Jul 16 2012

My radio discussion with John Koczorek on MPR

Last month I was interviewed on NPR about my critique of TFA.  As a result, the  Minnesota local NPR, MPR, invited me on for a 40 minute ‘live’ discussion with another TFA alum, John Kaczorek, who has become a charter school principal.

I felt that the interview last month didn’t go very well, so this time I prepared by reading a book about how to be on the radio.  I also was prepared with some key facts and quotes about the charter network that John works for.

I’m not sure how it sounds to you, but from my perspective, I’m very happy.  I didn’t put my foot in my mouth at all, which was the main thing I was concerned about.

You can listen to the interview here.

One thing I should make clear is that I was not saying that the school in question, Hiawatha Leadership Academy, is a bad school.  I just meant that their test scores don’t really mean that much to me.  I just don’t ‘believe in’ test scores that much as a valid way to judge teacher or school quality.

Also, I didn’t get to ‘rebut’ at the end, but he can’t truly say that the school is proving what is possible with harder working teachers as they just have results from 3rd and 4th grade.  They are a long way from popping the champagne.

Anyway, listen if you can and let me know what you think of how I did and any suggestions for improvement for the next time.  I have a feeling that it will be a while before TFA comes back into the ring with me, at least ‘live’ like that.

29 Responses

  1. John Kaczorek

    Gary, you said our school’s results weren’t valid. While on air, you insulted and attempted to discredit the hard work of our students, families, and teachers. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing.

    • meghank

      He did not insult or attempt to discredit your school. He said that charter school’s test results are often exaggerated (which is true) and that, moreover, test scores are not the most important part of a school. He said that your school had “pretty good results in third and fourth grade. Charters as they expand find difficulty in replicating their own success.”

      I think you may be saying this here because you know that relatively few people will listen to the interview and if you say this here, some people will assume it is true.

    • Gary Rubinstein

      John,

      I just don’t take test scores that seriously. When I referred to your schools HLA MAP growth,http://www.hiawathaacademies.org/results/nwea-map/ I was not implying that you didn’t present the scores accurately — just pointing out the absurdity of students progressing 8.3 years in 5 years time. Either they started Kindergarten with abilities of 2 year olds (not likely) or they finished 4th grade with the ability of 13 year olds (not likely). It really just proves my point about TFA and TFA charters presenting misleading results — even if those results are accurate / valid.

      This does not mean that I am discrediting the hard work of all those people. I believe that you have an above average school. I also believe that you have very few (if any) new TFA corps members teaching there next year (correct me if I’m wrong). That always helps.

      There are many ways that charters ‘game’ the system. I don’t have enough information to determine if you are benefiting from any of those, but in the context of the conversation, I wanted to raise reasonable doubt. The show wasn’t really about your small charter network that has gotten good scores for 3rd and 4th graders.

      I wonder, for example, how you have benefited from ‘self-selection’ where the most motivated families and kids go through the paperwork to apply. I know it is hard to measure this, but I also know that the one time that KIPP tried to take over an existing school, Cole Middle School in Denver, they failed miserably (blamed it on not having the right leader — even though they picked the leader) when they didn’t have the benefit of self-selection.

      Other schools benefit from attrition. Hiawatha Leadership Academy didn’t seem to have a lot of attrition, aside from one class that dropped from 95 kindergarteners to 75 first graders. Otherwise, seemed stable to me.

      The biggest issue, though, is that I sincerely believe that schools should not be shut down for not matching miracle charters since schools are limited in their influence to overcome all the problems that kids, particularly the 22% of kids living in poverty, have to endure. If a school seems to be solving all the problems, I think that school isn’t dealing with kids that have as many problems.

      You will see as you get more grades, like high school, that some of the problems emerge later. Will hard-working teachers be able to overcome teen pregnancy, depression, and drug addiction? How about kids with suicidal tendencies? I’ve taught for a long time and have seen, and come to accept, that schools cannot overcome every obstacle. Research also backs me up on this — though of course it is common sense. In Houston I once had a student who only came to school because it was a condition of his parole agreement. You think I helped that kid get into college? No way. He was back in jail a few weeks later.

      Every teacher has a bunch of stories about the “kid I couldn’t ‘save’ “, but your school. It is like an emergency room where nobody ever dies. I am skeptical.

