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Vote ‘No’ on Charter Schools


Vote ‘No’ on Charter Schools

Jonathan Kozol

It's not easy to compete with buckets of money pouring into Massachusetts to convince the public to lift the cap on charter schools but, as a former teacher who has worked for more than 50 years with children in the nation’s schools, here’s my entry into the debate.


There will be those who insist that charter schools are the best thing since rubber tires, but their values aren't the same as everyone else's. Their values are trying to break down anything that has even a small resemblance to government promoting the common good. This has to be replaced by something that makes money for some uberrich fat cat.

Back when charter schools were just getting going, it was noticed that their effect was to promote segregation. They were found primarily in communities where there was a mix of ethnic groups, but not in communities that were homogenous. Examples are the strong charter movement in AZ vs. the minuscule movement in ME. Parents promoted them as a way to get their children away from exposure to "the other."

Experience here in TX shows that scam artists and fraudsters flock to the charter school movement because it is a way of making easy money. Also, there are a whole boxful of ways that the situation can be milked for personal gain. Charter school directors decide their own pay scale. They can appoint family to the board of directors and to administrative positions that have no work requirements. They can rent their own building to the school. They can write their own procurement requests. They can cut spending on things like libraries and computers, and they for sure don't hire good teachers with what they're willing to pay. Here in TX the amount of fraud in the charter schools is many multiples of what occurs in the public school system.