and @Jeff - I would emphasize that charter schools are PUBLIC schools. The success or failure of charter schools in MCS or SCS is the success or failure of the Unified Board. The average charter school in MCS is clearly better than the average MCS traditional school, so then why not charters? Let me be clear - I don't want average schools, I want every school to be excellent, but if I am an MCS/SCS Board member, I will be pragmatic about whatever it is that brings the best schools for the most children. If charters are 20% or 25% of that solution so be it...if it is magnet schools, if it is virtual school...if charters are 5% of that, so be it. The point is, a huge number of MCS traditional schools aren't cutting it, have had time to reform, so we need to cut our losses and move on to schools that do work for kids.
@LWC I think they are controlled more tightly than you think. If we compare public charter schools to traditional public schools, which ones on average are controlled more tightly? If student achievement is our benchmark for success (which I think it should be, but not always the case in MCS), recent scores that came out in the state report card show a number of Memphis charters as the highest performing - see Jane Roberts article on this in the CA. Comparably, there are a large number of traditional district run schools on the lowest performing "watch" list - how can that be tight control? It's an inherent part of the charter structure - if a charter school is not cutting it, it ought to be given fix it or you lose it warning, and then shut down. This rarely happens with many MCS traditional public schools that seem more interested in the legacy of adult employment rather than student achievement.
By Chris Davis, Susan Ellis, Toby Sells, and Maya Smith
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