      When schools claim that they have figured out how to overcome every obstacle through hard work on behalf of their staffs, and then politicians believe this and use it as fuel to shut down schools that can’t recreate this same miracle and to fire teachers who are obviously too lazy to be ‘on call’ every night until 9:00 PM to perform such miracles, I get very concerned.

      That is why I pointed out how test scores don’t mean that much to me. I’m sorry you got so offended by this. If you weren’t the other guest, I would have used some other miracle charter chain, but since you were there I thought it would be more relevant.

      This all stems from the way that TFA and TFA charters will just never admit that they don’t have all the answers. Without honesty, we really can’t have a productive conversation about how to improve education.

      I hope that this helps you understand and you won’t have to be so upset. You should look on the bright side. Like Rocky, you went the distance with the great Apollo Creed. You can tell your kids one day that you even landed a few punches. Like Rocky, you lost on points, but were still standing and I salute you for that.

      Gary

    • James

      John, you seem to be making a ‘straw man’ argument in an attempt to discredit Gary’s legitimate arguments from the conversation. There’s nothing wrong with pointing out that there’s more to education than shading bubbles.

  2. John Kaczorek

    You are right- we are far off from our goal. I never said that the problem was solved. There are more grade levels to add and more kids to be taught. But where are you, Gary? You teach a high-achieving student population that is less that 5% African-American and Latino in a city where half of the people are African-American or Latino. What ground do you stand on to be an authority on what’s working and what isn’t?

    • Gary Rubinstein

      Harsh. Stuyvesant isn’t as ‘easy’ to teach at, as you stereotypically assume. We deal with the same problems, often at a lesser scale. With 30% free lunch and 12% reduced, we are not a rich school or a very poor one.

      And we have kids who drop out despite all the efforts of our teachers, administrators, guidance counselors, and even parental support. Kids have a lot of ‘moving parts.’ This is partly how I ‘know’ that schools are somewhat limited in what they can do.

      So 5 years in high poverty schools in the beginning of my career and 9 years at Stuyvesant. Surely those 9 years have to ‘count’ as at least 2 in your book? How many years in high poverty schools did Arne Duncan work, or Wendy Kopp, or Michelle Rhee?

      I admit that I’m not fighting on the ‘front line’ anymore. Everyone has to figure out for himself what he can ‘give’ to the cause without depleting himself. So I’ve become more of a journalist / researcher. Also, I work on my NCTM conference presentations a lot.

      I think, when all is said and done, my work on this blog exposing lies of ‘reformers’ will be more of a contribution to American education than if I had stayed in my original placement site in Houston all these years.

      Gary

  3. Kathryn

    I love a well-reasoned, respectful debate, and was excited to hear that you were part of it. After tuning in, though, I must say that there were times when your debate fell short of well-reasoned and respectful. As a former TFA staff member of almost five years, an ’04 Newark corps member, and a new hire at Hiawatha Academies, I think that your conspiracies about what TFA promotes (in the way of studies, data, reform) strike me as extremist, ungenerous, and certainly cavalier about the ethics of a huge swath of committed, smart, critical thinkers. You might be happy to know (I was) that TFA doesn’t speak with one mouth–there are many corps members, staff, and alumni debating the same policies that you are–and with loads more insight, consideration, and self-reflection. Your concern that TFA’s solutions boil down to more hard work for teachers and outsize expectations of what schools can do? That’s great (if hugely pessimistic and concerning coming from a teacher at oft-touted Stuyvesant). Let’s talk. But let’s talk as educational colleagues. Let’s make sense of this complex problem together. Muckraking wins you publicity and perhaps another go in the ring, but it doesn’t do anything for education. I was disappointed in your lack of nuance.

    • Linda

      Do you think there are committed, smart,critical thinkers in public schools? Or is that just reserved for TFA’ers. Somehow many of you come off as so much better than the rest of us. YOU make the difference. YOU see the potential. You get the results. It all about YOU!

      • Kathryn

        I’m sorry you feel that way. I certainly didn’t mean to imply that. I think there are tons of brilliant, dedicated teachers in all schools, though I think they become downtrodden in greater numbers at the schools where TFA places.

        • Linda

          Maybe partially this is due to the fact that they see their colleagues laid off and then TFA comes in and takes their jobs. This has happened in the past and it is happening now. I have heard that TFA had a contract with that city or district, well so did the teachers.

