We are now receiving the hard data.  Throughout the Charter versus Public School debate, the concern on one hand was that allowing Charters to compete, would force Public schools to close, and once done, the charter schools would perform no better than did the public……

In the ’90’s as these ideas were first proposed and debated upon their merits, but there was no evidence; it was all theoretical..  Now, we have actually  done it and are getting hard data….

Here is their history in one paragraph.  If a charter school opens up in a failing school system and the public money per student is allowed to follow that child, obviously parents at no cost to themselves will opt to put their children in a charter school.  Simply put, if their public school is rated  “F”, the charter school can be no worse.  So the charter School being  someone’s private  investment, now begins accepting children with public school money that comes from citizen’s assessed property taxes… As more charter schools open up in that same failed district, they siphon even more public money into these private enterprises, pulling it of course  out of the public school system in that local area.  So the public school which was previously  failing, is now accepting a much lower number of students, yet trying to maintain the same infrastructure covering that wide geographical area..  For example, its school buses have to run the same routes whether they receive cash per student to carry 5 students or 35…  Obviously the public schools have to do with less, while the charter schools have to do with more… The charter schools choose their students in certain cases, and can send them back to public if they don’t meet expectations.  The Public schools must take whomever is left,  in.  Gradually the quality and sheer numbers of students deteriorate so much, that these public schools have to be shut down.  Too many schools are too empty and that is too costly…  Consolidation must occur.

Philadelphia and Chicago are closing schools.  And Guess what?  Most of both are black.

The argument can be made that we are accidentally closing the door on the only one way a person can pull himself out of the inner city quagmire: with a quality education….

Now let us back up.  The argument for charter schools was that they would provide that door or that opportunity for these citizens to help pull themselves out. Theoretically,  if all charter schools had huge success stories, then this plan could be a viable option.

If such were the case, all of us including myself would be in favor of charter schools… As I look back over the past 20 years I can now see how we were seduced into allowing them to happen.  If someone had substituted the word  “private schools”  instead  of  “charter schools”, no one would be against; we’d all be in favor….. private schools (which used private funds), competing with public schools would be a good thing.  People would have a choice if they could afford to let their children get a great education or a good one… I think Britain has functioned fine with its Eton School for Boys.

Then, when the argument became enhanced, that drawing such a line financially was not fair to underprivileged children who had talent,  a lot of us felt that yes  they should receive scholarships to go to good schools, and that was fair.  Then, when the lack of scholarships for the amount of private school openings became apparent, all were lulled into letting the public money for that child, follow the child where he wound up going… even if it was outside the school system and into someone else’s private pockets….

Allowing public money to enhance private pockets, particularly in a urban environment where lots of potential students surround a converted building, opened up great possibilities for some to get wealthy…  Just a hundred students at $15,000 each per year, could bring one a gross of $1,500,000..  One could squeeze that few into  just three rooms of 35 students… Double that, and one gets $3 million.  Do it across the city, and gross $100 million….

So is it really that bad for someone to get wealthy IF… kids are getting a much better education?

And up to now, this was the dilemma .. No one really had that answer because no one really knew.  No one had ever tried it before….

That was then.  We now have results and can analyze this experiment and see, once and for all, how charter schools can impact the growth and development of our children!… This is truly awesome, actually!…. .

In Philly, over a quarter of the district’s 195,000 seats are now empty. That is 48,750  empty spots…  But more important, is the number of the remainder:  146,250…

In Philadelphia, the proportion of students attending charter schools jumped to 23 percent in the 2011-12 school year from 12 percent in 2004-5, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.

The actual number of Charter School Students  within the Philadelphia School District, according to the National Alliance for Charter Schools,  is 47,800… just 950 student shy of the district’s empty seats……..

Quite a coincidence!

In all 23.4% of Philly’s children are enrolled in Charter Schools…. The district projects a 37 percent increase in costs associated with charter schools over the next five years, bringing the total charter cost to more than $800 million…. That will come out of the public school budgets.

Last year,  Philadelphia charters met AYP (Adequate Yearly Progress)at only 29 percent, yet that was still better than the 13 percent tally for Philadelphia’s district-run schools…..

Mathematically that stacks up thusly….

(0.13)146,250  +  (0.29)47,800  =  Total Philly students meeting  requirements….   The math gives us this many successful students:  32,874…

In 2005,  there were 185,000 students in the city district’s public schools.  At that time, 34% were deemed advanced or proficient….. Doing the math we get this result…. 62,900…. actual students who were advanced or proficient…

In 2005,  the Philadelphia School District put out 62,900 students meeting standards.  In 2012, after experimenting with Charter Schools,  the same geographical area spit out 32,874 students meeting standards…

Conclusion.  Having  charter schools and public schools duke it out over scarce resources, not unlike the recent movie Hunger Games,  cuts our actual passing students down by  almost half….

We now have evidence.

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