OH-04: The Real Cost of Charter Schools

Last week, the Columbus Dispatch had a great article on the amount of taxpayer money some private charter schools are pocketing.  One politically-connected charter school company takes a whopping 1/3 of taxpayer money for profit and management fees each year!  That's $15.3 million dollars of your money that could have gone to better public education.

This misuse of taxpayer money was put into practice by some of the same irresponsible Republicans who have thrice ignored the Ohio Supreme Court's warning that our public school funding system is unconstitutional.

And, to make matters worse, these charter schools have lower education standards than public schools in Ohio.  

Now, I don't pretend to have all the answers to our education challenges in Ohio.  I'm thankful we have elected school boards to administer the nitty-gritty of educating the next generation in Ohio.  But a few things seem to be pretty common-sense when it comes to education.

We can't afford to waste a single taxpayer dollar when it comes to education. 

It's just common-sense.  Every dollar wasted on inefficient bureaucracy or private profit is a dollar that isn't paying for more teachers, better books, or essential after-school programs.  And we'll have to make up that dollar somewhere, whether it's another school levy or another pay-to-play sports program.

We can't afford to experiment with our kids' education.

While traditional parochial schools have long provided a religious alternative to public education, charter schools don't spend their money effectively and have lower standards than our public or parochial schools.  These untested charter schools hurt parochial schools and public schools by lowering attendance at these historic local institutions.  

We can't succeed with lower standards and higher prices.

Sometimes you don't get what you pay for.  With some charter schools pocketing 1/3 of taxpayer money as profit and management fees, everyone loses - except the politically-connected charter school owners.  We shouldn't be asked to subsidize these for-profit schools with taxpayer money.

I don't have all the answers.  But I know that common-sense tells us charter schools just aren't worth the price in Ohio.  Our public schools need a lot of help - but taxpayer subsidies for charter schools won't solve these community problems.

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Tags: Congress, Education, Ohio (all tags)

Comments

5 Comments

Re: OH-04: The Real Cost of Charter Schools

If there is enough competition, then the profit margins will go down. Charter schools can work if the more companies feel that they dont have to waste time poliicking for funding. Right now - I am just guessing- the quality of charter schools is probably reflected by the pool of private entities that is willing to go through that political process.

We got a good private - public mix at the university level and I don't remember many poor students being turned away from universities. A lot of private universities I know of actually encouraged a more diverse student body than you get in a neighborhood school.

Personally, I find the concept that you are stuck with your neighborhood school moronic. Look at what happened in Upper St Clair, PA where a school board narrow majority got rid of the IB program. Why should parents who moved to that area be stuck with a moronic administration? You can say kick those morons out of office all you want but the school board members got there by hiding their intentions. Besides if you are stuck in the minority , unless you are rich, you are out of luck in a neighborhood with backward ideas. I think liberals can get a win win situation if they strike a bargain with the pro voucher crowd that any private school that adheres to 1) separation of church and state , and  2) enrolls a minimum percentage of minority students regardless of the neighborhood , will qualify for the voucher system. Conservatives who would normally scoff at these suggestions might figure that the price is small to get vouchers and go along with it.

Ideally, it would be nice if we can improve our public school system, but let's face it - we had the last two decades to fix. I did not see even the Clinton admin do crap about this, let alone the Bushies. So what makes people think we can let people in underprivleged areas waste away for another generation while we debate how to improve public schools. In India, private efforts have filled in where the government has failed in terms of education. It is not perfect, but at least we empower more people to see alternatives instead of just rich families.

by Pravin 2006-03-28 04:49AM | 0 recs
All talk no results

I have seen on more than one occasion lack of interest in education related topics on these blogs. I am with you guys when it comes to bashing Bush on education(how the hell does the press lay off Neil Bush's moneymaking shill of an educational operation?). I am with you on bashing the anti evolution lunatics. But I find a lot of empty talk from the liberals in general when it comes to education.
It is so easy to say we should just find a way to fix public schools. Fine. Fix it. But in the meantime, UNTIL YOU FIX IT, give not so rich parents a chance at getting out of their school systems. Not every parent has the freaking time to devote half their life to getting on the school board and changing the system as I am sure some of you readers are about to suggest. Leave that to the professionals. While you THINK ABOUT fixsing the system, you got a generation of poor families getting a piss poor education. They do not have the luxury of waiting for you guys to find a way to fix the public school system. Public school system, the way it is set up, is more cold blooded to poor families than any public-private enterprise can be. While I am not liberal on some issues, I can proudly say that my support for a voucher system is definitely coming from the liberal side of me. If you politiians have so much faith in the public school system , why don't all of you send your kids not just to any public school, but agree to send them to a random choice(I am not even saying the worst public school) in your district. That would be the real test of your confidence in the system.

But most of you politicians either are lucky enough to send your kid to a good public school or just use your money to send your kids to a private school.

Oh by the way, when politicians start a diary, it will be nice if they can respond to comments here.

by Pravin 2006-03-28 01:10PM | 0 recs
Re: All talk no results

I certainly understand -- and share -- your frustration with the lack of real solutions to our country's education problems.  I do respectfully disagree with your assessment of charter schools.  

Public schools have always faced competition from private and parochial schools.  What is now very different is taxpayer subsidies for charter schools and other private schools.  Unfortunately, charter schools have lower standards, higher prices, and less accountability than public schools.  

I believe that we cannot and should not waste taxpayer money on charter schools.  Far from leveling the playing field, this is just another anti-government policy pushed at the expense of working families in Ohio.

Rick

by Rick Siferd for Congress 2006-03-29 09:44AM | 0 recs
Re: OH-04: The Real Cost of Charter Schools

This site has links to a series of articles on the subject:
http://www.csindy/csindy/2005-10-20/news .html

Your local school board elections have more national political and corporate involvement than you would believe.

by mac2151 2006-03-28 02:19PM | 0 recs
Re: OH-04: The Real Cost of Charter Schools

I appreciate that eye-opening link.

Rick

by Rick Siferd for Congress 2006-03-29 09:45AM | 0 recs

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