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Sat Sep 21, 2019, 04:59 PM

Charter Schools Were Never A Good Idea, Corporate Plot To Privatize & Make Money

Last edited Sat Sep 21, 2019, 09:31 PM - Edit history (1)

"Charter Schools Were Never a Good Idea. They Were a Corporate Plot All Along." The concept always was about privatizing schools to make money. By Steven Singer, Common Dreams, Sept. 19, 2019.

America has been fooled by the charter school industry for too long. The popular myth that charter schools were invented by unions to empower teachers and communities so that students would have better options is as phony as a three dollar bill. The concept always was about privatizing schools to make money.

It has always been about stealing control of public education, enacting corporate welfare, engaging in union busting, and an abiding belief that the free hand of the market can do no wrong. Charter schools are, after all, institutions run privately but paid for with tax dollars. So operators can make all decisions behind closed doors without public input or accountability. They can cut student services and pocket the difference. And they can enroll whoever the heck they want without providing the same level of education or programs you routinely get at your neighborhood public school.

In essence, charter schools are a scheme to eliminate the public from public education paid for at public expense.

But whenever anyone brings up these facts, they are confronted by the bedtime story of Albert Shanker and his alleged advocacy of the industry. So grab your teddy bear and put on your jammies, because here’s how it goes: Once upon a time, hero president of the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) Al Shanker had an idea. He wanted to make laboratory schools where educators would be freed of regulations so they could experiment and find new pedagogies that worked. Then these innovations could spread to the rest of the school system.

One day in 1988, he gave a speech at the National Press Club and subsequently published a column in the New York Times advancing this idea. And he called it – Dum, Dum, DUM! – charter schools! The second act of the story opens in the mid-1990s when Shanker had largely turned against the idea after it had been co-opted by business interests. He dreamed of places where unionized teachers would work with union representatives on charter authorizing boards, and all charter proposals would include plans for “faculty decision-making.” But instead he got for-profit monstrosities that didn’t empower workers but busted their unions.

If only we’d stuck with Shanker’s bold dream! Or at least, that’s how the story goes. Unfortunately it’s just a story. It’s not true. Hardly a word of it. Shanker did not come up with the idea of charter schools. He wasn’t part of the plan to popularize them. He didn’t even come up with the term “charter school.” If anything, he was a useful patsy in this stratagem who worked tirelessly to give teachers unions a seat at the table where he then discovered they were also on the menu.

The real origin of charter schools goes back decades to at least the 1950s and the far right push for deregulation.



-- Charter schools are a scheme to eliminate the public from public education paid for at public expense.

When the afterglow of the atomic bomb and the allied victory in Europe had faded, there was political backlash at home to roll back the amazing economic successes of the New Deal. Social security, strong banking regulations, deposit insurance, a minimum wage, job programs that put millions of people to work – all of that had to go in favor of right wing ideology. A cabal of mostly wealthy, privileged elites wanted to do away with these policies in the name of the prosperity it would bring to themselves and their kind. They claimed it would be for the good of everyone but it was really just about enriching the already rich who felt entitled to all economic goods and that everyone else should have to fight over the crumbs.

Never mind that it was just such thinking that burst economic bubbles causing calamities like the Great Depression in the first place and made the conditions ripe for two world wars. Show me the money! However, this really didn’t go anywhere until it was combined with that most American of institutions – racism. Even before the Supreme Court’s 1954 Brown vs. Board decision struck down school segregation, many white people said they’d never allow their children to go to school with black children.

In the South, several districts tried “freedom of choice” plans to allow white kids to transfer out of desegregated schools.

In 1952 and ’57, governments in two states – Georgia and Virginia – tried out what became known as the “private school plan.” Georgia Gov. Herman Talmadge and community leaders in Prince Edward County, Virginia, tried to privatize public schools to avoid any federal desegregation requirements. Each student would be given a voucher to go to whatever school would enroll them – segregated by race. The plan was never implemented in Georgia and struck down by the federal government in Virginia after only one year as a misuse of taxpayer funds.

