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Jun
2014
25

Corporate Education Lobby Launches Pro-Charter School PR Blitz Following Damning MI Report

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A new investigative report from the Detroit Free Press reveals a problem in Michigan found in many other states: Charter schools with little oversight and nearly no regulation underperforming to the detriment of students.  The report’s findings led the Michigan Association of Public School Academies (MAPSA), a lobby group focusing on the for-profit education industry, to wage an all-out PR campaign to minimize the postivie impact of this solid journalistic effort.

The report, “State of charter schools: How Michigan spends $1 billion but fails to hold schools accountable,” tells an alarming tale:

— Charter schools spend $1billion per year in state taxpayer money, often with little transparency.

— Some charter schools are innovative and have excellent academic outcomes — but those that don’t are allowed to stay open year after year.

—  A majority of the worst-ranked charter schools in Michigan have been open 10 years or more.

— Charter schools as a whole fare no better than traditional schools in educating students in poverty.

—  Michigan has substantially more for-profit companies running schools than any other state.

— Some charter school board members were forced out after demanding financial details from management companies.

— State law does not prevent insider dealing and self-enrichment by those who operate schools.

Eclectablog explains that MAPSA has bought up ALL of the available ad space on the websites of the Detroit News and the Free Press.  Their efforts include letters to Michigan politicians asking for support.  All of their materials can be found on the Eclectablog website.

Out of control spending and weak outcomes resulting from the pro-corporate education model are becoming an epidemic nationwide, accounting for an estimated $100 million in taxpayer losses. The public’s patience is beginning to wear thin with the collective realization that public education cannot be improved in a deregulated education ‘market.’  Each time an investigative report is published (like this one from Ohio), two simple truths inch closer to the forefront of the national education conversation: Without oversight, charter schools are nothing more than profit-creation vehicles for large companies; and the cost-cutting associated with these financial gains is done at the direct expense of children, especially those living closest to the poverty line.

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