Elsewhere online
September 01, 2016

Pro-Charters Group Offers $100,000 for John Oliver Takedown

A national charter-schools advocacy group is offering a $100,000 prize in a contest for schools to create video rebuttals to a critical segment about charters delivered by John Oliver on his satiric TV show Last Week Tonight, The Washington Post writes.

The Center for Education Reform’s “Hey John Oliver! Back Off My Charter School!” competition is soliciting responses through September 26 to what the Washington-based group termed the comedian’s “very unfair, unfortunate, unbalanced, unwarranted, and generally unhinged tirade” on charters, which are taxpayer-funded but run independently of school-district officials, usually by nonprofit organizations.

On his August 21 show, Mr. Oliver cited reports of mismanagement and misspending at charter schools in several states and criticized the free-market approach to education espoused by some charter advocates. The Center for Education Reform said the prize money will come from program funds it raises from about 1,000 donors annually.

The advocacy nonprofit is supported by grant makers that have pursued changes in education policy, including the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which gave it $250,000 in 2013, the Post’s Valerie Strauss writes in her Answer Sheet education blog, which has been critical of charters and their philanthropic backers.