Pondering Chartering: False Markets & Liberty as Substitute for Equity?

Posted on November 10, 2015

Today’s musing:

It is important to acknowledge that charter school market shares are not, in recent years, expanding exclusively or even primarily because of market demand and personal/family preferences for charter schools. Traditional district public schools are being closed, neighborhoods left without options other than charters, district schools are being reconstituted and handed over to charter operators (including entire districts), and district schools are increasingly deprived of resources, experience burgeoning class sizes, reductions in program offerings sending more families scrambling for their “least bad” nearest alternative. [i] These are conscious decisions of policymakers overseeing the system that includes district and charter schools. They are not market forces, and should never be confused as such. These systems are being centrally managed without regard for equity and adequacy goals or the protection of student, family, taxpayer and employee rights, but instead, on the false hope that liberty of choice is a substitute for all of the above (including, apparently, loss of individual liberties). [ii]


[i] See, for example:

Mezzacappa, Dale (2015, Oct. 1) Hite Plan: More charter conversions, closings, turnarounds, and new schools. Philadelphia Public School Notebook. http://thenotebook.org/blog/159023/hite-plan-more-renaissance-charters-closings-turnarounds-new-schools

Weber, Mark (2015) Empirical Critique of “One Newark”: First Year Update. New Jersey Education Policy Forum. https://njedpolicy.files.wordpress.com/2015/03/weber-testimony.pdf

Weber, Mark (2015, Jun. 5) Camden’s “Transformation” Schools: Racial & Experience Disparity in Staff Consequences. https://njedpolicy.files.wordpress.com/2015/06/weber_camdentransformationsfinal.pdf

[ii]   Green, P.C.; & Baker, B.D.; & Oluwole, J. (2015, forthcoming). The Legal Status of Charter Schools in State Statutory Law- University of Massachusetts Law Review.

Green, P.C., Baker, B. D., & Oluwole, J.O. (2013). Having it both ways: How charter schools try to obtain funding of public schools and the autonomy of private schools. Emory Law Journal, 63, 303-337.

Mead, J.F. (2015). The Right to an Education or the Right to Shop for Schooling: Examining Voucher Programs in Relation to State Constitutional Guarantees, 42 Fordham Urban Law Journal 703.

Civil Rights Suspended: An Analysis of New York City Charter School Discipline Policies (2015). Advocates for Children of New York. http://www.advocatesforchildren.org/sites/default/files/library/civil_rights_suspended.pdf?pt=1


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