Politicians in both major parties love to praise charter schools, but John Oliver is warning us to be more hesitant about jumping on that bandwagon.
“Yes, charter schools unite both sides of the aisle more quickly than when a wedding DJ throws on ‘Hey Ya!'” Oliver said in a segement on Sunday’s “Last Week Tonight.”
Charters are public schools that are taxpayer-funded but privately run. But even though they educate nearly 3 million students and are backed by celebrities such as Pitbull and P. Diddy, charter schools have some serious problems, according to Oliver.
“For this piece — and I know this is going to make some people on both sides very angry — we’re going to set aside whether or not charter schools are a good idea in principle, because whether they are or not, in 42 states and D.C., we’re doing them,” Oliver said on his show. “So, instead, we’re going to look at how they operate in practice.”
Some charters are “so flawed,” Oliver said, that they don’t make it through the year. The most flawed are in Florida, Pennsylvania, and Ohio — areas Oliver dug into more.
Charters have also had problems with misuse of funds, as they are supposed to be nonprofit but certain groups aim to make a profit, and there’s been lackadaisical attendance monitoring for online charters.
Oliver bashed Ohio Governor John Kasich’s comments about the need for choice in schooling options like the need for a competitive market for “pizza shops.”
“The problem with letting the free market decide when it comes to kids is that kids change faster than the market, and by the time it’s obvious the school is failing, futures may have been ruined,” Oliver said. “So if we are going to treat charter schools like ‘pizza shops,’ we should monitor them at least as well as we do pizzerias. It’s like the old saying: Give a kid a s—-y pizza, you f— up their day; treat a kid like a s—-y pizza, you could f— up their entire life.”
Watch the full clip:
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