All children deserve to have the opportunity to be educated; their futures are not for sale

To the Editor:

It seems that there are some things that need to be cleared up as my previous letter to the editor has left some folks addled.

Of course a charter school is a public schools as it receives public funds and is open to almost every child in the area where it is located. I didn't think I had to state the obvious: The earned title of "parasites" comes as these institutions are not accountable to the citizens whose taxes they receive.

Secondly, charter schools operate in the host district and, aside from receiving cash payments, these institutions also use an array of supplemental services such as nurses, school psychologists, and textbooks at that host district's expense. Thus parasite is a fitting term as the relationship is not reciprocal between charter schools and the taxpayer as well as the school district. (I have not included parochial schools in this letter as they provide the moral foundation, which our public schools cannot.)

Despite all the hoopla about charter schools, the vast majority of them — around 75 percent — perform no better or worse than their public school counterparts in math and reading, according to a Stanford University study.

So, all of this achievement and savings that are continually being crowed about in the charter-school movement doesn't really pan out. The freedom from union regulations and citizen accountability allows money not spent on personnel and instruction to be redirected to profits, lobbying activities, or to whatever the whim of the chief executive officer may be.

At no point in Mr. David Crawmer's letter last week do I see anything that speaks to the quality of education that all of our children should receive nor any commentary that speaks to the bulk of my initial letter. Instead, it's the same rabble about the evils of the tax system and unions.

Income inequality has been a part of our nation since its birth and it the cornerstone of capitalism. One doesn't have to look so hard to see the similarities between the grievances of the Anti-Renters and 99-percent movements. 

Free market philosophies rely on the relationships between the "haves" and the "have-nots" to drive the economy. The very nature of this approach makes clear that it has no place in our nation's educational system; our children are not widgets on which corporations can do a cost/benefit analysis to see which classes or curriculum they will offer. All children deserve to have the opportunity to be educated. Their futures are not for sale.

In respect to unions, all things man creates has both good and bad contained within it, so why would unions be any different? But don't throw the baby out with the bath water.

This school-choice calliope has been stringing people along for decades and I would be curious to see under the hood and kick the tires of this full school choice model. As my grandfather always said, “The devil is in the details.” 

Aaron Harrell
Guilderland

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