The Buras, Lack, and Winerip pieces raise very similar issues in regards to school choice and the allure of educational innovation. In today's competitive society parents have been led to believe that in order to provide their children with the most successful and profitable education (i.e. high graduation and college acceptance rates) they must become consumers in the dog-eat-dog educational market. When Katherine Sprowal placed her son Matthew in the lottery to attend the Harlem Success Academy 3 charter school she believed he would be provided with an innovative educational opportunity that would surely foster success. Instead what she found was that her son Matthew was a troubled student, and would need to be transferred to an alternative form of public schooling. At the time she thanked the charter school principal for her help in finding Matthew a new school, proclaiming that she would take the required steps to "correct" his poor behavior, in hopes that he would someday be able to return to this magnificent institution. Three years later she came to understand that perhaps her intelligent son was not the problem, and realized that the charter school should be held accountable.
For parents like Ms. Sprowal the innovative educational reforms of the charter school movement often convinces them that this education is best for their child. However, the Lack article provides an in depth analysis of the rigorous standards these institutions are held to, standards which often make or break a child's chance for success. This piece critiques the Knowledge is Power program, otherwise referred to as KIPP, which is promoted for its promise of educational success through a "no excuses" policy. These students experience a rigorous almost nine and a half hour school day, are required to attend classes every other Saturday, and receive a work load of approximately 2-3 hours every night (Lack 129). For students like Matthew Sprowal who experience attention disorders or other extra-educational needs, it is no wonder that this demanding environment creates a culture of "thrive or transfer" (Winerip). These Kipp programs provide statistics which show that they serve high needs, racial minority students, but many of these students get funneled out of the system before they get a chance to succeed. On top of that, Lack goes on to explain how many KIPP programs throughout the country are not doing to their job of out performing public institutions in their immediate areas. The allure of innovation has shielded the fact that these institutions are not producing the results they proclaim, and are also failing the very students it attempts to empower.
We have come to realize throughout the course of this semester that the high-stakes testing and charter school movement, while trying to compensate for the downfalls of public education, has in turn created a culture in which institutions of education leave more children left behind than ever before. The neo-liberal influence on education has begun to change the pedagogy of the field. While charter schools proclaim their interests in helping all children to succeed, they are quick to funnel children out of their system, providing this dream to those who already possessed the means to achieve it.