The Real ABC's of Betrayal

This was sent to us (and the Dispatch), and is penned by a 6th gre math teacher, in response to the recent Dispatch article on failing charter schools. The ABC's of Betrayal is a reference to the Dispatch's gratuitous attacks on teachers'

First a short bit of background: I am in my 10th year of teaching, but this is my second career. I spent close to 13 years in the tech industry and have an MBA so I bring a bit of a different perspective to the classroom.

As a teacher I read with interest many of the education stories in the Dispatch, which isn't always easy, especially in the last few years. I understand the necessity for the scrutiny our "industry" receives because of what we do, but I always felt like a large part of the education story wasn't being told. Then I saw your story about failed charter schools.

I hope you will consider looking into charter school funding. It was recently brought to my attention that when a student attends a charter school the "money follows the student". As a taxpayer and parent, I can understand the argument for money following the student. What I find disturbing, and I hope you find compelling enough to write about, is that the money remains with the charter regardless of how long a student stays at the charter. My understanding is that a student could attend the charter for 1 day, 1 week, 1 month, etc., decide that it wasn't right for them and return to their home school, but the money,doesn't return with the student.

What a fantastic business model for charters. Charters can heavily advertise the supposed benefits of their schools, not disclose they are for profit institutions, enroll as many students as possible, and not worry about losses. Why should charters even care if they educate children. I was told that ECOT enrolled almost 11,000 students last year, but less than 600 students stayed for the entire year. No wonder more charters schools want to open every year.

If any of this is true, the students of charter schools who don't stay, their families, the public school systems, and taxpayers are all subsidizing a system whose business model is designed, with Ohio law's blessing, to enrich the owners. To me that represents "The ABC's of Betrayal" more starkly than what many public schools are accused of doing.