The Silent Treatment: A Day in the Life of a Student in ‘No Excuses’ Land

Little Carolina is college bound, but to realize her dreams she must spend the next seven years at a college prep charter—in near complete silence.

Meet Carolina. This college-bound fifth grader is fortunate enough to attend a charter school where expectations are high and innovation and excellence abound. There’s just one wee catch. In order to realize her goal of opportunity and the promise of independence, Carolina must spend the next SEVEN YEARS in near silence. Sweet Carolina is not a novice in a convent or an inmate in a children’s prison but a resident of a horrifying place called “no excuses” land that, while often lauded by education rephormers, is rarely seen from within.

You see, Carolina is a would-be student at a proposed new school, Argosy Collegiate Charter School, in Fall River, Massachusetts. As part of its application to the state Board of Education, Argosy included a detailed hour-by-hour look at what Carolina’s typical school day is like (note: Day in the Life begins on page 144 of the application). The following is an excerpt from Carolina’s day. Continue reading →

These Charter Schools Are #1

Charter schools in Massachusetts are number one—at suspending students.

As regular readers can attest, EduShyster has been driven nearly INSANE (not to mention deep into the bottom of the occasional box of wine) by the vagaries of charter school math. That’s why it was such a relief to encounter some detective work by an enterprising local edu-blogger that found that charter school numbers really do add up—to quite a lot, it turns out.

First, a little context for your edu-fication. You see, charter schools are public schools, (unless their teachers want to join a union in which case they suddenly become private.) And because they are public the state collects reams of data about their students, their incredible shrinking classrooms and their 100% graduation rates. Tragically, reporters and state edu-crats are banned from viewing this information which means that the data often feel very lonely. And that, dear reader, is why it is so important that we have edu-bloggers.  Continue reading →