kitchen table math, the sequel: Charter School Lotteries

Friday, March 2, 2012

Charter School Lotteries

An article in our state paper today talks about how the lottery for a charter school in a mostly Hispanic neighborhood has 1380 applicants for only 68 openings, many of which are reserved for the siblings of existing students. For the whole city, there are 6521 applications for only 679 openings in 15 charter schools. This is in a city where many educators fought tooth and nail against new Achievement First charter schools.

Parents are desperate to get the kids in.

"It's like hitting the lottery," she said. "If he gets in here, it determines his whole future, including where he goes to high school. I'm praying."

This has little to do with pedagogical ideas of critical thinking and discovery. Urban parents clearly see that. What do grand ideas of democracy and public education mean when those on the lowest level are desperate to get out?


Catherine Johnson said...

Parents praying to get their kids into charters.


Cassandra Turner said...


Last month, a local principal in our school district called up our charter headmaster and asked to come visit the school. Then he asked to send teachers to visit our school and observe.

It's rare that a district school will acknowledge a charter, other than to complain that they are "creaming the top kids" or somehow gaming the system.

This guy saw our school test scores; saw that our students were educated and thought to himself, "I wonder how they do it?". Then he took the initiative to find out. And after he visited, he decided that his teachers could learn something, too.

I can't think of another instance in the charter schools I have worked with where this has happened.

Charter schools are considered the enemy of a public school (see The Lottery), not a testing ground for ideas.