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Public Core is an organization of West Contra Costa County parents, teachers, community members, and school staff who fight for public control and accountability in our schools. We believe that public schools, open to all, are essential to the health of a democratic society. Our goal is high quality, inclusive public education for all students. We believe that the proliferation of privately-operated schools using public money will increase inequalities in education and in our society. We are dedicated to informing the public about the impact of publicly-funded, privately operated schools on our community.

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Charter Schools 101

Articles which challenge myths about charter schools

Emma Brown:  ‘School choice’ or ‘privatization’? A Guide to Loaded Education Lingo in the Trump Era
Washington Post, December 16, 2017
The word "choice" polls significantly better than "vouchers," and the effort to funnel public tax dollars into private education makes sure that word is emphasized. However, as the article states, "Voucher and charter-school critics say the neediest children — those who struggle academically or behaviorally or whose parents don’t have the wherewithal to shop around for private schools or provide transportation to far-flung schools — often aren’t able to exercise choice in a meaningful way. Instead of escaping to better opportunities, those children are worse off, consigned to public schools that have been drained of badly needed resources."

Frank Adamson, PhD:  Education:  A Choice or a Right?
Unite for Quality Education, No date
"The United Nations has identified 'free, equitable, and quality primary and secondary education' by 2030 as a goal for sustainable development.'" But the article points out that "Some countries have placed the responsibility for choosing schools on families, while others have delivered the right to education at a system-level, with the latter approach correlating with better national outcomes." Article looks at "choice" programs in the U.S., Sweden, India, and Uganda and concludes that even under the best-case scenario, charter schools make it harder, not easier, to reach the U.N. goal.


Alan Singer:  Thirteen Questions that Scare Charter School Advocates:  Communities need to know what they're being sold.
Huffington Post, April 18, 2017
Are charter schools truly public schools? Do charter schools and school vouchers “hurt” public schools? Do charter schools get better academic results than public schools? Are charter schools and vouchers a civil rights cause? Click here for answers to these questions and more.


Paul Buchheit:  New Layers of Dirt on Charter Schools
Common Dreams, October 24, 2016
"An earlier review identified the "Three Big Sins of Charter Schools": Fraud, a Lack of Transparency, and the Exclusion of Unwanted Students. The evidence against charters continues to grow. Yet except for its reporting on a few egregious examples of charter malfeasance and failure, the mainstream media continues to echo the sentiments of privatization-loving billionaires who believe their wealth somehow equates to educational wisdom." Article details the " Big Sins of Charter Schools, updated by a surge of new evidence."


Bill Raden:  Failing the Test:  A New Series Examines Charter Schools
Capital&Main, May 31, 2016
Part of a series discussing how lack of oversight, transparency, and other issues have made charter schools detrimental to public education while offering no tangible academic advantages. Article provides link to other articles in the series.


Bobbi Murray:  Failing the Test: Searching for Accountability in Charter Schools
Capital&Main, June 2, 2016
Part of a series. Article provides link to other articles in series.
“The original concept of charter schools emerged nationally more than two decades ago and was intended to support community efforts to open up education. Albert Shanker, then president of the American Federation of Teachers union, lauded the charter idea in 1998 as a way to propel social mobility for working class kids and to give teachers more decision-making power…. But critics of today’s market-based charter movement say monied interests have turned those learning labs into models for capital capture in the Golden State and beyond–“the charter school gravy train,” as Forbes describes it.”


Justin Miller:  Hedging Education:  How Hedge-Funders Spurred the Pro-Charter Political Movement
American Prospect, May 6, 2016
A detailed, factual, in-depth look at the roots of the charter school industry and it's vast political organization that is pumping "floodgates of outside money" into local elections in order to stock school boards across the country with its allies. "The hedge fund industry and the charter movement are almost inextricably entangled."


John Thompson:  Hillary and the Education History that Teachers Can't Forget
Huffington Post, July 8, 2016
Article traces the last two decades' evolution of "Democrats caring more about corporate interests than public education," and describes "how charters have been seized on by right-wing forces as a wedge to break up and re-segregate education and prepare the way for privatization," and "how much worse the damage to public education [has] become as neo-liberals put the privatization campaign on steroids during the Obama years."


Lisa Graves:  Big Business Charter School Chains Seek Millions in Taxpayer Dollars with No Accountability
Alternet, May 1, 2016
This in-depth article uses the example of KIPP, one of the most lauded charter chains in the country, to expose charter schools' lack of transparency, its consequences, and the collusion of the Department of Education in concealing information from taxpayers about charter graduation and college matriculation rates, uses of federal taxpayer dollars, attrition and performance results, and the CEO foundations supporting charter schools. It asks why charters want to keep this information secret, why government oversight agencies support the secrecy, and why American taxpayers are being asked to subsidize privately-operated schools.

Valerie Strauss:  A Dozen Problems with Charter Schools
Washington Post, May 20, 2014
This article is two years old, but many of its concerns have been borne out over time, including:  "Far too many [charters] are cash cows," "Lack of transparency and accountability," "Skimming and Weed-Out Strategies," "Contribute to the re-segregation of U.S. public schools," and "Drain resources from struggling districts."

Journey for Justice:  Death by A Thousand Cuts
Website of an alliance of grassroots community, youth, and parent-led organizations in 21 cities across the country concerned about the impact of charter schools on public education. The group has mounted a "Campaign for School Success" and issued a report called “Death by A Thousand Cuts” detailing the detriments to public ed. Report "Death by A Thousand Cuts"

. A full list of articles on charter schools can be seen here