[lg policy] Boston: Don't ignore high-risk students in this debate about charter schools

Harold Schiffman hfsclpp at GMAIL.COM
Mon Jun 22 16:42:11 UTC 2009

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Don't ignore high-risk students in this debate

Boston Globe Editorial
June 16, 2009

TOO MANY students continue to be failed by the Boston Public Schools.
We do need more innovation and flexibility in educating these
students. But the debate over removing the cap on charter schools in
Boston often ignores the most serious challenges in dealing with all
of our students, especially students with disabilities and English
language learners. The June 10 editorial "Take caps off charter
schools" continues to neglect these critical issues.

Special education and English language-learning students have been
identified as among those most at risk of dropping out. Data on
charter schools show that they are not enrolling a proportionate share
of students with disabilities, particularly those with severe
disabilities, and are woefully inadequate in educating English
language learners. Last year, 400 students dropped out of charter
schools, and returned to Boston Public Schools. Shouldn't the charter
school system be challenged to educate these higher-risk students?
What are the implications if they don't? Do we want a tracking system
where charter schools skim the cream with stronger students, and
public schools are left with those most at risk?

It is irresponsible for the debate over removing the cap on charter
schools to ignore these critical questions.

John Mudd, Senior project director
Massachusetts Advocates for Children, Boston


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