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Edward F. Berger is a retired educator who lives in Arizona and builds community support against privatization of public schools.
In this post, he explains the failure of charter schools (which he calls “partial schools”).
This is how the school choice movement went wrong:
Politicians, ideologues, so-called libertarians, and crooks attracted by profit motives, took over the charter school experiment. They decided, with no educational data to back their decisions, that charter schools, regardless of whether they worked for children or not, whether they served America’s need for an educated populous or not, would become stand-alone schools that could be run with little accountability, certification, or even democratically elected boards. Now, tax money is often used to create private Real Estate empires. Our tax dollars that we pay for children and their education are siphoned off to individuals, corporations, and companies that contract with charters to provide “services.” Is it any wonder that hedge fund operators and the self-appointed reformers see charter schools and outfits like K-12 as income generators? Is it any wonder that the FBI and other law enforcement agencies cannot keep up with the criminal activities of those milking the system? These thefts are criminal even if approved by legislatures. Are you surprised that the largest Charter School operator in America is a Turkish political movement using our tax dollars to bring their people (they call them teachers) into America to support a political agenda in a foreign land?
Groups motivated by Koch, ALEC, and those with hedge fund mentalities of fraud and greed, have gone against the clear and expressed wishes of the great majority of Americans (exceeding 85%) who support community based, public, comprehensive schools. Let’s be very clear. The great majority of Americans want children exposed to and involved in these areas of learning: Art, music, the sciences, history, civics, theater, health, languages, social studies, reading, writing, critical thinking, physical education, athletics, cooperative experiences, computer sciences, computer literacy, clubs, projects, research… and this is only a partial list of what public comprehensive schools provide. We citizens want the development of self-motivated children, children with ethics and empathy. Children with heart. Constant testing for data does not serve our children.
Parents, educators, and communities united can push back against the corruption in the charter industry.