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Are Charters pushing out kids in NYC? Yes

July 19, 2009 am31 11:01 am

An article in the Daily News reports on instances in Brooklyn and Manhattan.

In Brooklyn, lower-performing kids were transferred from a charter school to a public school just in time for the state tests.

And in Manhattan the parent of a kid with special needs tells of pressure to move the child to a public school when the charter school learned that a paraprofessional would be required.

Read the original story by clicking here

(also reprinted beneath the fold)

Charter schools pawn off flunking students, says public school principal

BY Meredith Kolodner and Rachel Monahan

Sunday, July 19th 2009, 4:00 AM

Charters may be dumping low-performing kids on local public schools – which often don’t get the funds needed to properly serve them.

An East New York principal said at her top-notch elementary school, low-performing students or kids with behavior problems transferred in late in the year.

Two weeks before the state math exam in March, she remembered students arriving, boosting class sizes at the Brooklyn school.

“The charters shouldn’t be able to push them out – that’s ridiculous,” Public School 273 Principal Melessa Avery said.

“You got the money. You have to keep them. … I want them back because they’re my kids, but if you send them back to me in April and May, then I’m just a holding pen.”

Department of Education officials acknowledged schools don’t get money for kids transferring late in the year – unless the students need special education services.

“All schools’ budgets are adjusted mid-year in January to account for register changes occurring after Oct. 31,” said spokeswoman Melody Meyer.

In all, 550 charter school students transferred to public schools between Oct. 31, 2008, and June 1 this year.

DOE officials said, however, that students transferred between public schools at a slightly higher percentage – 2.5% versus 2.1%.

At PS 273, DOE officials said only five students had transferred from charter schools by June 1.

“We don’t track or aggregate the performance of students who transfer from charter schools to district-run schools,” said Meyer.

The problem of charters dumping kids with problems affected nearby PS 224, said a teacher there. DOE data show five kids transferring in from charters.

A child who scored high on state tests but with behavior problems left for a charter, but returned quickly, the teacher said.

“Within a month of being in a charter school, he was sent back,” said the PS 224 teacher.

Kevin Riley, a parent at Harlem Success Academy II, said a charter school official tried to encourage him to pull his son Miles, 5, out of the school after they learned he needed a paraprofessional.

“[An official] told me, ‘You’re going to have to come in and see us. You might have to look for another school,'” he said.

Riley said he wouldn’t remove his son, but felt “other parents would have been pushed out.”

Harlem Success spokeswoman Jenny Sedlis called Miles “a sweet, wonderful child. He’s enrolled in one of our schools, and his father said he is returning,” she said.

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