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The Real Truths about Charter Schools

Cons Of Charter School

1. Corruption May Reign Supreme

In 2015 and 16, regional and national newspapers ran exposés and editorials about the deplorable classroom conditions and corrupt mismanagement of several charter schools. The Akron Beacon Journal found that Ohio charter schools misspend public money nearly 4 times more often than any other type of taxpayer-funded agency. The Sun Sentinel reported that a Florida school operator received $450,000 in tax dollars to open 2 charter schools months after his first school collapsed. And an investigation by the Detroit Free Press found massive corruption in the Michigan charter system.

2. Virtual Charters Are A Real Failure

Some charters are set up online, with classes taking place virtually. And while plopping a kid down in front of a virtual school cuts down on a lot of education costs, it also cuts down on a lot of education. “The virtual and cyber charter schools have been shown to be very bad,” Medler says, adding their performance standards are very low. Plus, you saw what happened in The Lawnmower Man.

3. They Could Be A Huge Tax Dodge

The powerful folks funding charter schools aren’t doing it entirely out of the goodness of their hearts. Investors enjoy considerable tax advantages thanks to a tax credit established by President Clinton. Those funding charter schools benefit from a 39 percent credit on contributions over a 7-year period. They also have the ability to collect interest on the money they contribute. A fund could double its investment in 7 years, and the credit can be combined with other breaks without limit. (See point number one.)

4. They Make It Difficult For Public Schools

Critics say charters steal top students from public schools — and actively keep problem students away. It’s said they do this via difficult application processes and declining to participate in lower-income friendly programs like school-subsidized lunches. And because they steal high-achievers, district schools receive less money while still having to pay the same overhead costs as before. The school’s reputation also suffers because test scores fall.

5. Charter School Teachers Could Be Getting a Raw Deal

While pay is lower overall in charters, Medler says novice teachers are paid more on average and that charter teachers provide more opportunities for professional development. However, critics like former assistant education secretary Diane Ravitch paint a different picture. She’s said that because charters are private, they’re exempt from labor and disciplinary policy laws. “In most charter schools,” Ravitch wrote. “young teachers work 50, 60, or 70 hours a week. Teacher turnover is high, given the hours and intensity of the work.”

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