Wednesday, July 5, 2017

'A Failed and Damaging Experiment:' NEA Takes on Unaccountable Charter Schools

'A Failed and Damaging Experiment:' NEA Takes on Unaccountable Charter Schools:

‘A Failed and Damaging Experiment:’ NEA Takes on Unaccountable Charter Schools


At its annual meeting on Tuesday, the educators of the National Education Association drew a sharp new line between charter schools that have a positive effect on public education and those unaccountable, privately managed charter schools that hurt public schools and students. The policy denounces unaccountable charters as a “failed and damaging experiment,” and calls for a stop to the proliferation of such schools by supporting state and local efforts to hold charters accountable, to preserve funding for public schools, and to organize charter educators.
The new policy statement is the work of a task force convened by NEA President Lily Eskelsen García in 2016 to respond to educators’ growing concern about the unabated growth of the sector. As expansion has picked up pace over the past decade, the original, collaborative vision of charter schools has largely been eclipsed by a competitive model that has empowered reckless disregard for accountability and transparency, at the expense of many of the students they seek to serve.
“Charter schools were started by educators who dreamed of schools in which they would be free to innovate, unfettered by bureaucratic obstacles,” said Eskelsen García. “Handing over students’ education to privately managed, unaccountable charters jeopardizes student success, undermines public education and harms communities.”
Some – not many – charter schools do meet certain standards for accountability and transparency. “This policy draws a clear line between charters that serve to improve public education and those that do not,” Eskelsen García added.
Handing over students’ education to privately managed, unaccountable charters jeopardizes student success, undermines public education and harms communities” – NEA President Lily Eskelsen García
According to the policy statement, charter schools should meet all of the following criteria:
• Be authorized and held accountable by a local, democratically accountable authorizer, the same local authorizer that also authorizes other alternative school models, such as magnet or community schools.
• Be necessary to meet the unmet needs of students in the district, and to meet those needs in a manner that improves the local public school system.
• Comply with the same basic safeguards as other public schools – namely, open meetings and public records laws, prohibitions against for-profit operations or profiteering, and the same civil rights, employment, health, labor, safety, and staff'A Failed and Damaging Experiment:' NEA Takes on Unaccountable Charter Schools

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