Should Charters Take Over Traditional Urban Schools?
From this article in the L.A. Times, it looks like Green Dot has somewhat improved a troubled California high school. If progress continues, I’m sure other cities will consider handing over problematic schools to charters.
Charter management can help existing schools by bringing in new staff and updating policies. But, ideally, charter schools should start from scratch. That way, charters are free to try radically new approaches. A charter that takes over a high school has to make do with tweaking a flawed model.
Besides, charters that move into existing schools don’t have to advertise to parents like those that are built from the ground up. That may be easier from the charter’s point of view; unfortunately, it doesn’t spur competition between schools or match students to schools based on their interests and learning styles. Green Dot has divided the Los Angeles high school into several academies in the same building, but that’s a far cry from a competitive market.