Monday, October 25, 2010

Are Charter Schools Really Public Schools?

Despite the booming corporate charter-voucher industry's expensive public relations campaign to convince us otherwise, the reality isn't what they portray at all. Only in the most contrived, and frankly, disingenuous fashion, could the definition of the word "public" be used to describe charter-voucher schools.

Criteria Public School Charters
Take public funds YES YES
Allow children to attend for free YES YES
Have democratically elected public boards YES NO
Have open and public board meetings YES NO
Obligated to take all children including Special Needs, Students with Disabilities, Special Education, English Language Learners, etc. YES NO
Obligated to educate every child YES NO
Are subject to all state and federal mandates like NCLB, and all provisions therein YES NO
Allow community participation at board meetings YES NO
Subject to public scrutiny under Public Records Act YES NO
Subject to public scrutiny under The Brown Act YES NO
Accept donations and direction from nefarious outside entities like billionaires with ideological axes to grind NO YES
Have unelected boards composed of CEOs, hedge fund managers, investment bankers, and other ideologically biased and dubious professions NO YES



DrWallace said...

In New York charter schools do have to conform to all of the criteria listed for public schools. And, they tend to get audited every year by the state, unlike other public schools. And, charter schools get less money per child than the more traditional public schools.
- former founder and head of a NY State charter school in New York City -

Robert D. Skeels * rdsathene said...

DrWallace's comments are specious, fact-free, and patently false. There is a vast preponderance of evidence that NY charters are just as guilty of dodging certain criteria as charters everywhere. [1] Furthermore, in addition to providing NO links or footnotes to support their wild assertions, DrWallace doesn't address the issues of privately run charter-voucher boards at all. And we all know how honest and trustworthy bankers, CEOs, and hedge fund managers are -- just look at AIG, Enron, Goldman Sachs, and Tilson Funds.

Charters get less money than public schools? Please, pray tell, let us know how you reconcile such nonsense with well documented instances of millions of extra funds being poured into Harlem Children's Zone. [2] Of course, HCZ is just one of the charter-voucher chains in New York getting millions of extra funds. Cognitive dissonance yet DrWallace?

For all the audits you claim corporate charter-voucher schools in New York are subject to, there seems to be some real discrepancies. How do you explain the bounty of school scandals in New York City and New York State [3] if the audits are so effective?

We know that all of you that have already made or are current making your fortunes in the lucrative charter-voucher sector will go to any length to defend your corporate cash cow, but until your vapid comments are well documented, substantiated, and peer reviewed, we'll take them for what they are -- a public relations campaign to mitigate the well deserved public perception of charter-voucher greed.

DrWallace, are you a bare-faced liar or just woefully misinformed? One thing's for sure, if you are the former founder and head of a charter-voucher establishment in NYC like you claim, then you are rich!
[1] The Death and Life of the Great American School System: How Testing and Choice Are Undermining Education by Dr. Diane Ravitch is a good place to start
[2] See or of course millionaire and Guggenheim action figure hero Canada is known for his smooth moves:
[3] for more on New York Charter School malfeasance in general see