Charter Choke

Dec 9, 2014 by

Ron Isaac – Right now New York City taxpayers are funding around 200 private charter schools at a cost of $1.3 billion per year. That amount will skyrocket soon when hundreds of millions of additional dollars will be rifled from the public treasury to pay the rent of these commercial enterprises.

Adding insult to injury, an excess of 30 new charter school approvals have been rammed through and will open in New York City over the next two years. When the legal cap for new charters is reached in the near future, Governor Cuomo, Regents Chancellor Merryl Tisch and Wall Street investors want to raise the roof, so to speak.

They want to lift the ceiling higher and higher so that no charter school is left behind and public schools are buried in the soot of memory.

Of course they deny that’s their objective. Denial is the weave of their scheme. Judge them by their acts, not their assurances.

Last spring, the Governor got the Legislature to coerce New York City taxpayers into surrendering public school space free to charter school businesses or else fork up the full tab for their luxury accommodations elsewhere to enable these outfits to multiply.

Tax money that should appropriately be directed to alleviate severely overcrowded and sparsely-funded government public schools must now being diverted for misuse as a revenue stream for corporate ventures.

Nobody asked the taxpayer.

Charter schools are being set up all over. The public is being set up in a different sense. And so are traditional district schools. They are being set up to fail. Ms. Tisch has said she “believes in opening them aggressively” and yearns to “push” them.

Yeah. Push charter schools over the threshold and public schools over the cliff.

She is so passionate about them and such a fan of the Big Apple that she is pulling more strings than there are on all the violins in the Hemisphere to re-locate all proposed new charter school slots from the rest of this 50,000 square mile State into our five boroughs.

The integrity of her position is secure because it is underwritten by $10 million in advertisements from Wall Street operatives promoting free space and an elevated cap for charters.

Most New Yorkers don’t want more charter schools in New York City, especially under false pretenses. They want truth-in-advertising and don’t want salespeople playing fast and loose with facts. New Yorkers want to make up their minds based on reliable information and feel that charters should at least pay rent for space they seize from existing public schools whose need is far more urgent and deserving..

The National Association of Charter School Authorizers admitted that New York’s charter school accountability laws are the third weakest among twenty-one selected states.

There was “probable financial mismanagement in 95 % of schools” examined in an audit of New York’s charter schools.

That’s millions of dollars down the rat hole.

It’s common knowledge, or at least widely and authoritatively suspected, that charter schools diligently bar English Language Learners, Special Education children and children who are non-compliant or whose learning style does not readily adapt to the school. They reportedly boot out students just prior to when high-stakes standardized tests are administered, thereby fabricating an illusion of success. Not being bound by public school regulations and ethics enables them to orchestrate outcomes.

This is the dirty little secret of “attrition.”

In order to be re-authorized or expand, charter schools are required to enroll an equal percentage of “at risk” students as their community public school. That’s what the amended NY charter school law called for four years ago. Almost two years after the members of the Regents pleaded for a report on charter school attrition, none has been released.

That’s not the way it’s supposed to be but that’s the way it is.

How do your readers feel about having their gullibility stroked and their intelligence insulted?  Thinking people must exert their influence and contact their elected representatives to demand that the charter school cap  be reduced, not raised, and that tax money be dedicated to it rightful purpose: the further improvement of our public schools.


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1 Comment

  1. Avatar
    Teacher with a Brain

    I hope the public knows that charter schools have been found NOT to be public schools by courts in multiple jurisdictions.

    The American public is increasingly surrendering its democratic right to elect fellow citizens to represent them in our Republic. The propaganda that abounds appears to equate the ability to earn large sums of money with virtue and with that virtue, the credentials to make important decisions for the rest of us without the necessity of considering our concerns, wishes, desires, etc.

    While one may successfully argue there are instances of “republican” rule gone bad, corruption, etc. there is not even a pretense of fairness and participation in the schemes out, about and around that hand our tax $$$ to individuals who, often (not always) with the backing of significant wealth use our monies to advance the particular agenda they favor (which as often as not aligns with their ability to make more money for themselves and/or their cronies). When we allow governing bodies, previously elected by local electorates that can be either re-elected or swept out of office, to become a committee of individuals hand-picked by someone who possesses power/$$$, we no longer have any viable way to ensure our “will” is carried out, let alone considered. We have moved into plutocracy.

    Now, I am fully aware that the libertarian view is that the marketplace will take care of all of this. Good institutions that people like will thrive, while the bad ones will simply go bankrupt as consumers flee, as the hypothesis goes. I wish I believed that pure market driven solutions always create the best options, however I do not see that our rigged system allows this to occur while extreme concentrations of wealth into the hands of a tiny few render most of us fewer choices and when people are worn out just dealing with day-to-day issues of food, clothing, paying the rent, car insurance, etc. they lack the resources to engage in “conscious consumerism” and we descend further from democratic-republican principles of rule and governance.

    I submit that for most Americans who inhabit the middle and lower classes, the best way to ensure our will is heard and considered it through the processes established via government of, for and by the people. This requires public elections, and publicly accountable school boards, and of course, an engaged populace. Appointed board members represent the CEO, not the taxpayers who foot charter schools’ bills. It is a tragedy that propaganda in the U.S. has brainwashed to many “humble” Americans against their own government, as though elected representatives and executives are evil and self-appointed billionaires and their minions are looking out for our good. That is a fairytale.

    Democratic principles are the best way for everyday taxpayers to hold institutions accountable.

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