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Something smells here. And it isn't the fresh, crisp, fall scent of number two Ticonderoga's.

Professional educators are going to take a major hit in the coming months and the Billionaire Boys Club, who are out to privatize our public schools by creating their own charter school networks, couldn't be happier.

The promotion of the movie Waiting for Superman has been nothing less than phenomenal for an education documentary. Ophra aired two shows about it, all pie and sunshine. Don't be fooled by the hype. This is just another in a series of hoaxes perpetrated on the American public by the very wealthy. We have something they want -- the minds of our children!

The movie trailer will invite you to take a pledge. Take the pledge = drink the kool-aid.  Before you drink it, join me below to examine super charter school network, KIPP, and one of its co-founders, David Levin.

Also posted at Great Schools for America.

The movie promotes Uncommon Schools, but since many financial records seem to be missing or incomplete on that particular charter management corporation (CMO), I chose KIPP instead. I'm not going to elaborate on the movie which idolizes corporate charter schools and Teach for America-type pseudo-teachers while lambasting professional educators. I'm more interested in exploring the history of the past twenty years and examining the flagship of the charters: KIPP. The movement to privatize our public schools likely had its beginnings when the good folks at Morgan Stanley offered a suite of offices (valued at $500,000 a year) to Wendy Kopp and a group of other freshly graduated college students to start Teach for America (One Day All Children, Wendy Kopp, 2001, p.23). Kopp, who has zero education credentials, boasts of simply asking millionaires for a million dollars a pop and receiving it -- a tradition that continues to this day.

Eli Broad, Bill Gates, the Waltons of Wal-Mart, the Dells of Dell computer, and the Fishers of the GAP, big banks, and some hedge fund managers are among the biggest players in "education reform." The formation of the NewSchools Venture Fund in 1998 jettisoned the movement, and President Obama and Congress endorse it, but that doesn't mean that it's a good idea for kids, education, or you, the taxpayer. From The Broad Foundation Annual Report 2009/2010: Entrepreneurship for The Public Good in Education, Science, and the Arts [ (emphasis added):

The election of President Barack Obama and his appointment of Arne Duncan, former CEO of Chicago Public Schools, as the U.S. secretary of education, marked the pinnacle of hope for our work in education reform. In many ways, we feel the stars have finally aligned.

With an agenda that echoes our decade of investments—charter schools, performance pay for teachers, accountability, expanded learning time and national standards—the Obama administration is poised to cultivate and bring to fruition the seeds we and other reformers have planted.

KIPP charter schools came onto the radar when Rod Paige of "teachers are terrorists" fame was appointed Secretary of Education by George W. Bush. (You may read about the type of education KIPP delivers to children in Would you send your child to this school? -- Eleven-month school year, nine-and-a-half hour school days, every other Saturday, two hours of homework, no frills, and so on.) Two wannabee teachers, David Levin and Mike Feinberg, both Teach for America recruits, wanted to start a school, and Rod Paige gave them a chance.  Jay Mathews chronicles their attempt at teaching in his book Work Hard. Be Nice: How two inspired teachers created the most promising schools in America (gag), 2009, page 23:

By the end of September, both Levin and Feinberg were wondering if the Teach for America idea had been a mistake.  They had not considered when they worked out their plan for the salvation of public education, that they would be such terrible teachers.

Any professional teacher would have been fired for falsifying credentials, man-handling students, packing kids into the back of a U-Haul moving van to transport them on a field trip, and many other egregious violations documented in the book. Warning: If you are a professional educator or someone who cares about kids, you need a strong stomach to read this book.

KIPP stands for Knowledge Is Power Program. It comes from a chant Levin teaches his students:

The more you read,
The more you know.
Knowledge is power,
Power is money, and
I want it.

That chant seems to have resonated with David Levin who, according to IRS reports, does quite well for himself as Superintendent/Trustee of KIPP Academy Charter School in New York City. Some educators worry about what privatized corporate education will look like.  Will "education reform" mean high CEO salaries, bonuses, and elaborate getaways for employees while scrimping on teacher salaries, curriculum, equipment and supplies for kids? Not to worry. The future is now.

A cursory look at IRS Form 990(2008) for some KIPP entities signals the future of privatized corporate charter schools. This information is available through the IRS and other sources. This is by no means a complete report on the income of Levin whose tax return is private. This is what I was able to surmise after searching only one hour on Guidestar at the public library.

As a co-founder and director of KIPP Foundation, Levin works 40 hours a week for $148,492 in salary.

As superintendent and trustee of KIPP Academy Charter School, Levin works 40 hours a week for $202,264 in salary and benefits.

As superintendent and director of KIPP New York, Inc., and superintendent and trustee of KIPP Infinity Charter School, KIPP AMP Academy Charter School, and KIPP STAR College Prep Charter School, Levin works a total of 20 hours without compensation.

In total, according to IRS documents, in 2008, David Levin worked 100 hours a week at six KIPP affiliated organizations for $350,756.

Smell it?

