In customary fashion, Arkansas comes in on the back-end of a trend, sometimes when that trend is undergoing a reversal. The charter school trend — financed by billions in Walton influence — is trending upward in Arkansas.
Nationwide, people are waking up, in part thanks to numerous studies that dispute the claim that charters, merely by their name, must be better than proven public schools that have, over time, gotten better in the U.S. despite what the Billionaire Boys Club would like you to believe.
For example, read this from Washington Post on a reversal of view from a former staunch advocate of charter school expansion, David Hornbeck, who led schools in Maryland and Philadelphia. It’s based on a powerful op-ed in the Baltimore newspaper opposing charter school expansion legislation.
David Hornbeck was the Maryland State Superintendent of Schools from 1976 to 1988 and the superintendent of the Philadelphia school district from 1994 to 2000. For years he was a supporter of charter schools, seeing them as an important tool in the school reform arsenal, and as Philadelphia’s superintendent, he recommended that more than 30 charter schools be allowed to open. Now, in a reversal that is rare in education, he said this: “The last 20 years make it clear I was wrong.”
Hornbeck wrote in the op-ed that charter schools across the country have not broadly improved student performance, saying “it’s mixed at best.” He also wrote:
*Charter school funding is harming traditional public schools:
According to Moody’s Investors Service, charter schools pose the greatest credit challenge to school districts in economically weak urban areas and may even affect their credit ratings.
Of course, the Waltons are pushing past charters into vouchers, direct payments of state money to private schools (through a money laundering scheme that gives wealthy people the ability to transfer their public tax obligations to private schools). The private schools are even less accountable and transparent than charter schools. And that’s saying something.