Monday, February 11, 2019

Betsy DeVos loves charter schools. But there’s little love lost in lots of places. What’s happening and why. - The Washington Post

Betsy DeVos loves charter schools. But there’s little love lost in lots of places. What’s happening and why. - The Washington Post

Betsy DeVos loves charter schools. But there’s little love lost in lots of places. What’s happening and why.
  

In the largest public school system in the country, New York City Chancellor Richard Carranza recently scolded charter school supporters for disparaging traditional public schools. The year before, he had struck a far friendlier tone.
In the second-largest public school district in the country, Los Angeles teachers ended a six-day strike in January with a key concession from pro-charter Superintendent Austin Beutner: a commitment to call for a statewide cap on new charters until their effect on district schools can be assessed.
In the third-largest school district in the country, Chicago teachers at several charter schools are on strike, the second time within a month it has happened in the city. The December strike there was the first in the charter sector, which is largely (and intentionally) non-unionized and pays most teachers far less than district schools.
This country is nearly 30 years into an experiment with charter schools, which are publicly financed but privately operated, sometimes by for-profit companies. Supporters first described charters as competitive vehicles to push traditional public schools to reform. Over time, that narrative changed and charters were wrapped into the zeitgeist of “choice” for families whose children wanted alternatives to troubled district schools.
Today, about 6 percent of America’s schoolchildren attend charter schools, with 44 states plus the District of Columbia, Guam and Puerto Rico having passed laws permitting them. Some states have only a few charters while some cities are saturated. In Los Angeles, 20 percent of children attend charters. In New York, it’s 10 percent. Charter backers say the movement is an important and sustainable feature of America’s education landscape and any problems it faces are expected growing pains.
Yet the movement, which has enjoyed Republican and Democratic support — including hundreds of millions of dollars from the Obama administration — seems to be at an inflection point as supporters and detractors recognize that charters are not the panacea backers had long suggested. CONTINUE READING: Betsy DeVos loves charter schools. But there’s little love lost in lots of places. What’s happening and why. - The Washington Post





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