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The Charter School Movement Is Imploding. What Comes Next May Be Worse

February 19, 2020

As always, Jeff Bryant gets to the root of the issue when it comes to the privatization movement…. and “charters and choice” was always a backdoor means of getting vouchers…. and vouchers, in turn, will undercut public education overseen by elected officials who do their best to provide the kind of education their children need. This quote from Diane Ravitch describes the way the pro-privatization forces used charter schools to move forward:

“I have known for many years that right-wingers went for charters only because they lay the groundwork for vouchers,” wrote education historian Diane Ravitch, after learning of the Trump Administration’s abandonment of charter schools in its budget. “Charters pave the way for vouchers. They turn citizens, invested in public institutions, into consumers, looking out only for their own child.”

And in our culture, where “consumers” can presumably “choose what they want” the lure of receiving a bundle of money in the form of a voucher to buy whatever education their child needs is alluring. But when the “consumers” find that their voucher only covers a basic education plan and then find that their child may not qualify for enrollment in that plan, their choice vanishes. In the meantime, the Walmart Chain of Basic Education Schools makes a profit by offering low cost education taught by low-paid staff members in abandoned public schools or empty shopping malls that they pay very little for. And if the voucher carrier is dissatisfied with their purchase? Caveat Emptor!

Jeff Bryant closes his Common Dreams article describing President Trump’s “Education Plan” with this:

So sure, Trump lied during his State of the Union address about saving the educational destiny of a young African American girl in Philadelphia, but that lie exposed a much deeper one: That the political establishment, conservative and liberal alike, has been deceiving us about the goals of school choice—vouchers and charter schools—all along. It’s always been about turning education into a private enterprise.

I bold faced and underscored “conservative and liberal alike” to emphasize that point: the federal legislation that led us to where we are today was bi-partisan and the government policies that emerged from the bi-partisan legislation were implemented under both Democrat and Republican administrations. If the Democrats are astonished at this latest development, they have not been paying attention to the public education advocates like Jeff Bryant, Diane Ravitch, and- yes- the leadership of the AFT and NEA. The time to wake up is now!

Source: The Charter School Movement Is Imploding. What Comes Next May Be Worse

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