A regular public school can’t just tell a parent (as we used to do at the charter school I worked for) “maybe this just isn’t the right school for your child". The problem is that as more charter schools are created, there are fewer options for those students who are asked to leave these schools or are never accepted. The saddest part about it is that as the system funnels students into these traditional schools, it still grades and assesses both schools by the same criteria. Is it any wonder that many charter schools are able to keep their academic performance high? They have their choice of students and teachers, and are even able to cap their numbers to keep from busting at the seams.
It would be the equivalent of telling a coach that he will accept and coach every one that applies for his team. At the same time, telling the coach steps will be put in place that will make it extremely difficult for him to kick somebody off the team. Then you tell another coach he will be able to hand pick his team and kick anybody off who doesn’t perform. After doing this, wouldn’t it be ridiculous to then be perplexed as to why the coach who hand-picked his players wins more. It should be obvious.
The question is what are we going to do with all these "regular" schools as more and more children are funneled into them because charter schools won’t accept them? There are a variety of ways to deal with this. One way is for a community to throw their hands up and say “if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em." This is what seems to be the easiest solution and it seems to be what is happening. More and more schools seem to be converting or putting the discussion to convert on the table.
Unfortunately, these newly converted schools will then be able to funnel their problematic children out and to another school, which will further accelerate the problem. Another option I’ve heard people suggest is that entire districts begin applying for charter status, so that every school is a charter school. I don’t know what that would do, but it would certainly force the issue if it happened because it would create students who are essentially locked out of schools with nowhere to go.