Charter Schools Were Never a Good Idea. They Were a Corporate Plot All Along

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America has been fooled by the charter school industry for too long.

 

The popular myth that charter schools were invented by unions to empower teachers and communities so that students would have better options is as phony as a three dollar bill.

 

The concept always was about privatizing schools to make money.

 

It has always been about stealing control of public education, enacting corporate welfare, engaging in union busting, and an abiding belief that the free hand of the market can do no wrong.

 

Charter schools are, after all, institutions run privately but paid for with tax dollars. So operators can make all decisions behind closed doors without public input or accountability. They can cut student services and pocket the difference. And they can enroll whoever the heck they want without providing the same level of education or programs you routinely get at your neighborhood public school.

 

In essence, charter schools are a scheme to eliminate the public from public education paid for at public expense.

 

 

But whenever anyone brings up these facts, they are confronted by the bedtime story of Albert Shanker and his alleged advocacy of the industry.

 
So grab your teddy bear and put on your jammies, because here’s how it goes:

 
Once upon a time, hero president of the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) Al Shanker had an idea. He wanted to make laboratory schools where educators would be freed of regulations so they could experiment and find new pedagogies that worked. Then these innovations could spread to the rest of the school system.

 

One day in 1988, he gave a speech at the National Press Club and subsequently published a column in the New York Times advancing this idea.

 

And he called it – Dum, Dum, DUM! – charter schools!
The second act of the story opens in the mid-1990s when Shanker had largely turned against the idea after it had been co-opted by business interests.

 

He dreamed of places where unionized teachers would work with union representatives on charter authorizing boards, and all charter proposals would include plans for “faculty decision-making.” But instead he got for-profit monstrosities that didn’t empower workers but busted their unions.

 

If only we’d stuck with Shanker’s bold dream!

 

Or at least, that’s how the story goes.

 

Unfortunately it’s just a story.

 

It’s not true. Hardly a word of it.

 

Shanker did not come up with the idea of charter schools. He wasn’t part of the plan to popularize them. He didn’t even come up with the term “charter school.”

 

If anything, he was a useful patsy in this stratagem who worked tirelessly to give teachers unions a seat at the table where he then discovered they were also on the menu.

 

The real origin of charter schools goes back decades to at least the 1950s and the far right push for deregulation.

 

When the afterglow of the atomic bomb and the allied victory in Europe had faded, there was political backlash at home to roll back the amazing economic successes of the New Deal. Social security, strong banking regulations, deposit insurance, a minimum wage, job programs that put millions of people to work – all of that had to go in favor of right wing ideology.

 

A cabal of mostly wealthy, privileged elites wanted to do away with these policies in the name of the prosperity it would bring to themselves and their kind. They claimed it would be for the good of everyone but it was really just about enriching the already rich who felt entitled to all economic goods and that everyone else should have to fight over the crumbs.

 

Never mind that it was just such thinking that burst economic bubbles causing calamities like the Great Depression in the first place and made the conditions ripe for two world wars.

 

Show me the money!

 

However, this really didn’t go anywhere until it was combined with that most American of institutions – racism.

 

Even before the Supreme Court’s 1954 Brown vs. Board decision struck down school segregation, many white people said they’d never allow their children to go to school with black children.

 

In the South, several districts tried “freedom of choice” plans to allow white kids to transfer out of desegregated schools.

 

In 1952 and ’57, governments in two states – Georgia and Virginia – tried out what became known as the “private school plan.” Georgia Gov. Herman Talmadge and community leaders in Prince Edward County, Virginia, tried to privatize public schools to avoid any federal desegregation requirements. Each student would be given a voucher to go to whatever school would enroll them – segregated by race.
The plan was never implemented in Georgia and struck down by the federal government in Virginia after only one year as a misuse of taxpayer funds.

 

But these failed plans got the attention of one of the leading deregulation champions, economist Milton Friedman.

 

He sided with the segregationists citing their prejudice and racism as merely “market forces.”

