Charter Schools are looking more and more like the educational equivalent of subprime mortgages---a short cut to greater equity and opportunity that becomes the basis of a huge unregulated industry, which gives entrepreneurs the opportunity to make quick profits, and the very wealthy tax breaks and opportunities for investment.What makes both the charter school and subprime mortgage seductive is that they appear to circumvent the grim long term decline in income of large sections of the American population and give low and moderate income people a share of the American dream, in one instance by allowing them to own a home, in the other by getting a rigorous education that will make them "college and career ready." But both "short cuts" have, when you read the fine print, a built in component of "crash and burn" in the case of subprime mortgages, adjustable mortgage rates which can rapidly put monthly payments out of a working class families reach, and in the case of charters, the capacity to drive out students who present disciplinary problems or don't test well.
After the housing crash, home ownership was no more reachable by poor families than it was before the development of the subprime mortgage, and after the coming education crash, when charters are finally regulated because of rampant corruption, discrimination, and expulsions of high needs students, we will be no closer to education equity than we were before charters proliferated
The Charter Fad which seems to have swept through major parties, is going to result in a very painful Day of Reckoning. Any industry given this kind of public subsidy, and this kind of freedom from regulation, is going to lead to extremely high levels of corruption.