Friday, September 21, 2018
My recent post on California's new charter school bill may have been too quick to lavish praise on the state for banning for-profit groups from managing charters. For-profit charter operators are definitely a problem. Allowing them is the equivalent of laying out a welcome sign to exploitation and legalized corruption. For-profit operators can, for instance, entering into self-serving lease and contract agreements. They can do things that would land public school officials in jail, but which are relatively common among charter school operators. Barring open corruption is a big deal, at least, symbolically. And California does have some for-profit operators that will have to change their status and practices in the future for those charters to move forward.
But whether this new ban on for-profit charter operators changes the fundamental reality of what is occurring in most charter schools in California is a different question. And, if it does not change the industry overall, the symbolic victory of this new law may make it harder to actually go after less obvious problems in the future. The public might simply think the state has cleaned the sector cleaned up and, thus, be more forgiving of other questionable charter expansions in the future.