By Mark Naison
The Charter School Model for achieving education equity, as applied in cities ranging from New Orleans, to Chicago, to Camden, to Memphis, to Buffalo and Washington DC, involves several problematic features:
1. It is built upon an alliance with, and ultimately dependence on, the very economic elites whose policies have led to rapidly growing inequality in income and wealth in the last 30 years.
2. It discards the hope of democratic control of schools by parents, students and teachers and the transformation of schools into true community institutions open to all people in the neighborhoods they are located in
3. It destabilizes communities and makes them ripe for gentrification by declaring war on exiting public schools and calling for their closure.
4, It sacrifices longstanding protections of students from arbitrary treatment and abuse which public schools had been bound by,, as well as longstanding protections of teacher due process
5. It reduces instruction to Test Prep and promotes a standardized curriculum that discards community history and undermines longstanding efforts to incorporate culturally appropriate pedagogy that draws upon students traditions and history.
6. It has led to a massive displacement of veteran teachers, especially teachers of color, that has contributed to a significant shrinking of the middle class in many metropolitan areas
7. It siphons off public resources from the public schools leaving less funding to provide services for an increasingly vulnerable student population.