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Tuesday, February 21, 2012

NAACP, Court Cases Against Charter Schools

These arguments regarding charter school, from 2010-2011, were sent my way, but they are still quite timely:

(I) The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) issued a resolution critical of charter schools. Albeit, this resolution is about one and a half years old, being adopted in July, 2010 and ratified by its board on October 15, 2010, it is a taut analysis and compelling statement. It resolved that:
the NAACP rejects the emphasis on charter schools as the vanguard approach for the education of children, instead of focusing attention, funding, and policy advocacy on improving existing, low performing public schools and will work through local, state and federal legislative processes to ensure that all public schools are provided the necessary funding, support and autonomy necessary to educate all students

It closed with a call for NAACP units to support public education across the nation.
See this site for the full document in pdf. The resolution's WHEREAS statements provide good arguments on the faults of charters and the myths behind charter schools.

(II) And note these court decisions against charter schools, especially the court findings that charter schools are not public entities or agents:
Charter Schools are NOT Public Schools!

Charters are privately managed entities whose only claim to the word public is the fact that they drain public funds. Dozens of court cases have ruled that charter schools are not "public entities." Two well known examples include the following:

The California Court of Appeals (Knapp v. Palisades Charter School, Courtney KNAPP, a Minor, etc., et al., Plaintiffs and Appellants, v. PALISADES CHARTER HIGH SCHOOL et al., Defendants and Respondents., No. B185996., 2007-01-10) which ruled that charter-voucher schools are NOT "public agents." [See THIS LINK]

The 9th Circuit US Court of Appeals (Michael Caviness v. FJM Horizon Community Learning Center, MICHAEL CAVINESS, Plaintiff-Appellant, No. 08-15245, v. D.C. No. ý CV-07-00635-FJM HORIZON COMMUNITY LEARNING CENTER, INC.; LAWRENCE PIERATT, OPINION, Defendants-Appellees., 2010-01-04) which ruled that charter-voucher schools are NOT "public actors." [See THIS LINK]

Moreover, the US Census Department expressed difficulty in obtaining information from charter-voucher schools because the are NOT public entities: ["In Census Finance Data, Most Charters Are Not Quite Public Schools," June 6, 2011 article, citing Fiscal Year (FY) 2009 data because of the time lag with such data]. [See THIS LINK]

See this opening excerpt from the earlier cited Shanker Institute Blog article:
Last month, the U.S. Census Bureau released its annual public K-12 school finance report (and accompanying datasets). The data, which are for FY 2009 (there’s always a lag in finance data), show that spending increased roughly two percent from the previous year. This represents much slower growth than usual.

These data are a valuable resource that has rightfully gotten a lot of attention. But there’s a serious problem within them, which, while slightly technical, hasn’t received any attention at all: The vast majority of public charter schools are not included in the data.

To gather its data, the Census Bureau relies on reporting from “government entities.” Some charter schools fit this description neatly, such as those operated by governments or government-affiliated bodies, including states, districts, counties, and public universities. But most charter schools are operated by private organizations (mostly non-profits), and finance figures for these schools are not included in the report (the Census classifies them as “private charter schools”).

What does this mean? Well, for one thing, it means that the overall spending figures (total dollar amounts) are a bit understated. Charters only account for a relatively small proportion of all public school enrollments (around 5-6 percent); still, given the huge amounts of money we’re dealing with here (the U.S. spends roughly $600 billion a year), we’re talking about quite a bit in absolute terms. Perhaps more important is the potential effect on per-pupil spending figures – the way that education financing is usually expressed.
Per-pupil calculations allow one to account for variations in enrollment among years and locations. For example, some districts/states have more students, so of course they spend more – you need to see how much they spend while at least crudely “controlling” for how many students they serve, and per-pupil figures help to do that (though they don’t account for differences between students in terms of income, disabilities, etc.). The same goes for spending in the same state or district across years – if district/state enrollment goes up or down, spending will too. Comparisons over time thus require that we account for these changes by dividing spending by the number of students.

But even per-pupil estimates are subject to potentially serious bias, due to the charter school exclusion. This is, in many places, a problem at both the state and district level. First, at the state level, if the excluded charters spend more or less than regular public schools and included charters, then this could skew the per-pupil amounts, making them appear lower or higher than they really are (especially in states where there are enough charters to affect the overall average). In other words, if there are substantial spending differences between the excluded charters and the regular public schools and included charters, we might not be getting an accurate picture of how much each state spends on public education.
Read the concluding paragraphs of the above here.

We understand in the light of all the scandals and bad press ( that supporters of lucrative charters are desperate to paint them as public schools, but outside the corporate spin cycle that is the the school privatization camp, charters have been found to be anything but public. Charters are one in the same with the 501C3s or other organizations running them. Here is an excerpt from one of the court cases cited above: "The Court determined the charter schools did not qualify as "public entities" under the CFCA. (Id. at p. 1203, 48 Cal.Rptr.3d 108, 141 P.3d 225.) Because they competed with the traditional schools for students and funding, neither did the Court find them to be "governmental entities" exempt from the UCL's restrictions on their competitive practices."

The language court use is precise and unambiguous. Charter charlatans have created a lucrative quasi-public market niche. The schools are public so long as they can garner public funds and cash in on lucrative real estate deals. However, as soon as a family, community member, educator, or other persons outside of those profiting form charters need to seek legal or civil remedies against the charter school sector, then they are conveniently NOT public entities. Charters. No oversight, no democratic controls, but lots of opportunities for swindlers to make boatloads of cash and plutocrats to push propaganda instead of pedagogy.

No. B185996. - KNAPP v. PALISADES CHARTER HIGH SCHOOL - CA Court of Appeal
Courtney KNAPP, a Minor, etc., et al., Plaintiffs and Appellants, v. PALISADES CHARTER HIGH SCHOOL et al., Defendants and Respondents. Edwin Carney, for plaintiff and appellant.Foley & Lardner and Gregory V. Moser, San Diego, for California Charter Schools Association and California Charter Schools Association Joint Powers Authority as Amici Curiae on behalf of plaintiff and appellant.Soltman, Levitt & Flaherty, John S.

Every day, students in the United States, along with many teachers, recent an oath of allegiance to "the republic." Is it not time that we act on those words literally, and make the republic ours, the public's, and eject, completely, charter schools?

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