The concept of charter schools is a much talked about subject. They are gaining in popularity and heartily endorsed by the Libertarians, Tea Party and Republicans who believe in privatization of schools, or perhaps more accurately, do not believe in public schools. The concept is being touted as so beneficial, and such a good solution to public school problems, that many Dems and Independents are giving it a good look.
My red flag can’t help but go up when I see funding coming from from corporations, their right-wing foundations and other billionaires, and even hedge funds. In addition, they qualify for government funds.
With so much at stake, reports of impressive results becomes vitally important. Unfortunately, when lots of money is involved, and the potential for huge financial gains in the future, dishonesty can run rampant. It is not surprising that charter schools are being caught cheating, distorting reports, hand-picking students and other dishonest manipulations. Combine picture perfect conditions and cheating together, and no wonder some of these schools are reporting astonishing results for all to see.
Here is an example of what happened in L.A. as reported in the Huffington Post:
The Los Angeles Board of Education voted on March 1 to close down six charter schools all run by Crescendo Schools, the Los Angeles Times reports.
The schools have been accused of cheating to boost students’ performance on annual standardized tests. The schools’ founder John Allen allegedly instructed teachers to open sealed state tests and teach students based on the tests.
The students showed incredible gains on tests, but Crescendo teachers alerted LAUSD officials that they were being told to cheat to achieve those results.
The Los Angeles Times detailed the cheating in an article one day before the school board voted to close down the schools over the accusations.
While charter schools are being pushed to do whatever necessary to show they are superior, public teachers – and all public workers for that matter – are being demonized as the cause of budget problems. A coincidence? No way.
Corporations, who exist to make huge profits, hire executives who can make millions in salaries and bonuses, and pay politicians to keep them as tax-free as possible, have made it obvious their goal is to privatize everything that exists from water, land and air to services and resources. At the same time, they want a government powerless to regulate them, but willing to obey them.
Just ONE executive paid $500 million could hire 10,000 teachers at $50,000 per year. People like the wealthy Koch brothers are spending millions to back Scott Walker – money that if they really cared about education could be going to benefit struggling public schools. With future money the obvious incentive for corporations, and not quality or customer service, why would anyone trust a corporation to teach all of our children in a fair manner?