Friday, August 30, 2013

The Charter School Tapes

Juan Gonzalez:

The parent of a special education kindergarten pupil at the Upper West Side Success Academy charter school secretly tape recorded meetings in which school administrators pressed her to transfer her son back into the public school system.

The tapes, a copy of which the mother supplied the Daily News, poke a hole in claims by the fast-growing Success Academy chain founded by former City Councilwoman Eva Moskowitz that it doesn't try to push out students with special needs or behaviour problems.

The "no excuses" charter school edifice circa 2013 is dependent on unhappy parents simply choosing to leave and go on with their lives. Quite a lot of rhetorical work goes into ensuring this process goes smoothly for the charters, and at the end of the day, the charters in question are run by politically connected people with whom you generally don't want to tangle with and lose.

One suspects, however, that there is a downside to the aggressive charter marketing. The more the big name charters sell themselves as saviours, the more likely it is parents aren't going to just walk away quietly. Bad press and scandal will follow, or, at best, increased costs to provide services they're currently short-changing.

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