 

In his seminal 1955 tract, “The Role of Government in Education,” he wrote:

 

“So long as the schools are publicly operated, the only choice is between forced nonsegregation and forced segregation; and if I must choose between these evils, I would choose the former as the lesser. Privately conducted schools can resolve the dilemma … Under such a system, there can develop exclusively white schools, exclusively colored schools, and mixed schools.”

 

Throughout the 1970s, school voucher proposals were widely understood as a means to preserve school segregation, according to education historian Diane Ravitch. But they couldn’t gain any traction until privatizers came up with a new wrinkle in the formula – the charter school.

 

Charter schools are really just school vouchers with more money and regulations.

 

In the case of vouchers, we use tax dollars to pay for a portion of student enrollment at private and parochial schools. In the case of charters, we use tax dollars to pay for all of a student’s enrollment at a school that is privately managed. The only difference is how much taxpayer money we give to these privatized schools and how much leeway we give them in terms of pedagogy.

 

Charter schools can do almost whatever they want but they can’t blatantly teach religion. Voucher schools can.

 

Other than that, they’re almost the same thing.

 

In order to get the public to support school privatization, Friedman thought we’d need to convince them that they didn’t need the burden of self-government. This was especially true of minorities.

 

In his 1981 book Free to Choose, Friedman and his wife Rose suggested the necessity of convincing black voters that they didn’t need Democracy. School privatization could be pitched as a system that would “free the black man from dominion by his own political leaders.”

 

The opportune moment came in 1983 with the publication of the Reagan administration’s propaganda piece A Nation at Risk. Using bogus statistics and outright lies, the report painted our public school system as a failure and set up the false urgency that school deregulationists needed.

 

From this point forward, a series of supply side lawmakers, policy wonks, economists, billionaires and CEOs came out of the woodwork to push for school privatization which culminated in the first charter school law in 1991 in Minnesota.

 

In the middle of all this tumult came Shanker’s National Press Club speech in 1988.

 

Ronald Reagan was still in office and it’s hard to overstate the threat he posed to unions having infamously fired more than 11,000 striking air traffic controllers.

 

Shanker was trying to ride the tide of public opinion in favor of deregulation and privatization. He accepted the bogus criticisms of schools in A Nation At Risk and offered to restructure schools to fix the problem. Like so many union leaders after him, Shanker gave away much of the power of his people-driven movement so as not to come across as obstructionist. He didn’t think teachers unions could oppose the rising tide of privatization without offering innovations of their own.

 

It’s true that he called these reforms “charter schools” but he didn’t invent the term. He borrowed it from a little-known Massachusetts educator, Ray Budde, who meant by it something very different from what it has become. Budde thought school boards could offer “charters” directly to teachers allowing them to create new programs or departments.

 

Shanker’s proposal wasn’t nearly the first time a public figure had suggested restructuring public schools.

 

In the late 1960s after helping provide justification for school desegregation, sociologist Kenneth Clark advocated for alternative school systems that could be run by groups as diverse as universities to the Department of Defense.

 

Shanker’s contribution was not nearly as powerful as subsequent apologists have claimed. He was one voice among many. Though his comments were useful to the deregulators, they ignored everything of substance he had said beyond the myth that he supported their efforts at school privatization.

 

According to journalist Rachel Cohen, the true architect of the charter school concept as it appears today wasn’t Shanker, Budde or Clark. It was Minnesota “policy entrepreneur” Ted Kolderie.

 

He was at the heart of the issue pushing for school privatization from the 1970s through the 1990s.

 

Throughout the 1970s, Kolderie lobbied for a plethora of ways for private industry to provide government services – including education – through an initiative known as Public Service Options (PSO). By 1981, the focus narrowed almost exclusively to education.

 

In several reports, he blamed the bogus failure of public schools on the democracy of the school boards. Though he didn’t use the term “charter school,” his conception was essentially the same as the modern charter school: independent schools accountable only through market forces and a set of contractual obligations. He thought they could be run by almost anyone – universities, corporations, nonprofits— even public school districts – if state law could be amended to allow it.

