Saturday, August 16, 2014

Public Dollars, Private Rules: The Charter School Calculus | UConn Today

Public Dollars, Private Rules: The Charter School Calculus | UConn Today:



Public Dollars, Private Rules: The Charter School Calculus

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The phenomenal growth of charter schools nationwide has been aided by a canny legal strategy in which the schools claim to be public for the purpose of taking in tax dollars but private for the purpose of evading government oversight, according to Preston Green, John and Carla Klein Professor of Urban Education at UConn’s Neag School of Education.
“They’re picking and choosing whether they’re going to be public for one purpose or private for another,” says Green, who is also a professor of educational leadership and law at UConn.
Along with co-authors Bruce D. Baker (Rutgers University) and Joseph O. Oluwole (Montclair State University), Green published a paper in the Emory Law Journal earlier this year showing that attorneys for charter schools have argued both that such institutions are entitled to public funding and that they are exempt from rules that govern traditional public schools, ranging from labor laws to constitutional protections for students.
Charter schools have, for example, successfully fended off attempts to organize their employees into unions, with just 12 percent of charters unionized, compared with more than 35 percent of all education, training, and library professionals. Exempt from collective bargaining agreements in 21 states and the District of Columbia, they’re able to extend the school day or increase instructional time with no input from teachers.
One of the most significant, but so far overlooked, ways this affects students is in the area of discipline. While public schools must provide due process to students when making decisions about suspensions or expulsions, most states exempt charter schools from school district discipline policies. This lack of protection may have enabled some charter schools to suspend and expel students at Public Dollars, Private Rules: The Charter School Calculus | UConn Today:

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