Hey, federal budget masters, nice try!
As die-hard believers in the potential for community-minded folks on the progressive end of the education spectrum to use chartering to create inspiring and innovative schools for all learners, perhaps we should be cheered by the administration’s budget proposal which would direct much needed and well deserved money towards the work we are doing. But, we are far from inclined to cheer. The budget proposal, especially with regards to education, is an exercise in cruelty that is impossible to reconcile with the values that we hold as educators and as Americans. The bone thrown out to those of us who work in the charter sector displays an underlying contempt for what we actually do. What’s the point of offering a windfall to the sector on the front end if they’re going to kneecap programs and entitlements that have been the educational mainstay for those who need it the most? Our indignation would come a lot easier if it weren’t for the extreme financial constraints that charter schools, especially in the western states, face, and there is nothing we would like more than for them to receive equitable treatment for the great work they do. It’s impossible to envision any real growth in a sector that’s being squeezed to death. But this cynical move on the part of the federal budget masters to buy our support at the expense of everything else we hold dear won’t fly. So, thanks for the chum bait, guys. Now get back to work and show us a budget that reflects the values of a country that was the shining beacon for my grandparents who came here 105 years ago to escape the pogroms of tsarist Russia. Steve Zimmerman Co-director Do you believe independent charter schools need a strong collective voice in the ongoing discussion of public education issues? Come to the (first ever) Independent Charter School Symposium (#ICSS17)!