Wake Ed

October 25, 2013

Charging that charter schools 'undermine' Wake County’s magnet school program

Stan Karp writes in Rethinking Schools that charter schools “undermine” efforts such as Wake County’s magnet school programs.

Are charter schools undermining programs such as the Wake County school system’s magnet school program?

In an article in the fall issue of Rethinking Schools, Stan Karp writes that “it’s time to put the brakes on charter expansion.” In an article that criticizes charter schools on several fronts, Karp writes that charters are “doing nothing to reduce the concentrations of 70, 80, and 90 percent poverty that remain the central problem in under-resourced public schools.”

“It's instructive to contrast charter-driven reform with more equitable approaches,” Karp continues. “In North Carolina, for several decades reform efforts were based on integrating struggling schools in Raleigh with the schools in surrounding Wake County.

Efforts were made to improve theme-based and magnet programs at all schools, and the concentration of free/reduced lunch students at any one school was limited to 40 percent or less. The plan led to some of the nation's best progress on closing gaps in achievement and opportunity — until recent rounds of market-driven school reform began to undermine these efforts as well.”

Karp taught English and journalism to high school students in Paterson, New Jersey for 30 years. He is currently Director of the Secondary Reform Project for New Jersey's Education Law Center.

Supporters of traditional public schools, including several Wake magnet parents, were vocal about opposing the expansion of charters and the loosening of regulations on them.

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The WakeEd blog is devoted to discussing and answering questions about the major issues facing the Wake County school system. WakeEd is maintained by The News & Observer's Wake schools reporter, T. Keung Hui.

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