02/24/2018

‘Cherry picking’? Union-run schools dump struggling kids on charters

Sacramento — Teachers’ union leaders hoping to discount the runaway academic success of charter schools have claimed charters lure the best-performing kids, leaving traditional, union-run public schools to handle poor-performing and struggling students. In its statement launching the anti-charter “Kids Not Profits” campaign, for instance, the California Teachers’ Association claimed that charters “cherry-pick the students … weeding out and turning down students with special needs.”

Now a series of reports in California and elsewhere show the opposite is true. In one case, educators in the San Diego Unified School District have been counseling their students with low grade-point averages to transfer into charter schools, especially online charters, according to a Voice of San Diego report last month.

Students who were part of the district’s class of 2016 but transferred to a charter school “had a combined grade-point average of 1.75 at the time they transferred,” which is below the 2.0 average needed to graduate. This includes 919 students who left the school system and were “no longer factored into the district’s overall graduation rate,” the news site explained. The districts are able to “dump” students that drag down the overall graduation metrics, which are used to rate schools and influence funding decisions.

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