Message From a Charter School: Thrive or Transfer
Here's an excerpt from Winerip's hatchet job:
Three years later, looking back, Ms. Sprowal said she felt her son had been done an injustice. Matthew, who has had a diagnosis of an attention disorder, has thrived at P.S. 75. His second-grade teachers, Johanny Lopez and Chanté Martindale, have taught him many ways to calm himself, including stepping into the hallway for an exercise break. His report card last month was all 3s and 4s, the top marks; the teachers commented, "Matthew is a sweet boy who is a joy to have in the classroom."
Matthew's story raises perhaps the most critical question in the debate about charter schools: do they cherry-pick students, if not by gaming the admissions process, then by counseling out children who might be more expensive or difficult to educate — and who could bring down their test scores, graduation rates and safety records?
Kim Sweet, director of Advocates for Children of New York, said she had heard many such stories. "When we look at our cases where children are sent away from schools because of disabilities," she said, "there are a disproportionate number of calls about charter schools."