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Growing Evidence that Charter Schools Are Failing


Growing Evidence that Charter Schools Are Failing

Paul Buchheit

In early 2015 Stanford University's updated CREDO Report concluded that "urban charter schools in the aggregate provide significantly higher levels of annual growth in both math and reading compared to their TPS peers."


Conservatives have such a short-spanned and selective memory. Before public schools, all schools were private. There were problems with that; read your history. Public schools solved those problems. Going back to privatizing schools only returns us to those problems. Its going backwards, not forwards. If there’s a problem with a public school district, then fix the problem. Instead, conservatives use the existance of problems as an excuse to create a cash cow - privatizing. I don’t call that good leadership.


It would appear that 3 motives essentially fuel the charter school movement:

First, the profit motive: It enriches those running the charters and those promoting the agenda of privatizing all of those entities formerly run by a government system at least partially accountable to citizens/voters.

Second, as Janine Wedel explains at length in her research book on The Shadow Elites, when former government services become privatized, the chain of accountability is lost or purposely muddled.

Note the kinds of money that have disappeared through privatized war operations, bailouts to private bankers, and to the management of these often fly-by-night charter school operations.

Third: It would appear that some interests, global corporatists, in particular, genuinely wish to bludgeon the Middle Class in all sorts of ways. How better to eviscerate the benefits accrued over time by and through “The New Deal”?

One angle of this attack on the Middle Class is sending jobs that formerly made FOR a middle class–which is itself a laboring working class–to foreign cheaper ports of call. What NAFTA began TPP and TIPP will escalate.

Another angle of attack is to ruin Public Schools so that the next generation is so poorly educated, it won’t be able to understand the graft and corruption stemming from “high places” that makes life miserable for so many.

The late Supreme Court Justice Brandeis explained that there could EITHER be vast concentrations of wealth OR Democracy. Not both. The Piketty Study proves that wealth has of late become vastly concentrated while our very own Superior Court stooges gave Big Money a total pass–via “Citizens United”–to purchase elections and through them, policy.

Sociopaths are driving the agendas and the problem is largely global in scope.

There is a more opaque 4th component and it ties in with the wishes, on the part of many, to turn our nation based upon a wall between church and state into a Christian Theocracy. I watched a guest on Abby Martin’s R.T.V. show explain the 7 greatest threats to U.S. Democracy and high on the list was the Christianization of U.S. armed forces.

Several years ago I read a scathing report on the use of Christian ministers–in the Air Force–called into convince young drone pilots that dropping deadly ordnance on foreign citizens was “what Jesus would do.”

When the NAME of God is used to glorify killing… that is what I mean by Mars rules. This has NOTHING to do with the actual teachings of Jesus. And when individuals who lack critical thinking skills, particularly if they come from fundamentalist religious backgrounds (where from a tender age they are taught NOT to question authority figures, and taught to OBEY the so-called “word of god”) are told that war is sanctified by God and some kind of new Crusades/Holy War… they fight harder.

NOTHING can be more diabolical. And in fact, this diabolical imperative IS driving much of U.S. militarism today. I can’t begin to express how morally and spiritually sick it all is.


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The article makes generalizations about charter schools without breaking down the real data.

Of the charter schools that were fraudulent or not transparent or were failing, how many were non-profits? Were they all corporate chain charter schools or were some community based? Were any of them run by Teachers’ unions? Were any of them unionized? Is the record of other public schools any better on issues of fraud and transparency? Don’t public school districts also get grants from the same evil foundations as the charters? Are they more or less privatized?

Why do so many parents send their children to charter schools—as in Oakland where the majority of charter school students are Latino, Asian and Black? Are the parents satisfied with their child’s education? Do they regret not sending them to one of the failing public schools?

Charter schools ARE regulated and can be closed by School Districts who choose not to renew their charter - as in the case of the notoriously corrupt and misnamed American Indian Charter School in Oakland, CA.

The charter school issue is complex and in need of a serious analysis that is free from generalizations and rhetoric about privatizers (who also fund other public schools).


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My teenager attends a charter school in a low income rural area. It’s one of the top schools in the state. It’s also a non-profit. It gets less money per student than the traditional schools in the area but outperforms all of them. Parent volunteers and a volunteer board help make up the difference in funding.

I think people need to differentiate between non-profit and for-profit charter schools. They have very different goals and methodologies. The goal of the for-profit schools is to maximize profits, the goal of the non-profits is to provide the best education possible for the students.

Don’t toss the baby out with the bathwater.


Systic ping.


this is yet another overblown generalization. While some or all of those three motives may be part of the ‘charter school movement’ you insult the thousands of parents who have chosen to send their children to charter schools. That is the number one driver of the ‘charter school movement’ - that parents are dissatisfied with the other public schools and find that sometimes charter schools are a better fit for their kids, or enable them to get involved more easily than other public schools.

