Charter schools serve profit margins over public service

March 20, 2014 

We hear a lot of rhetoric promoting charter schools, to "give children a choice." But the facts don't match the rhetoric.

There are good charter schools, but on the whole, privatizing schools is a bad deal for kids and parent-taxpayers.

Here's why.

Public schools are a public service, which shouldn't operate on a business model. Privatizing a public service creates a conflict of interest -- profit over service -- and profit always wins.

Charter schools attack the professional status of teachers. In charters, teachers become technicians with heavier workloads, poor pay and benefits, and no freedom.

Good education requires good teachers, not clerks.

Corporations also want to weaken teacher unions, who mainly vote Democratic; and to profit from what should be a public service, controlled by the people.

Enemies of public education purposely underfund schools so they can accuse them of failing. This strategy, often used to destroy a government service, is called "starving the beast."

Charters cost more. Typically a charter uses public facilities -- for free. Facilities receive little or no maintenance, and down the road when corporations move out, they leave us with the repair bills.

They cherry pick students so they don't have to deal with expensive ones -- disadvantaged or handicapped ones. There is little oversight or control.

Yet they still don't perform any better than public schools.

"Experts" running school reform have it wrong. Schools usually fail because of conditions beyond their control, such as being located in poor neighborhoods.

Scapegoating teachers is easy, but it doesn't address the real problem -- poverty.

However, instead of listening to educators and attacking the real problem, school reformers have listened to corporate shills who stand to make a profit from privatizing schools.

If we want to continue being a democracy, we better support the institutions that make democracy possible instead of handing them over to corporate control.

Myra Jones


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