Last winter I drew a series of strips parodying the worst of our nation’s authoritarian, public-school-fund syphoning, for-profit charter schools. After the confirmation of Betsy Devos as our new Secretary of Education today, I feel this series is more relevant than ever. Here is Mr. Fitz’s visit to COMPLY Charter School…
I am satirizing real issues here. Many charters are very selective about who they take on as students, and don’t admit students with special needs. Many charters are places of authoritarianism and blind obedience: walking silently in the halls with your hands behind your back is mandatory for students. Failing to keep your eyes on the teacher during class will get you written up. Many charters do misappropriate taxpayer funds in order to pay their CEO’s exorbitant salaries.
The for-profit charters are, not surprisingly, more concerned with profits than with students. And, as happens in my plot-line, many charters are fly-by-night operations that will suddenly close in the middle of the school year, leaving their students stranded. The Miami Herald reported in 2015 that Florida, the state where I teach, invested 70 million dollars in charters that later closed, with no way to recoup the losses.
Yes, I have known of good charter schools: some of my friends teach at a charter for the arts that does great things. But there are far too many charters that aren’t like my friends’ school – and a policies that favor charters and choice over public schools are only going to make them multiply.
Under-regulated charter schools waste tax -payer money. Worse, they often squander the educational potential of the children they are hoping to educate and/or turn a profit on.