But that's only the tip of the iceberg. At KIPP Academy Charter School in New York, where Levin is principal (CEO), nine people are on the payroll making more than $100,000 a year, two of whom are teachers, in a school that enrolls only 253 students. In addition, another $4,304,147 is paid out in "other salaries and wages" for a total of $5,305,109.

Let's do a quick calculation.  The total in "other salaries and wages", divided by the typical number of employees required to generously staff a school enrolling 253 students including secretaries, teachers, teacher assistants, maintenance workers, cafeteria workers, nurses, therapists, and others for a total of 50 employees. Now let's pay them all equally just to make the calculation a simple one.  That's $4,304,147 divided by 50 employees.

Every employee would make over $86,000 excluding benefits.

Smell it?

Let's do another calculation.  

KIPP Academy Charter School reports total expenses at $7,786,923, divide that amount by 253 and you arrive at the per student expenditure, or $30,778. KIPP receives only $3,441,389 from the government or $13,602 per student.

Do CMOs like KIPP intend to subsidize all charters to this extent?

The per pupil expenditure is $30,778, but the government only provides $13,602.

Smell it?

One more thing.

Over the past two years, KIPP Foundation has spent over $2,000,000 on luxury hotels including but not limited to: the Scottsdale Fairmont Princess Resort in Arizona ($671,651), the Red Rock Casino and Resort in Las Vegas ($169,657), the Chicago Hilton ($89,332), and the Grand Hyatt in Chicago ($907,079).

I'm guessing these are not field trip expenses and the participants did not arrive in U-Haul moving vans.

Smell it?

Currently, KIPP is a public charter school network supported by our tax dollars. Information on many other public corporate school networks can be found at Education Watch at the Great Schools for America website. I encourage you to choose any one of the nonprofit charter school networks and look into the financial records. Imagine Schools is a good place to start.

While these amounts may not be substantial by Wall Street standards, the enormity of these expenses in the education profession is outrageous.  Taking candy from babies.

When I had the documents scrutinized by a Certified Public Accountant, he said with authority there seems to be corruption here.

We have a constitution and case law to protect the right of our children to an equitable education.  The President, the Congress, and the Billionaire Boys seem to have forgotten that. If the wealthiest Americans are able to usurp our neighborhood public schools, we will truly have lost democracy.

Something's rotten in these United States of America.

Smell it?

 

Originally posted to annie em on Mon Sep 27, 2010 at 02:30 PM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Terrific diary. (19+ / 0-)

    Sending it to my teacher daughter for her to share with colleages.

    btw, saw Duncan with Brokaw on MSNBC earlier.  Underwhelmed.  Don't often critize Obama's choices but think he really screwed up with this one.

    "Armageddon was yesterday. Today we have a serious problem."

    by Lying eyes on Mon Sep 27, 2010 at 02:37:41 PM PDT

  •  Excellent diary -- (20+ / 0-)

    as is 'Waiting for Superman': A Missed Opportunity for Education - What ‘Superman’ got wrong, point by point- by Rick Ayers.

    This mad dash by Obama, Arne Duncan, and their "friends," to privatize education smells as much like a rat as when Bush/Cheney and their friends marketed their case for war.

    "Dulled conscience, irresponsibility, and ruthless self-interest already reappear. Such symptoms of prosperity may become portents of disaster!" FDR - 1937

    by Marie on Mon Sep 27, 2010 at 02:43:50 PM PDT

    •  "The trouble is teachers" is as (11+ / 0-)

      familiar as "they've got weapons of mass destruction." Not that we shouldn't relieve a bad teacher of duty when it is deserved.

      "Every child deserves a great education."

      by annie em on Mon Sep 27, 2010 at 02:51:39 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  That's what "they" say, but (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        badger, mrkvica, Larsstephens, Funkygal

        that's not what's in the hearts and minds of the mass of ordinary Americans.  Those ordinary folk think and feel well of teachers.

        "Dulled conscience, irresponsibility, and ruthless self-interest already reappear. Such symptoms of prosperity may become portents of disaster!" FDR - 1937

        by Marie on Mon Sep 27, 2010 at 03:07:51 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Teachers can't duck responsibility (0+ / 0-)

        Neither can the system for failing to prepare the teachers and provide them with the resources. The fact is somebody who gets paid by the government has to take responsibility. We can't keep playing this shell game or you will really see some Union busting and privatizing when people give up and demand vouchers.

        •  All this teacher bashing is the (0+ / 0-)

          work of Teach for America and the very rich that own them.  Remember the "weapons of mass destruction" propoganda?  Same thing, new topic.

          To discredit an entire profession to the point of saying no training is necessary is ludicrous.  I can't think of any other work where that would be tolerated, uch less supported.

          Of course there are some bad teachers, but it is not the job of other teachers to fire them.  The burden lies with administration and the union has nothing to do with that.  I have been trained to be an administrator.  If I want to fire a bad teacher, I can. I just have to do my job.

          "Every child deserves a great education."

          by annie em on Tue Sep 28, 2010 at 11:56:00 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Excellent work. (6+ / 0-)

    Thanks for the information.

