In some cases, alternative schools can be a lifesaver for a student who is behind. They can provide more discipline for students who have been in trouble.
Or they can be dumping grounds for students too difficult for regular classrooms to manage.
How, then, to measure the students’ performance, or lack thereof, in accountability systems that rate schools and school systems? That issue is not new, having been always a problem: how to measure a “failing” school that is dealing with students almost entirely coming from the hardest cases.
Now, the issue is getting a new look from the state Department of Education.
We are all for accountability, but can appreciate the desire of systems and schools for tweaking of the scoring system in this area. The goal is to give alternative schools, for either charter schools or those in traditional systems, credit for good performance of some of their students without letting them off the hook for students who do poorly.
We commend the department for the consultations it is making with school leaders on this issue. We look forward to specific proposals likely to come in the new year.