Trading the Dependable Ford for a Lemon

I have been considering the proper analogy for charter schools. I chose something that most people can relate to, cars.

I chose a Ford because I have one that has been dependable for 300K miles. It has a few blemishes and systems are beginning to break down after 17 years. My Ford is similar to a public school. It has been around for a long time. It has been dependable and lasted a long time. It needs some minor repairs but is in good working order.

The charter school industry would like to sell me a new car. They are building it up as the best, new and shiny, with lots of bells and whistles. As I begin to look into it I find a Yugo.

1985 Yugo

The Yugo, a modified Zastava Koral from Yugoslavia sold in the United States, was roundly panned for its poor performance, poor build quality and numerous safety defects, enough to where the car became the frequent butt of jokes during its time.[41]The cover of the February 1986 issue of Consumer Reports featured a Yugo getting stared down by a Peterbilt truck with the caption “How much car do you get for $3990?”[41] The included review, which slammed the car, said that a used car was a better buy.[41] In 2000, Car Talk voted it the “Worst Car of the Millennium”.[41] Additionally, the Yugo was included on Time magazine’s list of the 50 worst cars of all time and CNN’s list of the “10 Most Questionable Cars of All Time”. Dan Neil wrote that the Yugo is the “Mona Lisa of bad cars” that “had the distinct feeling of being assembled at gunpoint.”[42] Including it in Automotive Atrocities! The Cars We Love to Hate, Eric Peters said that the Yugo was “less reliable than the exchange rate of an African ‘people’s republic’ or a Halliburton financial disclosure“, that it “[taught] folks the hard way about getting what you pay for” and that “The Yugo will likely hold in perpetual ignominy the title of ‘Worst Car Ever Sold to the American Public'”.[10]Jeremy Clarkson drove a Yugo 45 and said of it, “I got my foot welded to the floor – absolutely welded to the floor – and all that happens is that I’m chewing up petrol in a miserable 5-gallon tank, you’ll use it up in about two minutes! And look at it! And it gives you a headache! The hateful, hateful car!” Describing its performance as so bad “you’ll get overtaken by wildlife,” Clarkson eventually destroys it with a tank.[43]
The Yugo is considered one of the worst cars ever made and sold in the United States, EVER.
Don’t let the charter industry sell you a Yugo!
David R. Taylor
30-year Teacher, Coach, and Principal
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