The Biggest Winner in Malloy’s Budget – Charter Schools

Let’s hear it for turning over our scarce public funds to the Corporate Education Reform Industry!

While Governor Dannel Malloy proposes to cut funding for Connecticut’s public schools, he miraculously finds that extra money needed to open four new privately-owned, but taxpayer-funded, charter schools.

Steve Perry, the out-going principal of Capital Prep Magnet School in Hartford has undoubtedly popped the champagne cork and is drooling at the prospect of collecting more than $10 million in “management fees” over the next five years when his private company opens Capital Prep Harbor Charter School in Bridgeport.

And the out-of-state company that plans to replicate its Bronx based charter school in Stamford must be equally as happy.

True the Bridgeport and Stamford Boards of Education had strongly opposed both charter schools and asked the Malloy administration NOT to approve them, but the “local control is crap” governor went ahead and funded the two charter schools anyway.

Malloy is so incredibly committed to the privatization of Connecticut’s public schools that he even added funding for two more charter schools despite the fact that there are no additional, approved charter school proposals even in the pipeline.

In total Malloy is proposing to add nearly 2,000 more seats for the charter school industry in Connecticut….more seats despite the fact that charter schools remain completely unaccountable for the way they use or misuse their public funds.

And as for Malloy’s budget speech covering up the biggest cuts to public education in history, Malloy said,

“We must maintain our commitment to funding public education. While other states may choose to balance their budgets on the backs of public schools, Connecticut will not,” Malloy told legislators during his budget address. “I will not sign a budget that is balanced on the backs of our towns or our public schools.”

George Orwell and Franz Kafka would be proud!

[Of course, since the Common Core frowns on so-called fiction, our children won’t even be learning about how books like 1984 and The Trial foretold the coming of the political environment that is sweeping across our nation.]

  • ReTired

    Malloy has two goals: to promote himself and catch someone’s eye in DC while lining the pockets of CEOs with CT taxpayer dollarsr. He knows how to push the BS and unfortunately since no REAL old-fashioned Democrats exist anymore, he’ll get away with this travesty. For what it’s worth, the time has come to flood ALL legislators with calls, emails, and letters. Again, for what it’s worth…

  • readdoctor

    It is obvious these Education Reformers in the capital are not reading the research on choice schools and charters. The Civil Rights Project/Proyecto Derechos Civiles from UCLA 40 states review of school choice impacts 2010 reported that charter school actually increase racial isolation. See
    Frankenberg, E., Siegel-Hawley, G., Wang, J. (2010). Choice without Equity: Charter School Segregation and the Need for Civil Rights Standards. Los Angeles, CA: The Civil Rights Project/Proyecto Derechos Civiles at UCLA; http://www.civilrightsproject.ucla.edu.
    Perhaps the reading level is too high for these so-called education reformers to understand?
    “Executive Summary
    Seven years after the Civil Rights Project first documented extensive patterns of charter school segregation, the charter sector continues to stratify students by race, class and possibly language. This study is released at a time of mounting federal pressure to expand charter schools, despite on-going and accumulating evidence of charter school segregation.”….
    “Their analysis of the 40 states, the District of Columbia, and several dozen metropolitan areas with large enrollments of charter school students reveals that charter schools are more racially isolated than traditional public schools in virtually every state and large metropolitan area in the nation.”
    Let me make this simple, school choice provides cover for Connecticut being one of 49 states who spend more money on their wealthy schools than their poor schools.” This is a moral struggle with immoral policy that fails to provide all our children with a equal start and finish in our public schools.
    Walking to DC,
    Jesse

    • Guest

      Interesting. Has anyone yet challenged charter schools for their racial segregation? I know magnet schools have required levels of racial diversity. Do charters have the same requirement? Doesn’t Sheff v. O’Neill apply? Shouldn’t it? And, even if not a legal requirement, what about a moral one? What happened to all the research pushing school integration? Is there new research that shows the charter movement gets better academic results than regular public schools or magnet schools?

      • jonpelto

        Excellent point – and now Charters are not required by law or policy to reduce racial isolation in fact, nearly every single charter school in CT is more racial isolated than the community they draw from and consistently discriminate against Latino Students, students who aren’t fluent in the English Language and students who require special education services.

        Considering that the home district is responsible for paying all of the costs associated with providing needed services to special education students in charter schools, the schools aren’t discriminating against students with disabilities because of financial reasons, they simply refuse to provide educational opportunities to any students that don’t fit the “profile” they wish to serve.

