Conversations with the Naïve “Charter School Edition”

In this week’s edition, we spoke to a charter school leader regarding the future of charter schools in California.

Charter school expert

If you’re not aware, charter schools are kind of a hybrid, they get all their funding from the state just not as much per student as traditional public schools. The teachers are not union, but get CalSTRS (California State Teachers’ Retirement System) pensions. Charters are in demand and frequently have a lottery to determine admission. Charters have been popping up all over the country as an alternative to poor performing public schools; usually in the inner-city with high numbers of people of color. To say traditional public schools hate charter schools is putting it lightly. As a result they have been under siege in California. No less than four bills are floating around the capital trying to limit/reduce the number of charter schools in this state. One bill wants a permanent cap on the number of charter schools in the state, with new schools allowed to open only after one closes, so no growth.

I had a conversation on this subject with an executive at a group of six charter schools in the Sacramento area and to call this person naïve is an understatement. Here are a few examples that this person didn’t perceive as threats to charter schools.

  1. This person had no idea that there was even a movement in the legislature to restrict or limit charter schools, let alone a series of bills for this express purpose working their way towards the governor as we spoke. Please keep in mind that the livelihoods of this person and their employees are at stake here.
  2. The state has tightened their grip on local schools with such mandates as serving hot meals for breakfast and lunch; however, charters have no facilities or capabilities to comply. The person that I spoke with is under the belief that the traditional districts are willingly going to pick up the stack in this area since they have a good working relationship. Such wishful optimism is literally sticking your head in the sand. At some point, charters will be forced under the authority and control of traditional districts. In this particular case, they have charter schools operating in areas governed by three different traditional districts. While the EGUSD (Elk Grove Unified School District) is doing decent financially, Sacramento City Unified is a complete dumpster fire. If you don’t think Sac City isn’t gunning for your state per capita money then you are very naïve.
  3. This person speaks about the curriculum being different from traditional public schools….this is disingenuous at best and an outright lie at worst. The state dictates the curriculum (he who has the gold, makes the rules) and if you don’t teach it….well, you’ll pay for it. Ask the Blog Father, he knows someone who is a teacher at a public school, not teaching the curriculum gets you “axed the question.”

Adding insult to injury, this person is completely aloof to what public schools can “offer.” A cynical view is that basically the only difference between traditional public schools and charter schools is about $7K in teacher pay. This naïve person scoffed at the notion of teachers leaving charters for public schools over money because get this…. “they drank the Kool-Aid.” (Bonus: this person had no clue where the drink the Kool-Aid saying came from.) On the one hand, such a comment is calling their staff mindless drones incapable of thinking for themselves, yet also thinking they are superior for working at a charter?

I think a drill to unionize charter schools is in play and will be seen in the next few years. I foresee a scenario in which the state’s education apparatus becomes more hostile to charter schools and uses the power of the budget to compel them to merge with existing districts or else…

Controlling benefits and linking them to union membership is the reason why you will never see a mass exodus from the CTA. Teachers get no benefits or legal representation without union membership. If charters were denied these benefits without union membership, their teachers would jump ship in a heartbeat.

The problem here is this, this charter group is banking on Fortune Charter schools (led by a black lady) carrying their water. This group didn’t even know about a charter school protest being held at the capital literally a stone’s throw away from one of their schools! Leaving Fortune to fend for themselves!

Margaret Fortune–Charter School leader
(not interviewee of this post)

Turns out this group, like many other charters, would prefer not to “stir the pot or speak up.” Problem is they are likely going to be legislated right out of existence in California. The CTA (Communist California Teachers Association) is very strong and a huge player in this state, they want charters gone and charters seem to have no interest in speaking up or defending themselves.

Unions equate charter schools with corporate greed

I could throw in a, they came for the gypsies first, then the Pols, then the Russians, … but I won’t stoop to that level; since I’m a Trump supporter, it would be racist.

Hopefully the charter schools don’t get whacked, but I can’t think of many reasons to keep them around, as this group of schools have been accused of grade inflation.

Johnnie Does