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

Originally published at http://www.commondreams.org/views/2019/09/19/charter-schools-were-never-good-idea-they-were-corporate-plot-all-along


Excellent and comprehensive truth on the public rip-off they call “charter schools”! This essay and the truths behind it should be required reading so more and more people will see the enormity of the scam and who is behind it.

In the case of public education the forces pushing for privatization, and subverting government and politicians, have notably included hedge-fund operations; accumulated wealth that has the power (thanks in part to the reduction in taxation by corrupt politicians) to subvert society and the interests of public institutions for their own private gain tha does nothing for society - it continues the making of wage and debt/interest.slaves of the public to enrich the 1%.

The for-profit entities and people behind the for-profit “charter school” scam and they manipulated self-serving narrative behind them reminds me of the “choice” argument trotted-out by opponents of Universal not-for-profit single-payer health care insurance parasites. People and corporate entities that claim “choice” of the public should not be infringed - the truth is that claim is BS in health care insurance and for profit schools!

Public education and health care, among others are institutions that serve the public and should be controlled by the public via their government; they must not be allowed to be “privatized” (and some should be nationalized!) - “privatization” is the mantra of the parasite “free-trade” right and other greed-driven extremist vulture capitalists. Their threat to society was articulated best by FDR in his statement:

“The first truth is that the liberty of a democracy is not safe if the people tolerate the growth of private power to a point where it becomes stronger than their democratic state itself. That, in its essence, is fascism – ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power… Among us today a concentration of private power without equal in history is growing.” FDR


Charter schools may have been perverted by corporations. However, we can’t forget that hippies had a lot to do with demanding alternatives to public schools because they didn’t want to “subject their children to brainwashing.” Congratulations… Now our public schools get even less money to operate on.

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If only making money were the primary motivation!  The REAL driving force behind the Charter School movement – and the primary reason that right-wing wackos like Mike Pence are pushing them – is to DESTROY public education.   Betsy DeVos’ main job is not to make money for her korporate buddies; her main job is to turn as many of our kids as possible over to church-affiliated charter schools for brain­washing by those far-right Funny-Dementalists who want to turn America into a “christian” theocracy.  If her korporate pals can skim off some of OUR tax money which is being illegally given to the church-run schools for use to destroy what’s left of “our” democracy, why that’s just ‘Frosting on the Cake’ so far as she is concerned.

Yes, congratulations . . .  Now their children can be even more thoroughly brainwashed by the self­proclaimed “christian” right!

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Thank you Mr. Singer for another educational essay. I enjoyed it every bit as much as your past works, or perhaps moreso as I have actually worked as a teacher at a charter school, and your words ring very true indeed as to the concept’s flaws.

I didn’t last long at that school, primarily because I had one sole focus and do not possess a personality type compatible with bureaucratic meddling. I was fired by the CEO, consoled by the principal, and later re-hired by the founder (he and the CEO were ‘at war’ over differences of opinion, he being a Ph.D in education and the CEO being…well…I shouldn’t say the word in this forum) in a freak series of events.

As I often tell students about my experience, the goal of a school is to educate, and the goal of a business is to make money, and when those goals don’t match, the profit motive nearly always takes precedent. This is fundamentally wrong, and subverts everything positive about the quest for knowledge from Plato to Aristotle, Confucius to Mencius, from Quine and Austin to Chomsky.

Thank you for sharing your perspective. If I may ask, you wrote about midway into the document that after Shanker gave a speech at the October 1988 Itasca meeting: “And the dye was cast.” Did you mean to use the word “die,” or have I missed something in your use of the word “dye?” Teach me, teacher.

We love our charter school. There is no “corporate greed” because there is no one person who gets to put any so called profits into their bank account. There is no Union (thank God) so we have only the best teachers who want to be there.
I know that public schools are losing popularity because they have failed our children for so long. Make your bed and lay in it.


We had to leave the public school in our area of MN because our children were not learning to read and write! Our children all have dyslexia and public school administrators in MN have refused to acknowledge or address it. I believe the public school system is far more beholden to corporations like book and curriculum publishers than the charter schools my children currently attend. Mn law requires charter schools to be independent school districts and that requires charter schools to follow all civil rights and disability laws. This essay is not legally accurate. Further, private church schools getting vochers are certainly not rolling in the money. I think this debate of ideas is important. However I don’t think this article is really honest to the reality. FYI I am an attorney who has represented families in IDEA compliance cases.


