Surely Hillary Clinton’s recent critical remarks about charter schools are political posturing--perhaps balm to soothe the roiling left flanks.
“Most charter schools…don’t take the hardest-to-teach kids, or, if they do, they don’t keep them,” Clinton told a forum in South Carolina. “And so the public schools are often in a no-win situation because they do, thankfully, take everybody.”
Let’s be honest. Any school—district or charter—can “push out” a student it views as a problem. Some discipline the student often and loudly, until the parent gets the message; some refer the student to an alternative school; some track students into isolated special ed programs for “defiant” behavior; some flat-out tell students, “This might not be the school for you.”
It doesn’t just happen to disruptive kids. It happens to those whose needs are too big, too inconvenient or just not met by the services of the neighborhood school.
The relevant question is not whether the school in question is a charter or a district school. It’s whether the school sees it as the student’s job to conform to its programming or whether it’s the school’s job to see the “behavior” not as something willful, but as a signal of unmet need.
Labels: charter schools, special education