Why Investors Love Charter Schools
When you see the announcement that the Waltons want to pump another $250 million into charter schools, you just have to wonder why.
I know the Waltons (of Wal-Mart fame) are big fans of charter schools, but they didn't become gazillionaires by spending hundreds of millions of dollars on things they just find shiny. And if they really wanted to push charters, they have an army of employees that could be incentivized to push charters. Heck, the Waltons are in a position to offer employees some sort of bonus or support to send their own children to charter schools. So maybe the quarter billion bucks is just heartfelt charity. But I have my doubts.
Part of the clue is in exactly what the Waltons want to spend that $250 million on. They're not really pumping money into the charter school industry-- they're pumping money into the charter school building industry. They make the periodically made point that the charter industry suffers from not having Uncle Sugar to buy buildings for them. I'm not sure that's a real problem.
There's a good case to be made for the charter industry being a large real estate scam, and Leslie T. Fenwick made it pretty forcefully a few weeks ago in Valerie Strauss's column at the Washington Post.
In the most recent cases of Washington D.C. and Chicago, black parents and other community members point to school closings as verification of their distrust of school “reform” efforts. Indeed, mayoral control has been linked to an emerging pattern of closing and disinvesting in schools that serve black poor students and reopening them as charters operated by education management organizations and backed by venture capitalists. While mayoral control proposes to expand CURMUDGUCATION: Why Investors Love Charter Schools: