by Brian Washington
Your activism is making a difference and spreading the word about the need for state legislators to approve more oversight for charter schools to ensure a better education for students and protect the money taxpayers put up to fund these schools.
Thanks to you, stories focusing on tougher charter standards and several reports put out by the Center for Popular Democracy, highlighting the importance of more transparency and accountability for charters schools, get the most “likes,” “shares,” and “retweets” on the Speak Up for Kids Facebook page and the Education Votes Twitter account.
Also, hundreds of you have signed our pledge to encourage your state lawmakers to adopt stronger standards for charter schools.
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Tell lawmakers it’s time for tougher standards and more oversight and accountability for charter schools. Click here ›
However, we can’t stop now, especially in light of recent news reports that pro-charter forces are putting more money behind efforts to elect and lobby politicians who will implement policies resulting in unaccountable charter schools that threaten the futures of our students.
According to a report earlier this year by New York’s Joint Commission on Public Ethics, a public relations group funded by a hedge fund PAC and the Walton Foundation, called “Families for Excellent Schools, spent a whopping $9.6 million in 2014 on lobbying and commercials for the deregulated expansion of charter schools in the state.
In Connecticut, in the first quarter of this year alone, pro-charter investment PAC lobbies reportedly spent more than $330,000 [editor’s note: pay wall] and state officials expect that number to climb throughout the year.
In Los Angeles, the California Charter Schools Association PAC spent big money to sway the outcome of school board elections earlier this spring. The group effortlessly poured out millions to flood mailboxes, airwaves and social media with the name of a charter school executive running for office. Millions of dollars later, with his 3 to 1 lead in funding, the charter school businessman won his run-off against a veteran teacher opposed to a charter takeover of public education by 7 points (53.5% to 46.4%).
Then there are wealthy, pro-charter groups like the Walton Foundation. In 2014, the Walton Foundation gave $5 million to Families for Excellent Schools as part of its K-12 education grants. Similar to how it behaved in places like New York and Connecticut, Families for Excellent Schools, Inc. is using the money to make it easier to grow a state’s charter school market and new profit streams without transparency or accountability.
This is why pro-public education activists must remain vigilant. Our students need your help to make sure that lawmakers hold charter schools to the same high standards as public schools—this is the only way to ensure that our students have bright educational futures.
Click here to get more information about the education issues that impact our students, educators, and public schools.