Today’s Wall St. Journal reports on a new system in Newark that intends to “shut down that argument” that charter schools “ find ways to admit only the best students who apply, leading to higher test scores.” Under a policy proposed by Superintendent Cami Anderson, admissions to the city’s charter schools and traditional public would be combined.
A frequent refrain of anti-charter school advocates is that these autonomous schools serve proportionately lower number of children who are harder to teach: special education students, English Language Learners, students from the most impoverished backgrounds. For example, Save Our School-NJ claims that “most charter schools serve many fewer students with Limited English Proficiency, fewer very low-income students, and fewer special needs students, especially those with high needs.”
The new Newark policy would repudiate that claim by combining admissions to all city public schools, traditional and charter.
Ryan Hill, executive director of TEAM Charter Schools, a network of five charters with about 1,800 students, said the new system would take some control out of his organization’s hands, but it could be worth it.
“We don’t like people claiming that we serve easier-to-serve populations, even though we can prove that we don’t,” he said. “This should put the nail in that coffin. We’ll see.”