Black Excellence

Why Charter Schools Are Not The Answer

charter schools, public schools, Michigan schools, black students, black excellence
[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Inner city kids are at an uncanny disadvantage when it comes to equality in their schools verses mostly white schools. Old news. However, new data shows that black kids who have just one black teacher in 3rd thru 5th grades decreased their chances of dropping out by 39%. The Role Model Effect: a positive role model, particularly one of color teaching poor or lower-income children of color, gives them something to hope for, something better than what they have. But what happens in places like Detroit, when schools with primarily black students and teachers is closed down?[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Enter Betsy DeVos, the former lobbyist who has a problem with civil rights laws. After she lost a voucher to procure more charter schools in Michigan, she spent millions to raise funds for politicians who’d voted against her lobbies. The policies that her GOP adversaries had voted for shifted. Surprise, surprise. Soon, more charters began—creating a steady flow of for-profit charter schools, where advisors can do what they please with little-to-no oversight over what happens with acquired federal monies.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Charters sound good though. Choosing the school your child can go to based on how well that school has done should be a good thing. Sadly, charter schools in many states are incredibly segregated. Segregation doesn’t cut down on violence. We’ve learned that.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]
DeVos, charter schools, public schools, Michigan schools, black students, black excellence
Yuri Gripas/ Reuters

Remember that thing DeVos said about the need for guns in schools, how she could see a necessity for them if a school needed protection from grizzly bears? That’s pretty funny. But seriously, children are up against a war zone in the classroom; in 2014 alone, 486, 400 students were wounded on campuses across the US in shootings, knifings, and other nonfatal victimizations

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Pouring over $1 billion dollars a year into Michigan’s for-profit charter schools has netted abysmal results. A major argument for these types of schools is that on average, they receive less government assistance than traditional public schools. Again, disbursement of those federal funds, isn’t monitored as tightly as others, and these types of schools have a strong track record of abusing those reserves.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]After two decades of charter growth in that state, test scores have remained near the bottom in the nation. What’s worse, districts in Detroit house over 100, 000 school-age children, but less than 47,000 students are in the public schools. This means that some $400 million dollars stays out of districts that desperately need it. This may not seem a huge amount to a city that filed for bankruptcy because of $18-$20 billion dollars-worth of debt, but many of those same problems leading up to the financial crisis are repeating themselves, namely, low-education rates, high-unemployment due to the shut-down of businesses (in this case, schools), and government intervention implemented to slash budgets of a system already scorched due to prior incompetence.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Despite the myth that American schools (K-12) used to be top of the line, we have never tested in the top ten-lists worldwide in math, science, or any other category. Worst still, our system of education has fallen a greater distance from sub-par than where it used to be, as evidenced by this 8th grade exam from 1895.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]These facts and figures are great, and they go to serve a valuable lesson, but the point is that our schooling system has been ailing since it began. No number of headlines and graphic videos of vicious attacks and murders posted to YouTube or Facebook can paint a clear enough picture—America is in dire need of academic redemption. We need safer schools. We need better schools. We need schools that are more inclusive. The administration’s track record has shown how little black lives matter.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]

 

Meanwhile, Betsy DeVos seems to care even less about making a good example, and showcasing good commonsense, for people who can read and write! Between this misspelled tweet of W.E.B Dubois’ last name, this lovely gem from the President’s Easter Egg roll by the White House Secretary of ‘Educatuon’ , and the immense boo-boo of giving a speech at the commencement ceremony at a historically black college—which, as you can imagine, didn’t go well—she has proven to be as unaware, uncaring, and unrelatable as everyone in this current administration.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]There are always two sides to each story. So, to be fair, charter schools that remain strictly in urban areas do seem to have a positive effect, with 41 cities studied, including Newark and Detroit. So, the system can work for minorities. And there are charter schools that operate in poor areas. However, getting into charters in poor districts is so competitive that it’s performed by lottery, and just like the traditional lottery, odds are high your child won’t get in. Again, we come into the same problem of uprooting children from poor backgrounds, which siphons money from poor public schools once a child transfers to a charter. So, what now? [/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Well, if money isn’t much of an issue, there’s always homeschooling. Studies show these children do better on tests, adapt better in social circles, and those students with special needs often catch up to, and surpass, peers in comparable standard and charter schools. But let’s be real: median income for parents homeschooling their youth was $75,000-$79,000, back in 2009.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Betsy DeVos may not be the highest on this disastrous totem pole that is Donald Trump’s White House Cabinet; however, she’s probably the most dangerous member. The people who vote for the President of the United States need to be educated enough to know what that person brings to the table, the power of the position. They need to understand facts and figures. In other words, they need to be able look at data, or the lack of data, and realize that things are getting worse for Americans, especially minorities, especially in schools. And the leaders of tomorrow need to be diverse, and, as we have seen, Trump’s people look as diverse as a baseball team in 1957. Now, if it is indeed this administration’s intent to keep people dumb and disenfranchised, they’re well on their way. And the children, the black and brown ones, will suffer the most when, and if, we ever rise after the fallout.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

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Alex Miller

Alex Miller is a freelance writer living in Harlem. His work has appeared in Forbes, The New York Times, The Washington Post, and other places.