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Biden made right decision

In his April 24 column, George Will criticizes President Joe Biden’s efforts to create greater accountability for the nation’s charter schools.

Two reports, “Chartered for Profit” (2021, Network for Public Education) and “Choosing Charters: Better Schools or More Segregation?” (2018, Teachers College Press), are among recent analyses of charter schools that underscore the need for increased transparency and accountability.

Despite charter schools’ original vision as laboratories for experimentation to share with traditional public schools, charters today compete with traditional public schools and often divert public dollars for education to for-profit companies.

Arizona is the only state that allows for-profit entities to run charter schools. But charters in other states often set up for-profit management organizations, commonly referred to as education management organizations, which profit by recommending their own related companies for leasing, personnel and curriculum services.

Some 26 states and the District of Columbia have charters managed by such for-profit organizations. In Michigan and Florida, the majority of charter schools in the state are managed in this way.

In addition to misusing public dollars for private gain, charters can be more selective in who they accept and disproportionately serve fewer students with disabilities and those learning English. There is growing evidence that charters contribute to a re-segregation of our nation’s classrooms, which is why national groups, including the NAACP, have called for a moratorium on charter schools.

I applaud Biden’s efforts to ensure that charter schools use public dollars for education that serves all children and not for private financial gain.

PEGGY PATTEN

Urbana

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