Public Schooling in America: Measuring Each State’s Commitment to Democratically Governed Schools

America’s public schools, students, and families are under a near-constant attack from political special interests looking to privatize and profit at the expense of our children. Each state represents new profit streams and frontiers for education exploitation, and the Network for Public Education (NPE) has released its findings in its latest report Public Schooling in America: Measuring Each States Commitment to Democratically Governed Schools.

 Researchers examined laws and regulations in all 50 states and the District of Columbia to measure how well policymakers protect public funds from exploitative privatization through low-quality virtual and brick-and-mortar charter schools, environments without fully-vetted staff, and profit-centered systems. Most troubling were findings that expose how state laws allow charter and voucher schools to leave students behind, discriminating against the most vulnerable.

To read the report view the full list of grades for each state and see how yours stands on protecting students and communities from the exploitation of privatization, click the image below.

Findings include:

  • Eighty-one percent of states with voucher laws allow schools to discriminate in entrance requirements based on religion. Under the guise of religious freedom, 74 percent allow discrimination based on student and/or parent LGBTQ status.
  • Nearly half (15) of all states with one or more voucher programs do not require background checks for the teachers of voucher-funded students.
  • Thirty-three states either do not require that charter school students be taught by certified and licensed teachers or allow so many exceptions that any existing regulations are meaningless.
  • Thirty-seven states and D.C. allow for-profit corporations to run non-profit charter schools, including via “sweeps” contracts that allow tax dollars and control to be funneled to the for-profit that runs the day-to-day operation of the school. In five states (Arizona, Florida, Michigan, Nevada, and Ohio), for-profits run over 30% of the charter schools in the state.
  • Forty-one states allow schools to contract with businesses owned by charter school board members, and in 19 states those related party transactions are not required to be disclosed.

The report notes that “the first step in stopping the privatization movement is to understand it.” Public Schooling in America: Measuring Each States Commitment to Democratically Governed Schools is a must-read for those of us working to promote and protect our public schools from the ever increasing threat of privatization.

You can use this link to read and share the report with your networks.


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Thank you for all you do,
Carol Burris

Executive Director
Network for Public Education