Monday, December 19, 2011

The Real Reason the State Opposes Charters

In North Carolina, we have many places with overcrowded schools and the need to build more. The cost per student is on the order of $8k or more.

But charter schools can quickly gear up, in places that are overcrowded, and use rental space (as opposed to purchasing land, required by state law). Charters can go without sports facilities (as opposed to having a full set of sports and recreation facilities, as required by state law). Charters can contract out for janitorial services, can do without a full service cafeteria, can go without hallway lockers, and can make do without full service school buses. Regular schools have to have all those things, as required by....well, you know.

So, charters can operate about 1/2 to 2/3 the cost per student of regular schools in NC. And they can be up and running in a year, where it takes five years or more for a new state school.

Why would anyone be against charters?

Because the job of schools is NOT to provide education to children. That's a myth. The job of state schools is to provide JOBS to people who will vote Democrat. It's not clear that charter school faculty will have the correct ideology, since they are hired by the parents who pay the bills, not the bureaucrats who depend on the state for their livelihood.

In New York, the authorities went so far as to send the money BACK, rather than allow flexibility and choice in school provision.

Here is what the state of NY had to say about it:

An audit of the public pre-K system by the city comptroller’s office places the blame for the lack of seats squarely on the city’s Department of Education, saying that in 2010, it got enough money from the state — $29 million — to finance an additional 8,000 seats. When those funds went unspent, they had to be returned to the state. But the department said those funds would have paid for only 2.5 hours of teaching daily, making the programs impractical for working families. What city families need is full-day programs, according to the department, and the state money will not pay for those.

In other words, parents are paying taxes into the system. Since it is unable to provide the educational services it promised when it took the money, at gunpoint, the state could rebate that money, either as vouchers or as part of a charter agreement. Either would solve the overcrowding problem.

But, instead, the state insists that only a full day would serve "working families." This concern for "working families" means that they get....nothing.


John Thacker said...

The job of government schools is to train docile citizens (according to the government). Letting individuals decide what sort of education to get and employ choice is inherently suspicious.

JD Cross said...

Well done sir. I bow before your awesomeness.

Dave Hansen said...

And that $8,000 per student figure is underestimated. The official numbers reported by states and the US Dept. of Education don't include capital costs (e.g. bonds for building schools), which can account for 10 to 20% of total spending.