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Charter Myth Busting

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Rachel Cohen has an outstanding article in Democracy Journal on the real evolution of charter schools. There’s a pervasive myth that American Federation of Teachers president Albert Shanker started the idea, and this myth has been powerful for charter advocates because it sounds like it comes from the unions that are now fighting it. Shanker did comment on charters and he said some unfortunate things that can be contextualized by what was happening with education at the time. But it is damaging. Where do charter schools really originate?

In the 1970s, deregulation was the name of the game.
Efforts to deregulate major sectors of government took root under Ford and Carter, and continued to escalate throughout the 1980s under Reagan. From banking and energy to airlines and transportation, liberals and conservatives both worked to promote deregulatory initiatives spanning vast sectors of public policy.

Schools were not immune. Since at least the late 1970s, political leaders in Minnesota had been discussing ways to reduce direct public control of schools. A private school voucher bill died in the Minnesota legislature in 1977, and Minnesota’s Republican governor Al Quie, elected in 1979, was a vocal advocate for school choice.

Two prominent organizations were critical in advancing school deregulation in the state. One was the Minnesota Business Partnership, comprised of CEOs from the state’s largest private corporations; another was the Citizens League, a powerful, centrist Twin Cities policy group. When the League spoke, the legislature listened—and often enacted its proposals into law. In 1982 the Citizens League issued a report endorsing private school vouchers on the grounds that consumer choice could foster competition and improvement without increasing state spending, and backed a voucher bill in the legislature in 1983. The Business Partnership published its own report in 1984 calling for “profound structural change” in schooling, with recommendations for increased choice, deregulation, statewide testing, and accountability. The organized CEOs would play a major role throughout the 1980s lobbying for K-12 reform, as part of a broader agenda to limit taxes and state spending.

Efforts to tinker with public schooling took on greater urgency in 1983, when Ronald Reagan’s National Commission on Excellence in Education released its report, A Nation At Risk. This influential (though empirically flawed) document panicked political leaders across the country. Among other things, the report concluded that American public schools were failing—“eroded by a rising tide of mediocrity”—with ill-prepared teachers and low-quality standards. Its authors tied the country’s economy and national security to the supposedly poor performance of U.S. public schools, and Reagan capitalized on the alarm. His narrative fit snugly within the larger Cold War panic, and as in Minnesota, national business leaders were happy to promote this new movement.

School choice was not specifically mentioned in A Nation at Risk, though Governor Quie, who was then serving as a member on the National Commission, tried to get such recommendations included. But reformers didn’t have to wait long for a national endorsement. In 1986, the National Governors Association, chaired by Tennessee’s Republican governor Lamar Alexander, backed school choice in its Time for Results report.

Back in Minnesota, Rudy Perpich, a member of the Democratic–Farmer–Labor Party, was elected as governor for his second non-consecutive term in 1983. (He had first served from 1976-1979.) During the four years that Quie governed Minnesota, Perpich worked on a global business committee for a supercomputer firm, and returned to government deeply shaped by his corporate experience.

Ember Reichgott Junge, the state senator who would author Minnesota’s—and the nation’s—first charter school bill, described Perpich’s role bluntly: “According to the history books, Minnesota DFL governor Rudy Perpich had nothing to do with passage of chartering legislation. In reality, he had everything to do with it.”

I guess Minnesota has brought us more than just horrible food.

Anyway, the power of the Shanker myth is an important one and Cohen elaborates on it.

The mythological origin story of charter schools—the Shanker myth—has served an important role in keeping the charter coalition together. The idea that charters come from unions lends a certain weight-of-history inevitability to school reform. It suggests that everyone has agreed that change must come, and the only question is from who, and what it’ll look like in the end.

Besides, on some level, the dramatically compelling nature of the story—unions creating their own greatest antagonist—keeps people from digging deeper. As a writer, it’s easy to want to believe it. This author would know, having once subscribed to it herself.

But the Shanker tale may have also helped undermine progressive school choice advocates, who find themselves chasing a vision that has never played a major role in the inner circles of school reform. Most charters are more segregated than traditional public schools, are non-union, and when charter educators do mount union campaigns, they almost always face tremendous opposition. If the promise of unionized, integrated, teacher-centered charters has proven devilishly difficult to fulfill, it may be, in part, because the movement’s leaders never took it very seriously to begin with.

