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We would like to give a shoutout to the Worcester City Council, and in particular newly elected District 2 City Councilor Candy Carlson, for urging Charlie Baker to put a cap on charter schools. Because there has never been a bigger scam in the history of education than charter schools. Conservatives love to make fun of Bernie for his magic pixie dust that will give everyone free stuff, and they are right to do so because it’s silly. But charter schools are no less silly, and anyone with a brain should be able to see right through that. Here are 10 reasons why you’d have to be a moron to think that charter schools are a good thing.
1. Charter schools can be selective.
Charter schools claim they’ll take anyone, but many of them have entrance exams. Regardless, the mere fact that parents sign their kids up for charter school lotteries shows that they are more invested in their children’s education than some deadbeat who hasn’t seen their kid’s report cards since 9/11. Charter schools are nothing less than publicly funded private schools. Charter schools enroll between 0-7% of students with disabilities (mostly mild), while public schools in those districts enroll over 13%. Charter schools have disproportionate amounts of special education and ELL students as well. You cannot consider yourself a public school if your student population doesn’t reflect the public it serves. That’s because charters are publicly financed private schools.
2. Charter schools can kick kids out.
If a kid acts like a constant dooshnozzle, or is failing all his classes, or is chronically absent, a charter school has the ability to dump that kid and bring in a new kid who actually wants to be there. Public schools don’t have that option and are left with whatever is left over. The more charter schools we create the more we are destroying public schools.
Charter schools choose their own management structure: 67% of all charter schools are independently run non-profit, single site schools; 20 percent are run by non-profit organizations that run more than one charter school; and just under 13 percent are run by for-profit companies. As we’ve learned from Mosaic, there is nothing non-profit about non-profits.
4. Charter schools don’t get results.
Because of the obvious advantages charter schools have with more parental involvement as well as parental and student contracts, charter schools should be destroying public schools on performance on standardized tests. But they’re not. On average nationwide charter schools perform about the same as public schools do. In some regions public schools perform better, and in others charter schools perform better. It’s embarrassing and humiliating that charter schools are not destroying public schools in test scores, considering all of the advantages they have.
5. Charter school teachers are Teach for America scabs who can’t get real teaching jobs.
One of the driving forces behind charter schools is to destroy teacher’s unions. Teachers bargain their contracts and expect districts to follow the contract. Charter school teachers are grossly underpaid and non-unionized, so charters have the ability to arbitrarily extend the school day, increase health insurance contributions, and even decrease salary, without any input from the teachers. As a result, no one with a brain or any self respect teaches in a charter school for too long. If they were qualified, they would work in a public school where salary is more appropriate for a professional with a Master’s Degree, and contracts are collectively bargained. Turnover is extremely high, and thus charter schools are reliant on young, fresh out college, inexperienced, Teach for America novices to educate their kids.
6. Charter school boards are not elected and thus are not accountable to the people.
We elect a School Committee in Worcester and they ultimately set policy in the public schools. Charter school boards are appointed and accountable only to those who have invested in the school. As a matter of fact here is a link for you if you wanna open up your own charter school. Ya got that? You can just go online, start a school, and take money away from public schools if you wanna make a quick buck. This will happen all the time if the cap on charter schools is lifted.
7. Charter schools are not subject to laws that limit the amount of suspensions they can dish out like charter schools.
Public schools are handcuffed by state laws that limit the amount of suspensions they can give. Charter schools suspend students at a significantly higher rate than public schools, and push them out if the suspensions continue. When you get rid of all your problem students, you are no longer a public school because public schools are forced to take all students. Charter schools are nothing but private schools financed by the taxpayers.
8. If every publicly funded school became a charter school, then there would be no more public schools.
One of the reasons politicians (particularly conservatives like Charlie Baker) are so obsessed with charter schools is that they believe the free market model of competition will breed success. This works in business, but it doesn’t work with schools. If it all went as planned charter schools would perform better than public schools and public schools would be shut down after chronic underperformance. Eventually there would be no public schools and every school would be a charter. What would happen then? Where would all the bad kids go? Wouldn’t that just make charter schools the new public schools? Wouldn’t they then be forced to follow the current guidelines that public schools are forced to adhere to? Popsicle headache.
9. Charter schools take money away from public schools.
Public schools are underfunded enough as it is, but on average a public school loses $5,000 worth of funding for every student who leaves that school and enrolls in a charter. Because the money follows the student. Don’t like the fact that your kids are going home begging for supplies for their classroom? Don’t support charter schools.
10. They pay their directors ridiculous salaries.
Check out some of these job listings for charter school executives on Indeed. Charter schools have CEO’s because they are businesses and our children are their product. If a product isn’t selling then they get rid of that product. They pay themselves whatever the unelected board wants to pay them, and since they are funded by not only taxpayer dollars but also money from wealthy philanthropists, these salaries can get pretty high. Washington D.C. spends over $600 million a year on charter schools, and the charter school CEOs get paid in upwards of $350,000 a year. There is also no way of tracking how charter schools are spending taxpayer money and the frequently do not respond to Freedom of Information Act requests. They are paid by the taxpayers but are not accountable to them in any way. Eva Moskowitz, the chief executive of the nonprofit Success Academy network in Newark, made $578,420 last year. Geoffrey Canada, CEO of the nonprofit Harlem Children’s Zone, made $553,000 last year.
The bottom line is that Turtleboy would support charter schools if they did the following:
- Chose their students completely at random without any entrance exams or lotteries that require parents to sign up.
- Charter schools have a proportional population to the public schools in terms of SPED and ELL students.
- Charter schools are not allowed to kick kids out who are chronic behavior problems.
- Charter schools are forced to follow state laws limiting the amount of suspensions they can give out.
- Charter school boards are elected by the public.
- Charter school expenditures are publicly viewable.
- Salaries for charter school CEO’s fall in line with public school principal salaries.
- Charter school teachers are held to the same standards that public school teachers are in terms of licensure.
- Charter schools cannot accept money from philanthropists who seek to have influence on the way the school is run.
But as all know they wouldn’t do those things because it would defeat the purpose of having charter schools. Because at the end of the day this is just about giving parents in urban environments an alternative to going to North or South High School. But as a South High graduate I can tell you that if you want to learn, and you want to get an education, you have all the resources to do so. You have a faculty of qualified, dedicated teachers who have a passion for helping kids learn. Classes in public schools still use tracking, so if your kid is an honors student they will not be in class with all the yo-yo’s.
The argument I heard on the Jim Polito show this morning was that if you live in a district where the public school is a zoo, you should have an alternative. This of course is bullshit. Don’t like your public school? Then you were an idiot for buying a house there. Public schools are the FIRST THING we look at when we go home shopping. There’s some nice lake houses in Spencer, but we would NEVER consider buying one of them because it would mean our kids would have to go to school in a district where adults don’t care about kids.
Great job by the Worcester City Council for taking a stand against this scam and standing with the hard working teachers in the Worcester Public Schools.
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