FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Rethinking Charter Schools

by SETH SANDRONSKY

Keeping the Promise? The Debate Over Charter Schools (Rethinking Schools, March 2008) details a growing trend in U.S. public education. That is the chartering of public schools to non-profit and for-profit operators.

To this end, six essays and one interview flesh out the relevance and significance of the charter school movement. Charter schools, begun two decades ago to spur innovation in learning and teaching, have been a force to push out labor unions. It is common for teachers at charter schools to be at-will employees, with no job protections. However, not all charter schools are union-free. It is worth noting that there are teacher’s unions in charter schools. A case in point is Boston’s Pilot Schools, begun 13 years ago, according to Dan French, an author, educator and contributor to Keeping the Promise?

Crucially, contributors to the book—educators, parents and researchers—localize the factors and forces involved in the rise of charter schools from the East Coast to the Midwest, South and West Coast. This is a strength. It can help readers to get a better sense of the over-all national trajectory of public school policy.

In Ohio, David Brennan’s White Hat Management, a for-profit charter school firm, drew on his political ties to the state’s former GOP Governor George Voinovich and the Republican Party. This visible hand helped Brennan to shape state education policies which facilitated his educational entrepreneurship. In New Orleans, public officials and charter school operators exploited the awful devastation from Hurricane Katrina and shameful reaction of FEMA to turn the city’s schools upside down. Consider this. “In one short year, New Orleans had become home to the highest concentration of charter schools in the nation,” writes Leigh Dingerson, a community organizer, educator and co-editor of the collection, along with Barbara Miner, Bob Peterson and Stephanie Walters.

American citizens with scant economic and political power, non-whites last hired and first fired in the labor market, are often easy pickings for charter school operators. These entrepreneurs do not proceed alone as they compete in the mythical marketplace of free competition between buyers and sellers of goods and services. To the contrary, charter school operators across the U.S. can and do turn to well-heeled donors. One of note is Microsoft Corp. founder Bill Gates. In 2003, his largess helped propel former NBA-All Star Kevin Johnson to charter Sacramento High School, located in a low-income, multi-racial neighborhood. The school is operated by Johnson’s non-profit St. HOPE Academy, under a continuing federal probe for how it spent $800,000 in federal funds from 2004 to 2007.

The contributors to Keeping the Promise raise crucial questions of equity and fairness in education policy. This arena of struggle reflects the national class divide, the widest among developed countries worldwide.

SETH SANDRONSKY lives and writes in Sacramento. He can be reached at: ssandronsky@yahoo.com.

 

Your Ad Here
 

 

 

 

More articles by:

Seth Sandronsky is a Sacramento journalist and member of the freelancers unit of the Pacific Media Workers Guild. Emailsethsandronsky@gmail.com

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

June 22, 2017
Jason Hirthler
Invisible Empire Beneath the Radar, Above Suspicion
Ken Levy
Sorry, But It’s Entirely the Right’s Fault
John Laforge
Fukushima’s Radiation Will Poison Food “for Decades,” Study Finds
Ann Garrison
Jeremy Corbyn, the Labour Party, and the UK’s Socialist Surge
Phillip Doe
Big Oil in the Rocky Mountain State: the Overwhelming Tawdriness of Government in Colorado
Howard Lisnoff
The Spiritual Death of Ongoing War
Stephen Cooper
Civilized, Constitution-Loving Californians Will Continue Capital Punishment Fight
Bruno Rodríguez Parrilla
Cuba Will Not Bow to Trump’s Threats
Ramzy Baroud
Israel vs. the United Nations: The Nikki Haley Doctrine
Tyler Wilch
The Political Theology of US Drone Warfare
Colin Todhunter
A Grain of Truth: RCEP and the Corporate Hijack of Indian Agriculture
Robert Koehler
When the Detainee is American…
Jeff Berg
Our No Trump Contract
Faiza Shaheen
London Fire Fuels Movement to Challenge Inequality in UK
Rob Seimetz
Sorry I Am Not Sorry: A Letter From Millennials to Baby Boomers
June 21, 2017
Jim Kavanagh
Resist This: the United States is at War With Syria
James Ridgeway
Good Agent, Bad Agent: Robert Mueller and 9-11
Diana Johnstone
The Single Party French State … as the Majority of Voters Abstain
Ted Rall
Democrats Want to Lose the 2020 Election
Kathy Kelly
“Would You Like a Drink of Water?” Please Ask a Yemeni Child
Russell Mokhiber
Sen. Joe Manchin Says “No” to Single-Payer, While Lindsay Graham Floats Single-Payer for Sick People
Ralph Nader
Closing Democracy’s Doors Until the People Open Them
Binoy Kampmark
Barclays in Hot Water: The Qatar Connection
Jesse Jackson
Trump Ratchets Up the Use of Guns, Bombs, Troops, and Insults
N.D. Jayaprakash
No More Con Games: Abolish Nuclear Weapons Now! (Part Four)
David Busch
The Kingdom of Pence–and His League of Flaming Demons–is Upon Us
Stephen Cooper
How John Steinbeck’s “In Dubious Battle” Helps Us Navigate Social Discord
Madis Senner
The Roots of America’s Identity and Our Political Divide are Buried Deep in the Land
June 20, 2017
Ajamu Baraka
The Body Count Rises in the U.S. War Against Black People
Gary Leupp
Russia’s Calm, But Firm, Response to the US Shooting Down a Syrian Fighter Jet
Maxim Nikolenko
Beating Oliver Stone: the Media’s Spin on the Putin Interviews
Michael J. Sainato
Philando Castile and the Self Righteous Cloak of White Privilege
John W. Whitehead
The Militarized Police State Opens Fire
Peter Crowley
The Groundhog Days of Terrorism
Norman Solomon
Behind the Media Surge Against Bernie Sanders
Pauline Murphy
Friedrich Engels: a Tourist In Ireland
David Swanson
The Unifying Force of War Abolition
Louisa Willcox
Senators Bernie Sanders, Cory Booker, Tom Udall Back Tribes in Grizzly Fight
John Stanton
Mass Incarceration, Prison Labor in the United States
Robert Fisk
Did Trump Denounce Qatar Over Failed Business Deals?
Medea Benjamin
America Will Regret Helping Saudi Arabia Bomb Yemen
Brian Addison
Los Angeles County Data Shows Startling Surge in Youth, Latino Homelessness
Native News Online
Betraying Indian Country: How Grizzly Delisting Exposes Trump and Zinke’s Assault on Tribal Sovereignty and Treaty Rights
Stephen Martin
A Tragic Inferno in London Reflects the Terrorism of the Global Free Market
Debadityo Sinha
Think Like a River
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail