I sent the letter below to the NYT, but it wasn't included. See the letters they did post HERE.
The recent editorial on NY charter schools (Stanford CREDO report) offers misleading praise about charter-based educational outcomes and reform. Carefully considered, charter school data from NY, like charter school data across the U.S., tend to have a range of student outcomes strongly associated with factors such as race and class. Those same claims are fair characterizations of traditional public schools. In most ways, charter schools mirror problems in TPS, but do not overcome them.
Charter schools perpetuate and introduce some serious challenges hindering our quest for better schooling: selectivity and attrition, segregating patterns, assigning high-needs students to inexperienced and under-qualified teachers, underserving ELL and special needs students, and racist and classist practices. Further, where there appears to be success in outlier charter schools, the outcomes are not caused by “charterness,” as Matthew Di Carlo has explained (Shanker Blog), or scalable. Charter advocacy is producing hurtful churn, not silver bullets.
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