Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Milk musings

Some have argued that charter schools "skim the cream" of student populations because students have to apply to get in, rather than simply being geographically zoned in.

Our school tends to get students whom traditional schools have expelled and sent our way. So we're not starting out with the cream, if that exists.

At the same time, this year alone we "moved along" something like seven students, out of a total student body of 85, for offenses like repeated stealing, repeated bullying, and drug dealing. What are we left with: the students who don't steal, don't bully, and don't deal drugs. The cream.

You can argue that we are skimming the cream and leaving the chaff (am I mixing my metaphors?) for someone else to deal with - or worse. Of those who leave, most end up at online school (another charter) or district-run ALC's (Area Learning Centers). A few don't go back to school at all - they are dropouts.

But what are we supposed to do with someone who deals drugs, or repeatedly steals from or bullies other students after multiple disciplinary measures are tried? According to the NYC Department of Ed's discipline code, selling drugs is a Level 5 infraction (the highest it goes); bullying and persistent stealing are Level 4 infractions. We don't have a "Suspension Center" to send kids to.

I'm not defending these decisions. Just discussing.

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