The Shanker myth also leaves those who support traditional public schooling, in its original form, stranded in a political no man’s land. And right now, those people are in the fight of their lives, looking for firmer footing. More broadly, the Democratic Party has grown wary of the Third Way policies of the 1990s, suspecting they provide little defense against a resurgent right. As the charter coalition enters a new, treacherous era, the consensus history of charter schools may at last meet some resistance.

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  • MAJeff

    Was at a conference working with his daughter this weekend. She’s adjunct faculty and the newly elected Vice President of the Temple AFT local.

  • ThresherK

    At first glance I thought it was Richard Cohen.

    Realizing it isn’t, I will read the linked article.

    • An important difference!

      • JdLaverty

        Good article. The web and op-ed pages are so crowded with charter pushers that it’s important to highlight writers who still stand up for public education (charters, testing and the urge to crush those God Damn Teacher’s Unions are probably the best example I can imagine of the power and durability of the things that become conventional wisdom among the wealthy white class)

        Here’s a link to a blog called Curmudgucation, written by a teacher named Peter Greene, for anyone who might want a regular source for funny, sharp writing on education reform…

        “https://curmudgucation.blogspot.com

  • ATLinChina

    Figures. Charter schools are in the business of misleading. I’m a high school teacher in a Tittle 1 school. The top performing high school in our district is a Charter (a district-run one, however). It is often held up by Charter folks as an example. What they forget to tell you is that if your grades and/or behavior do not stay high, you just get kicked out and sent back to your regular school.

    • Denverite

      The best middle/high schools in Denver — and maybe all of Colorado — are STEM charters.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Denver_School_of_Science_and_Technology

      I was curious about whether they were manufacturing good numbers in the way that you suggest (by weeding out lower-performing kids) and were told that expulsion/failing out numbers were significantly lower than at the public schools in the area.

      • ATLinChina

        It’s also a matter of self-selection. Kids that enjoy school and want to learn are going to apply. More than likely they have parents involved enough to guide them through the process.

        I don’t really have a problem with these kinds of charters. They’re set up for smart kids who want to push themselves. They’re run by the local district normally and supported by the local community.

        They are a very different animal from for-profit or the soul-crushing KIPPsters.

        • Murc

          I don’t really have a problem with these kinds of charters. They’re set up for smart kids who want to push themselves. They’re run by the local district normally and supported by the local community.

          Aren’t those usually magnets, not charters?

          • ATLinChina

            Depends. Some schools have magnet programs within larger schools. Some are charters. Depends on the local situation. One of our high-performing charters is converting to a “magnet” program. The difference was explained to me, but it seemed like it was mostly for PR purposes.

          • Justin Runia

            Magnet Schools exist to address the segregation of schools by real estate, as white people either fled urban cores for newly minted townships in the suburbs, or engaged in various ‘Taxpayer Riots’ that led to statues like California’s Prop 13 that decoupled desirable real estate from public investment. School choice emerges both in response to all sorts of kids being bused into these suburban schools, as a final table-flip and withdrawl from civic life.

        • Denverite

          It’s also a matter of self-selection. Kids that enjoy school and want to learn are going to apply. More than likely they have parents involved enough to guide them through the process.

          This is probably true. The DSST schools start earlier, end later, have a mandatory summer term, and don’t have buses. It very likely requires a particular sort of kid and particular sort of parents to self-select into that.

          • ATLinChina

            If they don’t have buses, that pretty much means that parents are going to be way involved.

            • Denverite

              Agreed. Though I will note that at least for high school kids, DPS doesn’t have any buses — they give students a public bus pass.* I’m not sure whether that also applies at the charters.

              * I once worked at a job where I’d take a bus home on one of the main line between the (relatively affluent) south-central Denver neighborhoods and the popular high school for such kids (East). If I hit it right to coincide with sports practices letting out, the bus would be completely full with 80% high school kids.

            • Or a few of the kids may live within walking distance, (are students still allowed to walk to school anywhere?), or somewhat more of the kids may be able to use public transit (are students still able to buy cheap bus/subway passes anywhere?). But, yeah, most of the parents are going to have to be driving some kids regularly (do parents still organize school car pools anywhere?).

              • Denverite

                To answer your parenthetical questions:

                1.) Yes, but not until 12 or so.

                2.) See above. In Denver, high school kids get free bus passes. Middle school kids don’t.

                3.) Most definitely, and especially at charters/magnets that draw from all over the city.