But these failed plans got the attention of one of the leading deregulation champions, economist Milton Friedman. He sided with the segregationists citing their prejudice and racism as merely “market forces.” In his seminal 1955 tract, “The Role of Government in Education,” he wrote: “So long as the schools are publicly operated, the only choice is between forced nonsegregation and forced segregation; and if I must choose between these evils, I would choose the former as the lesser. Privately conducted schools can resolve the dilemma … Under such a system, there can develop exclusively white schools, exclusively colored schools, and mixed schools.”

Throughout the 1970s, school voucher proposals were widely understood as a means to preserve school segregation, according to education historian Diane Ravitch. But they couldn’t gain any traction until privatizers came up with a new wrinkle in the formula – the charter school.

Charter schools are really just school vouchers with more money and regulations.

In the case of vouchers, we use tax dollars to pay for a portion of student enrollment at private and parochial schools. In the case of charters, we use tax dollars to pay for all of a student’s enrollment at a school that is privately managed. The only difference is how much taxpayer money we give to these privatized schools and how much leeway we give them in terms of pedagogy.

Charter schools can do almost whatever they want but they can’t blatantly teach religion. Voucher schools can. Other than that, they’re almost the same thing.

In order to get the public to support school privatization, Friedman thought we’d need to convince them that they didn’t need the burden of self-government. This was especially true of minorities. In his 1981 book Free to Choose, Friedman and his wife Rose suggested the necessity of convincing black voters that they didn’t need Democracy. School privatization could be pitched as a system that would “free the black man from dominion by his own political leaders.”

The opportune moment came in 1983 with the publication of the Reagan administration’s propaganda piece A Nation at Risk. Using bogus statistics and outright lies, the report painted our public school system as a failure and set up the false urgency that school deregulationists needed.

From this point forward, a series of supply side lawmakers, policy wonks, economists, billionaires and CEOs came out of the woodwork to push for school privatization which culminated in the first charter school law in 1991 in Minnesota. In the middle of all this tumult came Shanker’s National Press Club speech in 1988. Ronald Reagan was still in office and it’s hard to overstate the threat he posed to unions having infamously fired more than 11,000 striking air traffic controllers.

Shanker was trying to ride the tide of public opinion in favor of deregulation and privatization. He accepted the bogus criticisms of schools in A Nation At Risk and offered to restructure schools to fix the problem. Like so many union leaders after him, Shanker gave away much of the power of his people-driven movement so as not to come across as obstructionist. He didn’t think teachers unions could oppose the rising tide of privatization without offering innovations of their own.

It’s true that he called these reforms “charter schools” but he didn’t invent the term. He borrowed it from a little-known Massachusetts educator, Ray Budde, who meant by it something very different from what it has become. Budde thought school boards could offer “charters” directly to teachers allowing them to create new programs or departments.

Shanker’s proposal wasn’t nearly the first time a public figure had suggested restructuring public schools...

More, https://www.commondreams.org/views/2019/09/19/charter-schools-were-never-good-idea-they-were-corporate-plot-all-along

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Nation_at_Risk

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Reply Charter Schools Were Never A Good Idea, Corporate Plot To Privatize & Make Money (Original post)
appalachiablue Sep 2019 OP
LakeArenal Sep 2019 #1
appalachiablue Sep 2019 #2
LakeArenal Sep 2019 #9
keithbvadu2 Sep 2019 #3
in2herbs Sep 2019 #4
appalachiablue Sep 2019 #5
in2herbs Sep 2019 #8
appalachiablue Sep 2019 #11
in2herbs Sep 2019 #12
appalachiablue Sep 2019 #14
applegrove Sep 2019 #6
appalachiablue Sep 2019 #7
applegrove Sep 2019 #10
appalachiablue Sep 2019 #15
applegrove Sep 2019 #16
appalachiablue Sep 2019 #17
applegrove Sep 2019 #18
applegrove Sep 2019 #20
appalachiablue Sep 2019 #23
applegrove Sep 2019 #24
d_r Sep 2019 #13
appalachiablue Sep 2019 #19
d_r Sep 2019 #21
appalachiablue Sep 2019 #22

