Ed Schultz: Funding Charter Schools 'Breeds and Feeds the Next Generation of Segregation'

MSNBC's Ed Schultz on Wednesday slammed charter schools in America, sneering that funding them "breeds and feeds the next generation of segregation in America." [MP3 audio here.] The Ed Show host talked to fellow liberal Michael Eric Dyson who complained about public schools having to compete against charter schools. 

He insisted, "If you would supply money to these public schools, then they could do equally as well." Of course, public schools in Washington D.C., for instance, spend almost $30,000 per student. 

According to the Heritage Foundation

But spending $30,000 to cover the cost of a child’s education in a district that has one of the lowest graduation rates in the nation and produces some of the country’s lowest achievement scores? Seems a bit steep. But this is the hefty per-pupil bill taxpayers are made to foot for D.C. public schools every year.

Despite this astounding price tag—$29,409 for the 2009–2010 school year, to be exact, compared to the national average of just under $12,500 (both figures are total expenditures calculated on a per-pupil basis, including capital outlays)—the graduation rate for D.C. students hovers around 60 percent, well below the nationwide average of 74 percent. Math and reading scores are also among the lowest in the country.

Yet, Schultz said of pursuing alternatives such as charter schools: "This breeds and feeds the next generation of segregation in America. That's what this does." 

He added, "When you start picking and choosing neighborhoods, you're picking winners and losers in public education. Now it's not about equal opportunity." 

Schultz's comments come in the wake of New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio walking back his attack against charter schools. 

A partial transcript of the March 26 segment is below:  

5:23pm ET

ED SCHULTZ: Joining me now is Michael Eric Dyson, professor at Georgetown University and MSNBC political analyst. Professor, this is not about whether charter schools are successful. It's not about whether parents should have the freedom to send their kids to charter schools. This is about taking resources away from the public schools. That's what this is about. 

MICHAEL ERIC DYSON: I'm glad you clarified that. 

SCHULTZ: I have nothing against charter schools. Look, if parents want to send their kids to private schools, that's fine. If they have the resources or the choice to do that, this is America. 

DYSON: Right. 

SCHULTZ: But what this is, I believe, is a big conservative generational agenda to show that charter schools can outperform public schools. And this is what we really should be doing with our money. The conservatives want to make education a for-profit venture down the road across the board. That's the point. 


DYSON: The school that you fund the most is the one that is going to better prepare students for education in the future. If you would supply monies to these public schools, then they could do equally as well. 

SCHULTZ: This breeds and feeds the next generation of segregation in America. That's what this does. 

DYSON: Right. Right. It's a two tier system. 

SCHULTZ: I got nothing against the charter schools. You know, I hope they all perform well. But when you have got public dollars that are going to charter schools and you're taking away from public schools and you're picking and choosing neighborhood, that is a slippery slope, and I am amazed that we're not having the big conversation nationally on this. 

DYSON: You're absolutely right. 

— Scott Whitlock is Senior News Analyst at the Media Research Center. Follow Scott Whitlock on Twitter.