Thursday, March 22, 2007

One Way Charter Schools Improve LEAP Scores

The principal at my local Recovery School District (RSD) school told me that over the past two weeks before the LEAP test (a standardized test in Louisiana), he had a dozen students who all told a sad but similar story. They were enrolled at various charter schools, and had behavioral problems and/or learning difficulties. The charter school told the parent(s) their children would be expelled, and they would not be able to attend school until the following Fall. But if the parents withdrew the student voluntarily, an RSD school would have to take them. That way the charter school wouldn't be brought down by the poor LEAP test scores, and the disruptions in class would be eliminated. This is illegal, let alone immoral. Now there are some classes at my local RSD school with 33 kids, one teacher, and several students with behavioral and learning problems. Not a very good learning environment to put it mildly. The gap between the haves and have nots in New Orleans is widening.

Later note: the principal just informed me that the number of students with this story was lower than he first thought, and that "a dozen" in the above post should more accurately say "a few." I heard from people in Washington D.C., which has the second highest number of charter schools (New Orleans is first), that this withdraw or face expulsion ploy, is common in DC also. Moreover, the charter schools keep the funding for the rest of the year for the student who withdrew.

4 Comments:

Blogger Leigh C. said...

Lovely. Who's been advising charter teachers to do this?

6:19 AM  
Anonymous Times-Picayune reporter said...

I am a reporter at The Times-Picayune. Anyone who can provide us with specific information about students who were threatened with expulsion at charters or any of the scenarios mentioned in this posting, please contact reporters Steve Ritea or Darran Simon ASAP at (504) 826-3396 or (504) 826-3386. We can also be reached via e-mail at sritea@timespicayune.com or dsimon@timespicayune.com.

11:16 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think that students who misbehave should be kicked out of school. You don't seem to care about the students who want to learn and how the misbehaving students' behavior affects them. Children should be sent to school ready to learn and when this doesn't happen it's the parents fault not the school's problem.

9:52 AM  
Blogger Michael Homan said...

I of course care about students who want to learn. I don't think it is always the parent's fault when kids misbehave. All I'm arguing for is equity. The charter schools find ways to get rid of difficult students, but the RSD schools have no such mechanism in place, and thus we are left with classrooms with way too many children inside of them (e.g. 33) and many of these students with behavioral problems. I agree that there comes a point where certain behaviors warrent dismissal, or expulsion, but there needs to be a system to at least attempt to get such students reengaged. We are left with a system where the teachers are spending all of their time dealing with a few of the lowest performing students. There needs to be something in place for the others.

12:18 PM  

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