As reported earlier today, Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe vetoed legislation that would have allowed privately managed charters to be authorized without the approval of the local school board. This legislation would have invited into Virginia all the scandals, frauds, scams, and profiteering that have marred the charter industry in other states.

The state’s major newspaper, the Richmond Times-Dispath, blasted Governor McAuliffe’s veto. It claimed that the Governor was stopping innovation, yet it didn’t name a single innovative practice that charter schools engage in. Is it innovative to treat children like convicts in a chain gang, punishing them for the slightest infraction? Punishing them if their shirt is not tucked in? Punishing them if they speak out of turn? Punishing them if they don’t walk in a straight line?

Is it innovative to expect teachers to work sixty or seventy hours a week, so they leave after a year or two, burned out?

The newspaper says Virginia should have charter schools because Florida and North Carolina have charter schools. Does the editorial demonstrate that charter schools in these states have produced better education? No. Does it admit that charter schools in these states are enriching entrepreneurs who profit by leeching taxpayer money from public schools? Does it acknowledge the hundreds of charter schools in Florida that have closed because of financial or academic deficiencies? Does it acknowledge that charters in some states–like Nevada and Ohio–are among the lowest performing schools in the state? No.

The newspaper falsely claims that charter schools are public schools; they are not. Whenever they are hauled into court for violating the rights of students or teachers, they defend themselves by insisting they are NOT state actors, they are private corporations with state contracts. Let’s take their word for it. They are private contractors, not public schools.

The newspaper doesn’t acknowledge that privately managed charter schools are not obliged to accept children with disabilities or English language learners. Leaving them out falsely boosts the scores of charter schools.

The newspaper editorialist might learn from the example of Michigan, which embraced charters at the behest of Betsy DeVos and saw its national rankings plummet from the middle to the bottom 10% on the National Assessment of Educational Progress.

Governor McAuliffe was absolutely correct to veto this legislation, which would have undermined local control and given free rein to raiders of public funding.

The legislation was probably written by ALEC (the noxious American Legislative Exchange Council, which hates public education and any role for government).

Governor McAuliffe, the Network for Public Education thanks you for standing up for the 90% of children who attend public schools, real public schools under democratic control. Your vote strengthened our democracy and warded off the privatization plans of Betsy DeVos and ALEC.

God Bless Governor McAuliffe!