          • Jennifer I. Smith

            This is a real issue. Even where teachers are not being laid off, people graduating from education programs cannot get jobs, while TFA takes them. That is happening here in Miami. Graduates of education schools locally and around the state are being told there is nothing for them, while about 95% of new hires are TFA. How discouraging is this to someone who went to school to become a teacher because they want that as a career–and they are being told that they are inferior somehow to someone who not only did not study education, but usually does not plan on making it a career? It is insulting. When I have addressed this to a TFA spokesperson, her response was basically that that was the district’s fault, that the positions TFA were taking were understood to be temporary and that the district was asking them for more teachers. Well, I know the recent grads would sure rather have one of those “temporary” jobs than no job at all, and even if what she is saying about the district asking them for more (undoubtedly because they come subsidized, therefore cheaper to the district, not to mention convenient for union-busting as TFA pretty well ingrains in them not to join the union, which is for “lazy teachers”)–if TFA’s primary goal and raison d’etre was to help children achieve, then they should be wise enough to say that the best thing for children is committed, long-term career teachers who will stay long enough to really get good and build continuity in their schools…and decline. That hasn’t happened. TFA has adapted its business model to the new teacher surplus, and in order to keep themselves viable, they have to claim to be superior to traditionally trained teachers and even experienced teachers. It’s a shame. And by the way, I came into teaching through Miami Teaching Fellows, part of the New Teacher Project, so I know a thing or two about this type of training and how they try to brainwash you into believing the achievement gap was caused by veteran teachers who just didn’t care enough or try hard enough. I figured out within the first year that was all B.S…and became a union activist.

    • Michael Fiorillo

      If you want to be treated like a colleague by public school teachers, perhaps you should have a more critical take on entities (such as TFA and politically-juiced charter schools) that are so complicit in the attacks against them.

      Holding out your hand in friendship and collegiality, while the hire ups are busy destroying the public schools and teachers, comes off as either naive or disingenuous.

      • Kathryn

        I simply don’t agree. Engaging in a considerate, thoughtful debate with people who disagree with you is neither naive or disingenuous; it’s the only way that we make progress. I am much more open to skeptics than you assume and I look at measures of success in education–TFA’s included–with a critical eye. Doing so has led me to support TFA, but it’s not a knee-jerk support. This is a complicated issue; let’s be generous with the people who engage in it, from either side.

  4. meghank

    I think you did a great job.

    I love how you pushed back when Mr. Kaczorek implied you just wanted to sit back and accept the problem.

    I would say try to be more concise in your opening statement about criticisms of TFA. I know it’s hard to put these complex issues into sound bytes. It’s just hard for me to listen to one person on the radio for that long (1.5 minutes).

  5. James

    Gary,

    Nice job — you make an important point suggesting that there’s way more to ‘academic growth’ than test scores.

  6. I’ve had the opportunity to be a math coach/consultant with public and charter middle and high schools in the South Bronx and Detroit that had TFA mathematics teachers. I think of each of them individually and don’t like making broad generalizations. However, several things I’ve noted bear mentioning. First, not one of these young people was at all prepared to deal with the classroom management issues they faced. I don’t think one of them had a reasonable idea of what s/he was going to face when s/he stepped into that first year of teaching kids so unlike them, so far in culture, experience, and relation to being in school from him/herself that the disparity must have felt nearly infinite.

    Several of the teachers who worked in the South Bronx told me that they were in the hallway in tears multiple times during the year. I observed one teacher who had planned for an April day a lovely 6th grade math lesson that never got off the ground because of students who were literally trying to brain each other with desks.

    It’s worth adding that none of the teachers I worked with were mathematics majors. While they generally seemed to have a decent grasp of the specific piece of content they had to teach on a given day (though not always even that), it was frequently clear that they didn’t have a vision of how the mathematics fit together, how each individual lesson was part of a larger continuum that linked not only previous ideas with those yet to come, but how the math connected to the world in realistic ways, let alone how to help make that mathematics relevant and engaging to the students they were expected to teach.

    None of this is terribly unusual for young, inexperienced teachers, but for many of the TFA folks, the gap between reality and expectation was enormous. One 2nd year TFA teacher I observed (but didn’t work with) in Brooklyn (and who left teaching after that year), was probably the most “true believer” in the litany of TFA mantras, particularly the idea that he was “covering” one and a half year’s worth of content in each academic year. It’s not hard to imagine why he quit, given the gap between his ingrained belief in this idea (prominently displayed in his classroom) and the reality that showed up on various assessments (and not just the usual standardized ones, but also his own). Interestingly, the other TFA math teacher in that school, also in his second year when I observed him the first time, was already starting to express a good deal of skepticism about much of what TFA had told him. If may be mere coincidence, but he stayed for his third year and just finished his fourth year at the same school in a high-needs area of Brooklyn.

