Above Photo: Kirstie Shanley/Flickr
The ongoing widely-supported teachers’ strikes across the United States are bringing to the fore many problems that have been confronting public education for decades, including a big and overdue focus on the havoc and destruction caused by charter schools against public schools and the public interest for the last 28 years.
Teacher strikes everywhere are smashing the silence on charter schools and awakening many out of their charter school stupor. Even the most anti-conscious individual is slowly beginning to see the disaster that charter schools and the neoliberal antisocial offensive are producing. Criticism and rejection of charter schools is becoming more mainstream with each passing month. The charter school fairytale seems to be losing traction.
Charter school promoters are rightly fearful that their scorched earth approach to education may be slowing down due to growing social consciousness of the endless problems caused by charter schools. It is clear that nonprofit and for-profit charter schools are harming every aspect of public education and the public interest. Education privatization cannot be prettified or justified.
Approximately seven thousand charter schools, legal in 44 states, Washington DC, Puerto Rico, and Guam, currently enroll slightly more than three million students. While hundreds of nonprofit and for-profit charter schools close each year due mainly to financial malfeasance and poor academic performance, hundreds of these test-obsessed “free market” schools still keep opening every year.
Nonprofit and for-profit charter schools must be stopped if public education and the public interest are to be defended and affirmed. Education privatization offers no solutions, just more problems and more impunity. Teachers, school boards, and the public should keep pushing for more moratoriums on these privatized schools that are making the rich even richer while causing more problems for everyone else.
Even with the unrestricted ability to routinely cherry pick their students, charter schools, 92% of which are deunionized, have never come close to offering the kind of mass quality education that public schools have offered 90% of the nation’s youth for the last 150 years. Unlike charter schools, public schools accept all students, at all times, no questions asked. Public schools also do a better job of hiring and retaining more qualified and better-paid teachers.
Charter schools mainly enrich major owners of capital while masquerading as education arrangements that “empower parents,” “increase choice,” “serve the kids,” and “close the achievement gap.” The rich and those who wittingly and unwittingly agree with them believe that the chaos, anarchy, and violence of the so-called “free market” is a modern and socially responsible way to organize mass public education in a society based on mass industrial production.
Because the tide is slowly but surely turning against their wrecking activities, supporters and beneficiaries of charter schools are becoming even more arrogant and belligerent in their efforts to expand charter schools. Their egocentric quest to maximize profit as fast as possible makes it impossible for them to adopt a human-centered perspective. They are objectively blind to the needs of an education, society, and economy that serve the people. They only see schemes to further enrich themselves and promote their narrow antisocial interests under the banner of high ideals to fool the gullible.
The millionaires and billionaires behind charter schools, and all those who intentionally and unintentionally promote their disinformation about charter schools, never realized or anticipated that people are capable of acquiring and fortifying a social consciousness that does not tolerate assaults on public funds, institutions, assets, resources, facilities, and authority. The public opposes the unlimited greed of the rich and all the havoc that pursuit of such a narrow aim necessarily brings. More people are increasingly saying enough is enough.