Education policy analyst Andrew Coulson travels to Cranbrook High School, one of the top ten private high schools in America. Cranbrook—and other excellent private schools in America—typically don’t “scale-up” to replicate their excellence on a larger scale and serve more students. Is there someplace else where scaling up excellence is happening? Yes! In America’s charter schools. But when charter schools compete with public schools, there’s often trouble.
We’ll hear how the Sabis School, tremendously successful in Springfield, Massachusetts, was prevented from operating in nearby Brockton because a school superintendent decided such excellence was not in the best interest of his public school. For six years, the American Indian Charter School, part of a small network of California charter schools, ranked among the top middle schools in California. But the Oakland Public School District voted to shut them down because they used their own special education services, not those controlled by the state, resulting in less revenue to the public school system.