    It seems reasonable to me that young, barely trained teachers, generally teaching a subject in which they did not major, and with virtually no pedagogical content knowledge (regardless of whether they had basic pedagogical training or not), would find it challenging and often disheartening to try to teach secondary mathematics in lower-middle class suburbs with an average distribution of students. Throwing them to the wolves (so to speak), borders on cruel and unusual punishment, particularly if you’ve given them minimal training and told that they’ll make an enormous difference simply because they’re so much more motivated than “lazy” experienced teachers working in high-needs schools of poverty.

    All that said, I find it unsurprising that Gary is receiving ad hominem attacks here (and, I’m sure, elsewhere) for daring to point out the nakedness of the emperor, even as he tries to find ways to make TFA better and more effective. And similarly, any critical commentary he might make about charter schools is similarly going to draw fire, because there, too, we have a case where the gap between what is promised and what is generally delivered is so enormous.

    Naturally, someone working in a charter school, particularly as an administrator (or better yet, in a for-profit charter management company) is going to be VERY defensive about any comments that aren’t pure praise. And those of us who’ve followed the charter movement are aware that there are some good ones out there. In my experience, they tend to be the ones that have stayed closest to the original spirit of charter schools. But to do that, they almost have to be run on a true non-profit basis and have to be deeply committed to the ENTIRE educational community in which they work. That means that they cross-pollinate with the regular public schools in the district or at least with a reasonable sub-set of them should that district be a vast urban one. That was a major promise of the early charter movement, but it is one that these days is honored far more in the breach than in the observance. After all, if you’re part of a for-profit network of charters, why help the “competition” you’re trying to put out of commission? And why learn from them if that might be perceived as weakness on your part?

    Instead, we see many cut-throat practices going on that generally do not serve students well. My direct experience with charters as a teacher and coach has been mixed, with the for-profit ones being far less than promised, the non-profits generally being, if not quite what some of the early promoters of charter schools hoped for, at least more concerned about staff, students, and parents than their for-profit cousins. Of course, perhaps my sample hasn’t been large enough, or I’ve just had “bad luck” in my sample.

    Given the incredible pressure being put on regular high-needs (and some not-so-high-needs) non-charter public schools and teachers, however, it seems rather hyper-sensitive of the charter folks to object so strenuously to being put under critical scrutiny. As some of my more conservative acquaintances in the vast education wars like to say, “Don’t shoot the messenger.” Yet, they don’t seem to mind so much if the messenger being shot has a progressive educational outlook. Funny, that.

    • Meg

      Michael, I think this is an extremely well-reasoned criticism of TFA and I agree almost entirely (I’ll leave out the piece about charters because I’ve had a different experience). The first year of teaching is almost universally terrible. A very minimal number of first year teachers enter the classroom adequately prepared for management, an issue that is compounded when first year teachers are placed in some of the country’s most difficult classrooms. Again, as you said, that’s very common. The issue, I think, is that many traditionally certified teachers come in with an understanding of the struggles of first year teachers, while a number of CMs are told they are above those struggles, or that hard work in and of itself will correct those struggles, which is simply untrue.
      I think CMs would be more willing to ask for help, and less likely to burn out if they had a more realistic view of what they can accomplish as a first year teacher. I don’t mean to suggest that one can’t have success in their first year, but I think TFA needs to be more open with the fact that serious struggles are the norm, not the exception. Another part of the issue is that a rough first year means a lot more if you only teach two.

      • Jennifer I. Smith

        You make an important point at the end here. Most teachers struggle to a certain extent their first year or two. But if most teachers are only staying 2 years, then the likelihood of kids having one of those struggling teachers increases dramatically. Experience matters, and we should be focusing on how to keep teachers around long enough to get good, rather than inflating results from overall mediocre first years.

        • Meg

          Just a quick clarification on your earlier post Jennifer – TFA teachers are not less expensive for the district to hire than traditionally certified teachers. Their salary is paid in full by the district, and the district pays TFA an additional stipend (I want to say $2-$3K but don’t quote me on this) to help pay for CM training.

