Saturday, December 6, 2014

Hey, New York Taxpayers: Blame the Schools — Yeah, But Which Ones

All that Green and Not Much to Show for It - Oops ...
(Except maybe to buy a stronger shredder)

42 States Allow Charter Schools

First, a few Pro and Con Considerations (there are plenty more depending on where you stand on the issue):

Pros:  According to proponents:

  • Charter schools present students and parents with an increasingly diverse array of education options.
  • The competition provided by charter schools forces school districts to improve the performance of their schools in order to attract and retain students and dollars.
  • If managed properly, charter schools serve as laboratories for education experimentation and innovation.
  • The easing of certain regulations can free teachers and administrators to develop and implement new learning strategies.
  • Increased accountability for charter schools means that schools have to perform or risk closure.
  • This extra incentive demands results.
Cons: According to opponents:

  • Because charter schools operate as a business, as well as a learning institution, they are subject to market forces that may eventually force them to close, depriving students of a continuous education. 
  • Charter schools sometimes segregate students along racial and class lines and fail to adequately serve students with disabilities or limited English proficiency.
  • Accountability for student performance is difficult to measure and enforce in the burgeoning charter school movement.
  • The usual complications of accurate student measurement are compounded by the often-conflicting demands of the state government’s need for accountability and the marketplace’s desire for opportunity.
  • The emergence of education management organizations as proprietors of charter schools creates “pseudo-school districts” in which decisions are made far removed from the school. 
Now the New York State angle – which is the focus of this post: the lost tax dollars. That story from here in part:

Taxpayers continue to be appalled by the millions of dollars allegedly connected to charter school fraud.

A new report, the latest put out by the Center for Popular Democracy (CPD), estimates that charter school fraud has cost taxpayers in the state of New York $54 million [.pdf format].

Keep in mind, the state already spends about $1.5 billion on charter schools in New York City alone.

In fact, corporate charter school companies are lobbying New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio to raise or eliminate the cap on charter schools so even more companies can have an opportunity to abuse the system and make a profit on the backs of students.

“The audacity of some of these operators — to push for more taxpayer dollars while mismanaging the funds they’ve already received — is really astonishing,” says NEA President Lily Eskelsen García (Note: the NEA represents 3-million teachers, education support professionals, students studying to be educators, and higher education faculty nationwide).

More at the link.

Thought you'd like to know - hey, I'm a NYS taxpayer, too. Thanks for stopping by.

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