As Public Schools Face Deep Cuts, Are Charters and Big Tech Poised to Profit?

(WXIR-Rochester) The Rochester City School Board held a joint meeting with City Council Wednesday to discuss the district's 2020-2021 budget proposal.

The budget includes deep cuts to staff and services, as well as a 7% increase in payouts to charter schools over the previous year.

New York State's decision to freeze public education funding for the coming year (while also threatening additional mid-year cuts due to COVID-related revenue losses) has further compounded the RCSD's budget crisis. And with the imposition of a state-appointed monitor to oversee the RCSD's finances, Dr. Shawgi Tell believes "a storm is brewing."

Tell is a professor of education at Nazareth College and the author of Charter School Report Card (2016).

"The pandemic is providing certain forces cover for getting away with things that perhaps would have been harder to get away with under normal circumstances," says Tell.

In a recent conversation with WXIR's Darien Lamen, Dr. Tell discusses how the charter school and big tech industries appear better poised to weather--and even profit from--the current crisis.

"It's a retrogressive development," Tell says of Governor Cuomo's recent announcement that New York State would be partnering with Bill Gates to "advance" the Microsoft founder's vision for education.

"People do not want billionaires to determine the content and direction and aim and results of education. It's up to New Yorkers to run their own affairs," Tell says.