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Charter school students politely tell comic John Oliver: Back off charters.

John Oliver's scathing attack on charter school mismanagement and performance struck proponents as an unfair tarnishing of all charter schools.

To be fair, Oliver acknowledged charter successes such as the KIPP schools, which operate in Georgia. But he lambasted flimsy charter school oversight, financial mismanagement and outright theft. (See Atlanta Latin Academy.)

Oliver's comments on his HBO show outraged the pro school choice Center for Education Reform, which offered a $100,000 prize for the best charter school video rebuttal to Oliver. The group received more than 250 entries from schools telling Oliver “to back off my charter school.”

The winner was Natomas Charter School in Sacramento and here is the video. It does not match Oliver's deadly wit, but features a lot of endearing and earnest kids.

(You can see the k-12 school's demographics here; 25.7 percent of students are economically disadvantaged. The Natomas Unified School Board approved the charter in 1993. It was started by teachers in the district.)


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About the Author

Maureen Downey has written editorials and opinion pieces about local, state and federal education policy since the 1990s.