Bruno: "No Excuses" Is Another Meaningless Education Phrase
I appreciate Mike Petrilli's take on the "charter expulsion flap," in which Washington, DC charter schools were found to be expelling challenging students at far higher rates than their district counterparts.
In fact, he responds about as well as a staunch charter school advocate can: he concedes much of John's argument about charter schools serving unrepresentative populations, but points out that many of these "no excuses" schools are nevertheless doing good work with the students that they enroll in part because of their disciplinary standards.
It's especially fair to say that these "toughest-to-serve" kids are probably not being very well served by their district schools, either.
I am fully prepared to accept that line of defense for charter schools. My only further demand is this: can we retire the phrase "no excuses"?
While the overall charter expulsion rates at these schools are troubling, many of these expulsions may very well be justified either as what is best for the student expelled or as what is best for the peers he or she leaves behind. Those sorts of reasons, however, are tantamount to the kinds of "excuses" we have long been told that district schools make but these charter schools do not.
If the term "no excuses" can be employed to describe charter schools that openly and explicitly identify some students as too difficult for them to educate, it is safe to say that it has become yet another meaningless education phrase. - PB (@MrPABruno) (image source)