Charter Charlatans?

27 Mar

If you live in the NYC area then you know that newly elected mayor, Bill DiBlasio, is working to fulfill a campaign pledge to charge rent to charter schools. The mayor said he wants to charge rent based on how much a school can afford to pay, and he also wants to slow or perhaps even stop the continued growth of the NYC charter school movement so that more focus can be brought back to the public schools. Naturally the charter schools are up in arms over this proposal because charter schools receive rent-free space in city buildings even though they are privately run.

During Mayor Bloomberg’s tenure, Money for charter schools increased from $32 million to $659 million and what was once a modest collection of 17 charter schools has now expanded to 159 charter schools within the city…and overall the NYC education budget has almost doubled to 25 billion dollars from the 13 billion dollars that was being spent when mayor Bloomberg took office.

But the city charter schools, along with receiving free rent from the city also raise quite a lot of money from the private sector including large donations from “philanthropists” like the Waltons of Wal-Mart fame, and the hedge fund billionaire Paul Tudor Jones, along with other prominent Wall Street tycoons, (You probably remember them from the great financial crash of 2008)… Anyway, That’s how Success Academy Charter Schools’ chief executive officer, Eva Moskowitz. can make nearly $500,000 a year to run only 22 “non-profit” schools.

That’s also how Mayor DiBlasio can be opposed by a “nonprofit” charter advocacy group called Families for Excellent Schools. They have organized rallies in Albany, created an internet website and spent 3.6 million dollars on commercials that can be seen constantly throughout the day on television here in the tri-state area. Charter school political action committees have even donated more than 100 thousand dollars to NY Governor Cuomo and other NY state politicians.

So is it a surprise that The Governor says that he is now “Excited” about charter school growth and that Mayor Di Blasio is now beginning to step away from his hardline campaign stance against charter schools?

Isn’t it amazing what money can do? Teachers and educators have always known that money makes a difference when it comes to your child’s education. Can your public schools use its public money to advertise in favor of the public school budget? Do your public schools have 3.6 million dollars that they don’t need for educating your children, to use for creating commercials to “convince” local politicians and influence you to support their efforts in passing the public school budget, let alone raising the school budget?

Money matters! And one has to ask why billionaires are so interested in paying large sums of money in order to gain control of and advertise for the privatization of the public schools in our country… What’s in it for them? And most importantly, what do you think is really in it for you and your children? In the short term privatization always looks good, especially when there is a multimillion dollar ad campaign to help you to try and make up your mind.

But in the long run? Just ask yourself this: When have Wal-Mart, Wall Street tycoons and billionaires ever been interested in spending money on the poorer classes of this country…except when it leads to greater class exploitation and increased profits for themselves?

 

 

 

 

9 Responses to “Charter Charlatans?”

  1. zobop republic March 27, 2014 at 4:06 pm #

    Hello. Very good post. Public education in the USA is being sold-out. and it looks like Mayor Di Blasio is losing his spine. Yep, money talks, and public education goes right out the window. It’s a Shame of a Nation!

    Thanks for your moderation.

  2. Harold Knight March 27, 2014 at 5:01 pm #

    I’ve been saying for years that charter schools should be called “licensed schools” instead. They are given “license to destroy” public education–and in the process widen the gap between those who have enough to survive and those who do not.

    • Harold Knight March 27, 2014 at 5:25 pm #

      For your further perusal:
      From:
      James, Osamudia R. “Opt-Out Education: School Choice As Racial Subordination.” Iowa Law Review 99.3 (2014): 1083-1135.

      “Even as the charter school movement gains traction in the United States, comprehensive studies reveal that up to one-third of charter schools perform worse than traditional public schools, and that voucher programs have failed to discernibly impact the achievement gap. Nevertheless, education-reform legislation, like No Child Left Behind (“NCLB”) and Race to the Top, as well as education doctrine, such as Pierce v. Society of Sisters, Milliken V. Bradley, and Parents Involved in Community Schools v. Seattle School District No. I, encourage students and their families “to choose” to leave traditional public school education for charter schools, private schools, voucher programs, or homeschooling experiences. Not all choices, however, are good ones. Choice rhetoric problematically idealizes competition, privacy, independence, and individualism, while overshadowing interdependence and vulnerability in public education, and outsources conversations that belong in the public sphere to families and individuals. Yet choice rhetoric has endured, due to its sanitizing effect on inequality and vulnerability.

      Given enough options, the argument goes, if the result of one’s selection is problematic, it was only his or her fault. Having provided myriad options, the state is absolved of responsibility for underperformance in any one school district.
      Indeed, the turn to school choice as the primary method of public school reform has only accelerated a legal and political trend of ignoring the structural factors that undermine successful public education and maintaining an achievement gap in the public school system. In the meantime, very little has been said about racial and economic isolation.”

  3. womanseyeview March 27, 2014 at 7:12 pm #

    Amazing how messed up your system is getting…Undermining the public school system – what’s next – undermining public health care?? Oh forgot that’s already been done! Why is it so hard to understand that if it benefits corporations, it’s at the cost of the public? Great but depressing article.

  4. momshieb March 27, 2014 at 11:52 pm #

    Well done, well written, well crafted. Now I am screaming from the rooftops. Can I share this with “Badass Teachers” on Facebook? May I reblog on my own site?

    • gpicone March 28, 2014 at 1:30 pm #

      Yes, of course. Please do and thanks for reading!

  5. A Voice March 28, 2014 at 12:20 am #

    A commitment to standardising education and other fundamental systems that are absolutely vital to public welfare needs to take place. The fact that this hasn’t taken place makes it clear to me that there is no commitment to the public welfare beyond what it takes to foster uncritical customers in an ever-more-commercialised world, viz. mere consumers.

  6. avwalters March 28, 2014 at 2:03 pm #

    When corporate barons privately fund education, they get to frame its purpose. The corporate objectives are to create complacent consumers and obedient workers. They have little interest in a vibrant, thinking, democratic society. In fact, critical thinking is a threat to corporate control. So, sure there will be a few “arts school” successes, the poster children of an otherwise insidious movement.

  7. momshieb March 28, 2014 at 10:11 pm #

    Reblogged this on Post Departum Depression and commented:
    This blog was written by one of my favorite bloggers. Please read this and please pass on your concern about how corporate interests are destroying public education.

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