News Release

On John Oliver and Charter Schools: “Fraud is a Feature…not a Bug”

DIANE RAVITCH, gardendr[at]gmail.com, @DianeRavitch
Ravitch is author of many books, including Reign of Error: The Hoax of the Privatization Movement and the Danger to America’s Public Schools and The Death and Life of the Great American School System: How Testing and Choice Are Undermining Education. She is a research professor of education at New York University and served as Assistant Secretary of Education and Counselor to the Secretary of Education from 1991-1993 under the George H. W. Bush administration. She now blogs at dianeravitch.net.

She just wrote the piece “Please Write and Tweet John Oliver to Thank Him for His Program Revealing Charter Fraud,” which states: “A few days ago, John Oliver ran an excellent segment about charter schools and the fraud associated with them. He barely scratched the surface. Charter supporters are furious and are saying that he ‘hurt’ children, he savaged children, etc. (This is a familiar tactic; when I criticized the improbable test scores in New York City almost a decade ago, I was told that I was ‘hurting children and their teachers’ by questioning the validity of the dramatic rise in scores.)

“Fraud is a feature of deregulation, not a bug. When no one is looking, some people steal. Not everyone steals, but many do. That is why Ohio, Florida, Michigan, and California are scamming taxpayers. No one is demanding accountability. Politicians get paid off by charter friends, then cripple any effort to oversee them. Ohio and Michigan spend $1 billion a year to subsidize charter schools, which are lower-performing than public schools.

“The corporate reformers and privatizers are bombarding John Oliver with tweets and messages attacking his show.”

Ravitch’s many pieces on this subject include “The Myth of Charter Schools” for The New York Review of Books.