HITTING LEFT WITH THE KLONSKY BROTHERS

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Bloomberg's N.Y. charters still excluding Latino & ELL students

Tuesday's New York Times reports that Bloomberg's privately-managed charter schools in N.Y. greatly under-enroll Latino and Spanish-speaking immigrant students. 
Charter schools have proportionately fewer Hispanic students — as well as fewer students learning English, regardless of their ethnicity — than nearby schools, including schools that share the same building.  

 That's not big news. The news is that the equity gap between charters and traditional neighborhood schools continues to grow after a decade of criticism, while most studies find charters performing at about the same or in many cases worse than those same neighborhood schools.
Charter schools in the city have been criticized for not offering enough services for students still learning English, a shortcoming the new law aims to address. Only 5 percent of charter students are classified as English learners, compared with 15 percent of public school students over all.
 What's also astonishing in the Times piece is that the victims of these exclusionary policies are being blamed for the problem. Charter operators, like billionaire Carl Icahn, claim that they have tried to recruit Hispanics but got no response.
The principal of the Carl C. Icahn Charter Schools, Jeffrey Litt, said he and colleagues made efforts to recruit a student body that reflects the schools’ Bronx neighborhoods. But at Icahn Charter School 4 in the South Bronx, for example, slightly more than a third of the students are Hispanic, while a traditional public elementary school two blocks away is three-quarters Hispanic.  

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