There is a student at my school. We'll call her Joanna. She often doesn't come for an education. She often comes to recruit, for her gang.
Joanna doesn't go to class, at least not often. She goes to lunch. She roams the hallways. She makes friends with the newly arrived students (those just coming from Latin America), until she realizes they're not interested in being initiated.
I used to think that if we tried hard enough, we might be able to pull Joanna in a more positive direction. Then I found out her parents are the ones who taught her to recruit.
Joanna is a destructive force at our school. She can't be removed because she's very discreet, but she can't be helped either.
The argument in favor of charter schools, promoted by the same people who've purchased the language of civil rights in our contemporary education debate, have the effect, in many neighborhoods, of separating motivated students from unmotivated students, making it all the more difficult for public schools to succeed.
But if students like Joanna are in public schools and not in charters, where would you put your kid?