Response to appalachiablue (Original post)

Sat Sep 21, 2019, 05:00 PM

1. Yep.

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Response to LakeArenal (Reply #1)

Sat Sep 21, 2019, 05:04 PM

2. A very revealing and in depth article about the long term and devious

plans to subvert and destroy the American public school system for profiteering.

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Response to appalachiablue (Reply #2)

Sat Sep 21, 2019, 05:48 PM

9. Wisconsin has known this for sometime

I agree with you totally.
The post said it very well.

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Response to appalachiablue (Original post)

Sat Sep 21, 2019, 05:09 PM

3. "Accountability" - the key word.

"Accountability" - the key word.

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Response to appalachiablue (Original post)

Sat Sep 21, 2019, 05:15 PM

4. I have never liked charter schools. This was my biggest gripe about Obama cuz he supported

them and appointed people to ensure their continued longevity.

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Response to in2herbs (Reply #4)

Sat Sep 21, 2019, 05:18 PM

5. Arne Duncan, Rahm Emmanuel and other Dems. became supporters

which is concerning.. AND Michelle Rhee, Chancellor of DC Public Schools (2007-2010)?!

..In August 2014, Rhee became a board member of the Scotts Miracle-Gro Company. She also replaced Jim Scheible as chairman of St. Hope Public Schools, a charter school chain run by her husband, Sacramento mayor Kevin Johnson, and subsequently announced that she would be stepping down as CEO of StudentsFirst. On March 29, 2016, StudentsFirst announced some of its state chapters would merge with 50CAN, a nonprofit education advocacy group based in Washington, D.C.

On November 19, 2016, Rhee met with President-elect Donald Trump and Vice President–elect Mike Pence, sparking speculation that she was in consideration for Secretary of Education; Rhee later tweeted that she was not interested in pursuing the position.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michelle_Rhee

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Response to appalachiablue (Reply #5)

Sat Sep 21, 2019, 05:44 PM

8. AZ Gov. Ducey and the R legislature are trying to allow the payments for charter schools

that Arizonan's pay to go to other states in support of charter schools.

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Response to in2herbs (Reply #8)

Sat Sep 21, 2019, 05:58 PM

11. Pfft, no way..

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Response to appalachiablue (Reply #11)

Sat Sep 21, 2019, 07:17 PM

12. They are going to try to do it with the use of vouchers which will allow out of state school

attendance.

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Response to in2herbs (Reply #12)

Sat Sep 21, 2019, 09:32 PM

14. Clever, they don't let up

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Response to appalachiablue (Original post)

Sat Sep 21, 2019, 05:27 PM

6. Canada has great public schools. Conservative Premier of Alberta has

just announced that public schools in his province of Alberta are not to use the word "public". I wonder why?

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Response to applegrove (Reply #6)

Sat Sep 21, 2019, 05:33 PM

7. Not surprised about fine schools, good for Canada. The con premier

and war on 'public' schools-- good luck with that!

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Response to appalachiablue (Reply #7)

Sat Sep 21, 2019, 05:52 PM

10. Yes. Canadians are 2/3rds left or center-left. We have you to learn from.

Alberta has always been an outlier because of the cowboy oil texas US influence. When the US wanted to astroturf Milton Friedman in canada they went to Calgary to start 'the Calgary School' of economics. The man currently running for Prime Minister for the Conservatives gets all his ideas from for Calgary School previous PM Harper. Fortunately the wedge issues they have imported from republicans only serve to divide themselves right now. At least most wedges.

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Response to applegrove (Reply #10)

Sat Sep 21, 2019, 09:43 PM

15. I like what I see there for a number of years, esp. with the bizarre

direction the US has been taking for several decades.