 

That’s pretty much a charter school – a privately run learning institution that’s publicly financed.

 

Why doesn’t Kolderie get the credit? Why the emphasis on Shanker who had very little to do with what ultimately became law?

 

Because Kolderie and others wanted to hide behind the union. They wanted their policy to have a friendlier public image than that of a shadowy puppet master.

 

Shanker walked right into their trap.

 

He even agreed to give another speech in favor of charter schools in October 1988 at the Minneapolis Foundation’s annual Itasca Seminar for political and business leaders.

 

With continued lobbying from the corporate sector and right wing ideologues, three years later the state was the first to pass a charter school law.

 

And the die was cast.

 

Sure charter school cheerleaders like to give Shanker the credit today, but the legislation that was eventually passed and funneled to other states through the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) had little resemblance to anything Shanker said.

 

It was the deregulation and privatization model first conceived in the 1950s, funneled through Friedman and now Kolderie.

 

And make no mistake – the overall plot wasn’t simply to enact charter schools. That was merely the foothold that enabled subsequent school voucher bills and tax scholarship plans (vouchers lite). The end game was made clear by Friedman time and again – the complete destruction of public schools.

 

While speaking to rightwing lawmakers at a 2006 ALEC meeting, Friedman explained that school privatization was always about “abolishing the public school system.”

 

Here is an excerpt from Friedman’s ALEC speech:

 

“How do we get from where we are to where we want to be—to a system in which parents control the education of their children? Of course, the ideal way would be to abolish the public school system and eliminate all the taxes that pay for it. Then parents would have enough money to pay for private schools, but you’re not gonna do that. So you have to ask, what are politically feasible ways of solving the problem. The answer, in my opinion, is choice…”

When Minnesota proposed the first charter school law, the state teachers union fought against it. But tellingly Shanker refused to speak out during legislative debates.

 

And this was due in part to the rise of the neoliberals.

 

School privatization was the brainchild of the far right. But as the ‘80s gave way to the ‘90s, so dawned a new type of political figure – the social progressive with distinctly right wing economic views.

 

In 1989 when the Democratic Leadership Council (DLC) named Bill Clinton as chairman, it also founded its own think tank—the Progressive Policy Institute. Kolderie worked closely with the DLC and even wrote its first policy paper on school privatization.

 

Clinton was an immediate convert, embracing Kolderie’s proposals as he traveled around the country making speeches even though he knew it was unpopular with teachers unions. Clinton ruffled so many feathers that Shanker, himself, commented, “It is almost impossible for us to get President Clinton to stop endorsing [charters] in all his speeches.”

 

Though the first charter school law came a year later, in 1990 Wisconsin passed the first school voucher program. Since it was pushed through with mostly Republican support, this provided cover for neoliberal charter supporters. Though there was little difference between the two policies, neoliberals could distinguish themselves by criticizing school vouchers while endorsing their ideological cousins the charter schools.

 

So we had the two major political parties both supporting different flavors of the same school privatization.

 

It allowed Democrats to stop supporting more funding for social programs and schools while weakening the main driver of such policies – labor unions. This allowed the neoliberals to be economically as conservative as their “adversaries” across the aisle while publicly pretending to support progressivism.

 

Today, there are charter schools in 43 states and the District of Columbia educating nearly three million students.

 

This does not now – and never did – represent any ideal offered by Shanker or unions.

 

His dream of teacher-run schools as laboratories of innovation may or may not have merit, but not at the expense of making different rules for different schools. Where regulation is important, it is important for all schools. Where it is too restrictive, all schools should be freed from its requirements. All teachers should be allowed to innovate and take a leadership role in their schools.

 

When Shanker spoke about “charter schools,” he was not a visionary. He was leading us down a dead end. He was foolishly offering an olive branch to an inferno. That doesn’t mean he started the blaze or even that it was his idea.

