In case you haven’t heard, the Republicans are at it again. Not only are they taking money out of our schools and forking it over to big business, they are actually attempting to turn our schools into cash cows for the state. As it is, 4 out of 5 charter schools are for-profit, and what have the Senate Republicans done? They’ve passed legislation to remove the cap on charter schools in the State of Michigan, opening the doors to boardroom-based education.
For this reason, Democratic Senators Warren and Hopgood today introduced Senate Joint Resolution R, an amendment that will ban public schools operated by for-profit entities in Michigan. If passed, this resolution will prevent our children’s education from being compromised at the expense of entities whose only concern is the bottom line.
It would be one thing if charter schools were at least creating a higher standard of education, but they’re not. A 2009 nationwide study by the Center for Research on Education Outcomes (CREDO) at Stanford University found that, on average, charter school students can expect their academic growth to be lower than that of their peers at traditional public schools. Only 17% of charter schools were found to deliver better learning gains than traditional public schools. That leaves an outstanding 83% of charter schools performing the same as, or worse than, traditional public schools. In fact, an incredible 37% of charter schools in the study were found to produce learning gains that were significantly worse than those of traditional public schools.
Furthermore, the removal of the cap on charter schools further elaborates on the “winners and losers” mentality that the Republicans seem to be so fond of. Charter schools provide more options for those who can afford it while leaving behind students who need them the most. We need to ensure that the dollars spent by taxpayers are going to our children’s education, not a corporate bottom line. Making children the means to a profitable end is a new, and unacceptable, low.
The facts speak for themselves. For-profit charter schools are simply not in the best interest of Michigan’s students. They are in the interest of Governor Snyder’s corporate friends, and that simply will not stand.