North Carolina Republican State Senators have filed legislation that would remove oversight of charters by the State Education Board and turn it over to a new board hand picked by the governor.
Charter schools would no longer be required to submit applications to local school boards. All meaningful supervision and oversight would be eliminated.
Local school boards would be required to lease available space to charters for $1 a year. Charters would be accountable to the new state charter board, not the local board.
This legislation appears to be based on ALEC model legislation, which is intended to allow charters to flourish while gutting local control.
And here is where it gets scary.
The charters would no longer be required to assure that at least half the teachers are certified.
Charter schools would no longer be required by law to conduct criminal background checks of their staff.
The law would have no provisions barring conflicts of interest for members of the new charter board, implying that charter operators might be appointed to the board to advance their self-interest.
In the public comment period, Baker Mitchell, the incoming chairman of the NC Alliance for Public Charter Schools testified in favor of the bill. He “owns The Roger Bacon Academy, which is contracted to run two public charter schools in Brunswick County. In the 2009-10 fiscal year, Mitchell received more than $3 million from the two charter schools for management fees and the cost of renting the buildings from another company Mitchell owns….”
He is just the kind of person likely to be appointed to serve on the state’s new charter board.
The only thing public about these charters is the money they take from unsuspecting taxpayers.