This is a portion of an e-mail that I just received that describes better than I could why the charter school market is so hot right now.
“…This situation reads like Grisham’s “The Firm”….I didn’t really realize what was actually happening until I read Barbara Miner’s “Looking past the spin: Teach for America”, “Big Banks Making a Bundle on New Construction as Schools bear the cost”, and “Charter Schools Cheerleaders: Financiers”. READ THEM ON SUSAN’S site, I implore everyone. The pattern will become clear. This entire thing is not just about making money from testing. Hah! That’s a side job benefit. This is about New Market tax credits being used to create interest from free money from the government for creating a “project” in an area of poverty. If you look up the actual law, 45D the government started giving out these credits in 2000, but then INCREASED the amount every year through 2007 and beyond. It looks like this:
There is a new markets tax credit limitation for each calendar year. Such limitation is – (A) $1,000,000,000 for 2001, (B) $1,500,000,000 for 2002 and 2003, (C) $2,000,000,000 for 2004 and 2005, and (D) $3,500,000,000 for 2006 and 2007 The number of charter schools in 2000 was 1297. Guess what? Now it is over 5000! As the government increased their tax credit limitation, the number of charters increased. These people are making BILLIONS in rent off of the properties, along with the interest on the loans—ALL FOR FREE. If you look at the school boards: hardly any public people, almost all bank execs. Why? They want to control the cash. They don’t want some silly citizen screwing things up. That’s why they push for mayoral control. The mayors can then put their good bank buddies on the charter boards without accountability. Voila! No one to screw up the gravy train. They control their student populations with harsh contracts. Voila! No low scoring students to screw up their image. They control the cost of teachers by getting rid of higher paid union teachers and replacing them with Teach for America graduates. The salaries are controlled because those folks are only in it for 2 years. Voila! No need to worry about excess cost there; those people will be out and RUNNING FOR OFFICE AFTER THEIR TWO YEAR STINT. Why? To keep this catastrophe going by making more laws allowing it to happen. Teach for America is a cover for creating more law makers that go out and vote for corporate control. Period. That is their objective. This ALL ties together in a web. Now, last thing. Why do you think that NEA, AFT, and CTA are not fighting this stuff vehemently. I mean, hell, the attacks are vicious yet almost no national response. I strongly suspect something is going on behind the scenes with these tax credits and the unions. I can feel it. Since 2000, more rhetoric has been seen in CTA and NEA magazines open to these charters. There just needs to be the evidence showing what is going on with their money.”
Like they say, follow the money.