Diane Ravitch’s Blog: NYC: What Lessons Are Charters Teaching to Public Schools?
In New York City, there is an effort to bring together teachers and principals in public schools to learn from high-performing charter schools. What are the secrets of their success?
Apparently the lessons from charter schools were taken to heart by the new principal of troubled Boys and Girls High School in Bedford-Stuyvesant in Brooklyn. He has asked low-performing students, students who don’t have enough credits, to transfer out. Is this one of the secrets of charter success that should be used by public schools? In the few weeks that the new principal has been in charge, 30 students have been pushed out. One was a boy who had literally turned his life around and was elected junior class president:
Calvin Brown, Jr. enrolled at Boys and Girls High School midway through his sophomore year after falling behind at a nearby charter school. Though the Bedford-Stuyvesant high school is considered one of the city’s worst, Brown thrived there.
He became the junior class president last year and the captain of the debate team, which is set to travel to South Africa next month for a competition. He had entered the school with just seven credits, but as he started his senior year this September he had three times that amount — still half as many as he needs to graduate, but he was catching up.
Then, after the school’s outspoken principal resigned last month, the city installed a new leader to turn around the troubled school. Under new principal Michael Wiltshire, students who are missing many credits or otherwise unlikely to graduate this year have been encouraged to transfer out, according to Brown and staffers at the school. Brown was one of the students urged to leave.
“They made me transfer,” said Brown, 17. “They don’t want me on the Boys and Girls roster.”
The principal must have realized that the secret to having a high-performing school is to get rid of the low-performing students. Is this equality of educational opportunity? Is this public education?
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