The NY Times ran an interesting piece Monday about Eva Moskowitz's new charter schools -- run under the umbrella of her Success Charter Network. I noted a couple interesting things:
1.) Though she describes the "educational philosophy as a mix of the liberal Bank Street College of Education approach and the traditional Catholic school model," it's apparent that her schools, at least in some ways, are paternalistic. For one, they require that all kids wear velcro shoes so that untied shoelaces don't become a distraction. Given that the kids are all kindergartners and first graders right now, I can the merits of such a policy -- but it's certainly paternalistic. More importantly, she has taken the paternalism to a new level: not only are kids told how to live their lives, but parents are as well. Parents, for example, must read their kids 6 books/week and show up to any number of school activities. And if their kids are regularly late, parents have to come to Saturday detention as well.
2.) I've wondered countless times in this space to what extent charter schools have an "exit door," and to what extent that affects their operations. Moskowitz, at information session, has told parents “If you know you cannot commit to all that we ask of you this year, this is not the place for you.” And one parent at such a session reports that some parents left after hearing that statement and all of the expectations that would be placed upon them. I don't want to belittle the efforts of Ms. Moskowitz, but anybody who's worked in a school wishes they could make such statements to parents and kids before the year began . . . and most of them can't/couldn't.