The charter doesn't have better teachers. In many cases the charter doesn't have a single pedagogical technique or instructional program that is a bit different from its public school counterparts. What it has is a concentration of students who are supported, committed, and capable.Once upon a time, schools, even in rough neighborhoods, made an attempt to instill the life-management skills of the middle class, and the incorrigibles were properly so identified and packed off to the reformatory. And yes -- I have more reading on this subject to report upon -- you'd still find more than a few middle-class people in the rough neighborhoods. Are the people in the rough neighborhoods better off now that the prosperous people have started over in another school that comes bundled with a posh subdivision and that the neighborhood is mostly full of the Distressed Material that Mr Greene is referring to as "ballast?"
Those students are able to rise because the school, like the pilot of a hot air balloon, has shed the ballast, the extra weight that is holding them down. It's left behind, abandoned. There's no plan to go back for it, rescue it somehow. Just cut it loose. Let it go. Out of sight, out of mind. We dump those students in a public school, but we take the supplies, the resources, the money, and send it on with the students we've decided are Worth Saving.
This may be why the charter model so often involves starting over in another school—because the alternative would be to stay in the same school and tell Those Students, the ones without motivation or support or unhindered learning tools, to get out. As those students were sent away so that strivers could succeed, it would just be too obvious that we are achieving success for some students by discarding others.
STOP ENABLING THE DYSFUNCTION.
Writing for The Progressive, Peter Greene complains that charter schools and children left behind go together.