              • ATLinChina

                I’ve never been to Denver, but the public bus thing is cool. Here in the South, a huge amount of (mostly white) people think boarding a public bus to be a shameful act. Even a lot of big-city Atlanta liberals think this.

                • Denverite

                  Yeah, people are pretty good about public transportation here. I’ve driven myself for a few years now (I usually work late enough that the extra 20 minutes that public adds to the trip was a huge hassle), but relied on public for almost a decade before doing so.

                • JdLaverty

                  It’s that way up north too, same dynamic when I lived in Boston. People that were happy to ride the T, who enjoyed riding the T (which is known for being old, dirty and often slower than buses or even bicycles) would never think about riding *look of disgust* the bus. Subways and trams are cool, retro; you can even post pictures with the train in the background to let your friends know that you ride the T just like all the lessers.
                  But buses? Buses are for poor people, poor *hushed voice* black people. Even ones that look safe and clean from the street are knife-filled rape sheds on the inside, don’t be fooled. What are you, a drifter? Just take an Uber or a towncar!
                  (This is how I imagine people with money talk…it’s certainly how they act around the bus)

          • PunditusMaximus

            don’t have buses

            aaaaaaand scene

        • Diabolical_Engineer

          I did some STEM outreach at a local KIPP school a couple years ago (requirement for a scholarship). I did not have the best impression of their program. Very flashy, obviously lots of money was being thrown around, but the whole thing felt very slimy to me. Didn’t help that the program I was in was basically farming out curriculum development to a bunch of unpaid or underpaid college students (I received money for participating, most others did not). Definitely not a huge fan of KIPP, their weird culture is a huge part of it.

        • JdLaverty

          There’s also a lot of charters whose application process is designed to be difficult and confusing every step of the way in order for the end result to be preferable to the school: kids with highly engaged parents, one or more of whom has the free time to run back and forth between a prospective school filling out staggered batches of forms and to make it to meetings with admissions staff (conveniently scheduled in the middle of the workday)

      • Murc

        The weeding out of lower-preforming kids, much like magnet schools, can take place prior to admittance. It’s called “creaming” because they only skim the cream off the top. Those kids are much less likely to fail out or be expelled.

        The best examples of how charter schools are scams is when you get entire municipalities and districts that go full-charter and thus, are de facto public schools and responsible for educating all comers and can’t only take who they like and have a much harder time sending people packing.

        And it turns out they basically preform the same as public schools. Fancy that!

        • ATLinChina

          Exactly. Teaching would be easy if I could get rid of every kid that annoys me and sees high school as a very optional program.

        • Denverite

          The DSST schools I linked to are 100% blind lottery (even to the point where they’ve done away with guaranteed neighborhood slots).

          • ATLinChina

            What’s the process for entering the lottery?

            • Denverite

              Every January you fill out a form with DPS where you can pick up to three ranked alternatives to your neighborhood school. If you select a DSST campus, they put you in a lottery. They preference school faculty kids first, free lunch kids second, DPS kids third, and then after that, anyone in the state can enter. The one I’m familiar with has a waiting list of about 200 for the entering middle school class (150).

              • CrunchyFrog

                It’s pretty obvious that DPS is not like Philly – where a corrupt GOP state govt has actually run things for years grifting for their charter school buds – nor like Chicago, where a corrupt Lieberdem mayor does the same. Funny how basic competence can make such a major difference.

                I’m not completely familiar with the charter school system here in Colorado but it actually seems to work pretty well. My youngest attends a state-wide on-line charter school that is chartered out of a district just north of Denver and it has been very obvious that the state is closely involved in monitoring all aspects of the school. Some of this has been a pain- specifically the excessive testing requirements that the Rheeists and Testing Lobby got passed everywhere – but most if it has been very helpful and both keeps school quality up and gives us a very effective conduit for reporting problems. The state has also closed down a number of charters in recent years specifically for financial irregularities, and it appears they have a quick trigger on those.

                It’s not a perfect system, largely due to historical legal constraints around how funding is acquired and distributed. But the key seems to be having the state play a major role in regulating the charters rather than relying on local schools boards to do so. This situation probably doesn’t survive a future GOP sweep of the state gov’t (which would probably result in handing the keys to the state education bank account to the GOP charter industry), but hopefully that never happens.