Years ago I saw Vancouver from Seattle briefly and Ontario from Detroit as a child. That's it unfortunately, but maybe there'll be another chance to visit, esp. Quebec which I'd like to see. There were quite a few Canadians on holiday in the Bahamas, the Fla. Keyes and Caribbean a while back as I remember.

A couple posters here have discussed and linked articles by Scott Gilmore with Macleans mag. about the Cascadia mvmt. on the US west coast and some possible annexation of it and maybe Boston and NY. Interesting but I don't know how popular or likely that scenerio would be.

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Response to appalachiablue (Reply #15)

Sat Sep 21, 2019, 10:21 PM

16. Trump is way more unpopular in canada than the US. Republicans too. And

gerrymandering we hate. It is cheating pure and simple. We see what it has done to you. We want to help but we don't want to get closer. Cascadia with ny and mass would be great in a dream. All places where civic engagement is high and people aren't brainwashed into destroying their liberal democracy by voting for republicans and then feeling bitter when they have less chance at the american dream. Already Ontario and Quebec have done environmental deals with California. So we can do some stuff together. Hydro quebec is there after every hurricane in the US it seems, fixing the power lines. When we had the ice storm in ottawa and 1/2 of the branches here broke their were guys with chainsaws and trucks from the US in a matter of days. I feel sorry for Democrats in the US. It is traumatizing to have your democratic world destroyed by selfish, manipulative, grifters. We all need to fight the right right now because the world needs the USA's leadership. Family was in Washington for a summer job and was awed by the talented people they met there. You will lead the world again. You will be a liberal democracy. And then maybe we can go back to dreaming and making fun of each other as things are not so serious. For now we fight the good fight.

Montreal and Quebec City are wonderful. Well worth a trip. European culture and food. Oh the food.

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Response to applegrove (Reply #16)

Sat Sep 21, 2019, 10:48 PM

17. Well expressed and thanks for your spot on sentiment and analysis.

Glad to know that Canada and progressive parts of the US have collaborated on environmental issues as well.

My generation, the parents and grandparents got the best of the US on the way up from late 19th c. and into the 20th c. It's the younger folks in the family, and elsewhere, both here (and all over!) who will have a terrible time existing in a demised democracy converted into an authoritarian, greedhead society, if that's where we're headed. And it looks that way as of now, although I hope I'm wrong. ~ Can a country like this really be influenced by one RW, propaganda tv channel?! Based on some posts I've read here today it seems so.

The Wash DC area does have many extremely bright and dedicated people still committed to perserving systems of liberal democracy and governance. We'll see how it goes and perhaps I can get up to Quebec before long to enjoy the vibes and culture. Best!

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Response to appalachiablue (Reply #17)

Sat Sep 21, 2019, 10:59 PM

18. Fall is best. Gatineau Hills, Laurentian mountains are just about to turn to colored

leaves.

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Response to appalachiablue (Reply #17)

Sat Sep 21, 2019, 11:32 PM

20. In some way the movement conservativeon the right in the USA had to wait for the greatest generation

to age past 85 to really do this social engineering experiment. People did not put up with McCarthyism very long before rejecting it en mass in the 50s. They knew Hitler and like characters. Really there is good and bad with every generation. The people who came to be before the 1950s were maybe not as naive as there was an evil man in every town and they had been through at least 2 wars. They had stories and sayings and names for con men and their actions that we are just relearning right now. I watched MASH and they used the term flim flam man and gaslighting and like terms in the script quite often. In other ways the older generations lived with unrecognized privilege if they were white men. So we are better off now with our knowledge. But if the right wing ignores that knowledge with a specific agenda in mind then we are back to bad times in the past. Really USA used to manufacture for the world and didn't compete with europe (after wars), asia or the communist block so there were excess good manufacturing jobs and union barganing power. Those workers were lucky and unlucky (many did not come home from the wars or came home damaged). So good and bad. Lucky and not so lucky. Wise and naive. All of us. Because we are human beings.

