There was an incredibly revealing and troubling statement made on the Senate floor Wednesday afternoon by Republican Senator (and Senate Education Committee co-chairman) Jerry Tillman. (Be sure to watch the video at the end of this post.)
The statement occurred in response to a question by Senator Josh Stein as the Senate debated Senate Bill 8 — the charter schools deregulation bill.
When asked by Stein about the problem created by the fact that charters are under no obligation to provide transporation or free meals to poor kids (something that traditional public schools must of course provide) and whether it was okay with him that such kids could be left out, Tillman said that he saw this as no problem with this at all because those kids could simply attend their local public school.
Here’s the quote:
It’s certainly okay if they don’t go there [the charter school]. They can go to their public schools. They can get their free and reduced price lunch. And they can do that. But the charter school itself and the commission must decide what they can do and when they can do it financially. And that’s where we are now and that’s where we’re gonna’ be and I’m certainly for that.”
Got that? When confronted with the fact that charters will naturally exclude poor children, the Senate Education Committee co-chair’s repsonse is, in effect, “so what’s the big deal?”
Any further questions about why charters are a fatally flawed idea? You can watch the exchange below: