The way we have to teach in charters, for the most part, is skill based...This means that in a "writing" class, I am basically teaching basic grammar and how to approach the English section of a standardized test. With all of the "skills" that I have to teach and assess in a year there is barely time to teach things that I think would actually help get kids interested in writing, things like figurative language and creative writing.
Some people, and I think I mostly agree with them, think that this inherently shows the inequality of the education system. For instance, you would never hear an argument that students at New Trier need more "skill based" instruction because it is assumed that students who attend New Trier already have those skills when they enter the school.
We have also noticed with our students that we shelter them so much, and make them adhere to such rigorous standards, that they often struggle once they leave the charter model (even on full ride scholarships to four-year colleges). They have a hard time developing ideas on their own and being self-disciplined without all of the structures we have in place to try to teach them to be self-disciplined. My school is now trying to incorporate teaching (and assessing, naturally) character strengths to students to try to combat this problem. Sigh. I don't know what the answer is...
Hat tips: JMM & NAJ