Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Where do the lottery losers end up?

I met Macke Raymond of Stanford at a conference last week. When the conversation turned to Gail Collins’s exasperation over charter school lotteries in a recent New York Times column, Raymond said something interesting. According to the data she has gathered, students who are not accepted into charter schools almost never go back to the bad neighborhood school they were seeking to leave. They go to lesser charter schools or parochial schools, or their families move—they are that determined. To Raymond, this means that it is inaccurate to imply (whether you are a parent or a filmmaker) that these lotteries are the last chance for children. To me, as a challenge to common assumptions about where these kids end up, it makes for a good topic for journalistic exploration.

1 comment:

  1. The term "bad neighborhood school" is too loaded for a journalist to use, in my opinion. Schools that serve a critical mass of high-need, at-risk, underprivileged students become overwhelmed and struggle. It's a harsh judgment on the school, the educators and the students to brand it "bad" or "failing." If you picked up the entire student population of whatever elite private school it is that Davis Guggenheim's kids attend and plopped it down into one of the "bad" schools he portrays in WFS (while disappearing the high-need, at-risk, underprivileged current students), the school would magically become good.