We have all noticed what’s happening in the retail business: the big-box chains like Walmart drive the mom-and-pop stores out of business by cutting prices. At a certain point, you notice that all the little local shops are gone, vacant. The shops in the malls are doing well, but they are not locally owned. They are chain stores.
This approach is now invading the world of charter schools. Textbook case: Camden, Néw Jersey. There, two small charters are being closed by the state as it clears the way for the corporate charter chains: KIPP, Mastery, and Uncommon Schools.
New Jersey blogger Mother Crusader writes here about the latest developments. “Small, independent charters are being given the boot, somewhat unceremoniously and precipitously, to make way for what are essentially big box, prefab, chain Charter Management Organizations (CMOs).”
She adds: “There is a well connected, well funded effort underway, and it seems that not even a change in Commissioner can stop the train that Cerf and his cronies have set in motion.”
Sue Altman, writing for EduShyster, says:
“Be warned, starters of small charters! You may have enjoyed a red-carpet spotlight in the past, but don’t expect much loyalty from reformy fashionistas these days. It’s a school-eat-school world out there, and on the path to global competitiveness and *bigger rigor,* there is no room for last season’s trends. Such is the hard lesson learned recently by City Invincible Charter of Camden, New Jersey, which is being forcibly closed by the state in order to make way for the bigger, more disruptive charter chains.”
A board member of City Invincible Charter said:
“[O]ur public education system is being hijacked not only in Camden, but all over our country. This decision simply exemplifies the circumvention of due process in order to benefit those who are more concerned with expanding their brand or their name or their influence or their pockets.”
He is right.