EdWeek: Will ‘Backfilling’ Become the Next Big Charter Schools Debate?

A parent and school-choice advocacy organization in New York City is calling on the city’s charter schools to fill thousands of empty seats in 3rd through 8th grades.

Backfilling, or replacing students who leave in the middle of their elementary, middle or high school careers, has traditionally been more of a technical term, but it appears as though it may be on its way to becoming a new front in the debate over whether charter schools are equitably serving students.

“Charter schools in New York City that leave classroom seats empty are artificially inflating perceived performance at the expense of real wait-listed children,” said Princess Lyles, the executive director of Democracy Builders in a statement. The group released a report Fridaydocumenting the extent of the issue in the city. It found that charter schools lost an average of 6 to 11 percent of their students each year in the period from 2006-2014, and that there were more than 2,500 seats left open in 2014.

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