When a student is a “bad fit” for a (charter) school

At the American Montessori Society conference last weekend, I sat in on a session about the increasing number of Montessori public and charter schools, which are a minority among Montessori schools–most Montessori schools are still private.

This is of particular interest to me since, typically, charters must be open to ALL students–not just the few who can afford a private school.

Because charters are publicly funded, they cannot deny admission to particular students. However, in reality, some students are nudged out due to requirements in place at the school, or the due to the extent to which the student is miserable at the school.

In the session at the conference, the discussion arrived at the seemingly self-evident point that if a school is not a “good fit” for a student (due to a student’s completion of all existing coursework at the school, physical or psychological disabilities, severe behavioral or learning disabilities,  learning style, etc.) that the student shouldn’t go to that particular school–if the student still ends up at that  “bad fit” school, this would be to the detriment of both the student and the school.

Particularly for a relatively small or relatively specialized school, it is indeed hard to argue that a particular “bad fit” student should still attend.

However, wouldn’t this same argument have to also then apply to traditional public schools: if a student is a bad fit for a (traditional public) school, then it doesn’t make sense for the student to go there?

What happens for students (possibly MANY of them) for whom no school is a good fit? Certainly, all students are entitled to a high quality education.

I think a worthwhile goal for ALL schools is to strive to form itself into a “good fit” for all of its students.

If nothing else, this line of thinking at least shines some light on the public and charter schools that are trying to do this every day, with varying amounts of success. Meeting the needs of all students is indeed quite challenging!!


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1 Response to When a student is a “bad fit” for a (charter) school

  1. erinmcnew says:

    “What happens for students (possibly MANY of them) for whom no school is a good fit? Certainly, all students are entitled to a high quality education.”
    This sentence brings to mind 3 of my clients: brothers aged 10, 11 & 12 who are all struggling in school (a CPS elementary). Their guardian has worked hard to advocate for them and they’ve each had a variety of testing and interventions. All 3 take medication for ADD. On Sunday, I spent a few hours on a guided nature hike with the 3 of them and I was so struck by how all 3 of them were like completely different kids than the ones I hear about from their teachers and counselors. They were absolutely engaged – interested, inquisitive, fully attentive and learning – for the entire 2 hours. As we were leaving I commented to the guide that I wished that every one of their school days could be a version of that hike.


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