Should forprofit charter schools be banned? That’s a complicated question. Proponents and detractors alike make the case that for-profit charter schools are bad. But the issue is not as black and white as proponents make it seem. Charter schools are far less controversial than cancer, and the issue of corporate control over education is far less well-known. Still, there’s a good case to be made for their exclusion.
The current climate in American education is not conducive to school choice. School choice has been a stumbling block since the 1954 Brown Decision. Some southern states even created segregation academies and voucher plans to avoid integration. In the meantime, states are passing laws banning discussion of racism, censorship of books and discussion of gender. It seems these issues are related. So should forprofit charter schools be banned?
Although many proponents of school vouchers support a free-market approach, criticizing for-profit charter schools could limit the choices for students who need help. In fact, the Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos’ recent testimony before the U.S. Senate has echoed this view. In her testimony, DeVos argued that criticizing for-profit charter schools is counterproductive.
In fact, the for-profit sector owns more than one-fifth of all charter schools. And they control key operations and personnel in these schools, which includes curriculum and staff. As a result, students who pay the highest tuition are left out. While the Democratic candidates have made a strong case for a ban on for-profit charters, it is important to remember that not all charter schools are for-profit.