 

Yet even now you can read propaganda that says otherwise on the AFT’s own Website – “Restoring Shanker’s Vision for Charter Schools” by Richard D. Kahlenberg and Halley Potter. It’s funny how Potter, a former charter school teacher, and Kahlenberg, a senior fellow at the Century Foundation – which loves charter schools – both want to keep the happy face on an ugly idea. And sad that one of the largest teachers unions can’t face up to one of its heroes biggest mistakes.

 

If charter schools have a face, it should be Kolderie’s or Friedman’s – or perhaps it should be the industry’s most famous modern champion Betsy Devos.
Charter schools are no progressive dream.

 

They are the corporate paradise of spending tax dollars with zero accountability, zero transparency and as much deregulation as possible. They are the continued destabilization of public education in the knowledge that the edifice cannot stand without support indefinitely.

 

Public education will crumble and fall just as the architects of school privatization always knew it would.

 

Unless we take a stand and take back our power.

 

To do that we need to understand where charter and voucher schools came from and who is responsible.

 

Charter schools do NOT represent a good idea that was perverted by the corporate world. It is an essentially bad policy that should be abolished immediately.

 


NOTE: This article owes a debt to the reporting of Rachel Cohen.


Like this post? I’ve written a book, “Gadfly on the Wall: A Public School Teacher Speaks Out on Racism and Reform,” now available from Garn Press. Ten percent of the proceeds go to the Badass Teachers Association. Check it out!

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28 thoughts on “Charter Schools Were Never a Good Idea. They Were a Corporate Plot All Along

  1. Those “free” market forces need a 10,000-pound federal gorilla sitting on them to keep the vampire monsters honest and make them behave.

    The reason I put quotes around the word “free” is that “free” is a misleading word in context. “Free” really means to cheat and lie and basically do business just like Donald Trump has all his life.

    The real words should have said, “Milton Friedman’s Greed-Based Market Forces”, and Mil did infer that Greed was good. Watch the video and hear Freidman twist logic like a Gordian knot.

    Therefore, in conclusion, “free” in the private-sector corporate world means “greed” and those that worship greed are a tainted breed.

    And what is the most popular passage in the Bible, according to OpenBibe.info, warning us about greed?

    1 Timothy 6:10 ESV / 1,112 helpful votes

    “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs.”

    https://www.openbible.info/topics/greed

    Liked by 2 people

    • Every time you put up a video of Milton Freedman to prove a point, you instead make an argument against your point!
      Good riddance! You are a school teacher? Exactly that is the reason we should privatize all schools! You would not be hired by the private schools, but public schools and union support? That is your lifeline and that will save you. But it won’t save your victims of your “education.”

      Like

      • OMG, Jesse! Are you a real person? You come off like one of those Orcs from “The Lord of the Rings!” So glad a video of your god Milton Friedman gets your rocks off. And teachers bad. Unions bad. Privatization good! Thanks, pal. I haven’t laughed so hard since Stephen Colbert was on Comedy Central!

        Like

      • Jesse, I was a public school teacher in California for thirty years 1975 – 2005. I retired years ago.

        Milton Friedman was an idiot that is worshiped by greedy fools drooling over the fact that he won a Nobel Prize for Economics that basically said greed was good.

        Do you know the history behind Economics being added as a Nobel Prize in the sciences?

        Economics is not a science and Milton Friedman is one of many economists that were awarded Nobel Prices in Economics (an award that should not exist) but he is the only one we ever hear about. In fact, other winners of that prize have publicly disagreed with his flawed theories that have led to a lot of fraud.

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  2. You had me until you started pushing a myth of your own:

    “the amazing economic successes of the New Deal. Social security, strong banking regulations, deposit insurance, a minimum wage, job programs that put millions of people to work – all of that had to go in favor of right wing ideology.”

    No it wasn’t, it was WWII that pulled America out.

