Thousands of parents trying to get their children into private schools are now busy mailing thank-you cards to admissions offices and biting their nails while waiting for word back.
But for a small number of parents who prevailed through this gantlet in the past, this time of year brings another kind of notice — that their child is on thin ice — as an even more painful process begins: the “counseling out” of students who are not succeeding.
Not discussed on schools’ tours or in their glossy pamphlets, counseling out is nonetheless a matter of practice at many private schools. Unlike the public school system, private schools are not obligated, and often not set up, to handle children having trouble keeping up.
“There are some kids that we’re not going to renew,” said Pamela J. Clarke, the head of the Trevor Day School in Manhattan, “either because they can’t do the work and we’re not serving them, or generally, that might be combined with behavior issues we can’t win.”
“That means he or she needs a different school,” Ms. Clarke said.
Schools do not publicize how many students they remove this way, but the number is generally a small portion of the enrollment. But some Web sites for parents have offered the suspicion that schools remove lagging students to protect another statistic that schools do publicize: their students’ admissions rates to top colleges.
Gee - massaging stats by getting rid of the "laggards" who will hurt the overall numbers.
That's just what the charter schools do!
Traditional public schools, on the other hand, actually try and help students even when they may be harming the overall stats of the schools:
Bennett Allen, now 28, said he was asked to leave the Dalton School a month before the end of eighth grade for disciplinary problems like buying and sharing cigarettes and for falling behind in some classes.
“I was very young, and I was testing the limits,” Mr. Allen said. At the Beacon School, the public school he ended up in, teachers took him more firmly under their wing, he said, and helped him channel his rambunctiousness. “Dalton was kind of like that parent who rather than play with their kid and encourage and grow their curiosity, brings it to the doctor and gets them Adderall instead,” he said.
Dalton, asked about its counseling-out practices, said only: “Together with families, Dalton works to serve the students’ best interests, so they may thrive and be successful.”
Mr. Allen acknowledged that he was better off having transferred to a school that met his needs, albeit in a less prestigious setting. “It was the biggest favor they ever did for me,” he said of Dalton’s move. He went on to Columbia University and is now an investigator for the United States Labor Department.
He says he bears no grudges toward the school. Well, maybe one. “I still get their letters asking for donations,” he said. “I’m not giving them a cent.”
The dishonesty of so many in the charter industry and the private school industry over "student dumping" and "counseling out" bothers me to no end.
That the media doesn't call them on the hypocrisy is the bigger problem, however.
Kudos to the Times for calling some private schools on this.
Now the Times should take a VERY close look at the Harlem Children's Zone, Harlem Village Academies, KIPP and others and expose how they massage their stats by dumping all the problems into traditional public schools (usually right around test time.)