When traditional public schools are low performing, federal and state officials demand alternatives-when charter schools are low performing and laced with corruption, they demand charter expansion

What is it about charter schools that gain the favor of public officials regardless of their performance, proneness to fraud and corruption and lack of inclusiveness?

Why do some parents transfer their children from a high-performing public school to a low-performing charter?

Are some public officials so enamored with the notion of choice and/or privatization that it blinds them to the failure of chartering?

Low performance and fiscal fraud in the charter industry is common knowledge. There is less public awareness that charter enrollment typically doesn’t reflect the demographics of the area. Charters often exclude certain students and counsel-out others; whereas the authentic public school turns away no students. Student selectivity in the charter industry is counter to the common school ideal.

Charters can select students without regard to due process. A relevant example of this is in a December 9 New York Times article-New York Charters Enroll Fewer Homeless Pupils Than City Schools. A traditional public school has an enrollment with 42% homeless while a Success Academy charter school has a homeless enrollment of 10%. These two schools operate in the very same building.

There are signs that infatuation with choice and privately-operated charters is beginning to decline, particularly at the local level. But the appointment of choice warrior Betsy DeVos for U.S. Secretary of Education and President-Elect Trump’s pre-election announcement of intent to divert $20 billion of federal funds from the education budget to charter school expansion does not bode well for the great American common school.

Intervention to the privatization craze is essential by school district leaders, employees and patrons.


William L. Phillis, Ohio Coalition for Equity & Adequacy of School Funding