Medical authorities have seen a recent spike in Oaklanders with Post Charter School Confusion Stress Syndrome (PCSCSS). And it is growing fastest among White affluent families. Experts describe the symptoms as a mix of anxiety, confusion and hypocrisy. You can spot someone suffering from the disorder as they sit in their BMW waiting to pick their kid up from a charter school, while writing long emails about privatizers and the evil charter school industry.
They may have bizarre and disconcerted ramblings about “equity” and they tend to have language difficulties, repeating certain phrases over and over again that have no real meaning—words like philantrocapitalism and privaterer-profitizing are constantly interjected into rants, and ranting and raving increase over time. There is also an unexplainable judginess—that mostly finds it target in low income Black and Brown families in the Flatlands who also choose charter schools.
Many believe that the disorder is related to White Flightitis, a standard trend of that community, that has become normalized, though it is seen as a disorder in some circles. White Flightitis is experienced by roughly half of Oakland’s White families—as they flee public schools for private schools. A trend that increases as resources do.
And while the victims of PCSCSS are incensed over other children going to charter schools, they tend to have the associated syndromes White Flightitis Blindness/Muteness as well as Equity Action Paralysis. In the first, their extreme outrage over charter schools is equaled only by their extreme silence around White Flight. And in the second, while they talk a lot about equity, they seem completely paralyzed to actually help out kids who need it. Only able to talk.
It must be sad.
So please be on the lookout, this may be worst outbreak to hit the affluent White community in Oakland since the Affluenza epidemic of the 90s.
3 thoughts on “The Growing Epidemic of PCSCSS in Oakland”
I laughed and wept. Though my heart hurts, I smile from ear to ear knowing its truth and thinking this may be one of your best! … We should start talking about which ‘great school voices’ to shoot off to EdWeek for them the post. It could be a civic action: Illness victims have been identified in reaches of NYC as well and elsewhere, so I hear.
So wait, you’re claiming that white parents who send their kids to charter schools are writing long emails objecting to the privatizers and the evil charter industry? Who are you talking about? It’s true that one of the main attractions of charter schools is to elitists who create the equivalent of the South’s “seg schools” after Brown vs. Board of Ed — to keep their kids away from “those people.”
Sometimes it’s not about race but about social capital — people of color are OK if they’re not disadvantaged. See Willow Creek in Sausalito, for example, where the poorest kids from Marin City attend the public school, known locally as the “project school.” Those with social capital attend elite Willow Creek, which requires mega-work hours from the parents. Or Pacific Collegiate in Santa Cruz, designed to separate the elite from the rest (in a heavily Latino school district), requiring large financial donations from the families, and widely hailed as one of the nation’s best high schools.
we have some vocal charter school critics here whose children attend charters. And yeah I get you on the social capitol piece. Many of the my Black friends who “made it” got access to elite opportunities. But they don’t then turn around and criticize other families for trying to do the best for themselves in a structurally unequal system. I respect anyone digging in and doing the work, I get annoyed at people who arent, who talk a lot, and have no practical answers for Flatlands families