Debunking the Charter School For-Profit Myth

Larry Sand looks into the teacher unions’ claims about for-profit charter schools on the California Policy Center.

Among the many vapid rallying cries in the 2019 presidential follies is the one that stresses the importance of eliminating for-profit charter schools. In October, Elizabeth Warren released her education plan that proposed eliminating them, and using the IRS to investigate existing schools that may “actually serve for-profit interests.” This position mirrors that of Bernie Sanders, who had endorsed a ban on for-profit charter schools in May.

All this falls right in line with the teachers unions’ enmity toward charter schools, except, of course, for the few that they have managed to organize. Fervently backed by the California Teachers Association, AB 406 in 2018 disallows a “for-profit corporation, a for-profit educational management organization, or a for-profit charter management organization” from opening a charter school in the Golden State. At the time of the bill’s passage, only 34 of the 1,200 charter schools in California were being operated by for-profit entities. In fact, such charters are quite rare across the country. The National Alliance for Public Charter Schools reports that just 12 percent of charters nationwide are run by for-profit organizations.