Do you remember when the charter school idea was first circulated in 1988? Do you remember how the idea was sold in the 1990s? We were told that charters would save the taxpayers millions or billions because they would be lean and efficient: no central bureaucracy.

Surprise! Now charters are suing in Néw York and DC for the same funding as real public schools, you know, the ones that are required to accept English language learners, kids with disabilities, and unmotivated kids.

And guess who is siding with them to drain more money out of the public schools: the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights.

Peter Greene says this is classic bait and switch.

The bait? Charters will save money and get dramatic results for the neediest kids.

Says Greene::

“So here comes the switch. We pitched charter schools as more economical, more efficient, lower-cost alternatives. Now that we’ve got them up and running, we want more money. This is simply a continuation of the policy goal, adored and nurtured from corporate boardrooms to federal offices– the policy goal of shoving public schools aside and replacing them with charter schools. I don’t imagine that public schools will ever be completely done away with, because the charters will need some place to send the students that they refuse to educate, but those public schools will be stripped of resources and filled with the students that nobody wants.

“It is really one of the oldest business tricks in the book, used by everyone from John D. Rockefeller to Jeff Bezos– undercut your competition, and once you’ve bled them dry, boost your price as much as the market will bear. Charters just refine the technique by having federal and state government serve as the vampiric mechanism by which the competition is sucked dry.”