We used to do the sorting through homogeniously grouping classes based on reading scores and teachers rotated each year from top to middle to bottom (when the contract was followed, which it wasn't in my school). In essence, then, we had a mini charter school effect on each grade. Thus, one year I was an amazing teacher and the next year I sucked.
PP has some amazing insights into all this from a parent on the ground.
Caroline Grannan, SF Education Examiner, is focusing some attention on these insights.
In the next couple of days I’m going to feature two posts from the education blog The Perimeter Primate that I think are particularly insightful. The blogger is an Oakland resident who is a veteran public school parent and a former staff member at a diverse public school.
Yesterday she blogged about a letter she wrote to Dr. Elijah Anderson, an African-American Yale sociology professor who wrote the book “Code of the Street,” about the culture that separates “street” from “decent” people in the marginalized inner-city.
Dr. Anderson called her in response to the letter, and she also reported on her conversation with him.
One reason "Code of the Street" was so fascinating to me was because of your [Dr. Anderson] insights about "decent" and "street" families. I recognized the two types immediately. Here in Oakland, I suspect the charter schools are being sought out by decent-oriented families in part in an attempt to provide their children an escape from street-oriented school mates and the havoc at school which they often cause. The resulting effect is the increasing stratification of students, school by school.
My notion is that the low-income Black parents who seek out charter schools for their children are a specific type, the type who is more likely to stress the importance of education to their children and to support the mission of the school in their homes (= “decent”). I believe that their children are more likely to end up with greater academic achievement than the children who happen to have been born to parents who lack enough of that focus.
To enroll a child in a charter schools requires more forethought, effort, research and consideration on the part of the parent. This makes the population of charter school families a self-selected one. Charter schools prefer to deny this, but I know for certain it must be the case.
So, I am beginning to envision an inner-city school landscape where charter schools appear more and more successful simply because they collect and concentrate the children of “decent” families. Additionally, they become the recipients of large donations from philanthropists because they appear to be educating inner-city minority children more effectively than the regular public schools. It is rarely admitted that the charter schools and the regular schools have an increasingly different population of families.
Read every delicious morsel at The Perimeter Primate.