This post was distributed by Bill Phillis of the Ohio Equity and Adequacy Coalition.

He writes:

The charter school industry does not exist to “fix” public schools; its ultimate goal is to privatize public education

Public common schools have been and still are the crown jewels of America, in the majority of communities across the country. But a cabal of greedy and ideologically driven people believes that anything done by public agencies and institutions undermines capitalism. These people are putting their desires for money and power above the common good.

Dr. Thomas M. Stephens Professor Emeritus, College of Education and Human Ecology, Ohio State University and Interpersonal Psychological Coach provides the following perspective.

Political operatives who favor Charter Schools have stacked the deck in three critical ways.

First, they hyped the failures of public schools by misrepresenting why public schools are unable to fully meet the educational needs of all their students. They are accomplishing this trick by attributing students’ learning problems primarily to the quality of teaching, while ignoring how family culture and children’s poverty affect teaching and learning. In doing so they fabricate the role that poverty plays as the major factor in student achievement.

This simplification, that teaching is the main reason for students’ school success, has also been widely claimed by teachers and their professional organizations, despite years of research evidence to the contrary. Thus the corollary of that falsehood has become a convenient hammer for enemies of public schools: mediocre teaching is the main reason for students’ failures.

Secondly, they create narrow and flawed metrics and standards that determine what constitutes successful schools. They further game this system by politically changing the metrics and standards so that ultimately fewer and fewer public schools will meet these phony standards. These requirements force public schools to waste precious resources in time and money to meet these figments of what constitutes “successful schools”. This clever deception is designed to phase out public schools like a block of ice that slowly melts away.

Third, they hype results of these “failures” to entice public school parents to get “free quality education” by enrolling their children in charter schools. They use paid advertisements with funds that have been transferred from public school tax receipts for this purpose. All of these machinations are facilitated by “bought” legislators who are indebted to the charter school industry.

These “stolen” public funds are also used to underpay instructional staffs while overpaying the for-profit administrators and their corporate sponsors. Excessive leasing and rental fees are also paid with public money to the same entities that own or are related to the charter schools. All of these actions are the result of elected officials who have sworn to uphold Ohio’s constitution!

Politicians are aided in this chicanery by several federal and state court decisions that have made theft of public school funding legal. These decisions allow corporations to use funds they received from public schools to support political campaigns and travel, lodging and sumptuous meals for politicians whose votes they are buying. All of this is provided with money that had been legally authorized for public education!

Those well-intentioned individuals and organizations who naively believe a public school/charter school collaboration can work for the benefit of our youth and their communities by tweaking current policies and regulations misunderstand the problem we face: the charter school industry does not exist to “fix” public schools; its ultimate goal is to privatize public education.

The single best way to stop this systematic destruction is for public school advocates and their organizations to unite under one umbrella. This coalition must include parent groups as well. Then put both political parties and their minions on notice. Expose their real intentions and help the electorate remove them from office.

William Phillis
Ohio E & A

Ohio E & A | 100 S. 3rd Street | Columbus | OH | 43215