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Response to applegrove (Reply #20)

Sun Sep 22, 2019, 07:23 PM

23. Yes there were multiple forces that led to more conservative economics

from the era of Reagan-Bush- Thatcher and also New Dems and so-called New Labor of Tony Blair. It was all out roll back the New Deal and embrace full blown Free Market Economics. Also steady gains in advancing far right social conservatism were achieved as we're seeing in full tilt now.

With the decline of the Greatest Generation and their values, there was also the demise of the Soviet Union in the late 80s and early 90s. This major development was promoted as beneficial to the expansion of democracies at the time, yet look where we are now. The US is no longer ranked a full democracy according to the EIU Economics Intelligence Unit and other standards. And that's troubling.

I appreciate your thoughts on these issues, thanks for the tips on Quebec and for posting the 'Mother Earth' video.

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Response to appalachiablue (Reply #23)

Sun Sep 22, 2019, 07:49 PM

24. De rien!

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Response to appalachiablue (Original post)

Sat Sep 21, 2019, 08:02 PM

13. I would love for all of you progressive and kind people

to please tell my two children why they shouldn't be able to go to the charter school that is a wonderful environment for them in so much better than the county public school they were enrolled in before please explain to them why they shouldn't have that opportunity and why they shouldn't be able to go to an innovative and caring school that is run more cost-efficient Lee then the county schools are you look at them in the eye and you tell them that they shouldn't be able to go to a school with a small classroom with teachers know them teachers who make the same salary as those in the county schools where they know them where they care about them where they follow them closely you tell them that they don't deserve that because you read some s*** on the internet.

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Response to d_r (Reply #13)

Sat Sep 21, 2019, 11:12 PM

19. There's no problem as far as I'm concerned if kids attend schools

that meet their special needs, religious or other requirements. There have always been private schools and educational centers to serve these kinds of concerns. But it doesn't have to come at the cost of dismantling and defunding the entire American public school system which has been advanced in the most deceptive and underhanded way, all for profit in the last several decades. 'Restructuring,' 'reforming' schools et al, just call it what it is- destroying the system for the sake of private for profit.

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Response to appalachiablue (Reply #19)

Sun Sep 22, 2019, 03:50 AM

21. Their charter school

Is a public school.

There is no profit.

Look. Their school gets the same per pupil funding.

The teachers are paid same rate. Same benefits.

The school pays for busses to run through all county. Because school is open to whole county.

They have smaller class sizes. They have amazing resources for students with special needs, IEP or ,504.

And out of that same budget the school pays their own building. No special taxes or bonds to build a building.

They are able to do that because they aren't paying a ton of overhead to over priced adminstration at Central office.

Do the math. All states different, our state is low but $9000 per pupil. There is extra money for title 9 and for iep. 15 kids per class is 135,000 per classroom. Teacher cost 80,000 leaves 55000 per classroom. Now why does your kids class have 25 kids in it and their teacher make 35000?

Who is making profit?

How is a bunch of over priced administrators ok but dedicated educators using innovation in small school setting a for profit model? How is graft and flunkyism at Central office ok but families having a choice to work with teachers to build a a school a for profit model? How is building a public school that actually serves children and families rather than treating them poorly destroying public school system? It IS public school!! Being administered by central office shouldn't be only way!

Talking of religion, profit etc. Is obfuscation. Look you may have actual experience with charter schools in your area that are like you describe and of so you should work to change your state laws. But you are not describing the schools in my area and so from my perspective this description is not true.

Maybe you have a school system that isn't de facto segregated, where schools are equally funded, where parents don't have to go to federal court to fight for inclusion of their child, where corporal punishment isn't dealt out disproportionately, where the central office isn't a funding hole; but not everyone does.

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Response to d_r (Reply #21)

Sun Sep 22, 2019, 03:25 PM

22. Sounds like heaven, and the commitment energetic.

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