This should come as no surprise.
More special needs kids = lower test scores, and nowadays lower test scores = closure.
Pretty simple. Gross, but simple.
Chris Cerf's blind allegiance to the Broad Foundation, National Association of Charter School Authorizers (NACSA) and Stanford University's Center for Research on Education Outcomes (CREDO) is what's behind the closure craze.
The outstanding experts at the Broad Foundation, which transforms urban schools by closing them, have helpfully assembled an 83 page guide to shutting ‘er down. The guide is packed with easy-to-follow tips to guide you from start of your predetermined course (choosing which schools to close) to the not-at-all-surprising finish (leasing, selling or donating your old, closed schools to fresh, new academies of excellence and innovation). Well, what are you waiting for? Our schools aren’t just going to close themselves… (emphasis mine)
For those wondering how to close failing charter schools, look to NJ. #1millionlives bit.ly/13sSyRi3. And don't miss this gem from a Philadelphia Inquirer article about the closure of the Institute for Excellence Charter School:
— Greg Richmond (@GregRichmond) March 1, 2013
Starting a school is difficult, agreed Carlos Perez, the president and CEO of the nonprofit New Jersey Charter School Association, but the early years are critical to the school's long-term success.
"The first few years at the school, there's often a lot of turmoil, a lot of change," he said. "What we're seeing, though, is after a while, certain indicators start to emerge."
Charter schools have a 90 percent likelihood of remaining where they are after the first five years, he said, citing a Stanford University study. (emphasis mine)There you have it, the trifecta of reformy closure ideology. The venture philanthropist, the industry kingpin and the research maven all concur - if a school isn't performing- shut it down.
Just trust them, it's for the (special ed) kids.
Closures may be devastating for parents and students, but just look how proud they make exNJDOE Deputy Commissioner Andy Smarick!
Smarick is referring to his new book, The Urban School System of the Future. In Smarick's view, charters are the best hope for urban school systems.
Smarick argues that the answer lies in charter schooling, the topic of his second section. Charter agreements have four “systematic advantages” over the current arrangement of schools: the ability to start new, diversity of options, the opportunity for replication and expansion, and the possibility of closure.Interestingly, Smarick doesn't seem to want to interact with anyone that may disagree with him. I tried to follow him on Twitter and here's what happened:
|Andy Smarick blocked me on Twitter! It's one of my proudest moments!|
Do not question the great and powerful reformers! DO NOT look behind the curtain and question closures!
But even one of their own seems to at least have a basic understanding that closing a school is not a picnic for the kids (while simultaneously implying that those doing the closing are pretty darn pleased with themselves...). Meet NACSA Board Vice Chair Lisa Keegan.
At 4:45 Kegan says:
Don't just satisfy yourself that you've got the courage to shut down a school. OK, but that's not bingo for the kids. That just makes you feel better.She concludes:
You can't let failure continue but you can't pretend like you just did something great when you shoved a bunch of kids out of a bad school and the only opportunity they have is another bad school. That's not success.It's not just me right? Her attitude is really strange. Do reformers really "feel better" when they shut down a school? How is it courageous? Wouldn't it be more courageous to do what it takes to FIX IT?
None of the press coverage has detailed plans for the kids and parents effected by these closures. The letter to Liberty Academy Charter School only says the expectation is for students to transition "smoothly" into "new schools" next year.
Chris Cerf's message is crystal clear. Raise those scores, even if it's on the back of special needs kids, or your school is history.