If there is one thing I know about charter schools is that they receive public money and don’t have to follow the rules and regulations that a public school does. I realize I’m simplifying this, but sometimes it is just best to break it down.
And it is a for-profit model. That is important.
That seems odd to me as there is a lot of conversation happening around this issue and it is confusing. And there is a great deal of chatter surrounding charter schools but not a lot of explanation. Now I realize that some folks are going to hammer me on this, but I do believe that there needs to be some answers to the questions being asked.
Things I’ve noticed is that this “conversation” around charter schools are happening in urban areas. Fair enough, but is there a rural initiative in place? I’ve looked and haven’t been able to find one that fits Tennessee.
And it also concerns me that this initiative is well-documented on being a priority of the Koch Brothers. It is stories like this one from Salon from earlier this year that disturb me:
But there are a few serious problems with the school choice movement. Though it attracts mainstream conservatives like Cosby, as well as Democrats like President Barack Obama, it is not, at its core, a bipartisan endeavor. Its most important backers are rightwing organizations like the Heritage Foundation, Americans for Prosperity and other groups supported by billionaire rightwing ideologues like the Koch brothers. They want to dismantle public education altogether and run schools as businesses, judged as “successes” or “failures” based on abstract data taken from high-stakes standardized test scores.
I have a few questions that I think leaders that are not only charter school advocates should answer but teachers and public school administration officials who understand the dynamics of educating Tennessee students:
- Was collective bargaining for teachers dispatched out of the way to set charter schools in place? (In my opinion, the answer is absolutely yes.)
- Why would a for-profit company be better for school children than public education?
- How will data on the actual retention skills of information of students be measured? If charter schools don’t have to follow the regulations of public schools, what is their model and WHY is it better?
- Once again, if a county only has one or two high schools, what determines which one will be a charter school, which one won’t and how will public funding be distributed? There are a lot of counties with only one or two high schools that go back back to the consolidation that occurred in the early ’90s where small, community schools closed and moved to larger-based schools.
- Who will monitor the profits of the charter schools? Who will regulate the curriculum?