charter schools

How a rising tide of teacher strikes is finally exposing the corrupt privatizing impulse behind the charter school agenda

This week, Republican lawmakers held a press conference on Capitol Hill to kick off National School Choice Week, an annual event that began in 2011 under President Obama who proclaimed it as a time to “recognize the role public charter schools play in providing America’s daughters and sons with a chance to reach their fullest potential.” This year, Democratic lawmakers took a pass on the celebration. You can thank striking teachers for that.

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‘Choice’ has become an excuse for charter and voucher schools to discriminate

When prominent advocates for “school choice,” such as U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, talk about how a market-based approach for education works, the very stories they might cite as successes actually reveal serious shortcomings of charter schools and vouchers, especially about how they can have detrimental effects on parents, children, and communities. Take, for example, the case of Krystl Newton.

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Here's why urban communities of color are increasingly rejecting charter schools

At a recent school board meeting in New Orleans, more than 100 parents swamped the hearing room, requiring dozens to have to stand. Many of the parents had filled out public comment cards so they would be allowed to address the board.

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The Midterm Elections Show a Major Shift in America's Attitude Toward Charter School Privatization

For years, the policy window for privatizing public schools has been wide open, and what was once considered an extreme or at least rare idea—such as outsourcing public schools to private contractors with few strings attached, or giving parents public tax money to subsidize their children’s private school tuitions—has become widespread as charter schools are now legal in all but a handful of states, and voucher programs have proliferated in many forms across the country.

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The Backlash to Betsy DeVos' Disastrous Education Legacy May Drive a Massive Blue Wave on Her Home Turf

It’s increasingly clear that if the November midterm elections are to produce a “Blue Wave” for the Democratic Party, then many of the wins will need to come in Midwestern states that Trump carried in the 2016 presidential election. But what’s less well understood is that an issue helping Democratic candidates compete in the region is education. In the stomping ground of U.S. Secretary Betsy DeVos—including her home state of Michigan as well as the surrounding states of Ohio, Wisconsin, Illinois and nearby Minnesota—Democratic candidates are getting an edge by sharply opposing the DeVos agenda of privatizing public schools.

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Deluxe Charter Schools Serve Up Opportunities For Taxpayer-Funded White Flight

Charter schools are often billed as benefiting disadvantaged urban kids—but in lots of places around the country, charters are segregating school systems by offering rich white families a way to get their kids away from students of color and poor students. In reality, 115 charter schools nationwide have student populations at least 20 percentage points whiter than public schools in their districts; more than 700 charter schools nationally are whiter than their district’s public schools. 

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Betsy Devos Neglects to Visit NYC Public Schools -- But Finds Time to Blast Bans on Taxpayer Funds for Religious Education

Betsy DeVos has concluded her two-day visit to New York City, during which she refused to visit a single public school, although she did attend two private, Orthodox Jewish religious schools. The Education Secretary also delivered remarks at a Catholic organization's breakfast meeting, and blasted bans on the use of taxpayer funds for private religious schools.

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Is NYC's Progressive Mayor Turning into a Charter School Cheerleader?

When Bill de Blasio ran for mayor the first time, he sought my help. We met and spoke candidly. He told me he would strongly support traditional public schools. He said he would oppose the expansion of private charters into public school space. He promised to stop closing schools because of their test scores. His own children went to public schools. He would protect them and end the destructive tactics of Joel Klein, who coldly and cruelly closed schools over the tearful objections of students, parents, and teachers.

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Kicking Charter School Money Out Might Be California Democrats’ Best Chance For Unifying Their Party

The mood was festive at the annual Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt Dinner in Los Angeles. About 600 Democrats gathered in a hotel ballroom on an October evening to begin wrapping up the year. Community activists and party worker-bees mingled with political luminaries to celebrate top volunteers. Anybody with a (D) after their name and $135 for a ticket was welcome at this event in blue, blue California. 

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A Battle for the Heart and Soul of Public Education

More than two decades ago, Deborah Meier warned that the idea of democracy was in peril. “Is it ever otherwise?” she asked in the preface to The Power of Their Ideas, her elegantly argued manifesto for public education. A self-described preacher on its behalf, she has spent half a century nurturing “everyone’s inalienable capacity to be an inventor, dreamer, and theorist—to count in the larger scheme of things.”

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