          • Murc

            Signing up for a lottery can be an extremely powerful self-selection process in and of itself. There have been all sorts of stories of parents moving heaven and earth to get their kids in and to maximize their advantage in any way possible… and hey, guess what, turns out kids with parents who are that involved, or even “involved enough to find out about charters with lotteries and sign up” are probably going to preform better in school.

            • Denverite

              Sure, and also see my point about these charters in particular having a lot of inconvenient/rigorous aspects that probably turn away a lot of parents and students.

              • ATLinChina

                Charter schools aren’t all bad. But, public education is a damn big pool of money. People want it. Charter schools are one way to get it.

              • NeonTrotsky

                Also It might vary based on state, but in Oregon at least public schools have to go a lot farther to accommodate often very expensive special ed kids who will likely never meet the state graduation requirements(and thus count against the schools graduation rate), to the point that the parents of these individuals likely self select against enrolling in charters.

            • Justin Runia

              Yeah, this is my understanding of the filtering mechanism. On top of that, many charter schools require a set amount of volunteer time from parents (100 hrs or so, not that they enforce it very strongly), which filters out the less ‘invested’ parents. Though to be fair, Magnets work basically the same way…

    • Dennis Orphen

      Tittle 1 school

      Y.A. Tittle? I’d gladly attend that! The world needs more badasses!

      if your grades and/or behavior do not stay high, you just get kicked out and sent back to your regular school.

      Just like the Dow Jones!

      • Hogan

        Or the English Premier League. “Sorry, Jimmy, you’ve been relegated.”

        • The Rio carnival is a league competition, with divisions, promotions and relegations. The funding for the samba schools used to come from numbers capos, but IIRC it’s now gone more corporate.

      • Denverite

        Y.A. Tittle? I’d gladly attend that! The world needs more badasses!

        My grandmother went to high school with Tittle.

        • Dennis Orphen

          Perhaps some of the football loving cosmic butterflies passed by her along the way to landing on your shoulders.

          • Denverite

            Maybe. She did love football. Subscribed to the football recruiting guides and everything.

            • Dennis Orphen

              Your grandmother sounds so much like my mother (not joking) that you……oh, never mind.

              (making this comment while riding public transportation, 50 mile round trip, $6, do all my online work and a lot of meatspace socializing the whole time)

    • sharculese

      Given that your username has ATL in it, just curious, is he high school you teach at in northeast DeKalb? Say, maybe not Tucker but the next town over?

      • ATLinChina

        I did my student teaching at Lakeside, but I am in Clayton County now.

  • Denverite

    I guess Minnesota has brought us more than just horrible food.

    A delicious piece of fried walleye would like a word.

    • Randy

      A delicious piece of fried walleye would like a word.

      The word is “oxymoron.”

      • The Lorax

        Walleye is amazing. Pistols at dawn.

        • Dennis Orphen

          I prefer perch, but am willing to be your second.

    • RabbitIslandHermit

      Between fried walleye and cheese curds Minnesota certainly has least appetizing sounding cuisine on lock down.

    • Happy Jack

      Why ruin a walleye by frying it? Does the thin air of Denver cause you to think like a barbarian?

  • pseudalicious

    Fascinating, thanks for the link. i had actually hear that myth on a liberal podcast — Majority Report, I think.

  • Murc

    The term “school choice” has always bothered me.

    I mean… do people not have school choice? If you don’t like public schools, you can choose to home-school or to send your children to a private school.

    Now, it is of course true that if you’re poor, the public schools are all you’ve got. But it’s like… yes? And? The purpose of public education is to establish a floor below which nobody can fall below, isn’t it?

    If you have a lot of money, you can pay to have a private firefighting team on-call 24/7… but if you don’t, the public fire department has your back; it provides a floor. If you have a lot of money, you can pay to be surrounded by no-neck goons as your bodyguards 24/7… but if you don’t, the public police department has your back (offer void if non-white); it provides a floor.

    Now, this doesn’t necessarily mean all public schools are good. Some of them are quite bad. That floor should be higher than it is. And it makes sense that people would wish to choose to send their kids to a different, not as bad school. But setting up a charter system is of course a horribly inefficient use of resources; if the charter schools are good, why not use those resources to make ALL the schools good instead of building some parallel system from scratch? If they’re bad, you’ve just used a lot of resources to no end.

    I understand that the grifters don’t care about any of this, of course. They’re in it to make money and bust unions. But you see otherwise sensible people drinking this kool-aid. I guess when it comes to their own kids people flip their shit and go totally irrational?