        If a school district discriminated the way charter schools do they be facing massive lawsuits, but not charters, they just discriminate and are applauded for this “higher test scores” due to the fact that refuse to take or dump students will special needs, students who face language barriers, students who have behavioral issues and students who come from poorer backgrounds.

  • tyler

    Education already makes up 30% of Connecticut’s budget, and is by far the largest piece of the pie. Health Care is 20%, Other Government is 15%, and Pensions are 10% and growing. How about we focus on cutting down on these last two so there’s more money to go around for things we actually need: education, environment, transportation. The pension system is already a disaster, unfunded liability through the roof.
    http://www.usgovernmentspending.com/year_spending_2014CTbc_16bc2n#usgs302

    Also there seems to be a lot of talk on this blog, well-written as it is, about the “corporate” interests behind charter schools, lack of teachers unions, funding etc. Yet next to nothing about the education quality, test scores, college admission, etc. Everything by which we should actually judge schools. I don’t know the answers to those questions but I’m curious how they would compare. New Haven PS v Achievement First for example.

    • Amused In CT

      Unfortunately comparisons between New Haven Public Schools and Achievement First would not be apples to apples comparisons for many of the reasons touched upon in this blog including the fact that Achievement First and most other charters take far fewer ELL students and students with special education needs which wold skew all of the criteria you would chose to compare them. When coupled with the fact that there is no transparency or accountability in terms of how charters spend taxpayer dollars are the very reasons why we need to put the brakes on charter expansion and require them to serve the same student populations and be just as accountable as traditional public schools.

  • Roger Conway

    Very succinct and very, very frustrating. Apparently, nothing can stop this force for disruptive innovation. Your citations of Orwell and Kafka are spot one, not because they are metaphorical fiction but because they are the harsh realism of our times, worthy of Norris and Crane.

  • JakeBacon

    I’m just gonna’ go ahead and acknowledge the elephant in the room…caste, class…whatever the term, people want options. People that live in shit-holes, like Meriden or Bridgeport, or New Haven, Hartford or Waterbury want options. Instead of getting into a dissertation on the historic decline that these cities have woefully harbored (through endless grants) and their blight-ridden commonality of culture, We will, today at least, stick to the elephant. Many adult “humans” (this can be a stretch) spend 5-6 years imbuing toxic groundwork on their offspring, before dumping them on the public school system. A lot of damage can be done in those first 5 years,: sometimes it’s enough to spark a Virgina Tech style shooter-15 years later…I digress. Of course we should have room for the kids with special needs, like, say muscular dystrophy, or Downs or other recognized medical conditions…but if a kid has been strangling the cats living in and around his apartment complex…well that requires a different set of skills than any BOE can muster. Still, cities and towns bilk their residents (those that pay taxes) to support the cultural decay I have only hinted at. It’s right there though, isn’t it? People want options. Maybe moving to a blue-blood town, to protect ones kids, assets, livelihood isn’t an option, budgetarily speaking- but…maybe…just maybe, private school is. Yep, that works. Public schools are a catch basin, no.. a shower drain…no, a shower drain in a giant public rest room..Now we’re gettin there.
    Obviously, there is nowhere to go but up, in terms of choice. Like the boutique healthcare packages we read about (and the bottomless cesspool of inefficiency referred to as Obamacare- it’s counter), private schools offer choice..offer “fee for services”. Hell, I can’t wait to get my kids out of Meriden- and I have enrolled in the lottery for the magnet schools every year since my oldest was only 5. Be that as it may, I don’t think the

    state (or the Feds) should take any more of my money and use it to create a semi-private school system-racially isolated or not. Yeah, it was only a matter of time (5 seconds) before some Leftist nut-cake took the pulpit over to rant about race… there’s no forum like the present, I guess. My point is, parents that actually care about their kids- and don’t just treat them like another $4,500 tax credit, want the best for them…even if that means turning their backs on the cities they may currently be forced to live in. Since the government has not yet implemented mandatory sterilization for convicts, society as a whole must move their loved ones away from where these troubled people and their offspring choose to leach, rob and procreate. Fine…but it should be done with one’s own money…not on the backs of the ever-shrinking tax base, er… citizens. If you want you child in a significantly better place for both education and culture, then stick you hands in you own pockets..Not enough $$? try the lottery for the magnet. Not quite as much bang for your buck, but hey, that’s the state for ya’. Creating a taxpayer funded middle-ground in these charter schools…on my dime? Not ok, not even a little. As bad as I want to get my kids out of the city of hand-outs…I realize the bigger problem is that it’s really the State of handouts.