Skip to:

Revisiting The "Best Evidence" Theory Of Charter School Performance


As discussed elerwhese on this blog, the push for charter schools really is not about finding better schools; it's about destroying public education and transferring public taxes to the 1%. Charter schools are the current Trojan horse for that purpose, although I think the distance learning variant of privatized education is getting wheeled to the gate as we write.We need to speak up more loudly about the real nature of the game. We need to expose the game and take the true believers and toadies to task for their betrayal of our common good. Of course, demonstrating that charter schools are no better, and dollar-for-dollar often much worse, than public schools is necessary. But the American public is still very much enthralled with the following destructive notions:(1) free enterprise can solve any problem with efficiency , usually sold as a have-our-cake-and-eat-it-too proposition; (2) business-leader heroes deserve huge monetary rewards and grants of power, both private and public; (3) the market provides all of the necessary and sufficient oversight over its activities;(4) a hatred of unions that provide their members protections that the average American worker can't obtain; (5) a hatred of government that is known to be incompetent , inefficient , and corrupt , except of course for the Department of Defense and any agency that the charter school support happens to depend on, e.g., Social Security, Medicare, or Medicaid.The Right has been very adroit in using these beliefs to dodge the sorts of statistics-based criticisms of charters: They just shout about bad government and unions, and then claim their charters are better or the market will take care of all problems.I think we need to bring more focus on the self-dealing that many politicians who support charters engage in; in other words, follow the money. We also can demand that if we have to accept charters, then they have to meet the same standards and carry the same burdens as the public schools, have the same transparency regarding governance, and be subject to severe penalties for failure (akin to NCLB or RttT). In short, we have to force the sorts of apples-to-apples comparisons, especially on cost vs. results, that can't be evaded easily.

I hit this on my blog, three years ago. I've got a couple of different points on it.


This web site and the information contained herein are provided as a service to those who are interested in the work of the Albert Shanker Institute (ASI). ASI makes no warranties, either express or implied, concerning the information contained on or linked from The visitor uses the information provided herein at his/her own risk. ASI, its officers, board members, agents, and employees specifically disclaim any and all liability from damages which may result from the utilization of the information provided herein. The content in the Shanker Blog may not necessarily reflect the views or official policy positions of ASI or any related entity or organization.