President Obama calls for states to lift limits on charter schools

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

President Obama called for major changes to American educational system yesterday. Among those changes are for states to lift limits on charter schools and improve the quality of early childhood education. Joining The Takeaway to talk about these changes is Seth Andrew, the founder and head of the Democracy Prep Charter School in Harlem and Pedro Noguera, sociology professor and head of the Metropolitan Center for Urban Education at New York University.


Seth Andrew and Pedro Noguera

Hosted by:

Farai Chideya


Sitara Nieves

Comments [5]

katherine merseth

The remarkable thing about successfull schools, whether charter or traditional, is that we already know what works. In my recent book, Inside Urban Charter Schools (published by Harvard Ed Press), we document the practices of these high performing, urban schools. These practices include a clarity of mission, a purposeful structure and strategy focused on student learning, a sense of urgency, a committed school staff and coherence across all. These elements are within the reach of all schools, not just charters.

Mar. 27 2009 02:58 PM

This conversation is infuriating. Charter school advocates ignore the biggest reason for their success – self-selection. Kids in those and similar schools have parents who make sure the TV is off until the homework is done. They would do well in any school. Sure, specialized schools can be excellent experiences for the kids. But if parents want to outsource their kids’ education to the teachers and not take responsibility themselves, they will be disappointed. I send my son to a “magnet” school, and I can see that the parents of those kids have very different attitudes than most in the regular district school. They themselves are focused on education, and instill that into their kids. In the district schools, too many kids show little interest in learning, no matter what the teacher does. Charter schools are not a solution to the overall problem. Motivation starts at home.

Mar. 11 2009 08:00 PM

Admission to Democracy Prep or any NY charter school is by open lottery, by law. Sure, the lottery is somewhat self-selecting, and if you're suggesting that not every student would do well in Democracy Prep's unique environment, you're probably right and he would probably agree with you.

But Democracy Prep is clearly doing good by the students it serves. It doesn't fix the system on its own, but let's not denigrate their success. In fact, there's probably still a whole lot we can learn from them.

Mar. 11 2009 09:46 AM
Chris Van Dyke

So now that you've had an infomercial for charter schools, will you have a parent and students from a really successful public school that also serves a "at risk" population? I'm from the Bronx School of Law, Government, and Justice, and we can talk about the great things were doing -- and how hard it is to do it without all the resources that are being pumped into charters at the expense of public schools.

Mar. 11 2009 08:44 AM

Seth's talk of "high perforrmance" schools is laughable. A "high performance" school would take kids at any level and vastly improve their perforamnce. I dare him to open admission via a lottery - any kid in the system, no application, no requirements. If he won't do it the whole charter concept is suspect - and it is.

Mar. 11 2009 06:19 AM

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