The problem with charter schools. First, they aren't public schools | Arkansas Blog

Monday, June 5, 2017

The problem with charter schools. First, they aren't public schools

Posted By on Mon, Jun 5, 2017 at 12:55 PM

click to enlarge npe.jpg
A statement worth reading from the Network for Public Education on public schools and charter schools, which are NOT public schools in any meaningful sense of the word except for receiving public tax dollars.

It's a ringing declaration of support for public schools, open to all, as a pillar of democracy. Charter schools?

By definition, a charter school is not a public school. Charter schools are formed when a private organization contracts with a government authorizer to open and run a school. Charters are managed by private boards, often with no connection to the community they serve. The boards of many leading charter chains are populated by billionaires who often live far away from the schools they govern.

Through lotteries, recruitment and restrictive entrance policies, charters do not serve all children. The public cannot review income and expenditures in detail. Many are for profit entities or non-profits that farm out management to for-profit corporations that operate behind a wall of secrecy. This results in scandal, fraud, and abuse of taxpayer funds. The news is replete with stories of self-dealing, conflicts of interest, and theft occurring in charter schools [1].

We have learned during the 25 years in which charters have been in existence that the overall academic performance of students in charter schools is no better, and often worse, than the performance of students in public schools. And yet charter schools are seen as the remedy when public schools are closed based on unfair letter-based grading schemes.

See Arkansas. Last week, the state Board of Education kept the taxpayer spigot open to a financial problem-plagued and academically deficient charter school, Covenant Keepers, even as it insists on retaining state control of the Little Rock School District, not a single one of whose 48 schools could be called worse in performance that Covenant Keepers. And none of the Little Rock schools have a leader making $135,000 a year like the director of the 160-student Covenant Keepers, recently bailed out of financial difficulties by a cash infusion from the Walton Family Foundation to a private management outfit whose books are not open to public inspection.

The Little Rock District, in the meanwhile, has even been forced to close a succeeding public school that served a heavily minority population because of budget stress. No Walton bailout for Wilson Elementary or Franklin Elementary.

The network statement includes a checklist of ways that the playing field could be leveled for public schools and charter schools. Some modest legislative efforts in this direction in the recent Arkansas legislative session failed, opposed by the lobbyists and agencies supported by Walton money.

The NPE is an advocacy group formed by Diane Ravitch and Anthony Cody.




Tags: , , ,

From the ArkTimes store

Favorite

Comments (23)

Showing 1-23 of 23

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-23 of 23

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

Readers also liked…

  • Super Bowl line

    Over to you.
    • Feb 7, 2016
  • Is Arkansas in or out on Kobach voter data effort?

    The Washington Post has published a map that counts Arkansas as among states that will "partially comply" with a sweeping request for voter data by the so-called election integrity commission set up by Donald Trump in an effort to cast doubt on Hillary Clinton's 3 million-vote popular defeat of him in 2016.
    • Jul 2, 2017
  • LR speakers blast state board for double standard

    A series of speakers, beginning with Sen. Joyce Elliott, denounced what they saw as a hidden agenda favoring charter schools at the state Department of Education and asked the state Board of Education for return of local control.
    • May 12, 2016

Most Shared

  • So much for a school settlement in Pulaski County

    The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette's Cynthia Howell got the scoop on what appears to be coming upheaval in the Pulaski County School District along with the likely end of any chance of a speedy resolution of school desegregation issues in Pulaski County.
  • Riverfest calls it quits

    The board of directors of Riverfest, Arkansas's largest and longest running music festival, announced today that the festival will no longer be held. Riverfest celebrated its 40th anniversary in June. A press release blamed competition from other festivals and the rising cost of performers fees for the decision.
  • Football for UA Little Rock

    Andrew Rogerson, the new chancellor at UA Little Rock, has decided to study the cost of starting a major college football team on campus (plus a marching band). Technically, it would be a revival of football, dropped more than 60 years ago when the school was a junior college.
  • Turn to baseball

    When the world threatens to get you down, there is always baseball — an absorbing refuge, an alternate reality entirely unto itself.

Most Recent Comments

  • Re: Saturday open line

    • Durango, To my great sadness, Benji decided to step back from full time work at…

    • on July 22, 2017
  • Re: Saturday open line

    • Maybe Congress has found a tiny little wringer for Donnie's tiny little member. (Baker doesn't…

    • on July 22, 2017
  • Re: Saturday open line

    • Little Donny seems to have entered the permanently whiny stage, with sporadic attempts in the…

    • on July 22, 2017

Blogroll

 

© 2017 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation