Thompson: Charter Schools, "Bad Teachers," & Special Education
In Are Charter Schools Better Able to ‘Fire Bad Teachers’?, the Shanker Blog’s Matt DiCarlo provides a valuable discussion regarding the dismissal of teachers.
He starts with a discussion of whether charters serve disproportionately fewer students with disabilities, however, and this post will concentrate on that. After all, if charters exclude the most difficult-to-educate students, comparisons of their instructional effectiveness with neighborhood schools are just another apples-to-oranges distraction.
DiCarlo cites research showing that charters serve fewer special education students. I wish he would push that point further because the real questions are whether charters fail to serve larger numbers of students with more serious disabilities and whether they have concentrations of IEP students and others who make it more difficult for schools to raise student performance.
But DiCarlo correctly argues that “there is certainly no evidence for asserting a widespread campaign of exclusion.” I know that many friends will complain when I agree with DiCarlo, but his conclusion conforms with my understanding of the motivations of charter school educators.
Charter school teachers did not create the intense concentrations of poverty that have defied systemic solutions. Whether or not they agree with the political spin, few educators in charter schools have issued false press releases claiming to have improved performance for the "same" students. If we follow DiCarlo and choose our words carefully and constructively, perhaps charter and regular school teachers can see eye-to-eye on better ways of improving our low-income schools.-JT(@drjohnthompson) Image via.