DeVos Plan for More Pay-The-Rich Charter Schools

On October 10, 2019, U.S. Secretary of Education, billionaire Betsy DeVos, unveiled an antisocial plan to further incentivize the rich to establish more charter schools to line their pockets at the expense of young people. DeVos has actively promoted school privatization schemes for decades; she does not support public education.

In addition to many well-established ways that the rich already use charter schools to enrich themselves, millionaires and billionaires will now also be able to use privately-operated charter schools to receive large tax cuts. And over time these tax cuts get bigger.

Under the latest DeVos school privatization scheme, “investors” will be able to maximize their profits by using the “Qualified Opportunity Fund” (part of the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act) to “invest” in charter schools in “economically distressed areas” known as “opportunity zones.” Specifically, this new “financing opportunity” can be used by the rich to avoid taxes on charter school facilities and real estate acquired through the “opportunity fund” and sold later. The government has already hired a private business, Leed Management Consulting, Inc., of Silver Spring, Maryland, to help owners of capital exploit this privatization scheme.

While such government-backed gold rushes are ostensibly designed to help poor and low-income families, especially minorities, they have a track record of doing the opposite.

One of the main tasks confronting the polity at this time is how to deprive the rich of their ability to repeatedly violate the public interest with impunity. Extensive research and experience confirm that there is no justification for the existence of charter schools, yet more charter schools keep popping up. How to stop this rapid privatization of public education is an urgent task that concerns everyone.

Privately-operated charter schools are wrecking public schools and harming the economy and the national interest. Recently, another report (School Choice in the United States: 2019) was issued, this time from the U.S. Department of Education, showing that privately-operated-owned charter schools, which have been around for more than 25 years, perform no better than public schools.

In addition, charter schools have long been plagued by endless scandal and corruption, high student and teacher turnover rates, inflated administrator pay, poor transparency, unelected school boards, and a reputation for rejecting many students—all while continually siphoning enormous sums of public money and public property from public schools.

Shawgi Tell is author of the book Charter School Report Card. He can be reached at Read other articles by Shawgi.