    • LeeEsq

      The most positive interpretation of school choice is breaking the strict relationship between residential geography and education that tended to exist in American public education. Your kid goes to these schools because you live on this street and that person’s kid goes to those schools because that person lives on another street. The negative interpretation school choice is that it is a nice-sounding fig leaf to cover grift.

      • Denverite

        Just for the record, “school choice” in Colorado means that you can go to any public (and now, charter) school in the state that has room for another student. We have several friends who live in Denver who didn’t get in to any of there preferred options and didn’t like their neighborhood school, so they are sending their kids to a suburban school that had space.

        • ATLinChina

          The most laughable thing is that if DeVos got her way and we went to huge voucher programs, the amount of kids it would help out would be minuscule. The truly elite prep schools cost over 30,000 – way too much for a voucher program. The more mid-level privates would not be happy about an influx of kids coming from poverty and would find ways to exclude them. Most middle-class folks are pretty happy with their public schools and wouldn’t want to change.

          I guess religous people would enjoy it, but it would probably hurt their kids in the long run.

          • DrDick

            A lot of this is driven by Xtianists and racists who do not want their kids going to school with those people. The latter is really where all this got its start.

            • Dilan Esper

              There is a lot of both sides do it here. Many rich liberals work very hard in all sorts of ways to ensure that their kids don’t go to school with lower class kids.

              • PunditusMaximus

                I find the idea that there is an element of classism that runs through default liberalism to be an entirely new concept to me, sir!

              • Justin Runia

                I think the point is that rich liberals are also racist.

                But to be sure, there is a definite class angle in play here; many of my home-owning neighbors in South LA are of the Hotep / Personal Responsibility extraction and work very hard to make sure their kids aren’t polluted by children whose parents aren’t as engaged and invested in excellence as they are. Which is weird, because charter schools are one of the few areas where I am a Sanders-level ideologue and I have to work hard to check my white-dude privilege and not wet-blanket the inevitable conversations about school quality that happen in this city.

        • NeonTrotsky

          Oregon has a similar system, but so far as I can tell it’s mostly used by parents trying to get their kids on the good football teams

          • Denverite

            Yeah, the open choice model makes sports recruiting INSANE in Colorado. As in, kids going into middle school (6th or 7th grade) get letters from coaches encouraging them to choice into their school. And I’m not just talking football* or basketball, either.

            * Actually, football recruiting is pretty tame in Colorado. The big powerhouses are either private schools (Valor or Mullen), or they’re schools that are oversubscribed and you can’t choice in (Creek).

            • CrunchyFrog

              Really? Under CHSAA rules that is a strict violation and the coach would be suspended – and there are lots of examples. It sounds like you’re saying, though, that the middle school coaches are doing the recruiting.

              Cherry Creek has two big advantages. First, they are massive – at least 1000 more students than the second biggest school (Cherokee Trail) and well more than twice the student body of the large majority of schools in 5A. Then they are one of the two wealthiest public school districts in the state (Cheyenne Mountain in the Springs the other, although Fairview in Boulder is coming up quickly) which of course means high school players who have had literally 100s of thousands of dollars, in many cases, invested in their sports training.

              You need both, by the way. While Cheyenne Mtn is a power in many sports they literally have had to stop football seasons short due to lack of players.

              The private schools did have issues with recruiting in the past. Mullen was caught decades ago, Valor more recently. They now are very public that there are no sports scholarships. And YET, it’s funny how many of their top players get academic or need-based scholarships. Some states gave up on these shenanigans long ago and set up separate playoffs for public and private schools.

              • Denverite

                Under CHSAA rules that is a strict violation and the coach would be suspended – and there are lots of examples. It sounds like you’re saying, though, that the middle school coaches are doing the recruiting.

                Yeah, maybe the middle school tactic is how they get around the CHSAA recruiting ban. I’m also wondering how well the coaches at that level understand the CHSAA rules.

                Some states gave up on these shenanigans long ago and set up separate playoffs for public and private schools.

                That’s certainly how it was where I grew up.

                • CrunchyFrog

                  In Illinois in the 70s they were referred to as Public and Parochial leagues – same in the 80s?

  • Bitter Scribe

    To me the original charter schools were those “segregation academies” that sprang up in the South after Brown and got public funds. In some cases, the public schools were even shut down and all public education funds diverted to seg acads.

