The choice advocates have opened a can of worms that may erupt into warring factions within the choice movement. The floodgates of draining public funds from public common schools into private unaccountable and non-transparent hands have been opened. The current federal administration intends to flood choice programs with public funds. The same is true in Ohio and many other states.
The choice factions are each lobbying for a market share that fits their agenda. The corporate charter school moguls have a bevy of lobbyists that ply substantial influence on the flow of public dollars to private education entities.
Parochial education leaders are ramping up political efforts to secure a substantial share of the spoils. They have been meeting with administration and legislative officials to make their pitch.
The charter lobby opts for no accountability and no transparency in the use of public funds. The parochial lobby wants public funds with no governmental interference. The July 6 Politico’s Morning Education quotes Youngstown Bishop George Murry, chairman of the bishops’ Committee on Catholic Education, stressing that “parochial schools must retain their autonomy, both in regard to religious identity and education character” while receiving public funds.
So each faction in the choice movement is saying to the public, “Give us the money and then butt out.”
It will be interesting to watch whether the bishops or corporate America ultimately acquire the largest share. Either way the public will foot the bill for charterland profits and sectarian education.
William L. Phillis, Ohio Coalition for Equity & Adequacy of School Funding
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