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. 

The blogger who writes An Education thought it would be interesting to see what Massachusetts schools suspend the highest number of students. Here’s what she found:

Now, there are a few striking things about this list. The first is that virtually all of the schools on this list are charters. The second is that these schools are suspending the @#$% out of their students. At our number 1 school, Roxbury Preparatory Charter, 56.1% of the students were suspended for one or more days last year. The suspension rate for the entire Boston Public Schools, by the way, is 5%.

To be fair, there are some public school districts on this list too. One would be Fall River, the same Fall River that was sued this summer by the ACLU for violating the civil rights of black and Latino students BY SUSPENDING THEM AT SUCH HIGH RATES. So let’s sum up, shall we? The achievement gap is the civil rights issue of our time, far more important than the actual civil rights of the minority students themselves.

Regular readers will no doubt see some familiar names on this list—the movers, shakers and scaler uppers of the Massachusetts charter school world, if you will. In fact, four of the charters listed have applied to the state to expand their mini-empires of excellence and innovation. (If you are playing the EduShyster connect the dots drinking game at home and are able to identify all four, take a sip.)

One of the academies of outstandingness is the Edward Brooke Charter, an EduShyster fave. In addition to a suspension rate of nearly 25%, Edward Brooke stands out for its innovative approach to mathematics, in which 47 sixth grade scholars become 36 seventh grade scholars and end up as 22 eighth grade scholars all the while innovating and excelling at a rate of 100%.

I just hope that Edward Brooke didn’t suspend my favorite student at the school: the .2% kid who is Limited English Proficient. (That number, by the way, is not 2% but POINT two %). I can hear the announcement over the intercom now:

Atención estudiante punto dos por ciento, por favor informe a la oficina por una mala postura…


  1. As always, thanks for another enjoyable and informative post.

    Noticing that Hampden Charter School of Science is on the list, and seeing that the Pioneer Charter School of Science on the doe.mass list for charter school expansion, your readers should be aware that those schools are connected to the Gulen Movement.–pioneer.html

    BTW, the GM’s schools are the largest network of charter schools in the U.S.

    It would certainly be nice if, at some point, the mainstream press would do a better job of informing Americans about this controversial and secretive religious group. Until then, the curious can look through this list of articles I’ve collected.

  2. My daughter’s oldest child is four and she has been checking out school options. She discovered that yet ONE MORE way the charter schools are able to just include those students from the most “elite” families is that there is preference given to students who have the most “pre-school” experience in the school’s system….and the cost of that is $500 a month per chlld. So this means that only the most wealthy will be on the top of the list to admit. Ridiculous.

  3. […] The miraculous story of UP got its start last year when Unlocking Potential took over the Gavin Middle School in South Boston and invited students there to apply to attend the new UP Academy. The first miracle: UP was able to contact virtually ALL of the students at the school BY MAIL, even though, as anyone remotely familiar with urban public schools can attest, low-income students are notoriously transient. The second miracle: 91% students then sent in their applications to attend the new school. The third miracle: The same 91% then showed up at UP Academy on the first day of school. And finally, our fourth miracle: 85% of those students remained at UP Academy for the entire school year. This last miracle is especially miraculous given that UP Academy has the third highest suspension rate in the city—38% of UP students were suspended for at least a day last year. […]

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