This has been possibly the very worst week in the history of charter schools, which have existed for almost 30 years. It is fitting that this week coincided with Public Schools Week, reminding us of the importance of public schools, which are democratically governed, open to all who apply, and accountable, financially and academically, to the public.
Consider the trajectory of the charter idea.
What began as in idealistic proposal–experimental schools-within-schools, created and operated by teachers with the approval of their colleagues and local school board, intended to reach out and help the struggling and turned-off students—has turned into a libertarian’s dream of deregulated, even unregulated industry replete with corporate chains, entrepreneurs, billionaire backers, highly segregated schools, and a battering ram against collective bargaining.
Charter schools in the initial version were supposed to collaborate with public schools to make them better or to learn from failed experiments. That was charter…
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