This report, Charters and Consequences, is the result of a year-long exploration of the effects of charter schools and the issues that surround them. Each of its eleven issues-based stories tells what the Network for Public Education (NPE) have learned not only from research, but also from talking with parents, community members, teachers, and school leaders around the nation who have observed the effects of charters on their communities and neighborhood schools.
The Washington Supreme Court ruled that an Act establishing and funding charter schools as common schools was unconstitutional. The Court held that charter schools are not ‘common schools’ under Article IX of Washington’s Constitution. Thus, the use of funds restricted by the Washington Constitution to support common schools under the Act was unconstitutional. Also, because the funding provisions were integral to, and not severable from, the Act, the Court held the Act to be unconstitutional in its entirety.
In these three related decisions, the Kansas Supreme Court held that legislative changes to K-12 school funding, which reduced state-aid payments augmenting funds generated through property taxation in school districts with lower property values, violated the Kansas constitution. Article 6 of the Kansas constitution has previously been interpreted by the Kansas Supreme Court to require equity and adequacy in the provision of financing for education.
The Washington Supreme Court ruled that the State failed to comply with its duty to make ample provision for the education of all children in Washington through dependable and regular tax sources. The evidence showed that the State’s funding levels fell short in the areas of basic operational costs, student transportation, and staff salaries.
The Supreme Court of Louisiana held that Louisiana’s ‘Minimum Foundation Program’, which allocates educational funding to schools, could not be used to provide funding to privates schools by way of a voucher programme. It ruled that to do so violated article VIII, section 13 of the Louisiana Constitution, which establishes how monies are to be allocated to public schools based on a formula adopted by the state board of education.
In this decision, the Florida Supreme Court held that a voucher program providing public funds to students to obtain private education failed to comply with article IX, section 1 of the Florida Constitution, which requires the state government to make adequate provision for education through a uniform system of free public schools. This decision confirms Florida’s constitutional obligation to provide high quality, free public education – a duty that cannot be discharged by funding unregulated private schools through a voucher or scholarship program.
From humble beginnings in the early 1990s, charter schools have grown explosively to become a pillar in a market-oriented national education reform in the United States. The fiscal fallout from the financial crisis of 2007-08 constricted educational budgets and intensified the public debate around directing resources to all aspects of educational reform, especially charter schools.
This booklet brings together educators from different countries to examine the negative effects of privatisation on the right to education, education quality, equity, and teaching. Building upon specific examples from the US, Canada, Chile and South Africa, it makes the argument that privatisation increases inequality and stratification in education, and substitutes good public policy with the vagaries of charity or the single-mindedness of profit-making.