I have always imagined that once the evidence comes in about the performance of charter schools and virtual, on-line academies—once we learn that school achievement in charters isn’t all that different from what we see in traditional public schools—once we realize how our tax dollars are being turned into private profits and sometimes stolen—we’ll experience a mass rude awakening and begin appreciating the value of the public school system that provides services for all children at the public expense.
These days the evidence is piling up, but we don’t seem to be able to put it together into any kind of organized scheme that lets us see the whole picture. Books like Diane Ravitch’s Reign of Error and the new book coming from David Berliner and Gene Glass, 50 Myths and Lies that Threaten America’s Public Schools, are designed to do that, but reading these detailed critiques involves a significant commitment of time.
I do urge you to carve out the time to read both of these books, but in the meantime, check out this short piece published on AlterNet in mid-February: Paul Buchheit’s The 4 Most Profound Ways Privatization Perverts Education. In four concise sections, Buchheit collects (and documents with links) the evidence for his conclusions:
- Charter schools have not improved education.
- The profit motive perverts the goals of education.
- Advanced profit-making is happening in higher education.
- Lower-performing children are being left behind.
His conclusion is simple and profound: “Education can’t be reduced to a lottery, or a testing app, or a business plan. Equal opportunity in education ensures that every child is encouraged and challenged and nurtured from the earliest age, as we expect for our own children.”