‘Restart’ weak charters

When a charter school isn’t performing well, closure isn’t the only option, argues a new Public Impact report. The Role of Charter Restarts in School Reform. Instead of forcing students to find new schools, “introduce new adults who have the will and skill to help struggling students achieve, and let the students stay.”

Charter school restarts offer a way to intervene when performance does not meet expectations–and not just as a last-ditch effort to avoid closure. Restarts can also be used proactively by responsible boards and authorizers when the conditions are right.

This report describes how restarts worked at five charter schools in Chicago, New Orleans, Trenton, New York and Philadelphia.

Oakland’s school board plans to close three very high-scoring charters because it believes the American Indian Model Schools board remains under the thumb of founder Ben Chavis, who resigned amid conflict of interest charges.  Students will be forced to transfer to lower-performing schools. Why not restart with a new board?

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  1. Richard Aubrey says:

    What, is the building poison? Anti-learning vapors leaching from the masonry?

    • The anti-learning vapors waft in upon stream of paper and e-mails that issues from the central administration offices where the reaction between indifference and conceit proceeds unimpeded due to the absence of element “accountability”.

      • Richard Aubrey says:

        I suppose you’re right, but i was referring to charters. Shutting it down instead of replacing the staff leads to various inferences.

        • Michael E. Lopez says:

          Reminds me of something I came up with when I was in high school, thinking along these same lines:

          “If it’s such a dangerous part of town, what are all the criminals doing there?”

          • Mark Roulo says:

            “If it’s such a dangerous part of town, what are all the criminals doing there?”


            Hey, you go where the work is! Like coal miners spending time in dangerous coal mines.

        • Ah.

          For one thing shutting it down is simpler, and more certain, then performing organizational surgery.

          If the school didn’t make the grade it might be due to hiring a bunch of dopes to run the classes or a dope to run the school or the board might be overrun with dopes. Shut the school down and the questions don’t have to be answered and the next cohort of kids won’t be subject to a lousy school as they would be were it a district school.

          Theoretically, I suppose you could identify the damaging factor and excise it. Since the “damaging factor” is almost certainly people they’ll have their excuses. They’ll do everything in their power to hang onto their jobs and in the mean time how good’s the education they’ll be providing? Better? Not likely.

          It’s too bad that there’s no canon of educational ethics although that would have been discarded early on by any public education system but if there were the medical maxim of “first do no harm” would be first and foremost. If your first impulse is to put an end to the harming of children by lousy schools then shutting down lousy schools is the simplest, most direct way to do so.

  2. Because they don’t need it.

    A crappy district school is only doing a lousy job of educating kids and who cares about that? Parents but who cares what they think?

    Certainly not the school board. If the school board concerned itself with unhappy parents and lousy schools they’d never be able to get anything done. So they don’t and the lousy schools go on forever.

  3. Roger Sweeny says:

    But public schools do get the benefit of the doubt. No Child Left Behind gives a public school many years to improve before it is considered “failing” enough for drastic measures to be taken. At that point, there is a menu of things that can be done, only one of which is closure. Very, very few public schools have been closed because they are labelled “failing schools.”

  4. palisadesk says:

    “find me a place in America where they shut down ALL THE PUBLIC SCHOOLS”

    Prince Edward County, Virginia, closed ALL its public schools for 6 years.

    For different reasons, though.