Thank you for your excellent essay Thoughts on Diane Ravitch's Critique of U.S. Education System.
I've been intending to write a piece on how gender bias, sexism, and rank misogyny are contributing underlying reasons for purveyors of neoliberalism to have attacked K-12 first (without question profit is their overarching reason). I'll be quoting your cogent essay at length when I do. Divide and conquer is colonialism 101, and not only have the corporate charlatans like Parent Revolution's lawbreaking and trigger-happy Ben Austin found a way to pit parents against educators, their cynical backers realized all along that "this is a predominantly female workforce" would resonate with teabaggers and other reactionaries that hate working women almost as much as they hate organized labor, people of color, and immigrants. Obviously segregating children of color into obedience camps like KIPP, where they undergo what Dr. Jim Horn refers to as "cultural sterilization," also appeals to the wealthy white males driving corporate "edreform," as it does to those they've tricked into thinking they have the same interests.
However, I find your stance on charters somewhat lacking nuance and I think we need to find another mechanism than charters to move in a direction of democratizing schools. With the understanding that not every charter experience is like that of Los Angeles, where the most vile and greedy 501C3s have succeeded at commoditizing children to the tune of millions, the potential for corporate market forces to co-opt and dominate charters too great. The endless list of scandals, the predominant profit motive, the lack of democratic control, and the capricious way they can be closed, begs a different path entirely. We need a better way to have schools with more community oversight and parental decision making, while removing any mechanisms for corporate control (non-profit or otherwise). We know the names behind the so-called charter "movement" and they certainly aren't people interested in democracy, community, or a populace with critical thinking skills.
"In the long run, charter schools are being strategically used to pave the way for vouchers. The voucher advocates, who are very powerful and funded by right-wing foundations and families, recognize that the word voucher has been successfully discredited by enlightened Americans who believe in the public sector. So they've resorted to two strategies. First, they no longer use the word "vouchers." They've adopted the seemingly benign phrase "school choice," but they are still voucher advocates." — Jonathan Kozol
As social justice advocates we need alternatives to counterpose to the charter-voucher "movement," as it is corrupted through and through by plutocrats like the Broad/Gates/Walton Triumvirate. In Los Angeles we made a call and published guiding principles for running schools differently several years ago called Community School Choice: An Alternative Way for LAUSD. What would we call schools that teach critical pedagogy and have much more community control? I don't know, but the word traditionally associated with the public contracting with private entities certainly doesn't hold much hope for me. Beyond a new word, we need a new paradigm, as charters have become a haven for finance capitalism and corporate charlatans.