It’s not just about evil privatizers and corporate interests with an agenda - sure, they may want to exploit the situation and profit, and they may want to push an agenda as they fund traditional public schools through grants, but charter schools are popular among many parents.

The author of the original article never mentions parents or the fact that the community based charter schools in many districts (like Oakland, CA) are majority Latino, Black and Asian and parents find the schools to be doing a better job than the other traditional public schools.


You’re relying on an unlimited free enterprise model where competition would drive companies to produce better products. What actually happens is there are a limited number of charters approved to start with and the for-profit companies merge until what little competition there was to start with disappears.

How, in a market where you can’t sell more, do you make more profit? You cut costs. You don’t pay as much. You use teaching models that require fewer living wage earners.

“For that matter, how does any company in the long run maximize profits by not providing the best possible good or service for its customers?”

Look at the health insurance companies. Look at the prices before Walmart kills off all of a town’s small businesses and its prices afterward. Look at price fixing among airlines.

How can anyone but a free market fanatic seriously ask that question?


Walmart kills off competition by artificially lowering prices until the Mom and Pop shops are gone and then raises them after they’ve killed off the competition. And nice job or giving them a pass on wages so low their employees need government assistance.

Companies like Walmart should have their charters revoked. They don’t contribute to society, they just pillage it.

You free market nutcases ignore the fact that it’s a fish eats smaller fish deal where in the end only out of control giants remain.


Simply put, K through 12 is a 650 plus billion dollar public expenditure and the rich want it. I teach college and could tell you more, but I fear for my career now because they are corportizing my college. The first thing that corporations do is diminish the importance and value of the individual.


There are LOTS of statistics that PROVE that charters do not live up to their reputation for improving upon a damned thing.

Most charters screen out kids with disabilities.

Charters are not forced to utilize standardized tests. In other words, they escape accountability to educational standards used on public schools.

Parents often use charter schools to get away from the racially mixed composition of urban communities.

I can tell that you are a shill, so I am not going to waste my time refuting your Talking Points point for point.

Diane Ravitch has laid it ALL out. You want to make a case based on falsehoods. You could care less about the FACTS.

Do you moonlight for Monsanto and the bio-tech firms, too? Or merely push the Charter School Agenda for personal profit?


Seriously? You teach college but you can’t spell or write a complete sentence. C’mon.


Accounting. It seems to me that we should be friends and not critics of one another?


No, you can’t tell that I am a shill, since I am not and you don’t know me or my experience, plus you missed my point entirely. All the generalizations about charter schools gloss over the reality that they are not all the same.

In my real world experience - not based in dogma or political grandstanding and selective data mining used in the original article - parents in Oakland, CA, choose charter schools not to get away from racially diverse schools, but because other public schools aren’t a good fit for their kids’ education. All the charter schools in Oakland are racially diverse, majority Latino or Asian or Black. The white parents who want to ‘get away from the racially mixed composition…’ send their kids to PRIVATE schools.

You may be correct about other areas that aren’t as progressive as Oakland, but that’s my point: you can’t generalize and paint charter schools with one broad brush; some are community-based and progressive and some are run by corporate chains. The ones who are not transparent, or that exclude disabled students or fight unions should be challenged and exposed, or have their charters revoked. The growth of charter schools is driven by parents as much as or more so than any of the privatizer agendas cited.

According to the article, and maybe you, the Charter Schools organized by Teachers Unions should be shut down.

Your bizarre attack and accusation that I shill for Monsanto is absurd and reveals a lack of critical thinking. I am a vegan who eats all organic food and has had an organic garden for over 50 years. Other than that, I fart in your general direction.


Google “Walmart Predatory Pricing”


Oh, like only rich kids could afford to attend private schools for one.
Are you aware of the problems that a society has when the majority of society cannot read or write? Do you not pay attention to what people say about such countries today?
Do you realy need a high school history lesson?
Did you not pay attention the first time around?
Or did you attend a private school?
And being a staunch capitalist, can you explain how a profit motive is suppose to guarantee that a private school will outperform a public school? Seems to me it would be counterproductive trying to maximize the profit margin to keep investors happy. Schools would be even less willing to spend money on books and supplies in order to maximize the profit margin.


I readily admit my satisfaction when I read articles like this. When the charter movement started I said oh no, and I couldn’t get over how readily people accepted it. I am not happy to see students floundering but I sure am pleased to see the veil brought up on this insidious project. I wonder how long it will take to get rid of every single quasi-privatized public school, Not soon enough for many of us.