Education Letter to the Editor

Turn to Charters Fosters Inequities and Divisions

November 09, 2004 2 min read

To the Editor:

Your front-page article (“City Mayors Turn to Charter Schools,” Oct. 27, 2004) did a fine job of describing some of the financial and political incentives driving the proliferation of charter schools in the District of Columbia and elsewhere. Several omissions and statements, however, should be addressed.

Missing from your account, for example, was one of the prime reasons for filing our lawsuit against the District of Columbia Public Schools and other city officials: the gross inequities in funding between charters and the public schools. Public schools are not eligible for the City Build grants, nor are they allowed to tap into the $28 million made available to charter schools by Sallie Mae.

An even more glaring inequity is the little-known charter school “facilities allotment”—$1,981 per student for fiscal 2005 above and beyond the supposedly uniform per-pupil allotment. Because the school system has been ordered to open its facilities to charter schools at below-market rates, this facilities allotment can provide substantial overages that the charter school can then use as a virtual slush fund.

Elsewhere in the nation, as you make clear in the article (“Chicago Mayor’s Plan for New Schools Hits Snag Over Finances,” Oct. 27, 2004), charter operators typically have funds deducted from their per-pupil allotment to compensate the city for providing janitorial and maintenance support.

Also missing in your coverage was the fact (as reported on the front page of the The New York Times in August) that charter schools have not fulfilled their promise to do schooling better for less. Charters are more expensive to operate and are consistently outperformed by their maligned public school counterparts.

Charter school advocates are now admitting publicly what we have alleged all along: Charters are an attempt to resegregate schools—not just by race, but by socioeconomic status. One of the sacred functions of public schools, and of a democratic government, is the promotion of a just society and the creation of new generations of good citizens.

Yet, in your article, U.S. Sen. Mary L. Landrieu, D-La., defends charter schools by saying that parents want their kids “to be in schools where the same values are shared by the other parents.” “Shared values” here is clearly code for a homogeneous, mostly middle-class population. Charter mom Darlene Boyd makes this painfully clear in your article, when she says, “I want my children to go to school with people like us, kids who have lots of books and are exposed to things like us.”

How dare they suggest that other mothers and fathers do not want or deserve a decent education for their children.

Regina Arlotto

Lee Glazer


Save Our Schools-SE/NE

Washington, D.C.

Let us know what you think!

We’re looking for feedback on our new site to make sure we continue to provide you the best experience.


This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Future of Work Webinar
Digital Literacy Strategies to Promote Equity
Our new world has only increased our students’ dependence on technology. This makes digital literacy no longer a “nice to have” but a “need to have.” How do we ensure that every student can navigate
Content provided by Learning.com
Mathematics Online Summit Teaching Math in a Pandemic
Attend this online summit to ask questions about how COVID-19 has affected achievement, instruction, assessment, and engagement in math.
School & District Management Webinar Examining the Evidence: Catching Kids Up at a Distance
As districts, schools, and families navigate a new normal following the abrupt end of in-person schooling this spring, students’ learning opportunities vary enormously across the nation. Access to devices and broadband internet and a secure

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Data Analyst
New York, NY, US
New Visions for Public Schools
Project Manager
United States
K12 Inc.
High School Permanent Substitute Teacher
Woolwich Township, NJ, US
Kingsway Regional School District
MS STEM Teacher
Woolwich Township, NJ, US
Kingsway Regional School District

Read Next

Education Obituary In Memory of Michele Molnar, EdWeek Market Brief Writer and Editor
EdWeek Market Brief Associate Editor Michele Molnar, who was instrumental in launching the publication, succumbed to cancer.
5 min read
Education Briefly Stated Briefly Stated: December 9, 2020
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
8 min read
Education Briefly Stated Briefly Stated: Stories You May Have Missed
A collection of articles from the previous week that you may have missed.
8 min read
Education Briefly Stated Briefly Stated: Stories You May Have Missed
A collection of stories from the previous week that you may have missed.
8 min read