Friday, August 05, 2005

Another all-girls charter school to open (someday) in New York?

This article (via CSLC) is about a group in Rochester that hopes to open an all-girls charter school in January.

The interesting part of the story (to me, anyway) is that one of the two co-founders is a refugee from the now-closed School of Science and Technology, which was managed by Edison Schools. The former math teacher blames the school's closing, as well as that of the other charter school that was shut down, on their for-profit education management organizations (EMOs):

The people who want to run the new charter school believe the schools failed because they were run by corporations. They plan to do things differently because they'll be self-managed. Bradley said, "We want to show we can manage within our own community, from our own management team with our own board of trustees."

Rochester Leadership Academy, the other closed charter school, was managed by National Heritage Academies, another for-profit.

SUNY, the charter authorizer of both schools, recommended that they be closed based on poor academic achievement and poorly prepared teachers, according to this article.

Now, why would two different for-profit management companies, who are supposed to have all the brilliance at schooling that the private sector has to offer, have such ill-prepared teachers on their staff?

Because for-profit EMO's hire new, inexperienced teachers at the bottom of the pay scale to save a few bucks. We know this. Even in their charter schools, where they know they have to provide something good so that parents will choose their product!

And on top of all that, apparently some don't even put in the $$ to make sure their new teachers have professional development opportunities. Check this out from a NYSUT (the New York State branch of the AFT) press release about the charter school closings:

Charter School Institute evaluators, who made several site visits, found test scores at all three schools were substantially below their comparison schools in Rochester and Syracuse . Staff at the School of Science and Technology are represented by the Rochester Teachers Association led by president Adam Urbanski. He said staff turnover at the school been very high and that Edison Schools failed to provide adequate professional development and mentoring.

"There's a lot of disappointment among the staff," said Dennis Moriarty, RTA's representative at the charter school. "The union kept pushing the school to hire more experienced teachers and invest in professional development. But to keep costs down, they just kept hiring new people."

That, to me, is the biggest argument against for-profit education.

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