    As a Conservative who loves Public Schools and hates Charters/Vouchers, let me give you some advice. Tell Conservatives that Charters and Vouchers are the “darlings” of socialist European countries. It let’s those countries regulate PRIVATE schools because they are taking GOVERNMENT money (many on the Right who support privatization have not thought this through). It takes AWAY from TRUE choice and that is something real Conservatives hate.

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    • Bob, as you say there are reasons for BOTH true conservatives and progressives to dislike charter schools. They certainly aren’t fiscally responsible in any way. But facts are facts. WWII certainly helped pull the US out of the Great Depression but the New Deal was a success by every metric you can name. If you feel otherwise, feel free to send me your social security, Medicare and Medicaid benefits.

      Like

      • NC Public Charter Schools save taxpayers money.

        Hey, have you thought about why parents want different choices?

        They provide an excellent option , if only the annoying, money-grabbing teachers unions weren’t standing in the way of what parents want—CHOICE.

        Who are you to say what parents should do with their education? Don’t parents know children best, or is it you who we should trust; the taxpayer paid classroom activist knows all? Isn’t that kinda pushy for a teacher to create a role as dictator?

        How about the forgotten taxpayer? Does he want his tax bill increasing annually bc unions can never, EVER get enough of his hard earned income, or wages? When kids leave to go to tax-funded public charter schools, shouldn’t the district spend LESS?

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      • Hey thanks, NC School Choice, for making my points for me. So you think public schools’ budgets increase because of those evil unions and their greedy teachers? It has nothing to do with being forced to duplicate services at a charter school? That’s some creative math! As to choice, only 6 percent of students are enrolled in charter schools nationwide and the tide is slowing down. Parents aren’t clamoring for choices. They just want their kids to be able to go to an excellent school and when their neighborhood public school is sabotaged by inequitable funding and privileged charter school laws, they sometimes try to find other options. More often than not, it’s a temporary move and they come back to their authentic public school when they see how crappy the parasitic charter school really is. You think I don’t have a right to tell parents what to do? Of course I don’t, but I do have a right to talk about how we as a community spend our tax dollars. That money belongs to all of us and we shouldn’t be wasting it on charter schools that don’t have to have elected school boards, can cut services for kids and pocket the difference and get to decide which students they want to enroll. Sorry my article impacts your business model.

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      • Interesting, NC School Choice.

        So, teachers are greedy but the billionaires like Bill Gates, the Wal-mart Walton family, Charles Koch, et al that is funding the war against the country’s public schools are not greedy?

        Here is a comparison between those “greedy” public school teaches that work

        “The national average public school teacher salary for 2017-18 was $60,477—a 1.6 percent increase from the previous year. NEA estimates that the national average salary for the 2018-19 school year is $61,730—a 2.1 increase from the prior school.”

        http://blogs.edweek.org/teachers/teaching_now/2019/04/which_states_have_the_highest_and_lowest_teacher_salaries.html

        According to the National Education Association, “teachers spend an average of 50 hours per week on instructional duties, including an average of 12 hours each week on non-compensated school-related activities such as grading papers, bus duty, and club advising.”

        I was one of those “greedy teachers” for thirty years and I worked 60 to 100 hours a week. That puts me above the 50 hour average per week for public school teachers. Average means many teachers work more hours than the average.

        And when I retired after thirty years, I took a 40 percent pay cut and left without medical care several years before I would have been eligible for Medicare.

        The following piece from EdTech is accurate in how hard those Efing “greedy” teachers work:

        “The real teaching day is around 12-16 hours a day”

        https://edtechmagazine.com/k12/article/2013/08/how-many-hours-do-educators-actually-work

        When Bill Gates LIED in 1994 that he was going to give his money away through the Gates Foundation, his net worth was $40 billion. Today, the billionaire that boasted (LIED) about giving his wealth away is worth $105 billion.

