To: The United States House of Representatives and The United States Senate
Tell Congress: Don’t fund charter cheats!
Vote NO on HR 10. We shouldn't send another dime of our nation’s money to charter schools until we can ensure that it will be spent for the benefit of students, not enriching charter industry cheaters.
Why is this important?
One of the primary reasons federal officials originally got involved in public education was to promote equity. Legislation like the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) were supposed to help our neediest children have the educational experiences they need to succeed.
But that mission has been seriously compromised, especially since the passage of NCLB under the Bush Administration, and continued under the Obama Administration’s Race to the Top (RTTT).
Far from promoting equity, these initiatives have helped facilitate a corporate takeover of public education, by increasing the importance and the amount of high-stakes testing, which corporate-friendly local and state officials have used to justify closing growing numbers of schools in low-income communities of color, and giving our schools away to private charter operators.
These charter operators have posed a serious problem. Our partners, the Center for Popular Democracy and Integrity in Education, recently released a report looking at this issue. In just 15 states of the 42 with charter school laws, they found that charter operators have cheated the public out of over $100 million in taxpayer money.
That number can’t even begin to capture the harm done to the children in their care—children who went without nutritious lunches, school supplies, and more while charter cheats purchased expensive vacations, homes and other extravagances, all on our dime.
Yet despite all of this, Congress is now poised to vote on a bill this week that would send $300 million more of our tax dollars to the charter industry. Ignoring the educators, community members, reporters, judges, Attorneys General, and even the US Department of Education’s Office of the Inspector General who have warned that nearly-nonexistent standards and poor oversight leaves charters especially vulnerable to fraud, Congress is actually considering a bill that would encourage states to further expand the charter industry, while doing virtually nothing to establish desperately-needed protections.
Enough is enough. Our federal officials should be funding educational opportunities for each and every one of America’s kids, not just the children in charter schools. And they definitely shouldn’t be sending our money to a poorly regulated industry that puts kids at risk for its operators’ personal gain. Tell Congress to vote NO on H.R. 10.