Terry Falk: The Failure of Corporate Charter Schools
Terry Falk writes about education for Urban Milwaukee. In a recent post, he looks at the track record of charter schools in Milwaukee and finds it lacking.
Corporate charters in Milwaukee mostly failed or never got much traction. Today, Milwaukee charters look more like the grassroots models of old. Two local “mini” systems exist: Carmen and College Prep. The rest are mostly stand-alone operations
Meanwhile private companies have moved into creating virtual schools. With little overhead of brick-and-mortar buildings, virtual schools can be extremely profitable. Companies like Stride K12 have partnered with school districts like McFarland to take advantage of a state loophole. While McFarland’s Wisconsin Virtual Academy is nonprofit because it is part of the McFarland district, Stride K12 is for-profit managing the virtual school operation.
National private school chains thought they could create cookie cutter charter schools nationally. They ran into a complex set of shifting rules, regulations and reporting procedures varying from one state or community to the next. Citizens were used to going to school board meetings and airing their concerns at open mike sessions demanding modifications.
Many parents and education advocates were unwilling to trade that for a large school corporation operating a thousand or more miles away.