        Forbes Magazine explains how The Gates Foundation and other billionaires’ foundations are “The Biggest and Best Tax Breaks of All Time:

        “Thus, the fact that capital gains are not taxed as long as the asset is held (and, in real estate, not even when sold if the proceeds are reinvested in a “like” asset) and the existence of the charitable donation tax deduction have provided Bill Gates with what might be called the biggest tax break in history. The federal government likely lost out on $15-20 billion. Even for the federal government that is real money, enough to, for example, run the State Department for about a year.”

        https://www.forbes.com/sites/jeffreydorfman/2017/08/13/the-biggest-and-best-tax-break-of-all-time/#5a6856462b23

        NC School Choice, I call you out. You are either a TROLL or a very ignorant fool that was easily seduced by the lied of billionaires like the Kochs, Gates and Waltons, et al.

        The war against public schools is not about the parental choice of where they want their children to go to schools. This alleged CHOICE war against the public schools is about greed, power, money and not about the children or CHOICE.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. No, they were not a corporate plot all along, despite the false narrative woven here. By neatly laying down two parallel developments, the emergence of increasingly successful efforts to privatize public services of all sorts and the ideas first set forth in Ray Budde’s book [which, I’ll note, my organization published] and embraced initially by Al Shanker [who was routinely in favor of trying alternatives/experimenting], as if the first “caused” the second, our trusty Gadfly smears the reputation of both men and then swiftly creates a new boogieman in Ted Kolderie. To what end? Whatever one thinks about charters in their current form, and I for one am not a fan [we don’t allow profit makers in Oregon], the fact remains, as Shanker said lo these many decades ago, “we should admit we don’t know how to effectively teach 80% of the kids”. It’s a sad fact that neither the NEA or the AFT have put forward a positive alternative to the way traditional public education is conducted and have been coopted into silence about the Common Core and standardized test driven practices that dominate daily life for most students. We don’t need a new boogie man, we need big ideas from educators not corporations that are always going to do what they are supposed to do – look for new markets, pursue dominance, and make money. Corporate influence and privatization is the boogie man, not charter schools.

    Like

    • Wow, David. Let me get this straight. So you say I’m wrong just because. Never mind my sources and links. I’m wrong. Fingers in your ears. Lalalalala – not listening.

      And schools should fix all the problems of society all by themselves – oh and my favorite – businesses do what they do and aren’t they great?

      I want a puff of whatever you’re smoking.

      Educators do, by the way, know how to fix many of the problems created by school privatization. Step 1 – stop privatizing. Step 2 – provide equitable funding to all schools. Step 3 – stop judging success with bogus standardized tests. Step 4 – stop segregating students by race and class. That won’t solve every problem in education but it will go a long way to solving most of them.

      Thanks for commenting.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Excellent article, very interesting to us in the UK, and here in Scotland.

    Education is a human right. To have systems where some kids are deliberately at a disadvangate is simply criminal.

    Not sure when the multi billionaires will wake up and realise that their $’s in the bank are not going to help future generations mitigate climate change, and which will without doubt impact the billionaires’ kids and grandkids, it’s bizarre that their $billions are spent making more $’s for themselves, to keep, somewhere, and for what?

    We need highly educated astute kids to be able to work out solutions to how to combat whatever is thrown at them as adults, including and perhaps mostly in fact, how to deal with runaway climate change. Humans are facing a perilous future, a good all round education, based on equality in all areas of life, is crucial. That’s not too much to ask and it shouldn’t be seen as a utopia, it should be normal.
    Thanks, Hetty.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Steve, you left out one interesting point.

    In the history of the United States there has only been one POTUS who was president of a major labor union. Yep, Ronald Reagan who was a two-time president of the Screen Actors Guild, but got to polish his neoconservative credentials by actively busting a labor union, PATCO, and setting the stage for 30+ years of decline in participation in the labor movement.

    Like

    • Thanks, Bobby. Reagan has one of those American stories with such bizarre details you sometimes lose track of them all. I’m not sure if his story is a tragedy or a comedy but it’s certainly full of pathos. Thanks for commenting.

