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New Layers of Dirt on Charter Schools


New Layers of Dirt on Charter Schools

Paul Buchheit

An earlier review identified the "Three Big Sins of Charter Schools": Fraud, a Lack of Transparency, and the Exclusion of Unwanted Students. The evidence against charters continues to grow.


"Privatization-loving billionaires who believe their wealth equates to educational wisdom" actually believe the portion of their wealth they invest in charter schools will be very profitable, more so than "educational wisdom".

The billionaires know that increasing market share enhances profits so they are pushing to put enough charters in place to serve all the easy-to-serve students while leaving the few remaining schools to serve the problem cases.


Public education (K through 12) is a 650 billion industry and the rich want it. It is that simple. My grandson goes to a charter school and every week there is something he must buy that costs between 20 and 60 dollars and the two men who run the school are always talking about money. They actually complained about student absences costing them money, approximately $20,000 per year, because they don't get money from the State of Texas when a student doesn't attend.


Why would anyone who isn't a Capitalist tool support charter schools?
Or for that matter any industry that is owned by only a small group of Capitalist investors?
The CEO's of health insurance corporations make hundreds of millions of dollars in salary and benefits each year. Do they deliver health care to any patient?
What useful purpose does any corporate CEO serve?


Making their way around every inch of our lives, soaking every dime out that they can get their greedy hands on. Education is a big money pot for them, our children be damned.
Charters are big in Denver, they are presented as a chance to send your kid to a private school, (you know, like the rich kids get) so unsuspecting parents see it as a plus. Then when the child doesn't do so well and has to go back to public school they are farther behind. Only one of the many negatives that are never explained.
Every election the school board asks for more money but you never see improvement in the public schools so that money is going to charters.
It's exhausting trying to get people to see through the constant barrage of lies we are fed every day.
If it seems like people are just going crazy these days, they are. It's like living in a house of horrors in this country.


Education must be viewed, treated and protected as one of the public "commons." Otherwise, education will be treated as any other business to generate ever-increasing profits in that the reduction of expenses will always take precedence over providing a quality product or service. That is part of the inherent nature of capitalism.

That being said, there has to be a complete rethinking of what education is, the objectives of education, and how to most effectively and efficiently provide the type(s) of education needed. Today's system is broken and not meeting the needs of society.

As a nation, we cannot continue to defund or under-fund education. The results of starving the public education system of money is having a tremendous negative affect on the system and its results.

The whole education system, as it is now (whether it be a public system or a privately owned and administered charter system) is producing a young adult who is far from being prepared for the responsibilities and challenges of adulthood. Furthermore, this deficiency is not restricted to K - 12 education, it is appallingly apparent at the university level where it produces an individual who only has the skills for a select occupation and nothing else. Two examples:

  • I was a business owner for 32 years. My last two hires for an office manager and a specialized account manager required better-than-average writing and communication skills. It took 213 pre-selected applicants, most of whom were graduates of the local private university, to fill these two positions. Most didn't have any idea at all of how to compose and format a very basic business letter.

  • I had a client who was the department head at the University of Illinois. Literally, he was a rocket scientist. He worked on projects with NASA. Unfortunately, this gentleman couldn't balance a checkbook or handle his personal day-to-day finances.

I have heard people mock a liberal arts education while advocating the need and requirement of specialization. While I realize the validity of a specialized education in certain fields, I also realize that our current education system is developing select-skill workers who are absolutely clueless about everything else in life outside their area of specialization.

I certainly hope that today's university graduates are able to earn a far-higher-than-average income because many of them don't have the know-how on performing many adulthood tasks or performing basic maintenance or repair work around the home ... a skill that nearly everyone had two generations ago. These "educated specialists" will need to hire someone to do the most basic of projects associated with adulthood and owning a home ... like completing a tax return, fixing a leaky faucet, unclogging a drain, or replacing a light fixture. An ungodly amount of money will go to paying others to do things they should know how to do.


Without critical thinking skills we are all doomed.
And the process of critical thinking is no longer being taught in our schools. Especially in the charter schools.


Agreed. What I see, mostly through tutoring and some research interviewing with very young children, is more emphasis on performance than understanding, and critical thinking is way outside the galaxy. It also makes kids frantic about getting "the right answer," said the right way. We don't realize how such pressure gets in the way of real learning.


To answering the question the "right way" it can get absurd.

I do not recall where I read it or the exact particulars but apparently the following example off a common core test for grade 3 students.

A child was asked to use multiplicative addition to show 5x3 =15

The child answered 5+5+5= 15 and was marked wrong.

The correct answer was 3+3+3+3+3 = 15

Go figure.


Well, I'm afraid recalling where you read it is pretty crucial, and I wish the bogey of "common core" weren't brought into it.

What I was talking about comes, for instance, from I child I was tutoring (back under No Child Left Behind), whose teacher had used a very creative (for 3rd grade) science "experiment" to see how chewing gum changed when it was ... well, chewed. At first I was impressed that she was talking about "mass," but when I used the word "weight" in trying to help her understand how to write up her findings, she exclaimed, fear in her eyes "Oh no! We didn't measure the weight, only the mass." She had no idea what mass was, and the whole exercise had been a waste. Similarly, she couldn't answer end-of-the-chapter questions from her textbook unless she could find the exact words in the text. She was not synthesizing or learning, only trying to absorb all the right answers.


The original purpose of charter schools was a private testing ground of new educational theory and practices. An environment independent from government regulations that could then pass off the results of its testing to benefit the broader public school districts. This was actually a good, honest, and effective strategy. But those charter schools were not thought of as permanent but as experimental. This new wave of privatization is exactly what it seems (bad), but it would do us good, imo, to change the narrative back to 'temporary' charters and 'health' general education.