          • Teacher too

            However, we don’t need TFA or the extra fee if trained teachers who want to pursue this as a career are hired first. Has TFA ever released a breakdown of how the 2,000-3,000 is spent per member? I am suspicious of how much actually goes directly to training and why can’t the building admin. train you if you are taking a job that would be filled either way. You are not an extra teacher that hasn’t been budgeted for, so that doesn’t make sense. Seems like another money maker for TFA.

          • Meg

            Teacher too, I don’t believe a breakdown of the expenses has been listed. My understanding though is that its used for training over the summer (aka Institute) and the additional TFA PD that takes place during the year (TAL, or Pro-Sat, different names for different regions) rather than school or district-sponsored PD. So I think that’s what would fall outside of the district’s budget. Again, I don’t know exactly how its broken down but I would think it would have to do with paying institute staff and paying for facilities to use? Not sure though.

          • Actually, TFA is a cost-saving measure for some districts. In districts that lay off veteran teachers and replace them with TFA Corps Members, the savings are obvious – salaries (and pension funding) increase with years in the classroom and post-graduate credits, and veterans have more of both. New teachers are cheaper.

            Also, some districts pay teachers without credentials less than they do fully-credentialed teachers. I believe that TFA has written MOUs that require their teachers be paid as credentialed teachers in some districts in which they are active but certainly not all. This means that a traditionally-trained teacher is more expensive than a TFA teacher even if just starting in the profession.

          • Meg

            I suppose if veteran teachers were being laid off and replaced with first year teachers (whether TFA or not) it would save the district some money, though the savings would likely be minimal as most states have teacher tenure after three years which presents layoffs such as these – so we’re talking maybe $4-$5K per teacher.

            A quick correction though, ERat. All TFA teachers are paid the same as a first-year teacher with a bachelor’s degree, in every single district. I’m not sure where you heard that they were paid less, but you are misinformed. Whether you agree with it or not, TFA CMs are currently “highly qualified” under NCLB, which leads to no salary distinction between traditionally certified teachers and those that enter teaching through TFA.

            (interestingly enough, there’s a piece in the post today about a house vote on TFA: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/post/does-5-weeks-of-training-make-a-teacher-highly-qualified-house-panel-to-vote/2012/07/17/gJQARodPsW_blog.html?wprss=rss_answer-sheet)

          • Highly qualified isn’t the same as fully credentialed. TFA had to enter into negotiations with my own district over this issue, since it pays interns – who generally count as highly qualified – less than teachers with full credentials. Don’t confuse NCLB regulations with state teacher credentialing requirements.

          • I forgot to note that you’re also forgetting about “reduction in force” layoffs and “particular kind of service layoffs”, through which teachers with many years of experience can be laid off. Not all states, districts, or union contracts with districts offer protection for teachers laid off in this way (so that they are rehired before new teachers are hired). Michelle Rhee was fond of layoffs like these in DC, to give one prominent example.

            Anyway, the cost savings there are big, particularly when considering possible pension obligations.

  7. Michael Fiorillo

    Two points: it is to be expected that Gary will be dishonestly attacked (case in point: Kaczorek’s baseless charge that Gary was attacking teachers, parents and students; typical TFA slander and misdirection) by TFA and its apologists, since he is doing such a phenomenal job of exposing their failures and falsities. This is an organization that, pedagogically speaking, is built on sand. If it were not the beard and cat’s paw for taking over the public schools, it would not exist.

    Second, regarding charters, “the good ones out there” are likely to be closed, merged and/or consolidated in the coming years; the logic of economies of scale and funder demands to scale up, combined with Gresham’s Law (“the bad money drives out the good”) will see to that.

  8. Linda

    What the kids would say if anyone asked:

    Can We Please, Just Once, Have A Real Teacher?
    BY BRANDON MENDEZ, JAMES MILLER ELEMENTARY SCHOOL STUDENT

    You’ve got to be kidding me. How does this keep happening? I realize that as a fourth-grader I probably don’t have the best handle on the financial situation of my school district, but dealing with a new fresh-faced college graduate who doesn’t know what he or she is doing year after year is growing just a little bit tiresome. Seriously, can we get an actual teacher in here sometime in the next decade, please? That would be terrific.

