In an article in The Nation, George Joseph notes a curious phenomenon: the reports of violent and disruptive behavior are increasing at double the rate in charter schools in New York City, as compared to public schools.


The irony is that this is happening at the same time that the billionaire-backed Families for Excellent Schools has unleashed a social media campaign aimed at discrediting Mayor Bill de Blasio’s efforts to reduce harsh discipline in the public schools. Joseph’s article includes several tweets from FES, calling attention to disorder in the public schools. He surmises that FES–a major backer of Eva Moskowitz’s Success Academy charter chain–is trying to divert attention from the embarrassing video of a SA teacher humiliating a child.


Joseph interviews a retired professional who observed both types of schools in a building co-located with a charter:


Brenda Shufelt, a recently retired librarian who served public school and Success Academy Charter School students at a colocated school library in Harlem, said that as charter schools rapidly expand, they may be taking in more high-needs kids, many of whom cannot conform to one-size-fits-all disciplinary approaches.


“In my experience, what would often happen is that charter school students would be so rigidly controlled that the kids would periodically blow up,” says Shufelt. “At PS 30, some of our kids would have meltdowns, usually because of problems at home, but I never saw kids melt down in the way they did in charter schools. They were just so despairing, feeling like they could not do this. I was told by two custodians, they had never had so much vomit to clean up from kindergarten and elementary classes.”