In 2003 the Sacramento City Unified School District embarked on a fundamental change in the way it educates our children, with little or no buy-in from the community. The district has approved many charter schools in the past years. We are extremely concerned about the privatization of public education. The district has approved several independent charters run by private corporations. We have many concerns about charter schools.
- Charter schools don't serve all students. Charter schools are obligated to provide programs for Special Ed, English Language Learners and Title 1 students. However schools can discourage those students from enrolling. Families may choose a charter school, but the charter school may not choose them. Nothing in the charter law forbids a school from placing requirements on admission. Nor does the law forbid charter schools from "un--enrolling" underachieving students.
- Teachers at independent charter schools are not unionized. This means less academic freedom for teachers without union protection. The erosion of union representation could mean lower pay for future teachers and staff.
- We believe that charter schools contribute to segregation of our students. Students are segregated by interests, i.e. separate schools for those interested in medicine or technology, and by economics-kids without transportation can’t get to far flung charter schools. Increasingly charter schools are being segregated by race.
- Charter schools take money away from regular district schools. This effects the district programs that the overwhelming majority of kids are enrolled in. They also put the burden of oversight on the districts.
- New charter schools have created new traffic patterns and safety issues. Most students have to commute to the charter schools by private auto. Increased traffic will decrease air quality.
- Although these schools take public money, there is a lack of accountability to public. Privately appointed boards spend tax payer dollars without the requirements of conflict of interests laws and opening meeting laws that elected school board have to follow.
- Charters can be run by faith based groups leading to the violation of the separation of church and state.
We believe privatization isn’t necessary to offer special programs to students. Anything that is done at a charter can be done in the public school system. Charter schools let the district and the board of education off the hook for their responsibility to educate all children in the district.