In my final conversation this summer regarding charter schools, I sat down with a teacher and principal who have both worked for many years at an inner city school. They discussed the problems they faced with lack of resources, bureaucracy, quality of materials, whether to leave and accept a job at a charter school, and why they have chosen to send their own children to private school.
To catch up on the previous conversations, read Educate Me Part 1: A Candid Conversation About Charter Schools and Educate Me Part 2: A Discussion With Charter School Teachers.
In my journey to get educated about charter schools by leveraging the knowledge of several tenured educators in my life, I’ve learned a lot about how dangerous a topic this is. My strong opposition to charter schools has been well documented on social media over the last election cycle.
A retired teacher and friend of mine wrote a detailed explanation for why charter schools are wrong for California.
In part 1 of this series, I spent some time detailing Delaine Eastin’s longstanding ties to charter schools. It was my vocal opposition to Eastin’s bid for Governor that started a wave of panic throughout the progressive community. The subject was being largely ignored, but I was making a big stink about it.
Eastin had positioned herself as though she would be tough on charter schools. She called for a moratorium on new charter schools. However, throughout the campaign, she neglected to mention her critical role in advocating charter schools in California over the last three decades. And when asking her supporters how they could reconcile these facts, many seemed to be completely in a fog, not understanding at all how this is a problem. Is the problem ignorance of the subject matter? Or is it gaslighting?
Opposition to charter schools has always been a working-class issue and a part of the Democratic party platform for several decades. Yet, many progressives are pulling the party to the right, which is incredibly ironic and sad given our shared goals of implementing expanded social programs.
Last December, Orange County’s first conversion charter school opened. It was the first in our county to commandeer resources at an existing public school. This was made possible by the Parent Trigger Law. The charter school industry has spent millions of dollars to misinform and influence voters. Decades of undermining teachers and creating a perception that parents can make better decisions about public education than credentialed professionals. This disinformation campaign has been very successful, much to the students’ detriment.
We are losing this battle because operatives in the party want us to look the other way. This is a corporate takeover. They want us distracted, fighting for our dreams rather than fighting to retain what we already have.
I will continue to report on this issue in the future, especially in regards to candidate vetting. In the meantime, go to your city council meetings and pay attention to every vote on charter schools. Find out who in your community is supporting the privatization of public schools.
Let’s stop this right now.
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