November 30, 2016

While it is too early to panic, the subject of Charter Schools is about to hit the headlines.

It is up to all of us to stay informed on this issue as it will have a direct impact on the educational future of the nation’s children.

ConnectUS summarizes the issue:

Some of the Pros:

  1. They offer flexible options for families.
  1. They encourage competition.
  1. They foster innovation.
  1. They carve out a niche.

Some of the Cons:

  1. They risk fiscal inefficiency.
  1. They sometimes have an unfair playing field.
  1. They provide less money for the classroom.
  1. They observe less transparency.
  1. They have less local accountability and control.
  1. They are less diverse.

Many years ago, when the Charter School concept was just gathering steam, I spoke at a national convention in support of the movement.

Within a short period of time, I realized how totally wrong I had been.

One single fact invalidates whatever good Charter Schools may bring to those children who participate.  And that has to do with “the ones who are left behind.”

Budgets for public schools will be slashed as the Charter School movement brings with it State funding.

Many economically disadvantaged parents will be unable to provide transportation or “volunteer time” for their children, both hallmarks of most Charter Schools.

There will even be some parents who will remain uninvolved through the whole discussion —- failing to provide the support their children need.

America’s public school system is a bedrock of our nation —- past, present and future.  Charter Schools will leave too many of our young people behind —- and, that is wrong!

All of this came back to my attention last week while reading, “What’s the worst that could happen with Betsy DeVos as education secretary? Two scenarios.” by Valerie Strauss in THE WASHINGTON POST:

“President-elect Donald Trump’s decision last week to nominate Betsy DeVos, a Michigan billionaire and conservative activist, as his education secretary has caused great consternation in parts of the education world — those parts that are deeply concerned about the future of public education.

Kary Moss, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan, explained the anxiety many have about DeVos as education secretary in a statement that said in part:

.  .  .  She has ardently supported the unlimited, unregulated growth of charter schools in Michigan, elevating for-profit schools with no consideration of the severe harm done to traditional public schools. She’s done this despite overwhelming evidence that proves that charters do no better at educating children than traditional public schools and serve only to exacerbate funding problems for cash-strapped public districts. We believe that all children have a right to a quality public education,  .  .  . ‘“

While it is far too early to make any judgements about the proposed new Secretary of Education and her platform for our public education system, it is not too early to get into an “on alert” mode.

While Charter Schools have some potential positives, they are also capable of bringing doom to our public schools.

If our politicians are driven by an un-thinking desire to save money and cut taxes at the expense of our children —- SHAME!  They need to re-read, “The Merchant of Venice” and Arthur Miller’s “All My Sons.”

A resounding “no” to the Charter Schools idea if funding to public schools is cut in any way!

More on Monday  –  –  –

        — Bill Walton, co-Founder, ITC Learning  (Mondays & Wednesdays)

 (This is a personal blog.  Any views or opinions represented in this blog are personal and belong solely to the blog owner,, an independent consultant.  They do not represent those of people, institutions or organizations that the owner may or may not be associated with in a professional or personal capacity.)