Opponents of charter schools have claimed that these schools are “cherry-picking” the students they admit, and that this explains why many charter schools get better educational results with less money than public schools do.
Many controversies about how students should be admitted to educational institutions, especially those supported by the taxpayers, betray a fundamental confusion about what these institutions are there for. This applies to both schools and colleges.
Admitting students strictly on the basis of their academic qualifications, which might seem to be common sense, is rejected by many college admissions committees.
A dean of admissions at Harvard, years ago, said, “the question we ask is: how well has this person used the opportunities available to him or her?” In other words, the issue is seen as which of the competing applicants are more deserving. Since some people have had far better educational opportunities than others, that is supposed to be taken into account in deciding whom to admit.