The Alliance to Reclaim our Schools' (AROS) new report, called Out of Control: the Systematic Disenfranchisement of African American and Latino Communities through School Takeovers, illuminates the undemocratic and unjust ways school takeovers shut these communities out of a voice in their own educational resources. When the state takes over a school district and replaces it with charter schools, they deprive parents and community members of a locally-elected school board and thus a voice in the process. Not only is this undemocratic, but it makes it almost impossible for communities to hold charter schools accountable.
School takeovers have surged in popularity over the last decade, becoming one of the preferred methods to reform "failing" schools. One of the most prominent examples is New Orleans' school district, which was almost entirely taken over by charter schools after the devastation of Hurricane Katrina. In a recent conference, New Orleans educators, advocates, parents, and students warned of the damage this takeover has done to their education and communities.
AROS' reports highlights many of the most prominent cases of school takeover across the country, and discusses their long term impact on public education. As the report says:
Taken alone, the academic results and financial cost of state takeovers and achievement districts ought to give pause to legislators considering them. But beyond the measurable impacts, the optics are disturbing: hundreds of schools and districts with majorities of African American and Latino voters are being denied the right to control their own schools. And many of those bearing the brunt of state takeovers, residents of Michigan,Wisconsin, Missouri, North Carolina and other states, are also facing a revival of voter suppression policies. Many communities are starting to see a connection. These districts and schools have not seen a renaissance in academic achievement, an end to corruption or mismanagement, or financial stability. But they have seen other impacts.
Those other impacts are a loss of political power, a loss of community institutions, increased segregation, and financial instability for public education in general. To read more about how and why school takeovers hurt communities and education, you can find the entire report here.