Here’s an article from the Associated Press on how charter schools are bleeding students from conventional public school districts all over the U.S. — some 100,000 in Los Angeles alone.
This has damaging financial impact on the districts that lose students. It also encourages racial and economic segregation and segregation by haves and have nots educationally.
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This, of course, was the argument that Little Rock School Superintendent Baker Kurrus was making in opposing continued expansion of charter schools in Little Rock that enjoy more advantaged student bodies than the Little Rock district (but nonetheless aren’t particularly distinguished academically). That point of view got him fired by Education Commissioner Johnny Key, in the legislature and now a prime proponent of the school “choice” agenda being pushed by the Walton billions and other wealthy people in Arkansas, including the Murphy and Stephens families and Walter Hussman, publisher of the state’s dominant newspaper company.
Charter schools are public in that they get public money. But they are typically operated without school boards by private companies, some with profit-making subsidiaries, and aren’t held to the same rules to which conventional schools are held. They also can find ways to avoid students that conventional public districts MUST accept.
Some charter advocates believe the resulting fiscal strain will eventually have a positive effect by pushing districts to be more competitive and provide better services. Yet there’s no clear evidence of that. One study found greater school choice did not significantly influence school effectiveness and put more financial pressure on schools with the steepest educational challenges.