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Friday, August 31, 2012
August 13, 2012
"Back-to-school" sales seem to start earlier every year. These days, more than binders and backpacks are on offer. Now, public schools themselves are for sale.
In July, Muskegon Heights, Michigan became the first American city to hand its entire school district over to a charter-school operator .
More than 1.6 million American kids attend charter schools, which emerged in the early 1990s. Whatever their original intent, charters are fundamentally restructuring the school system by placing it in private — often for-profit — hands. They're making teachers and staff work harder and longer for less pay, usually without union benefits or protection.
In May, Philadelphia's schools announced a plan to close 64 schools and outsource 25 more to so-called "achievement networks" run by charter operators. The goal: that 40 percent of Philadelphia's children attend charters by 2017. Detroit's plans are similar.
Restructuring may seem the best option. Urban school districts have long struggled to serve their students. And many of us know firsthand — as former students, teachers, administrators, or parents — that many of America's public schools require radical change.
Charter proponents claim that their schools are less bureaucratic and more efficient, and thus save taxpayer money. Yet evidence is mounting to show that the opposite is true. READ MORE