Eliza Shapiro of the New York Times reports on the efforts of some charter schools in New York City to  reform their practices and repair their tarnished image in response to a backlash against them. 

If you can open the comments, you will see that most readers who comment understand the charter hoax. They know that charters are a rightwing ploy created by billionaires like DeVos and Broad to bust unions and divert funding from public schools.

The story has a factually inaccurate headline: “Why Some of the Country’s Best Urban Schools Are Facing a Reckoning.” The story itself does not call these schools “the best urban schools in the country.” Yet the story buys into charter marketing myths. Some, like Eva Moskowitz’s Success Academy chain, achieve high test scores by exclusion, attrition, and test prep. Does that make them among “the best urban schools”? The story falsely claims that these schools have “long waiting lists,” but that is charter propaganda. If they have these long lines hoping to gain admission, why do they demand that the NYC Department of Education turn over their mailing lists for recruitment purposes? Even Success Academy puts advertising on buses and hangs posters in supermarkets; why advertise if there is a waiting list?

The story says that some charter leaders are responding to the backlash against them by taking the critics seriously and trying to reduce their harsh discipline, to accept students with disabilities, and to hire more teachers of color.

When the charter school movement first burst on to the scene, its founders pledged to transform big urban school districts by offering low-income and minority families something they believed was missing: safe, orderly schools with rigorous academics.

But now, several decades later, as the movement has expanded, questions about whether its leaders were fulfilling their original promise to educate vulnerable children better than neighborhood public schools have mounted.

The story perpetuates another myth: that the backlash against charters was created by teachers’ unions. But teachers’ unions are eager to organize charter teachers.

In New York State, the real backlash against charters occurred at the polls last fall, when voters ousted the “Independent Democratic Caucus” which caucused with Republicans in the State Senate, and replaced them with progressive Democrats, who opposed charter invasions of their neighborhoods.

The legislative victories of charters depended on control of the State Senate by Republicans, who collaborated with Governor Andrew Cuomo. Cuomo was the recipient of millions in campaign contributions from the charter lobby, especially hedge funders and Wall Street.

The story focuses on KIPP, the national corporate charter chain, and its national policy director Richard Buery, who previously was Deputy Mayor in the DeBlasio administration.

Mr. Buery, who is black and grew up in East New York, Brooklyn, noticed that black and Hispanic students in KIPP schools were sometimes being disciplined too harshly by their white teachers. The network’s high schools had impressive academic results and graduation rates, but their students then struggled in college. And KIPP executives’ relationships with elected officials were fraying.

In response, Mr. Buery adopted an unusual strategy: He publicly declared that some of the criticism of KIPP — and the charter movement in general — was merited, and announced that KIPP needed to change for it to continue to thrive.

Mr. Buery is part of a growing number of charter school executives to acknowledge shortcomings in their schools — partly in an effort to recast their tarnished image and to counteract a growing backlash that threatens the schools’ ability to influence American public education…

KIPP’s internal reckoning has coincided with a moment in which New York’s elected officials and Democratic presidential candidates have turned decisively away from the charter movement. Both groups are eager to please their allies in teachers unions, which have consolidated power over the last year.

The threat to charters is severe in New York City, which is home to more than 100,000 charter school students and was once seen as an incubator within the movement.

Exactly why the charter sector faces a “severe” threat, when it enrolls 100,000 students, is not clear. Unless the reporter means that the sector’s growth is stymied by the loss of power in Albany. The charter industry wants the Legislature to raise the cap on charters in NYC, and the newly energized Democratic-controlled Legislature won’t do it.

Why do corporate charter chains have to grow? Why can’t they be content to own 10% market share?

Nowhere in this article does it explain why the public should underwrite the costs of two competing school systems, one of which is privately controlled.