The New York Times looks at the subject of cherry-picking in a story detailing a young boy's transfer out of a charter school after just 12 days.
Matthew Sprowal's mother accepted the school's assertion that her kindergartener would be better off in a traditional public school, but three years later is wondering if the school gave him a chance.
From the article:
"Matthew's story raises perhaps the most critical question in the debate about charter schools: do they cherry-pick students, if not by gaming the admissions process, then by counseling out children who might be more expensive or difficult to educate — and who could bring down their test scores, graduation rates and safety records?" according to the article.
"Kim Sweet, director of Advocates for Children of New York, said she had heard many such stories. 'When we look at our cases where children are sent away from schools because of disabilities,' she said, "there are a disproportionate number of calls about charter schools.' "
As Indiana's experiment with school choice expands dramatically this fall, it will be worth watching for similar developments. School funding is distributed based on where a student is enrolled in mid-September. If the student is counseled out of a charter or parochial school after a month or more, the money stays with the school and the student returns to the traditional school to be educated with no accompanying funds.
Anecdotally, I've heard of Fort Wayne parochial schools counseling second-semester seniors out to finish in a public high school. The original school benefits from years of tuition payments; the second school is left to catch the student up in time to graduate so the school's graduation rate isn't adversely affected.