Sunday, June 21, 2009

Don't ignore high-risk students in this debate

Some good points made in this Ed-Op. -Patricia

Boston Globe Editorial
June 16, 2009

TOO MANY students continue to be failed by the Boston Public Schools. We do need more innovation and flexibility in educating these students. But the debate over removing the cap on charter schools in Boston often ignores the most serious challenges in dealing with all of our students, especially students with disabilities and English language learners. The June 10 editorial "Take caps off charter schools" continues to neglect these critical issues.

Special education and English language-learning students have been identified as among those most at risk of dropping out. Data on charter schools show that they are not enrolling a proportionate share of students with disabilities, particularly those with severe disabilities, and are woefully inadequate in educating English language learners. Last year, 400 students dropped out of charter schools, and returned to Boston Public Schools. Shouldn't the charter school system be challenged to educate these higher-risk students? What are the implications if they don't? Do we want a tracking system where charter schools skim the cream with stronger students, and public schools are left with those most at risk?

It is irresponsible for the debate over removing the cap on charter schools to ignore these critical questions.

John Mudd, Senior project director
Massachusetts Advocates for Children, Boston

No comments:

Post a Comment