Tuesday, August 19

Charter chatter, Q & As

Citing competition as the key to success, Mayor Bloomberg says that pressure from charter schools force traditional public schools to improve. But advocates like Leonie Haimson of Class Size Matters beg to differ: the small classes that are the charter norm are all too elusive in mainstream public education, despite long-fought battles. And one has to ask a question that's tough to ask aloud: Are middle-class parents fighting as hard for access to charters as families in neighborhoods long poorly served by city schools?

Maybe that's one of the questions that will be answered on the New York Times Charter School Q&A thread. And for families of high-school students and rising eighth-graders, who will be facing the high-school selection process this year, the DOE is hosting a Q&A with Evaristo Jimenez, head of high school enrollment.

As one commenter implored yesterday, speak up! If parents don't ask the hard questions to advance their child's education, who will?


Anonymous said...

Your question about whether middle-class parents will fight for access to charter schools is a loaded one. I think it's entirely related to the educational philosophy of the individual school. Middle-class families can be found in charter schools with progressive philosophies, i.e. the relatively new Community Roots Charter School in Fort Greene, and perhaps less in those schools that advertise success through a fairly traditional program involving extended hours, uniforms, an authoritarian approach to discipline and learning. Has anyone looked into the demographics of families that apply to the various charter schools?

--Brooklyn Parent

Anonymous said...

When can parents expect to receive an answer to a PER/variance request regarding a kindergarten G&T slot? We are requesting a re-assignment within our district due to geographic location / hardship. Any sense of when these letters might go out? Any information would be appreciated as we head into the end of August and still haven't heard a thing. Thanks.

helen said...

Brooklyn Parent, you're right, the question is loaded - but the fact that the city has located the majority of charters in predominantly underserved neighborhoods reveals much about who the DOE believes will enroll. And some charter organizations (eg, Achivement First, and others) specifically target high-need kids in high-need communities. Agree that progressive charters attract different families than more traditional, structured schools. But making charters a real option for all city kids remains elusive at best.