Charter Advocates, Lt. Gov. Forest Try to Keep Charter Report Hidden
A new report highlights how charter schools are more segregated than traditional public schools, but Lt. Gov. Forest and other charter school proponents don't want to hear it. Forest pushed to have the State Board of Education not consider the charter report, because in his words, "it did not have a lot positive to say."
Now a News and Observer editorial takes Lt. Gov. Forest to task for this abuse of power.
Forest got the report pulled from the state board’s consideration because, he said, “The report, to me, did not have a lot of positive things to say.” In other words, because the report wasn’t to the liking of charter school advocates, it didn’t deserve consideration without first being looked at by the state’s charter school advisory board.
This is an abuse of Forest’s position as a member of the state board. And his reasoning was transparent. He and others who relentlessly push expansion of charter schools don’t want to hear the straight-up facts in the report.
Among them: The student population at charters is wealthier and whiter than regular public schools; enrollment of Hispanic students is about half, percentage-wise, in charters compared with mainstream public schools; racial imbalance at charters is clear, as a Duke University study showed little integration within charters; charters have a smaller proportion of lower-income students than regular schools.
Charters began about 20 years ago with the idea that they would be free of some rules governing regular schools. They didn’t have to adhere to the regular teacher pay scale, and they could alter their school calendars. They could expermient, and successes could be integrated into regular public schools.
Unfortunately, conservatives have crusaded for charters, which are funded by taxpayers, almost with the attitude that they represent a private school system within the public one. That’s not good, and critics have warned that the expansion of charters could indeed lead to these exact problems of economic and racial imbalance.