Tuesday, October 07, 2014

Do public school critics have the credibility to criticize charters?

A report is calling for greater oversight of charter schools because there have been "too many" cases in which there has been fraud and mismanagement. Of course, we know what lots of oversight has done for public schools.

It is interesting how public school critics of charter schools want to apply standards (like those implicit in this report) to charters that they don't apply to their own regular public schools.

If one charter schools fails to outperform the average public school, that is a reason to close that school down. But where are the calls to close down regular public schools that don't outperform the average public school?

If charter schools in general don't outperform public schools (by somewhat dubious measures), that is a reason not to have charters. But bad public schools are never considered a reason for not have public schools.

There are some pretty awful public schools. But what does the same establishment that wants to shut down a bad charter do in response to this criticism? Everything but closing it down.

One of the interesting things about this most recent report is that it things there should be more oversight of charters by state agencies. But the only reason it knows about the fraud and mismanagement it bemoans is through other entities than state agencies:
Indeed, the vast majority of fraud was uncovered by whistleblowers and media exposés, not by the state’s oversight agencies.
I don't have much of a problem with more oversight in regard to fraud and mismanagement, but it seems to me the regular public schools have enough of a problem in their own back yard, as evidenced by recent revelations when whistleblowers and media exposes uncovered irregularities in Kentucky's two biggest school districts.

Anyone who wants to use the likelihood of mismanagement as a reason not to has charters need only look at two recent headlines:

State audit highlights 'chronic mismanagement' of Fayette schools budget, finances

State audit slams top-heavy JCPS bureaucracy

People who live in glass schools shouldn't throw stones.

1 comment:

Singring said...

So if - by your own admission - charter schools are as bad and as likely to be mismanaged as public schools, what could possibly be the justification for funding them with public money in the form of vouchers?

The main argument for charter schools has been that they will create competition and thus outperform public schools. The data don't seem to support that proposition.

So what could possibly be the value of spending tax dollars on private schools (which will skim off a part of that money in profits!) when we could be spending the same amount on public schools with a better dollar/value ratio (as there is no profit being skimmed off)?