    Just once, it would be nice to walk into a classroom and see a teacher who has a real, honest-to-God degree in education and not a twentysomething English graduate trying to bolster a middling GPA and a sparse law school application. I don’t think it’s too much to ask for a qualified educator who has experience standing up in front of a classroom and isn’t desperately trying to prove to herself that she’s a good person.

    I’m not some sort of stepping stone to a larger career, okay? I’m an actual child with a single working mother, and I need to be educated by someone who actually wants to be a teacher, actually comprehends the mechanics of teaching, and won’t get completely eaten alive by a classroom full of 10-year-olds within the first two months on the job.

    How about a person who can actually teach me math for a change? Boy, wouldn’t that be a novel concept!

    I fully understand that our nation is currently facing an extreme shortage of teachers and that we all have to make do with what we can get. But does that really mean we have to be stuck with some privileged college grad who completed a five-week training program and now wants to document every single moment of her life-changing year on a Tumblr?

    For crying out loud, we’re not adopted puppies you can show off to your friends.

    Look, we all get it. Underprivileged children occasionally say some really sad things that open your eyes and make you feel as though you’ve grown as a person, but this is my actual education we’re talking about here. Graduating high school is the only way for me to get out of the malignant cycle of poverty endemic to my neighborhood and to many other impoverished neighborhoods throughout the United States. I can’t afford to spend these vital few years of my cognitive development becoming a small thread in someone’s inspirational narrative.

    But hey, how much can I really know, anyway? I haven’t had an actual teacher in three years.

    http://www.theonion.com/articles/my-year-volunteering-as-a-teacher-helped-educate-a,28803/

  9. Jennifer I. Smith

    Nice job.
    Just a comment I would have liked to have seen you make during the program, that you DID make in response to John’s comment on here…
    The whole thing about charters’ self-selection (and cherry-picking).
    For me, the question is not so much “are charters more successful than public schools” (because some are, some are not, by many metrics, just as not all public schools perform the same as each other), as “can we realistically compare charter schools to public schools”? I think the answer is no. As you mentioned on here, they self-select by attracting the most attentive families who look for options, go through the paperwork, can abide by the rules and expectations of the school (some require parental volunteer hours, enforce very stringent academic and behavioral rules that would not be legal in public schools, etc.) They often have very high attrition rates–kids who either “can’t hack it” with the school’s rules and expectations, who get kicked out for poor academic performance, behavior infractions or attendance problems (the biggest cause of poor academic performance), etc. They often do not serve special ed or English language learners–which was well documented here in Miami in a scathing Miami Herald series. By relying heavily on self-selection and cherry picking, charters are no longer comparable to traditional public schools. You cannot create rules that would never be legal at a public school (e.g., Miss 5 days of school and you’re out; fail 3 classes and you’re out; etc.), then pretend that you are the model public schools should follow.

    Some charter schools do some things very well, and are well-meaning; others are there just to make money. I agree with Gary that test scores are not the end-all be-all. They can be artificially inflated by teaching to the test, narrowing the curriculum, and sometimes even cheating; that does not mean a child is getting the best education possible at that school.

    I have said a hundred times and I maintain that we will never close the so-called achievement gap until we close the gap between the rich and the poor in this country. As long as children are going hungry, bouncing around from house to house as their parents look for work and affordable housing, suffering from lack of health care, exhibiting poor attendance because of various family problems, do not have the help or support they need at home because their families either have too many other stressors or else are working several jobs and are not around, we won’t see a real end to the achievement gap and the cycle of poverty. Anyone who cares about closing the achievement gap should look at the poverty these children live in and ask what can be done for them and their families to alleviate that poverty and help these families get on their feet and stay there. It’s a political problem with political solutions–albeit complicated ones–and all the well-meaning young teachers in the world will not break the cycle of poverty unless they start making themselves heard as advocates for what is really ailing these kids and their families.

  10. Lori

    With respect to self-selection, we must also address the huge, pink, polka-dotted and zebra-striped elephant in every classroom: special education students. I know for a fact (personal experience) that one very famous chain of charter schools routinely counsel out sped kids, tell parents special education “isn’t offered,” etc. I would love for John to discuss the % of SpEd kids in his building, their disaggregated proficiency level, and the remediation efforts in place to help these students learn. I’d also like Kathryn to stop dancing around the real issues raised by other commentators and truly address them in a diplomatic fashion, as she claims is her desire.

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By a somewhat frustrated 1991 alum

Region
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