Okay. My goal here is that my esteemed educator colleagues and charter school sparring partners, Sabutai and Pablo, agree 100% with my characterization, so you, the BMG reader, at least have a sense of what’s out there.
I’m omitting all arguments in favor or against these school types.
This is just a public service to try to explain in neutral language what is up for debate.
More below the thingie.
Okay, now I’m below the thingie. I count 16 different types of public schools in MA. You could actually create a couple more subcategories, which folks can do in the comments.
Here they are:
1. Traditional public school. If you live there, you’re in.
1a. Regional. Same thing, comes from more than 1 district.
2. Vocational school
Often a regional school. Usually selective about which kids get in. Minuteman is an example
There are also private vocational schools, called proprietary schools
3. Exam School
Must take a test to get in. Boston Latin Academy is an example
4. Themed School
No particular admission standard, but maybe some principal discretion on whether “there is space.”
Urban Science Academy is an example.
5. School within a School
Gates Foundation pushed an idea where big high schools, like South Boston High, would become 3 smaller high schools, each with one floor of the building (Odyssey High, Excel High, and Monument High).
This isn’t very popular anymore.
6. 766 School
I’m not sure whether to include these. These are private schools for special needs students, paid for with public dollars. Info here
7. Alternative Schools. Hard to classify. 157 of them. Public schools which usually serve kids with behavioral issues.
8. Commonwealth Charters.
9. Pilot School. Boston only. 20 of them. Created as alternative to charters. Some have selective admissions. Some have random admissions. Very similar to Horace Mann, but no state involvement.
Okay I’m sure I’m missing something but those are the 11 types of schools I know about.
* * * *
This isn’t a type of school. It’s the program that originally bussed black students from Boston and Springfield to suburban schools. I think it has made some changes to also serve a small number of non-black students. Info here
Parents can send a kid to a different district if the district agrees. Hope this is not editorializing, but more or less only white families get this option, as you can see on the map.
Districts which “risk” getting kids from low-income communities generally refuse to participate.
* * * * *
Five new types of schools have been proposed in last month. None of these exist yet.
Mayor Menino – in-district charter schools. Like pilots, but would not need to be unionized. I think would be Boston only.
Governor Patrick proposed 4 new types.
a. Replication of high-performing charter schools. Only in a district where kids are scoring in lowest 10% in state, not in suburbs.
Slightly different rules designed to maximize outreach to most disadvantaged kids in most disadvantaged communities.
b. Readiness Advantage Schools. School committee and supe agree to give a traditional school more flexibility.
c. Readiness Alliance Schools: Non-profit partner or university changes a school, creates a performance contract, then helps run school.
d. Readiness Acceleration Schools: If Commissioner deems a school to be persistently failing, it could place the school in receivership, and appoint an external organization to run the school. ”Turnarounds.”