Kmt, it breaks my heart to learn that your childrens’ needs were not being met to the extent that you had to choose another–possibly more expensive–option for their education, but thank you for enduring that difficult choice, because I want you to know I believe you did the right thing. Every child is unique, and in my experience every school is too, along with every teacher, principal, and learning environment. I also want you to know I agree with you that public education (especially since the scourge of Common Core came along) is far too ‘beholden’ (absolutely correct term, by the way) to corporations of all ilk. I have a niece who scored 1588 on her SAT, while her younger brother struggles immensely to get by, and my sister is tortured to cope with helping: these are the failings of the public education system, not the fact that they are public. Public education is the best option for most, as long as it is not strangled and mis-managed. Charter schools (Waldorf is a fine example: many of my ESL students here in Taiwan are lifelong Waldorf students, and they freakin’ amaze me on a daily basis) can be done right, but my own experience tells me they can also be done spectacularly wrong.
Despite your honest and credible statements, Mr. Singer’s article is not as inaccurate as your short comment might imply. I have been on both sides of the great divide, and although I am not a parent, I can tell you from firsthand experience that the charter school system is as he stated rife with opportunities for corruption, and that is sadly more common under DeVos’ ‘leadership’ as SoE than we should allow as a nation. I believe in the idea of charter schools, but they too must not be allowed to be ‘beholden.’
I wish the very best for your children. Parents who are thoughtfully engaged in their childrens’ education are my favorite people.


I agree @tjhannan01, I attended a Charter School and loved it. My cousins in the areas public school were learning stuff I had learned a year before!


I support the teachers’ unions.
I support public schools too.

My daughter is thriving in her charter school, I tried placing her in a local public school and she cried every day. Luckily her charter school took her back without having to go back on a waitlist. It’s hard to agree with this article because my daughters experience has been amazing at her charter school she is in a STEM program which she is thriving in and the climate of the school is all about morals, respect ,grit and courage. I’m a happy parent with a happy charter school student.


Both of my kids are in a charter school and I love it. It is a hundred times better than the local schools around me and I wish to see more of them.


You are so off base it’s not even funny. charter schools are required by law to maintain at least a 10% better average state test score the new local schools they compete against. Both my kids are in one and it is the best school around. Mr. Pence wants a better education for all those who need it. It is well known that our public school system in this country is a disgrace.

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A law that is seldom – if ever – enforced.  Statistics show that MOST (not all) charter schools, especially the for-profit ones that are siphoning much-needed funds away from our public schools, are performing well BELOW the average public schools (poor as the latter are).

Either you are very lucky to have your kids – like my niece & nephew – in one of those rare non-profit and secular schools organized by caring parents, or you have already been brainwashed yourself and endorse the proselytizing of your poor children by a pro-theocracy “christian” cult.

BULLSHIT!!   As with his buddy Tweetle-Dumb – to whom he has apparently sold his soul – what Mr. Pence SAYS and what Mr. Pence DOES are two radically different things.  Mr. Pence and his hench­person Ms. DeVos are on record in many public & semi-public venues (meetings of the AMWAY cult,
for example) as working to eliminate ALL our public schools and replace them with institutions run by their fellow-traveler “christian” Theocrats.

Having taught MANY years ago in the Los Angeles City Schools, I couldn’t agree more. The anti-tax ‘Pooplickins and their Tea-Bagger allies have reduced school funding to the point that those teachers who care about their students are now forced to spend a portion of their own meager salaries on basic classroom supplies.  It’s a vicious circle – the lower teachers’ salaries the fewer intelligent people want to spend their lives teaching, so the worse the schools become and the less willing the public is to sup­port them and the lower the salaries become . . .   The ILLEGAL diversion of public monies to Church-Sponsored charter schools and the outright theft by crooked for-profit charter schools exacerbates the problem.

Many of the charter schools’ defenders are paid corporate astroturf trolls.

There are almost certainly some right on this thread.


I have been working for a charter school for four years. We are encouraged to join a union to protect ourselves from over zealous parents who may or may not want to harm us professionally/personally.

I have been an educator for 17years. My current charter has been very good to me. There has not to my knowledge been one instance in which a child was ‘rejected’ based on academics. I have taught more non English children in this school than my other 13 elsewhere.

I believe there are schools out there that are toxic environments for both children and adults. Why can’t we the people have a right to choose?

I work very hard to educate every student who walks through my door and we all offer the services needed for each child as specified. I am tired of the same old outcry. You try doing the job of any public education employee.


I work at a charter school. I am confused why so many people use terms like “corporate” and “for profit” in conjunction with charter schools. A charter school, at least in my state, is a public school. If a student wants to enroll, we don’t get to say no. We use all of our funding to educate students. There are no profits. The history presented here sounds well researched, but it does not accurately portray current charter school structure.