Here is an interesting New York Times story about a student “counseled out” of a charter school in the city.
In 2008, when Katherine Sprowal’s son, Matthew, was selected in a lottery to attend the Harlem Success Academy 3 charter school, she was thrilled. “I felt like we were getting the best private school, and we didn’t have to pay for it,” she recalled….
Matthew is bright but can be disruptive and easily distracted. It was not a natural fit for the Success charters, which are known for discipline and long school days. From Day 1 of kindergarten, Ms. Sprowal said, he was punished for acting out….
Five days later, Ms. Sprowal got an e-mail from Ms. Moskowitz that she took as a veiled message to leave. “Am not familiar with the issue,” Ms. Moskowitz wrote, “but it is extremely important that children feel successful and a nine-hour day with more than 23 children (and that’s our small class size!) where they are constantly being asked to focus and concentrate can overwhelm children and be a bad environment.“
The next week, the school psychologist evaluated Matthew and concluded he would be better suited elsewhere: “He may need a smaller classroom than his current school has available.”
By then, Matthew was throwing up most mornings and asking his mother if he was going to be fired from school. Worn down, Ms. Sprowal requested help finding her son another school, and Success officials were delighted to refer him to Public School 75 on the Upper West Side.
As it turns out, P.S. 75 taught Matthew, who was diagnosed with attention disorder, how to calm himself. He has received top marks with teacher comments such as, “Matthew is a sweet boy who is a joy to have in the classroom.” It just shows that there is no such thing as the “perfect school,” but the best fit for individual students.
But the most interesting aspect of this story is how the charter school was allowed to easily push out Matthew to the traditional public school. Should charters, which receive public financing, be allowed to do this?