Tuesday, February 21, 2012

How Privatization is Harmful to Public Education

The following comes to us from Dov Rosenberg, Instructional Technology Facilitator from Durham, NC.
  •   Less than 20% of privately-managed public schools (charter schools) are successful; they also segregate children and minimize the decision-making power of parents & the community, ultimately making public schools less effective.

    Less than 20% of charter schools are successful:
    • *Even the pro-charter documentary “Waiting for Superman” notes that only 1 in 6 charter schools succeed.
    • *Charter schools can artificially inflate their published success rate by deflecting low-scoring kids back to public schools, usually
    Charter schools segregate children:
    • *Most charter schools are racially homogenous.
    • *Without diversity requirements, charter schools can market to specific demographics, ultimately segregating communities.
    • *Children from the same neighborhood often go to different schools, don’t know each other, & don’t play outside together. Alienation negatively impacts neighborhood communities.
    Charter schools minimize the decision-making power of parents & the community:
    • *Private control, as opposed to elected control via school board, leaves curricula to be defined by a corporate agenda.
    • *Corporate-controlled charter school home offices are often centralized out of state.
    • *One more thing for parents & kids to worry about as they wait for acceptance letters.
    • *Undermine a fundamental democratic principle that the people closest to (& therefore most knowledgeable about) problems are the best positioned to deal with them.
    Charter schools make public schools less effective:
    • *Taxpayer dollars are deflected from public schools into charter schools where they’re utilized w/o transparency or accountability.
    • *Charter schools have the freedom to select high-achieving kids w/ few needs so low-achieving kids w/ high needs get deflected & ultimately concentrated into an underfunded local public school.
    • *Charter schools aren’t obligated to provide special services for high-needs kids so they often get deflected & ultimately concentrated into an underfunded local public school.
    • *Only families who can navigate application processes can apply to a charter. Families w/o the time or know-how to “work the system” (often very poor and/or immigrant families) are ultimately concentrated into an underfunded local public school.
    • Private entities have already tried running school districts according to corporate models & seen disastrous results.
    • *Minimal time for socializing & physical activity b/c recess & PE are cut in favor of test prep, particularly affecting low-scoring students.
    • *Testing anxiety has lead to sickness, vomiting, & even incontinence in the classroom.
    • *Excessive testing stifles the love of learning.
    • *Year-end tests require sitting still & staying focused for 3.5 hours, which leads to behavior problems.
    • *Encourage the promise of extrinsic motivators such as rewards for high scores (bribes) & punishments for low scores (threats).
    • Pressure to pass tests has lead to stimulant abuse in teenagers.

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