Why charter schools are not public schools

Why charter schools are not public schools

Here’s the shortest, simplest list of talking points I can craft.

1) Charter schools use public tax dollars, but are not accountable for how those dollars are spent.

Charters don’t have to tell how they spend public tax dollars. Not a cent of it. In fact, they have gone to court to defend their right to stay unaccountable to elected officials.

2) Charter schools are run by unelected persons who are unaccountable to the voters.

Charter school boards are not elected. Charter corporation executives may not even live in the community where the schools operate. Charter boards do not have to open their meetings to the public– ever. If you are a parent with a child in the charter, your only “voice” is to pull the child out. If you are a taxpayer without a child, you have no voice at all.

3) Charter schools do not have to accept all students.

The most basic promise of public schools in the US is that they must take every child in their community. Charters do not have any such requirement. Besides pushing students out, charters can use targeted advertisement and demanding application processes that push away the less desirable students.

4) Charter schools are business-centered, not child-centered.

Charter advocates will claim that only a small percentage of charters are for-profits, but a noon-profit charter is just a charter that doesn’t have to share its profits with shareholders.

Yes, teachers and educators in public schools make money from working there. But if a teacher wants a raise, she must bargain for it with elected representatives of the taxpayers. Because of 1 and 2 above, charter leaders can give themselves as much of a raise as they like. For charter operators, every dollar spent on a child’s education is one less dollar they get to pocket.
Posted by Peter Greene at Monday, March 14, 2016