Saturday, January 25, 2014

Massachusetts angle: CPS forum on Charter Schools

Alain Jehlen on charter schools in Massachusetts
Roger Rice on ELL and charter schools
Jerry Mogel on students with disabilities and charter schools
Carlos Rojas on charter equity and accountability

Jehlen: "do charter schools help all children learn?"
who are they educating and who are they not?
very few kids with substantial disabilities: moderate and severe disabilities much more greatly represented in public schools (are not taken by charter schools)
very few kids who aren't fluent in English
impact by students' years of enrollment: first year, essentially zero; second & third year, big rise
"is likely capturing both the value add from the charter school as well as Inherent student characteristics that make the students more likely to persist in the charter school"
aka: the kids who don't do well AREN'T THERE ANYMORE
half of Boston's charter schools don't make it to high school (between grades 9-12)

  • Boston Public schools lose 20% of students between 9-12
  • Boston charter schools lose 47% of students between 9-12


  • charter schools overrepresented in numbers and percentages of suspensions
  • more kids required to repeat grades
  • charter schools don't backfill (no kids coming in midyear)
Net cost to public schools of charter schools and eventually leads to school closing, increasing turmoil in public schools who don't go to charter schools
charter schools help SOME students learn

Rice: "you stole a little bit of my opening"
focusing on Boston: 31% of students in BPS are ELL learning
charter schools many zero or decimals above (single one in JP set up to serve ELL)
city totals obscure what is happening in neighborhoods: South Boston two charter schools serve 6% of ELL while public schools at 65,77,66%
"who lives there and are they serving those kids?"
all ELL kids are not the same: some kids who have just gotten here who speak very little English, some transitioning who know a lot
there is a spectrum
19% of ELL kids had been here one year (in BPS)
17 charter schools, those that took any ELL, had 6% of kids who'd been here one year
new charter school law says Board shall "ONLY" approve an application if the applicant serves a population similarity to those of the general population
Commissioner said "not expect perfection in first year...or second year...or third year"
reading applications: never had populations similar to Boston Public Schools
Commissioner said to Board "trust me"
(sounds of disgust from crowd)
"C'mon, you're in year five here"
the department doesn't want to talk about proven providers
"you can't completely let Boston off the hook, either"
meeting in Madison Park High School: used to have a program for kids with an interrupted education (sounds like Caradonio New Citizens Center); program disappeared from here, so no vocational ed available to those kids
"those kids are killer to the MCAS scores"
"that thing that calls itself a School Committee (in Boston) allowed it to happen"

Mogul: also as a Boston parent
(from Mass Advocates for Children)
"it's a full time job, because Boston is a complicated place to educate your child"
begged for Board to put conditions on their acceptance
"perfect opportunity to create a network" to have substantial programs
"to my dismay, Board basically said 'trust us'...lost opportunity"
advocacy for special education: deeply aware of the problems in the Boston Public Schools
a Boston pilot school told a parent that they wouldn't accept a child "unless they could sit in a classroom with 25 students and focus"
Commonwealth charters lower of 4 or 5%, BUT when you look at type and severity, there's a real disparity
17 kids with autism in the 16 Commonwealth charter schools in Boston
"no excuses" set-up
how many schools mention special education? 2 of 18 schools
tantrum (starting in kindergarten) leading to immediate suspension
when charters don't provide substantially separate classrooms: highest charter rate is 9%, state rate is 15%
"we can't handle the child, needs an out-of-district placement"
"I used to think the problem was autonomous schools...I think that's a real problem in Boston"
"try and control their front door and try and control their back door"
kids pushed out even in BPS; dealing with that really hard
"two types of have to 'fit in' to their model...or classroom that really educates the whole child"
understands kids make mistakes, treats kids developmentally
Boston compact on charter schools? trying to do inclusion better

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