Bellwether Education Partners is a consulting firm that works with “reform” organizations, with charter chains, Teach for America, and others who promote the privatization of public education and the replacement of the teaching profession with inexperienced short-timers. It prepared this very interesting report on the state of charter schools today. It projects that by the year 2035, between 20-40 percent of all students will be in charter schools (p. 60).

 

The report contains a wealth of information about which states and cities have the most charters, about which states do not permit charters (there are five of them), about the demographics of charters, about how many charters have opened and how many have closed, etc. The language of the report is much like an annual report to the board of directors of a corporation.

 

A skeptic would question the data on “wait lists,” as investigations in New York City and Boston  have found that the claims about long wait lists are padded, often by parents applying to several different charter schools or other means.

 

A skeptic would also question the data on special education enrollments, citing the GAO report, which compared charter enrollments in big-city districts with national data, instead of comparing it to the special education data for big-city districts.

 

Of course, there is no consideration of the downside of creating an unregulated sector that receives public money and seeks to avoid audits and public accountability. And there is no consideration of education as a whole, whether it makes sense to have one sector that chooses its students and another sector that takes everyone who enrolls.

 

Nonetheless, the report is worthy of your attention.