Viewpoint

Charter school movement corrupted by profit motive

Linda Welborn
Linda Welborn

The new charter school movement is a compilation of money, marketing and the mistaken use of the free market theory that has almost completely suppressed the ideology that charter schools were founded on, which supported innovative, energetic educational think tanks to enrich public education.

I supported the original charter school movement. However, the charter school movement has morphed into a money machine. The new charter school movement is bad for altruistic charters as well as traditional public schools. I think parents deserve choice. However, I also believe we should strive for quality choice, which means we need a strong authorizing board that values quality and sets high standards.

The word has gotten out that charter schools are huge money making machines. Corporate and education management companies are raking in millions from the taxpayer.

Whether or not you have children in school, you might want to start paying attention to the huge amount of taxpayer dollars these companies are consuming with no transparency and no accountability.

Your hard-earned dollars are disappearing into a black hole.

Simply google “Charter school issues in Michigan 2015” or “Charter school issues in Ohio 2015” to find out why these states are trying to change a trend that includes low-performing charter schools and out-of-control charter management companies.

Money, money, money is controlling the new movement. An emphasis on profit centers is outpacing learning centers, and North Carolina is ripe for the taking. Our state legislature has set the stage for North Carolina to be taken over by profit mongers as has already occurred in Michigan and Ohio.

North Carolina has forgotten charter schools’ original objective, which was to IMPROVE PUBLIC EDUCATION. Meanwhile, we had three charter schools close in Charlotte due to mismanagement of funds in 2014.

There are good charter schools, of course, and those are the schools we tend to hear the most about.

But after 20 years of charter schools in North Carolina, the number of poorly performing charter schools is growing. There is no evidence the free market theory has played any role in closing these schools, nor is there evidence to support the idea that free-market competition is improving traditional public schools.

The new charter school movement, backed by big money, has infiltrated North Carolina. North Carolinians, whether you’re a promoter of choice, traditional public schools, or simply a taxpayer, the new charter school movement is corrosive to all.

Linda Welborn is a member of the Guilford County Board of Education and a registered Republican.

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