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A concerned member of the human race

Friday, November 14, 2014

Should Definitions of "Success" Include Separate Schools for Rejects?

It has been my impression that some of the high profile charter schools dump students who don't "make the grade."  They are forced back into the truly public-school system.  Now, we learn that at least one public school has been practicing the same in the name of creating its own "Success"--at the expense of some of its students.

It seems that "Successful" schools do not so much have a solution to help those who need the most help as a strategy to show them the door.  I may be wrong and, if I am, I would really like to know.  What accounts for the high attrition at these schools, paving the way for "perfect" graduation rates?  Do they merely shift the problem to the shoulders of other schools?  Do they further segregate society?  Should we set up a School of Rejects?

The City's "School Renewal" Plan is keen to focus attention in the right direction, albeit without any reduction in class size.  Many are skeptical of the plan and, indeed, skepticism these days seems merited.  Yet, I am hoping instead of shifting the students who need the most serious help, we can start directly addressing their needs.  Leaving aside students who pose the risk of injury to others and students who risk being injured by others, in my mind, there do not seem to be a great many reasons for moving students.  

Common sense tells me helping the students most in need of help will be no easy task.  Common sense tells me that it will require caring people with the ability to give much one-on-one attention, perhaps, in some cases a personal mentor or trainer.  Common sense tells me no single approach will work for all students.  Common sense tells me that the Common Core will fall far short of meeting these people's needs.  Common sense tells me that shifting a problem is not solving it.  Most simply put, common sense tells me we need a better definition of "Success."


  1. In Spanish, they say common sense is the least common of all the senses.