February 17, 2023

Shawgi Tell: No More Charter Schools in New York State

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Writing for Dissident Voice, Shawgo Tell takes aim at the push to bring even more charter schools to New York.

Charter school promoters in New York City and their media representatives like the New York Post and even the New York Times, have been hankering for years from more charter schools in the City. They have been relentless in their quest to seize as much public funds and property as possible. They continually use their enormous wealth, power, and privilege to influence key decision-makers at all levels of government to fulfill their narrow aims. They do not care about the public interest and hide behind the veneer of high ideals to conceal their self-serving interests.

Not surprisingly dozens of legislators and many public school advocates have come out in opposition to such privatization. The public does not benefit from raising the cap on the number of charter schools allowed to operate in New York City, especially since there is evidence that enrollment numbers and enrollment targets are actually declining in New York City charter schools.

The public increasingly sees these oversold schools as nothing more than pay-the-rich schemes masquerading as “the last best hope for low-income minority kids.” In reality, charter schools close every week across the country, leaving many parents, students, and teachers out in the cold. So much for “free market” education.

Education in a modern society must not be commodified. It must not be commercialized and handed over to private interests intent on maximizing profit. Education is not a business. The profit motive has no place in modern education. Cashing in on kids is not a good model for education.

Education in a modern society based on mass industrial production is a collective human responsibility, without which society could not move forward. Such a massive and critical enterprise cannot be left to chance, it cannot be left to the law of the jungle or a survival-of-the fittest ethos. The “invisible hand” is not pro-social; it ensures winners and losers. Such outmoded arrangements only ensure greater chaos, anarchy, and violence in education—something the public does not need and the economy does not benefit from. Indeed, with even more charter schools in New York City problems will only multiply for all schools, including charter schools themselves. Competition lowers quality for everyone, not the other way around.

Read the full piece here. 

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