Charter Schools — Socializing Debt and Privatizing Profit

imagesCA1R9REYIn Michigan, Gov. Snyder’s education policies have effectively put a For Sale sign on every public school student — launching an explosion in the growth of charter schools, and we are just now beginning to see some credible analysis on the charter boom impact. Much of it focuses on the Detroit area where public schools are hemorrhaging students to these for-profit charters — the kids are like so much chum in a corporate feeding frenzy.

The charter craze ignited 20 years ago in Minnesota and, until recently, very little hard data was sifted by professionals. Much of the “evidence” in support of charters was anecdotal and theoretical, often appealing to parental emotions and notions of “choice” magically bringing improvements to our educational system through an over-simplified understanding of the competitive model. We’ve seen public policy based on airy and unsubstantiated claims — a risky experiment that would not likely occur in other developed nations. This behavioral pattern is fully buttressed by the conservative enthusiasm for rugged individualism — “get government out of our lives” thinking (unless it’s our vaginas of course).

The Center for Research on Education Outcomes (CREDO) conducted an analysis examining 6 years of charter performance in Michigan from the 2005-06 school-year to the 2010-11. Their Jan. 2013 report did not factor adjustments More →