Jeff Bryant writes that Congress is in recess until April 23 and this is the time to reach out and speak to your member of Congress and your members of the state legislature about protecting public education against the DeVos privatization agenda.

Join with your friends and neighbors.

Join the Network for Public Education. Use its toolkit to inform yourself about the issues.

Jeff writes:

Why should you care?

Whether you have school-age children or not, you have a lot at stake in the struggle to ensure public schools continue to benefit the public.

Public education is America’s most collaborative endeavor by far. We all pay taxes to support public schools. Schools are community anchors like main streets, town halls, public parks, churches, and community centers. And we depend on public schools to prepare our future workers, entrepreneurs, and citizens. Public schools are the foundation of our democracy where students learn to respect and appreciate others who are different from them and schools model civic values to students and the community.

But public schools are imperiled, which means our democracy, and our future, is too.

If you doubt that at all, just review prominent news stories from the past few days. They present ample evidence of the widespread effort to turn public education into opportunities for private gain.

The Trump-DeVos regime has nothing positive for public schools. They want to turn your tax dollars over to entrepreneurs and corporate chain schools and religious schools. This is not about better education. It is about turning our tax dollars into someone else’s profit or treasury.

Vouchers! Failed.

Charters! Failed.

Cyber Charters! Failed.

There is nothing new in this agenda, nothing that hasn’t been tried for the past 25 years without success.

Consider a recent news story from the other side of the continent. As the Los Angeles Times reports, a new study by pro-public advocacy group In the Public Interest finds that in California, charter schools are getting billions of dollars in state funding to open in places where they’re not needed and compete with public schools for students and precious education resources.

The report reveals that that three-quarters of these charters do worse on standardized tests than comparable public schools, and hundreds of them have been caught red-handed by the American Civil Liberties Union for maintaining discriminatory enrollment policies. Much of the money taxpayers provide goes to charter schools that are part of large chains that operate statewide and across the country. And charter organizations use public funds to purchase vast tracts of real estate and buildings they profit from and can retain even if the school operation shuts down.

Although the study is confined to California, the findings are likely similar to what occurs in the charter industry in other states, says report author Gordon Laffer, during a media call. What’s also worrisome, says ITPI Executive Director Donald Cohen during the call, is that Secretary DeVos and President Trump are strong supporters of charter schools, pledging to provide federal funds to incentivize the spread of these schools.