The Master Plan

A Master Plan to eliminate urban public school districts was clearly outlined by the Fordham Institute's Andy Smarick in "Wave of the Future" (Winter 2008):
First, commit to drastically increasing the charter market share in a few select communities until it is the dominant system and the district is reduced to a secondary provider. The target should be 75 percent.

Second, choose the target communities wisely. Each should begin with a solid charter base (at least 5 percent market share), a policy environment that will enable growth (fair funding, nondistrict authorizers, and no legislated caps), and a favorable political environment (friendly elected officials and editorial boards, a positive experience with charters to date, and unorganized opposition). [Smarick's suggests the "potentially fertile districts" of Albany, Buffalo, Denver, Kansas City, Milwaukee, Minneapolis, New Orleans, Oakland, and Washington, D.C.]

Third, secure proven operators to open new schools. To the greatest extent possible, growth should be driven by replicating successful local charters and recruiting high-performing operators from other areas.

Fourth, engage key allies like Teach For America, New Leaders for New Schools, and national and local foundation to ensure the effort has the human and financial capital needed.

Last, commit to rigorously assessing charter performance in each community and working with authorizers to close the charters that fail to significantly improve student achievement.
Smarick's article contains a chart listing the strongest providers at that time (Figure 2: "Replicating Charter Success"). Just two years later, we now know that his #2 and #4 ranked charter managers, White Hat Management and Imagine Schools, Inc., have been embroiled in lawsuits and scandal. The #1 ranked EMO (Edison Schools) ended up failing. It folded and re-emerged with a new name and plan (EdisonLearning). So much for a fine and upstanding history of charter school "success."

In 2011, N.J. Democratic leader George Norcross gave us a special peek into the mentality behind charter school expansion. From “Braun: N.J.Democratic leader George Norcross looks to revamp image.” Newark Star-Ledger (NJ), 4/4/11) 
"In his ideal world, the parents of children enrolled in charter and other privatized schools will be "mandatorily" engaged in helping those schools, he says, or their children will be asked to leave. "That’s exactly the way charters operate," he says.

"He concedes that, under such a scheme, most urban children, maybe as many as 60 percent, will be left behind in traditional schools — private, parochial and charter schools are not obliged to take or retain everyone — and those children are more likely to have problems and "less engaged" parents than those in privatized schools."