It’s Charter Scam Week again—time for the annual corporate Charter School Week P.R. campaign. Time to point out how that charter advocacy has revealed itself in the following ways:
- Charter advocacy cannot be about improving student achievement since charter schools consistently have a range of outcomes similar to public schools.
- Charter advocacy cannot be concerned about resegregation of schools by race and class since charter schools are significantly segregated.
- Charter advocacy is a thinly veiled attempt to introduce school choice as “parental choice” despite the U.S. public mostly being against channelling public funds into privately run schools.
- Charter advocacy is tolerating at best and perpetuating at worst schools for “other people’s children”—a system that subjects minority and high-poverty children to limited learning experiences, extensive test-prep, and authoritarian/abusive disciplinary policies.
- Charter advocacy chooses to ignore that charters eject some the most challenging students, ELL and special needs students.
- Charter advocacy also ignores that nothing about “charterness” distinguishes charter from public schools.
- Charter advocacy has committed to the (dishonest) “miracle” approach to demonizing public schools, and abandoned the original ideal of charter schools as pockets of experimentation (means and not ends) for the improvement of the public school system.
The problem for charter advocacy is that the evidence is overwhelmingly counter to nearly every claim in favor of charter schools.
Charter Scam Week 2015: A Reader
P. L. Thomas, EdD. is associate professor of education at Furman University. Prior to working in teacher education he taught high school English in South Carolina. He is currently a column editor for English Journal (National Council of Teachers of English) and author of Ignoring Poverty in the U.S. (IAP). He blogs at The Becoming Radical.