greets when I'd been asking him about doing just that over the last several months). My pitiable whining aside, the SchoolBook story seems to do little to advance anyone's understanding of how these schools -- diverse charters with varying degrees of progressive elements -- actually operate. Gentrification and controversy are only interesting to a point -- a point we're well past at this point, in my view. I have yet to find a home for my feature story about these schools -- I've spent a fair amount of time in several of them at this point -- but at some point I hope to be able to share the complicated, fascinating world of diverse charter schools. They're a small but noteworthy response to practical and political problems in urban school reform.