    A sketchy origin for a sketchy enterprise.

  • PunditusMaximus

    Mm, Arne Duncan.

  • Dilan Esper

    While there are no doubt powerful ideological and business interests behind charter schools, the reason they persist (as opposed to, say, vouchers, which aren’t very popular) is because there’s a fair amount of evidence that they improve outcomes for poor kids.

    I assure you that Barack Obama, for instance, didn’t come to his position about charters due to a lie told about Albert Shanker.

    • Murc

      While there are no doubt powerful ideological and business interests behind charter schools, the reason they persist (as opposed to, say, vouchers, which aren’t very popular) is because there’s a fair amount of evidence that they improve outcomes for poor kids.

      Is there?

      Or is there evidence that if cream off the most motivated poor families and their children, naturally the school they’re all clumped in will display better results?

      I’d want to see a fully charter school district, of sufficient size, that cannot filter out anyone, compared to a fully public school district of similar demographics and income.

      • xq

        Lottery studies can naturally control for the “creaming” issue, by comparing the entire population of lottery winners to the population of lottery losers, regardless of whether the student actually graduated from the charter. These studies show that some charters appear to produce real gains.

        I’m pretty skeptical of all this, but it’s not wrong that there is evidence that charter schools can improve outcomes for poor kids. Lots of variation between schools though.

    • PunditusMaximus

      there’s a fair amount of evidence that they improve outcomes for poor kids.

      ? Everything I’ve read is that on average they do a little worse than public schools for a bit more money and a more motivated student crowd. Magnets are a proven concept; charters are a proven failure.

      I assure you that Barack Obama, for instance, didn’t come to his position about charters due to a lie told about Albert Shanker.

      Having dealt with the utterly dysfunctional bureaucracy of the Chicago Public Schools system, I have an idea of how Obama came to view charters as a panacea. Doesn’t mean he’s right, but I get it.

    • randy khan

      The studies I’ve seen do not support the hypothesis that charter schools lead to better outcomes, which is curious when you consider that they often can kick out bad students (or students who have discipline issues, a group with a big overlap with bad students) and that there’s a lot of self-selection to be in those schools.

  • mch

    “I guess Minnesota has brought us more than just horrible food.”

    ???? Don’t go by state fair silliness. Have you been to the Twin Cities recently? Fantastic food.

  • jdh

    So I am a teacher at a charter school. I’ve taught at a private school. My wife worked in SPED in public schools for years. Our son goes to the neighborhood public elementary school, which is also a magnet school.

    So I have sympathy with lots of angles.

    First, my school gets about 15% less money per student than the local ISD. Yet our outcomes are far better. Our college completion rate is five times the national average for the main SES population we deal with.

    Is there some ‘creaming’ going on? A little. Parent self selection? Yes. Inexperienced teachers? Yes. Curriculum issues? Yes.

    But 100% of our students get into college. 95% of them actually start college in the fall. Not as prepared as we would like. We’re working on it.

    That’s the kind of education that can change lives.

    So here’s some things I’ve noticed about some of these debates: there’s a lot of over simplification going on by both sides and it seems like we’re talking past one another.

    Charter school quality exists on a spectrum. As do public and private schools. A good public school is far better than a bad charter and visa versa.

    Testing: no one seems to discuss the possibility that there are good assessments and bad assessments. I teach two different subjects. One has a good assessment process. I enjoy teaching to that test because it is a good test. My other subject has an awful awful assessment.

    It’s made me wonder if the pro-testing and anti-testing folks might be talking past each other. Pro-testing folks assuming all tests are good tests. Anti-testing folks assuming all tests are awful. There seems to be very little discussion of the quality of the tests themselves.

    PS – I don’t know a single person in the charter school world who was happy about Betsy DeVos.

  • cpinva

    charter/school choice/vouchers, is nothing more than the modern day “white flight” private schools of the early 60’s, in response to court ordered desegregation. there is exactly zero empirical evidence that any of these schools produce a better product (well educated graduates), in spite of the fact that they are allowed to selectively determine their student body population, than the public schoos do. the state public magnet schools (such as Jefferson, in NVA) do a much better job than any charter school has thus far been able to show.

    what the charter schools have proven to be a boon for, are the grifters, with no appreciable educational experience, who use those schools as their personal piggy banks. they should all be shut down, and the public funds sent back to the public schools that desperately need them.

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