Professor: Paul Catterson
Composition 1280, 63
April 15, 2013
Charter Schools the New Reform
Charter schools have been emerging recently all over the United States of America. This is a major issue for the public school system. Parents, teachers, and students need to understand what the growth of charter schools means to the school system as a whole. In the end, it is the death of free education as we know it. The long-term effect that charter schools will have on public education defers from the original idea of progressiveness. Charter schools promised to be the necessary change to the drowning public school system through innovation, creative teaching, and low class size (Weingarten 41). These teachers ran facilities that were to reach out to at risk students, have become a means of privatizing education. “It has become impossible to separate the rapid expansion of charter networks from efforts to privatize public education” (Davis 6). There are over 59 charter schools opened in Chicago in the name of reform, there are plans to be more. Charter schools are publicly owned, but privately operated, facilities that take much needed resources from public schools. However, the rise of charter schools has done a poor job in satisfying the promise of restructuring and providing choice to parents. Charter schools have led to a host of problematic situations that hinder the growth of students. Charter schools hire inexperienced teachers, reject students with behavioral issues, and produce highly segregated environments. These schools assured parents that they would improve standardized test scores, yet, have shown very few gains. Charter schools said it could do more with less, which was false. The charter school movement has fallen short of the results that many reformers and policymakers were predicting. The grants that charter schools receive in conjunction with corporations provide more money for resources than that of public schools. (Weingarten 47) The money for resources are not producing better students, statistics show that “Only one out of the nine charter school networks in the city had outperformed district averages. Six of the networks fell below average at all or a majority of their schools” (Dykgraaf 53). Where is this money going? Uno is one of the network corporations that form charter schools. They claim to be a non-profit organization but the “CEO Juan Rangel makes over $250,000 a year” (O’Toole 23). Although he is profiting substantially, students are suffering while schools fail to produce better-educated students. There is a lot of information in circulation about charter schools but none addresses the “for-profit,” organizations behind these schools. Executives invest money into schools and receive millions of dollars in taxpayer money in return. These executives are the one who hold the power in decision-making, not the parents or teachers. Therefore, decisions are about what are profitable verses what benefit the students. (Dykgraaf 51) Imagine, another management company that is in charge of charter school decision making in approximately 12% of charter schools. The profit from school real estate and retaining fees outlined in contracts, promises Imagines’ management permanently (Davis 2). “It is very hard for schools that hire management companies to maintain their independence, and charter schools are supposed to be independent” (Davis 2). These management companies believe that the charter schools belong to them and not the public. According to Davis one of executive managers of Imagines stated, “It is our school, our money and our risk, not theirs.” (3) Those who are against charter schools have lobbied to get rid of for-profit charter schools because of “inherent conflicts between the goals of public education and the for-profit business” (Davis 3). When courts were asked to help define the business relationship between public and charter schools and its...
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