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Sunday, August 12, 2012
80% of Michigan Charter Schools are For-Profits - Forbes
Dr. Gary Miron of Western Michigan University recently testified before the Michigan State House that school reformers have “gone away from those original charter ideas to the point that they should probably be called ‘corporate’ schools or ‘franchise’ schools instead. I like charter schools. I like the notion of charter schools. But what we’re talking about now is something that is very different. We need to go back to the original intent and goals.”
Earlier this year, Dr. Miron testified [pdf] before the US House of Representatives, stating:
Charter schools have provided an easy route for privatization; many states allow private schools to convert to public charter schools, and increasing the use of private education management organizations is increasingly being seen as the mode for expanding charter schools.
Today, one-third of the nation’s charter schools are being operated by private education management organizations (EMOs) and this proportion is growing rapidly each year. In states such as Michigan, close to 80% of charter schools are operated by private for-profit EMOs.
Four out of five charter schools in Michigan are run by for-profit corporations. Let that sink in a minute. This should be deeply, deeply troubling for anyone thinking about their child’s future education, or the future of this country.
We’ve had years to examine for-profit education results at the higher education level. Companies like University of Phoenix and others cost taxpayers money, provide subpar education, serve as diploma mills, and prey on students who may never be able to pay back the tens of thousands of dollars in student loans they take on. They even prey on military veterans and active-duty service members.
We should be terrified of this happening to our public schools. Yet here it is happening nonetheless, all across the country. The corporate takeover of public education is underway, though its origins may be in the good intentions of people like Dr. Miron and the well-meaning efforts of school reformers to improve the education prospects of our children.