There is a bill titled “Success and Opportunity Through Charter Schools”, referred to as HR 10, to rewrite federal charter law that has strong backing by the House Education and the Workforce Committee’s Republican majority and is expected to easily pass out of the committee. The bill will be voted on in the House after the mid-April recess.
The bill is basically a privatizers dream come true. It’s “Success and Opportunity” for all who want to get what they can from public school funds.
Here are some of the highlights:
According to the bill, our tax dollars would be used to “provide financial assistance for the planning, program design, and initial implementation of charter schools”, expand the number of charter schools, “encourage States to provide support to charter schools for facilities financing in an amount more nearly commensurate to the amount the States have typically provided for traditional public schools”, support “the startup of charter schools, and the replication and expansion” of charter schools and assist “charter schools in accessing credit to acquire and renovate facilities for school use”.
The politicians are willing to hand over what hasn’t been grabbed yet and serve it to these corporate mercenaries on a sterling silver platter. Never mind that charter schools have been determined to be no better than public schools and many times worse, never mind that charter schools have created a wider racial gap, or that we hear about one charter school scandal after another and that tax payer dollars are going directly into the pockets of the charter school CEO’s rather than to the teachers, the students and the facilities the schools are housed in. It’s all about the money and my bet is on the fact that there are several people providing generous donations to politicians to move their agenda forward. That is why public school policy needs to be taken out of the hands of Federal and State legislators. They have all gone too far.
We have State Superintendents who should lead the policy debate bringing in educators, parents and students throughout the state, the true stakeholders, to the table and develop state policy for their districts. There is a place for state legislation but with the inclusion of all parties and not manipulated by a moneyed few.
Today, Parents Across America issued a position paper on HR 10:
PAA opposes efforts to privatize public education through the expansion of charters, vouchers or other privately-run programs at the expense of regular public schools.
Over the years, PAA has shared our concerns that:
- Charter schools have turned out to be no better academically overall, and many cases worse than traditional schools.
- Charter school “choice” too often lies with the charter school and not the families, as reports of skimming and push-out practices grow.
- Some franchises like Chicago’s Noble Network use regressive discipline measures, charge fees for minor infractions, and expel students at many times the district rate.
- Charter schools historically enroll fewer students with disabilities or English language learners.
- The increased proliferation of charter schools could be harmful to students and communities, and may waste scarce education dollars.
PAA OPPOSES HR 10:
PAA is opposed to HR10, which promotes expansion of charter schools without addressing most of the above problems, with the possible exception of the weighted lottery for special populations.
At a time when so many public schools are drastically cutting their basic budgets, why would Congress provide millions more to private school management companies that have not proven they are better alternatives?
- We believe in improving the schools we have, rather than shutting schools down in order to expand charter schools.
- All charter schools should have neighborhood boundaries and accept all children from within those boundaries whose parents choose to enroll their child at the charter school. Charter school enrollment processes should be consistent with and as simple as those of neighborhood public schools.
- Charter schools should not require fees, charge financial penalties, or otherwise create a financial barrier for students to be in school.
- Charter schools and all other schools receiving public funds must be equally transparent and accountable to the public.
For more details on PAA’s position on charter schools, go to the Parents Across America website.
Because there will be a House vote on this bill shortly, contact your representatives and let them know what you think as a parent, student, teacher or concerned citizen about tax dollars supporting charter schools.
For additional information on charter schools, go to:
Submitted by Dora Taylor