The national debate over so-called 'education reform' has come into sharp relief in Philadelphia, where a pro-charter, non-profit organization has offered the cash-strapped city school district up to $35 million to enroll an additional 15,000 students in new charter schools.
And when the charter closes it doors without advance notice leaving its former students "out in the cold,’ the public schools, their administrators/staff and teachers that take the students back are financially burdened and classrooms are then overcrowded. The vast majority of charter school organizations are owned/funded by hedge funds whose only interest is making a profit and they see mountains of profit to be made from “privatizing” education while using easy access to public funds…they don’t even have to reach into their own pockets yet reap huge profits. Sending ones’ child to charter school is analogous to going out to dinner and everything on the menu being ala carte: busing costs, extracurricular activities cost, supplies cost, and the list goes on ad infinitum. The quality of education (student success) in charter schools has been proven over and over again to be sub-par or much lower than that of their public school counterparts. The teachers are not vetted for education/experience nor are they paid/compensated on par with public school educators (low overhead is the operative word). And the supposed state/district regulatory oversight varies dramatically from state to state.
Profiteering at the expense of the lives/quality of life of the parents and their children is abominable and reprehensible.
It seems to me that there is an effort in the U.S. to privatize everything- have big corps take control… food-Monsanto, banks-One of the big 6…Healthcare-Big Pharma… Foreign Policy-Military industrial complex and now schools. The mega rich power hungry want to swallow up our schools… get that $700 billion in public funding under their control. I’m writing about – How it is working, what is happening Free online here. I’m a teacher of 30 years.http://weaponsofmassdeception.org/
My daughter attends a non-profit charter school in a rural community and it’s one of the best schools in the state. For-profit public schools, like for-profit health care systems, work against the interests of those they serve. If we had truly competitive business environments for these industries that wouldn’t be the case, but we don’t. Because in business the big fish eat the smaller fish until you are left with either one big fish or a few colluding. And when you have no competition to get new customers the only way to increase profits is to start providing less goods/services and/or increase prices.
So I oppose for-profit charter schools and for-profit health care.
But to me opposing true non-profits is throwing the baby out with the bathwater. Many public school systems have over-large entrenched bureaucracies that care for nothing more than keeping their power and keeping things as they are. They aren’t responsive to parents and don’t care about students. The spend a lot on administration and a little on teachers. Non-profit charter schools are different. They’re often started by involved groups of parents who want to do better for their kids. They don’t have large organizational structures to support and try to do the best they can for teachers because they want the best teachers for their kids.
So I think the progressive community’s opposition to all charter schools is an error. There is a big difference between charter schools that are “in business” to make a buck, and those that aren’t. Non-profit charter schools encourage parental involvement and are free to experiment with innovative teaching methods and curriculums. They can find and formulate new best practices that can, eventually, be adopted by larger, less agile systems.
Don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater.
“Non-profit”, as we’ve seen with many nominal charities need mean no more than that they pay the staff the money that the owners would otherwise get. The parent-owned schools would be better described as co-op schools or even, horrors, socialist schools.
I’m 100% certain that you’re right: the rich want to “enclose” all commons for their own profit. When they “enclose” a commons that we must continue to use, they guarantee themselves an income in perpetuity–how much better than that could it get for greedy, lazy criminals?
Yes, Perhaps there should be a word for true non-profits that are actually interested in accomplishing something other than avoiding taxes or getting donations/grants.
The real problem is not public schools, but thinking that private and charter schools will somehow produce better educated kids. The problems stem at home for the most part:
-With 50% of all marriages ending in divorce, that means at least 50% of the kids are adversely impacted by their parents’ change in marital status and the economic fallout that will come.
- At least 50% of all kids live in poverty and that means a lot of hunger. Hunger’s adverse effects on school performance is well documented.
- At least 50% of all household with kids have alcohol, rx drug use or illicit drug use and the negative impacts on the kids both mentally and economically are well documented.
- Domestice abuse, verbal abuse, sexual abuse and outright physical abuse is present in a lot of households; this makes the kids scared, hungry and often ill. Sick kids do not do well in any educational environment.
- Lots of kids are subject to parental neglect in terms of supervision, spiritual direction, economic support, emotional support and lack of a creative outlet in during the school day or week.
- Then there are the cell phones, tablets, computers, TV, cable, etc. All which cause distraction before, during and after school and well into the night.
The charter school movement cannot “fix” these problems and that is several reasons why their performance outcomes are rarely better than the public schools.