First published on K-12 Wire on August 26, 2016
“Fraud is a feature of deregulation, not a bug. When no one is looking, some people steal. Not everyone steals, but many do. That is why Ohio, Florida, Michigan, and California are scamming taxpayers.” — Professor Diane Ravitch
The vile poverty pimps and privatization pushers of the lucrative charter school industry were infuriated when John Oliver had the temerity to speak truth to their power. Given their fortunes at stake, the charter sector has launched an unprecedented attack on the truth teller. The Network For Public Education has begun a letter writing campaign to counter that of the well funded efforts by the school privatizers to silence Oliver and other public school supporters. Not one to use boilerplate text, I composed my own thank you note, reproduced here.
Dear Mr. Oliver:
I've spent the past two decades of my life researching and writing about the lucrative charter school industry. For many of those early years I, and a few others, were subjected to scorn and abuse for our audacity to speak truth to power.
My motivation has always been to defend those with the most to lose because of the charter project's existence—students with disabilities (SWD), students with disciplinary issues, low-performing students, and so on. All these students are discriminated against because they threaten charter school revenues.
Today our voices are no longer alone, ignored, or silenced. The recent NAACP announcement, and your brilliant segment are testament to that. I understand that the charter industry has been launching vile attacks against you for exposing their insatiable greed. Please know that people of good conscience stand behind you. The neoliberal corporate education reform project backing the charter industry puts profits before pupils, and that's unacceptable.
It's time to end the horrifically failed charter school project, and turn our attentions to public schools.
Thank you for your courage.
Robert D. Skeels
Juris Doctor Candidate