California's charter schools: hundreds of millions of tax dollars for wasteful, redundant, low-quality education

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You see, it’s not:

  • wasteful
  • immoral
  • illegal
  • etc.
    …when Republicans want it.

Those sins are reserved for lib’rals.


This is a good read especially since here in Arizona the gov just signed a bill to go school voucher crazy. Wait, did I say good read? I mean depressing.


In these days, in these here parts of Trumpistan, the pedagogical term for this is “future-proofing.”


But but if we make it nationwide, then the market will sort it out!! Edumacation and learin’ will go through the roof! It will be yuge!!

–Nancy DeVoss (Scamway heiress, out of touch TGOP member)


It’s almost as if there is no direct profit in providing a basic education to children, but rather it is something we do for the greater good? No, it can’t be. They just need to better foist the externalities, that’s the ticket.


“Soon the free market will do for education what it did for the prison industry!”


I expect better from California.


I have taught for 16 years as a kindergarten teacher. I’ve talked to a lot of teachers that have worked at a charter school. Charter schools simply divert money from student services to charter school companies. All corporate charter schools siphon money from the schools they run. Charter schools have less money than public, so they have less resources for kids. Charter schools are a way to remove teacher unions and thus eventually be able to pay teachers less money. Paying teachers less is not going to improve public school. What will improve student success rates is focusing on parents.

Politicians and the media are all focused on blaming teachers for failing students, when parents have the largest effect on a child ability to be successful in school and life. Data clearly shows that if parents nurture and support their children from the ages of 0-5, kids succeed in school. When kids are not nurtured supported by parents, kids fail–regardless of the quality of schools. The best schools/teachers can not make a major difference in a child’s overall success–What makes a difference is parents. Schools will never be able to turn around a child that has been neglected by parents for 5 years–data clearly shows this as a fact. When I talk to parents, I am stunned at the complete lack of understanding of very simple parenting strategies. If all parents had a handful of parenting strategies, student success rates would improve exponentially.

There needs to be a mandatory parent training class for all high school students–Every American needs to know how to raise a child to be successful. Parents need to know how to teach focus skills, emotion regulation, social skills, and perseverance skills. A national parent training class would increase graduation rates tremendously, decrease violence greatly, and increase individual productivity.
If you want to create capable productive citizens, start with training parents.


Imagine if a politician ran on the platform of fighting crime by cutting salaries and benefits for cops.


Hmm. I looked at the California Charter Schools Association’s ranking spreadsheet.

And then I tried to find Scientology’s “Applied Scholastics” California schools on the list. None found. How odd.

Just another scheme to siphon off money meant for the public good into private profit.


Turns out vouchers are associated with substantially poorer outcomes. There is literally no research showing anything better than marginal improvements from vouchers but there are now three studies showing significant degradation.


If the parents don’t have these skills, or exhibit the opposite of these behaviors, it won’t work.

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Ah, but the police have the right sort of union that endorses Republicans, not like those of those commie teachers!


I believe that this is where the loyalists inaugurate the “Our plan isn’t working? Double down!” portion of their response to reality’s failures of ideological purity.


The damning part is these schools cherry-pick students and still underperform public schools. By selecting above average students you should end up with above average results without needing to provide any better education.


Might as well merge the two sooner rather than later.



I agree with you wholeheartedly, up to a point. No gripes with your assessment of the damage charter schools are doing. Also, yes, families need to be brought into their children’s educations. Schools should be a center of the community, where everyone learns and everyone takes part.

However, just offering classes for the parents, and “encouraging” them to care completely ignores the context poor parents are operating in. I’ll link to my previous comment about the additional challenges to kids and their parents, but tl;dr, if the school is failing, and the parents can’t/won’t help out, it’s a safe bet that the parents are suffering too, as well as the infrastructure, policing, and all other supports that people in wealthier areas enjoy are crumbling too. It’s much harder to poor parents to make up the difference, and rich parents can phone it in, and their kids will still be fine.