Thursday, January 14, 2010

Why I want some charter schools to fail, and soon

Eric Grannis, Eva Moskowitz's husband and a founding board member of three charter schools, with a provocative piece saying he HOPES some charters (bad ones) go out of business because there are other, better options for students.  Won't THAT be a happy day?!

Since I am an advocate for charter schools, you might be surprised by what irks me: Not one New York City charter school has yet been driven out of business due to low enrollment.

Last week, it happened in D.C.: City Collegiate Public Charter School announced it just couldn't attract enough students to continue. Why hasn't this happened to even one of New York City's 99 charter schools? It's curious. Compare this with the restaurant industry, in which a quarter of new restaurants fail within a year.

Sure, many charter schools are great. Overall, studies have shown charter school kids outperforming their counterparts at traditional public schools. At eight city charters, more than 90% of students read at grade level.

But at five others, less than 65% of students read at grade level - yet these mediocre schools also attract students aplenty. Sadly, this occurs because mediocre happens to be the best option for those students who would otherwise have to attend some of our city's very worst public schools.

…How many more charters do we need for real competition to kick in? I don't know. But I do know how you'll be able to tell we're close: When you read in this paper that a New York City charter school can't recruit enough students to stay open because it's only pretty good.

It will be a sign that healthy competition is finally at work.


Why I want some charter schools to fail, and soon

Friday, January 1st 2010, 4:08 PM

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