Last week, you may have been handed a flyer against Measure N, the Outstanding Teachers for All Oakland Students parcel tax.
I saw it, too, and the wording of one anti-N argument caught my eye:
Measure N takes 15% off the top for elite private charter schools. This shortchanges the remaining 37,000 district students. It invites even more charters to Oakland to grab a greater share of Oakland’s public money.
The thing is, charters are public schools. Yes, they are run independently of the school district, and the public funds that they receive go straight to the school, rather than through central administrative offices. Some critics argue that charters function somewhat like private schools. But that doesn’t change the fact that they are public.
I brought the wording to the attention of Betty Olson-Jones, the president of the Oakland teacher’s union, who helped draft the flyer in question. She acknowledged the error, and said she didn’t know how it happened. She said it was supposed to say “privatized.” A later version of the document reflected that change.
“I don’t know how that slipped through, because we know they’re not private schools,” she said.
The average voter, however, may not.