Much Parent Education Work To Be Done Re: Myth Of Charter Schools

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By: S.E. Anderson

Ed Activist Folks,

Just a note to say that I attended our little counter charter school rally this morning. By “our” I mean the Coalition for Public Education. It appeared that no other progressive education activist group was in attendance to point out the fact that by law, charter schools are supposed to pay rent to the Board of Ed. Billionaire Mayor Bloomberg bumrushed a waiver so that the charter schools-big and small-can move into public schools for a dollar a year.

Well, mayoral front-runner Bill de Blasio has publicly stated that if he’s mayor, he will abide by the law and have charters pay rent. This has sparked a massive Brooklyn Bridge-crossing demo of thousands of Black & Latino charter parents and their children ushered along by their overwhelmingly white teachers. What a sad sight to see: clueless poor and working-class Black & Latino parents chanting that charters are public schools and should not pay rent while mainly white charter heads like Eva Moskowitz, her rich hedge fund friends and big charter franchises laugh all the way to the bank with big salaries and tens of millions of taxpayer dollars. These parents have been duped and bamboozled to see charter schools as some microversion of the private school (Sidwell Friends) the Obamas send their daughters to. Over the past 20 years of all-charters-all-the-time-propaganda, they’ve fallen for the “school choice” hype of charters being better “public” schools than the traditional neighborhood public school.

Today, for many charter parents, it was cognitive dissonance when they heard that the charter law states that their school must pay rent. They often immediately took the conversation off into chanting or ranting that charter schools are better than “regular” public schools… and their child knows this and that and now does better on tests, etc. Indeed, we need to also have an open discussion of the deeply Eurocentric/test-driven/scripted curricula of most charter schools. And yes, we also need an open and frank discussion of the overwhelming preponderance of white teachers who have no clue about the educational and cultural needs of their mainly Black & Latino students who must live and survive in a profoundly racist society that sees them as criminals-from-birth.

If de Blasio holds true throughout his mayoral campaign to his promise of charging rent to charter schools when he becomes mayor, we have an excellent teachable moment for the truth about charter schools. We need to saturate charter schools and noncharter schools with info exposing the fact that charter schools are, and have been, a privatizing wedge inserted into the NYC public school system to divide parents and students while the wealthy charterites and privateers rip us taxpayers off.

Charters Must Pay Rent! It’s the Law! There must be a Moratorium on all new Charters come 2014! We all must help Dismantle Mayoral Dictatorship and Build the People’s Board of Education!

In Struggle,

Sam Anderson