At Dr. Diane Ravitch’s recent appearance in Los Angeles (which I videotaped; see below) one of her best lines quoted Rutger’s education economist Bruce Baker: “If I knew that a car that I was about to buy would surely explode one of every five times I got into it I would rather walk.” Dr. Ravitch then likened value-added assessment, with its low level of accuracy (20%), to driving said exploding car. In his latest post, which arrives on this, the final day of National Flog a Teacher Weekend, Baker produces a car that is just as explosive, a car filled with special needs kids, a car which blows up 80% of the time. That is the percentage of kids that charter schools turn away. Okay, I’m no Bruce Baker, so bear with me. But according to my ancient iPad-size calculator, one of ten that I bought for my special day class students 15 years ago, your most acclaimed charter school in Newark services roughly 80% fewer special needs students than your neighborhood public school. Here’s his graph (red=charters, blue=public schools):In regular public schools in Newark 18% of the students are special ed students, in its best charters just 3.8%.  Of course Mark Zuckerberg’s cool 100 million will straighten things out.  Neither he nor Mayor Booker would allow such inequality to exist in Newark’s schools.

Or would they?

Maybe in Newark they’re feeling lucky.

But I would prefer to walk.

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