Julie Vassilatos writes about Paul Vallas’ school reform ideas here. Privatization and choice. She says that they are no longer innovative: they have been tried again and again, and they have failed again and again. We seen this rodeo before: disruption; closing schools; high cost; poor results.

An excerpt:

Here’s what you need to know if you don’t already. Vallas is the OG of a tired, old, failed style of school reform marked by privatization of public services, charter proliferation, and school choice. These elements are now omnipresent in American public education; he helped make this so. In no school district anywhere have these initiatives enabled positive transformation, not in thirty years. But choice-based school reform does two things well—it racks up big, huge spending deficits, and it racially stratifies urban school systems. Vallas has achieved both, here and everywhere he has led districts.Vallas-style school reform has a kind of tech-bro aesthetic: spend big, break things, disrupt systems, do it all at once. But this has always come with a cost. We need to know the cost.

Vallas’s push for privatization and its ugly impact in urban districts

In Chicago, the effort to privatize is by now the rather hackneyed status quo. Charter advocates say there just aren’t enough charters yet. But critics say we can’t possibly afford to keep throwing money at this worn-out approach. After all, in Chicago we have seen the rise and fall of the UNO network, and embroilment in scandals for Urban Prep, Acero, Epic, Gulen, and many other chains.

If you click this link, you can find 26 articles on charter scandals in IL dating back just to 2017.

Privatization lacks accountability. These schools are not subject to the standards and accountability faced by traditional public schools, which eventually is what lands many of them in trouble—they say they are handling special needs and aren’t. They claim they offer bilingual services and they don’t. They get millions in funding from the district and it goes up in smoke. These schools also yield a poor ROI—that is to say, their results are not good. On top of this, these schools are prone to closing without notice.

Privatization always results in disinvestment of traditional public schools. Privatizers love to say that public schools are terrible without ever acknowledging that they’ve been deeply disinvested for decades, then divert much of what funding remains to charter schools, entrenching the cycle of disinvested schools failing to provide what students need and deserve. When you factor in poor ROIs, scandals, and instability, banking on charters seems like a pretty poor bargain. In Chicago, the district added charter schools for years prior to the school closings, very much impacting or even creating the 2012/13 “school utilization crisis” pushed by Rahm and Barbara Byrd-Bennett. Suddenly we had too many schools for too few students. The end result was 50 closed neighborhood public schools, displacing 30,000 kids.

By the way, I posted a tweet the other day, retweeting Fred Klonsky’s Blog titled “Vallas Will Defund CPS.” CPS=Chicago Public Schools. Hours later, I received a notice from Twitter that my comment had been deleted because it contained offensive content. What? An opinion about a mayoral candidate is “offensive”? And this on the giant social media site that welcomes Nazis, election deniers, COVID crackpots, and assorted conspiracy theorists.

This was the “offensive” post that had to be censored.