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Elizabeth Warren Clarifies The Charter Schools Debate


Elizabeth Warren Clarifies The Charter Schools Debate

Jeff Bryant

Are charter schools a “progressive” idea for education? Some progressive sources would have you think so, but other progressives have challenged that framing.


In Georgia, the research lab for corporatist ideas (first to use un-auditable computers for voting in 2000), there is a proposed Amendment to the Georgia Constitution, that would (1) set up a state wide “school district” separate from the existing schools & Dept. of Ed. that would (2) be run by an appointee of the Governor who would then (3) “take over” “failing schools”, as defined by (4) the “independent” school superintendent, and (5) assigned to for-profit corps to operate the schools which would be (6) funded out of the local school budget from local taxes. This “jewel” has been labeled the “Opportunity Schools Initiative”. The amendment is full of weasel words, fuzziness and obfuscation; just what is needed to take money from underfunded public schools and put it into the pockets of for-profit companies and CEO who just happen to be big donors to gubernatorial candidates. The next step will be to set up a special fee/tax to “adequately” fund these schools so that the profits are sufficient to keep the CEOs able to live the good life.



Public education is failing because our government, controlled by oligarchs, is failing. You cannot reform one without reforming the other, and all the talk about reform of education is simply chatter, nothing else. The goal of the ruling class is to destroy public education, turn it over to private interests to make as much money as possible, while quality education exists for only the rich in private schools.


Another dumb idea from the state of Georgia. Fighting for the South during the Civil War was another.


Exactly! I believe you. It breaks my heart to know what is going to happen to young parents trying to make ends meet in the future with there school age kids. The billionaires, and the people who work for them like Campbell Brown who are going about destroying public schools for a quick buck, pathetic. I read Chicago’s Mayor Emanuel closed 50 public schools in one day, and is forcing the kids to go long distances in the snow (Chicago winter) through unknown gang neighborhoods to what? A corporation charter school, when there old public school most likely was just around the corner from where they live. Somebody got richer off the backs of these public school kids in Chicago. Obama, Emanuel, Duncan all have connections in Chicago, makes one wonder.


Charters schools are just another means Third Way “New Democrats” blur the distinction between the old Democratic Party, that worked on behalf of labor and the people, and the Republican Party.

These charter schools exist as a mechanism through which the wealthy siphon tax money away from public schools.

It’s the wealthy elite vs the American people and we are losing.


AS Robert Kennedy remarked “the strangest thing about the Civil War was that rich white southerners got poor white southerners to fight for them” and their plantations.


The whole notion of charter schools is entrepreneurship, and there’s always failure in that kind of venture. But when the experimenting is done with tax dollars, diverted from public schools, and with the lives of children, it is unacceptable. As the OP article notes, quoting Warren, the dollars diverted to charters leave public districts with fewer resources with which to innovate and saddled with the most difficult students, including those who fall out of charters along the way.

And please think twice before you dismiss Warren’s clear work on this topic and others (ask Mr. Strumpf how she changes things; the key phrase is “claw back”). Get over your hurt feelings.


Correct. Good public education is essential for a successful democracy, and needs to be good enough that nearly everyone WANTS it for their children (which was the case in earlier years- Bill Moyers has written about his childhood on this). Schools need to be funded and teachers respected and encouraged, not denigrated as is now the trend.


Jeff Bryant: “Over 150 Massachusetts communities, at last count, have gone on record to oppose Question 2, no doubt due in large part due to the financial impact charter schools have on school district funding levels.”

As per Metro West Daily News editorial:
“Are suburban school committee members, who think themselves champions of education, telling those urban parents to be satisfied with what they’ve got? If not, they ought to explain why they are going out of their way to deny educational opportunities to poor and minority children in the state’s toughest neighborhoods.”

As per this week’s Bay State Banner:
A “yes” vote on Question 2 is a vote for academic innovation…One test result that should be of special interest to African Americans is that more black Brooke students topped the math test than the total number achieving that result in grades 3 through 8 in all Boston Public Schools. At Brooke, 109 black students attained Level 5 in math compared to only 75 in the whole BPS system… Vote ‘yes,’ for the children’s sake."

Jeff Bryant: "As a recent news source in Northampton reports, six nearby charter schools are projected to drain $2,279,216 from the district’s budget, "

Ballotpedia’s Verbatim Fact-Checking Desk has examined the claim: “Do Massachusetts charter schools “drain” funding from traditional public schools?” and determined it to be “technically true” but “misleading” and “false”.

Jeff Bryant: “As a public school loses a percentage of its students to charters, the school can’t simply cut fixed costs for things like transportation and physical plant proportionally.”

I find it hard to square that whole argument with the fact that there are a vast variety of sized independent school district. I have seen no evidence that the largest are the most efficiently operated. Yes, it takes some resources to alter size either up or down. Massachusetts has provided far more generous supports to ease the transition than other states. If it still is impossible for large urban districts to effectively adjust to changing enrollments, that would seem to be a symptom of a dysfunctional system that may need alternatives to provide stimulus for improvement.

Jeff Bryant: “Boston charter schools are far more likely than traditional school systems to suspend students”

here seems to be, if anything, an inverse correlation between suspension and either attrition or unexcused absences.

“Boston Charters Have Better Stability, Attendance, Unexcused Absence and Dropout Rates.

  • Boston charter schools also have a higher stability rate—the rate at which students stay in the same school for an entire school year—than BPS (92.2% to 86.5%), as well as higher attendance rates (95.4% to 92.2%), fewer unexcused absences (19% to 32.3%) and far lower dropout rates (4.7% to 0.9%).

"While Boston Charter Schools Have Higher Suspension Rates, They Have Lower Attrition Rates.

  • Data does not show a causal relationship between out of school suspension and students leaving school. In fact, despite have a higher out of school suspension rate (12.6% to 4.8%), far fewer children leave Boston charter schools than their district school peers (9.3% to 14.2%).”

Jeff Bryant: “Based on recent research conducted by classroom teacher and PhD candidate Mark Weber, who blogs under the moniker of Jersey Jazzman, every Boston independent charter high school has a higher student attrition rate than their public school counterpoints as a whole…”

That was a defective analysis as explained in the comments section. Weber merges loss of students with incoming transfers to create misleading results in respect to loss of students. According to our state department of education, attrition rates are substantially lower at Boston charter schools than at Boston traditional public schools.

As a new user here, I’ve been required to remove all links to substantiating materials, but those should be relatively easily found by using a search engine for the quotes.


If you want an excellent analysis of the fallacies of school choice, then read the linked article. A few things worthy of mention: First, NONE of the people pushing choice have enrolled their own children in these “no excuses” factory styled programs. They are for other people’s children, not their own. No excuses treats children as if they were criminals needing constant behavioral control, as do the educational methods used in such places. Second, Parents have never been allowed to have a say in what the choices would be that are presented to their communities to be chosen from. Whenever they do make their actual choices known in the face of this, especially if the choice is to improve their existing public schools, they are ignored and their right to have a say in their children’s education is rejected. Choice is a lie of the kind that seeks to convince chickens to vote for Colonel Sanders.
As a new user (who has read this site for years) I am not allowed to include the link, so search on “Horace Mann League: Asymmetric Information, Parental Choice, Vouchers, Charter Schools and Stiglitz”
It’s well worth the read.