BY Welner, K.G. (April 2013). Teachers College Record. [online], http://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 17104 | http://bit.ly/1Mo3zY5
March 9, 2015 :: Dr. Welner, Professor of education policy at the University of Colorado Boulder School of Education and director of the National Education Policy Center, is co-hosting a discussion at this week’s South By Southwest Education Conference (SXSW.EDU) on Reforming Charter Reform.
Charter schools may be public, but they can shape their student enrollment in surprising ways. This is done though a dozen different practices that often decrease the likelihood of students enrolling with a disfavored set of characteristics, such as students with special needs, those with low test scores, English learners, or students in poverty.
To describe the strategies, Welner’s Teachers College Record article identifies 12 different approaches, using lighthearted category names such as “The Bum Steer,” “Location, Location, Location,” and “Mad Men.” But the subject itself is of crucial importance, since it raises vital issues concerning equity as well as the reporting of research outcomes.
Researchers and governmental authorities have long known that charter schools generally under-serve a community’s at-risk students. Welner’s article builds on this research to explore the charter school practices that result in those enrollment outcomes.
When charter schools fail to serve a cross-section of their community, they undermine their own potential and they distort the larger system of public education. “It doesn’t have to be this way,” says Welner. “The task for policymakers is to redesign charter school policies in ways that provide choice without undermining other important policy goals. For instance, being innovative doesn’t require being selective or restrictive in enrollments.” - http://tinyurl.com/c8kp7f8