I will protect your pensions. Nothing about your pension is going to change when I am governor. - Chris Christie, "An Open Letter to the Teachers of NJ" October, 2009

Sunday, October 28, 2012

The Charter School Fairy

Meet the Merit Pay Fairy's second cousin: the Charter School Fairy:

All you people who keep telling me, "Charters are public schools," let me ask you this: if a kid showed up mid-year and demanded entrance at a charter school, would they have to take him? OK, then what about a public school?

Or try this one: if the democratically-elected school board of community didn't want to take tax money away from the local schools to fund a charter, should they be compelled to anyway by an unelected commissioner?

So let's cut the crap on charters, OK? They take public money, but they are not public schools, any more than Halliburton or the Red Cross is a government agency. Some may be non-profit, but they are private entities. 

Which is why I find the funding sources for the "Yes on I-1240" campaign so interesting. Ken Libby points us to a list of contributors: corporate titans like Gates and Walton and Bezos and Broad. What, exactly, are they spending millions advocating for?
NEW SECTION. Sec. 307. A new section is added to chapter 41.56 RCW to read as follows: 
In addition to the entities listed in RCW 41.56.020, this chapter applies to any charter school established under chapter 28A.--- RCW (the new chapter created in section 401 of this act). Any bargaining unit or units established at the charter school must be limited to employees working in the charter school and must be separate from other bargaining units in school districts, educational service districts, or institutions of higher education. Any charter school established under chapter 28A.--- RCW (the new chapter created in section 401 of this act) is a separate employer from any school district, including the school district in which it is located. [emphasis mine]
Gosh, do you think Alice Walton, heiress to the fortune of the virulently anti-union Wal-Mart, actually likes the idea of diluting collective bargaining power for public employees?

These plutocrats are backing an initiative that will diminish union influence while simultaneously eroding local control of government. It's a Randian wet dream, but it won't do a thing to make schools better; all the evidence shows charters do no better on average than public schools. Believing in charters is as childish as believing in merit pay - or fairies.

Yo, my wand's bigger...

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