Wednesday, January 25, 2017

NPE Rebranding School Choice Week (January 22-28) as School Takeover Week.

Dear Friend of Public Education:

NPE will be rebranding School Choice Week (January 22-28) School Takeover Week. We will
argue "choice" is a facade for the privatization of our public schools--a process that began over two
decades ago with the introduction of mayoral control and charters. We will run a letter writing
campaign to state and national representatives, run ads on Facebook and Twitter, schedule Twitter
chats, and place op ed pieces around the country designed to sway public opinion. Many of our
arguments will center on the costs of choice, and the loss of democratic governance of schools.
We will not roll all out until the 22nd--we prefer not to alert choice advocates. We are hoping that
your Grassroots Organization will support our efforts, and we in turn will support yours.
One way to participate is to ask your members to write op eds and letters to the editor in their
local newspapers.

Below find some talking points that might be helpful. They are fashioned to make an argument that
would appeal to the average taxpayer. There are many other arguments of course that can be
made, these are just a few. We hope that you find them helpful.

- Billions of Federal taxpayer dollars have poured into charter school promotion, with no
accountability for success. By 2015, the Federal Government spent more than 3.7 billion dollars to boost the chartersector—with millions wasted on financing “ghost schools” that never opened.

- Vouchers drain state tax dollars, creating deficits or the need for tax increases.
A conservative estimate for a national voucher program puts costs at $73 billion—25%
above the annual national public education budget.

- Charter schools spend more tax dollars on administration and less on teaching.
In 2014-2015 Arizona charter schools spent over $128 million more than Arizona public
schools on administration costs alone. One charter chain, Basis, spent nearly $12 million
on administrative costs in one year, for fewer than 9000 students—all hidden from public
review.

- Charter schools drain tax dollars from your community schools.

In many states, public school districts must pay tuition for every student who chooses a charter,
regardless of the quality of the home public school or the receiving charter school. For
example, the Rockville Centre School District in New York pays $19,200 per student to any
charter a student who lives in the district decides to attend. In Amagansett, New York, the
charter tuition rate is $58,000 per student. Tuition rates in New York and many states are
unrelated to charter costs.
Charter schools receive higher per pupil funding than public schools in Arizona, preventing
districts from the receiving the funds they need to adequately educate children.
- Private school vouchers give the final choice to the school, not families. Voucher programs
almost always allow participating private schools to reject students based on numerous factors,
including religion, socio-economic status, gender, academic achievement, sexual orientation,
discipline history and even disability.
- The creation of parallel school systems is a terrible waste of taxpayer money. School districts are
able to pool community funds and create services for all students, thereby reducing costs. To
have taxpayer dollars flowing to a parallel system of charters, voucher schools and online
schools, each with its own administrative costs, is a waste of taxpayer funds.
- Charter schools and voucher schools have minimal transparency and limited accountability.
That lack of transparency results in scandal and theft. Here is a sample from the just the past 20
days.












Here is an op ed that appeared in a Vermont newspaper. It is a good model that makes a strong
argument.

Thank you for all of your efforts. Let's do some real pushback during "choice week." Share what
you are doing and we will share it on our Facebook pages and Twitter.

Carol Burris
Executive Director

Network for Public Education


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