      Like

  6. Again – a few things left out:

    The chartering idea did NOT begin with Al Shanker. In 1968, 20 years before Shanker suggested giving district educators and students more options, civil rights hero Kenneth Clark urged creation of new public schools outside the control of local district school boards. Clark was the co-author of the “doll test” that the US Supreme Court used in Brown v. Board” By 1968, Clark was so angry about how school boards were treating African American kids that he urged creation of “Alternative Public Schools” that were independent of local school boards. (sorry, this is behind a pay wall but the summary is free)
    https://hepgjournals.org/doi/abs/10.17763/haer.38.1.vj454v36776725q7

    And Rosa Parks, yes, that Rosa Parks, spent part of the last few years trying to create charters in Detroit.

    Chartering means at least one organization other than a local board will have the authority to give permission to educators to create a school.

    Before I was an urban district public school teacher, administrator and urban PTA president, I was trained by Saul Alinsky as a community organizer. One of the principles he taught was to bring various folks together.. That’s what happened and is still happening.

    Like

    • Ok, Joe. I agree with you about Shanker. That’s one of the points I make in this article. But a lot has happened since 1991. Charter schools are rife with scandal. They routinely produce worse academic results than authentic public schools. Organizers cut services to students and pocket the savings. They engage in selective enrollment and cherry pick only the most motivated and least needy students. They increase segregation. The NAACP and Black Lives Matter have both asked for a moratorium on new charters. In light of all this, do you still feel the same way about them? Do you still think circumventing an elected school board is s good idea – especially for people of color? Do you have any regrets? Some in the civil rights movement supported charters when they started but many have changed their mind after we’ve seen how they really operate in the real world. Have you?

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  7. Steven, the National NAACP has come out against charters, however a significant number of local chapters do not agree with the national moratorium. Additionally, there are large groups of black & brown educators & families who feel that traditional district schools have forgotten about them & charters are a vehicle for them to take back their education. In my state of MN the largest group of students currently enrolling in charter schools are students with IEPs. It may not have been the the original intent, but in some sectors of the country charters schools are quickly becoming the choice of historically under represented and disenfranchised groups.

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    • Peter, the decision to demand a charter moratorium was voted on by the chapters of the NAACP. It was overwhelmingly passed and strengthened in subsequent years. It is the opinion of the vast majority. I understand the skepticism some minorities have of authentic public schools because they are a reflection of the will of communities, the states and federal government. Our nation has always treated black people unfairly and that includes the school system. However, most people realize after decades of abuse by the school privatization industry that charter and voucher schools are far worse. The only chance for equity is a robust public education system not a choice of which educational apartheid organization you attempt to be allowed to be enrolled in. School “choice” is a lie. Finally, when charter schools do well, that is no argument for the model. Historically there have been benevolent dictators but dictatorship is never preferable to democracy. Good charters can go bad in a blink of an eye because they are built on foundations of sand. Our children deserve more than that.

      Like

  8. Steven, there is much disagreement between the National NAACP, which has become a pawn of the ATF, and local chapters, black educators and parents. You might consider actually talking to black families & educators.

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    • Peter, are you the Peter Wieczorek who runs North West Passage Charter School in Minnesota? I guess we see where your bias is. So those evil teachers fooled the majority of black leaders in the NAACP to vote against those wonderful charter schools, huh? Do you realize how condescending that is to black people? Do you see how ridiculous it is to pretend teachers have that kind of power? Face it, Peter, charter schools are very unpopular these days. They are in danger of going extinct not because of lies told about them but because of the truth. People are sick of this toxic school privatization policy. I hope it’s days are numbered.

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      • “People are sick of this toxic school privatization policy.”

        TRUE!

        I’m one of those people that is so disgusted with this toxic school privatization BS, that I’m ready to join the first real army that forms up to start a real shooting war, a civil war, to end the GOP’s corruption, kick Trump out of not only the White House but the United States, and then go after all the racists that support Trump and his mob and along the way target the corrupt vampires that started this war to get rid of the public schools.

        I just hope a general like Jim Mattis will lead that army to save the Constitutional Republic called the United States.

        Like

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