In many ways, Charter schools fill the gap that the Catholic schools used to fill, before they started to disappear.
[Catholic schools were obviously religious, and parents paid tuition, so the analogy isn't perfect]
...less popular than the Waiting for Superman film was one called The Lottery:
(it's worth the rental)
But back on topic:
I'm all for giving motivated parents and kids (including ones who can't afford to live in the "right" district) a safe, productive school, complete with rules, structure and learning.
But as xlizelx seems to agree, as a result of recent unfunded mandates regarding "inclusive special education", traditional public schools are, in many ways ...increasingly screwed.
While everyone wants every child to succeed, let's not kid ourselves: We want our own kids to succeed the most.
Parent: "I don't really care why the local school can't get that damn bully (culture? teacher?) out of my kid's class. I'll take my kid to a school that can"
....and so, the charter school movement began, and now there is no stopping it.
While I sympathize with public school teachers and the "academic dregs" they will be increasingly left with ....there may be a time that they, too, need to swallow their conscience and leave the dregs behind.
Afterall, they are professionals who are trained to teach... not security guards or mental health technicians [psst, thats what they call orderlies now...].
Parent: "It's not my fault that kid doesn't have a functional family. We can't all be middle class. This is a competition. I'm going to make sure my kid gets what they need to do alright."
Which brings us to "a" and "b":
a. The kids who are left in public schools may do worse than they otherwise would have, now that the caring (voting? tax paying?) parents and well behaved kids have left the building.
b. The kids in charter schools may do better now that they are free from the dregs.
On a societal, macro basis, will the gains from "b" exceed the losses from "a"? ....I have no idea.
.....will the combination of charter schools and traditional public schools close the achievement gap? Time will tell.
I just know that this experiment is not going to stop anytime soon, and if I were in charge of the UFT (god forbid...) I would focus my energies on getting the "disruptive kids" OUT of regular schools, instead of trying to force the "good kids" to stay IN regular schools.
...and would likely be called "uncaring" and "racist" everyday, despite pursuing a strategy I believe would benefit the most people regardless of race, and given limited resources.
Hence, I will sit here instead, and shake my head in resignation at how even more screwed the public schools are about to become.
....while simultaneously not judging Homeowner for making the choice she describes.
P.S. If appointed schools chancellor or UFT president, I promise not to use the word "dreg".