In addition to spending tens of millions on campaign contributions and lobbying, the charter school industry is fond of bringing lawsuits in their never-ending effort to privatize public education in the United States.
Now the corporate interests behind the charter school industry are taking their strategy a step further with the development of a “charter school defense fund,” to help charter schools and their associations engage in more legal maneuvers to divert scarce public funds to their privately owned, but publicly funded entities.
As Politico, the national news website reported Friday,
NEW FUND FOR CHARTER SCHOOL DEFENSE: The National Alliance for Public Charter Schools has launched a Charter School Legal Action Fund to serve as a “national watchdog and resource” when it comes to legal threats against charter school growth, funding, autonomy and constitutionality across the country. The legal action fund plans to help defend charter schools in lawsuits and get involved with “carefully selected offensive litigation to improve the statutory and regulatory environment in states that stand to impact the national charter school community,” the organization said in a letter to its allies. The Walton Family Foundation provided $500,000 in seed funding to help launch the legal action fund.
— “Legal cases can be very costly — most nonprofit [charter management organizations] and independent charter schools don’t have financial reserves to address these cases,” NAPCS President Nina Rees told Morning Education. “We started the Fund to protect students and families, and their right to keep attending a school that’s working for them. Most of these battles are being fought in the courthouse, not the statehouse through legislation.” The legal action fund will provide financial help for defending and advancing cases as long as local partners provide matching funds.
According to their website,
The National Alliance for Public Charter Schools (National Alliance) is the leading national nonprofit organization committed to advancing the public charter school movement. Our mission is to lead public education to unprecedented levels of academic achievement by fostering a strong charter movement.
The website also features an endorsement from Achievement First, Inc. the large charter school chain with schools in Connecticut, New York and Rhode Island, whose board and leadership is closely connected to Governor Dannel Malloy.
Achievement First, Inc. is quoted as saying
“As we grow, we need a partner like the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools to help us continue to focus on what we need to focus on and also provide resources.”
The National Alliance for Public Charter Schools is led by a Board of Directors that includes;
Brian Jones – President, Strayer University
Sara Steinhardt Berman – Foundation Trustee, The Steinhardt Foundation for Jewish Life
Andrew Broy – Chair, State Leaders Council and President, Illinois Network of Charter Schools
Jeb Bush, Jr. – Managing Partner, Jeb Bush & Associates
Moctesuma Esparza – CEO at Maya Cinemas North America, Inc.
Senator Tim Hutchinson – Former United States Senator, Senior Director, Greenberg Traurig
Senator Mary Landrieu – Former United States Senator
John Katzman – Founder and CEO, Noodle Education
Deborah McGriff – Partner, NewSchools Venture Fund
Christopher Nelson – Managing Director, Doris & Donald Fisher Fund
Paul Pastorek – Former LA State Superintendent of Education
Carol Quillen – President, Davidson College
Governor Jane Swift – Former Governor of Massachusetts;
Gene Wade – Founder and CEO, UniversityNow
Jed Wallace – President and CEO, California Charter Schools Association
Fernando Zulueta – President, Academica Corporation
The major funders for the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools are the same organizations that provide money to charter schools at the state and local level. They include;
Louis Calder Foundation
Doris and Donald Fisher Fund
Kern Family Foundation
William Simon Foundation
Walton Family Foundation
The National Alliance for Public Charter Schools is also closely affiliated with charter school front groups like ConnCAN/50CAN, Democrats for Education Reform, Students for Education Reform, and other corporate funded lobbying and advocacy organizations.