Responses to public charter school myths

IN RESPONSE TO “Is Public Education For Sale?”

Myth #1: Education policy is being driven by lobbyists from big-money corporations that are profiting from state education dollars through “school choice” initiatives – legislation that sends public school money to for-profit “education” organizations that often run lousy schools on the cheap in order to pay stockholders nice dividends.

Fact: In Mississippi, the law will ensure that all charter schools are governed by a non-profit. Not only will public charter schools in Mississippi be required by law to be governed and run by non-profit organizations, public charter schools will also be held to a much higher standard than traditional public schools in their fiscal decisions. All budgets, expenses, and any fees paid to any service provider must be approved for a charter prior to the school opening. Charters will have to meet high performance standards for the fiscal stewardship on an on-going basis. Like traditional public schools, public charter schools may contract for a service from a for-profit operator, but this does not make the school itself “for-profit.” Our traditional public schools today buy textbooks, computers, curriculums, IT services, school buses and operators, office equipment, construction contracts, maintenance services, cell phones, hosts of other materials and professional development services from for-profit companies. If we allow for-profit entities to provide services to our public schools, let’s make sure that these services in our public schools are held to the highest of standards in producing excellent learning for students.
Furthermore, it’s time we recognize that the education status quo has been profiting from more funding than ever before with no results to show for it. The entrenched economic interests of our traditional public school systems are reflective in the efforts to preserve the status quo, even if that means voiceless students are stuck in chronically underperforming and fiscally mismanaged schools. Public charter schools are just one reform that may challenge the very existence of any current systems that benefit adults at the expense of students.

MS Coalition for Public Schools
1/8/13