    Medicare for All is Fiscal Responsibility

    by masslib on Mon Sep 27, 2010 at 02:44:33 PM PDT

  •  Great Diary, (16+ / 0-)

    you have indeed sniffed it out. It's about the money, like everything else in America.
    According to Juan Gonzalez, on this DemocracyNow! roundtable, Geoffrey Canada of Harlem Children's Zone is paying himself $500k/per for running two schools and youth program while Eva Moskowitz "earns" $350k/per as operator of Harlem Success. You don't see these kinds of salaries in traditional public schools. I don't know if they're grasping at straws or what, but anyone who thinks these billionaires give a damn about their kids has a screw loose. Are folks really so satisfied with our grotesquely inefficient  for-profit health care that they want to convert education to the same model ?

  •  I respectfully disagree (17+ / 0-)

    We have something they want -- the minds of our children!

    I disagree.  What they actually want is our tax dollars going into their pockets.  

    Lest we forget Obama's Education Secretary, who has a BA in Sociology, no advanced degree in education or otherwise, and no public school teaching experience, is eyeball deep into this scam.  As is Obama.  

    Something smells indeed.  

    The only thing that will save the sorry asses of the Democrats is the Republicans.

    by ThAnswr on Mon Sep 27, 2010 at 03:03:31 PM PDT

  •  Something is also rotten with MSNBC/NBC with (8+ / 0-)

    wave of propaganda pushing this bull$hit agenda.

    I feel strongly enough about his issue where I will note vote for any politician in favor of race to the bottom. That include our Governor and my state rep and senator who voted for the related bill in our state.

    •  It's called University of Phoenix (10+ / 0-)

      They're the primary sponsors of the event, along with Wall Street firms that have made substantial money supporting for-profit universities and charter schools.

      It makes sense, doesn't it? The Department of Education is in the process of rule-making that could ruin U. of Phoenix's bottom line, so why not throw some cash at a cause that Arne Duncan so enthusiastically supports?

      •  Follow the money (0+ / 0-)

        The money starts out as your wages.
        Then you get taxed and the money goes to the Government.
        Then the Government guarantees student loans and the money goes to the University.
        The University makes a buck and pays its stockholders.
        Then the student graduates and defaults.

        Where did the money go?

        It's a Brave New Racket.

    •  No they want schools to suck less (0+ / 0-)

      Sorry but the reform agenda is not a corporate conspiracy by Obama and Duncan. When you have failure at this level it is as bad as having 20% of people without healthcare. Reform is necessary, for profit schools exist because of the hugely inflated cost of college education and easy money from government loans. Obama is regulating those for profit universities by the way. The Union propaganda machine is shameless. I support the existence of teachers unions but there is a limit to how much I want them influencing our education choices.  

      •  Seems you prefer corporations/vulture capitlaists (5+ / 0-)

        influencing education than teachers. The last time I checked tons of corporations couldn't run themselves . it is the corporate propaganda machine that is shameless. Whipping up hysteria about failing schools while gleefully outsourcing jobs/dodging taxes etc , and thus distracting the public fromm the truth.

        I am for teacher accountability when all children start at the same point - no hunger/poverty, with good family support. Till then, demonizing teachers is to distract us from reality.

      •  The union is totally and has been (0+ / 0-)

        for years.  They don't protect teacher's rights, and in fact accept money from Gates and the billionaire boys.  

        What teacher's unions have done for everyone is fight for a decent wage and benefits, a decent pension,and some job security. We didn't ask for huge salaries, bonuses, and other stuff the Wall Street guys lavish on themselves.

        Teachers need protection because without it we would all be out of a job after 3 years which is another thing this movement is all about.  No teacher tenure. It doesn't matter if you are a great teacher or not.  The bottom line rules.

        "Every child deserves a great education."

        by annie em on Tue Sep 28, 2010 at 12:02:53 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Excellent diary! (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Marie, sfgb, mrkvica, CentralMass, Larsstephens

    Wow, that's some interesting math. Thanks for all the research :-) As a public school teacher, I'm afraid I'll be speaking to this issue quite often for the next few months, so it's nice to have some good information.

  •  The frustrating thing (21+ / 0-)

    is that the things that are hard about educating everyone's children, and not just the offspring of the wealthy and those kids with gifted minds, are never going to go away but I find people in the debate talking as if they are finite problems. Privatizing isn't cheaper, privatizing means that, on top of every other headache we have when it comes to educating our kids, now making money is as big a priority as educating.

    Corporations and business people are not going to get into the business of running schools for profit at taxpayers expense to lose money and have low profit margins because of kids who are hard to teach or who are hard to control.

    I hear the arguments on CNBC. On Fox News. On CNN and MSNBC.

    You break the unions.
    Declare war on 'bad teachers' that looks a lot like a 'war on teachers'.
    You eliminate tenure.
    You cap pay.
    You institute performance pay.
    You make 'Right to Work' laws a model for dealing with low-paid dead-ended career educators.
    You let corporations run the show.
    You have charter schools.
    Vouchers.
    Lotteries to gain access to better schools nearby.

    Good for the lucky duckies who get vouchers and charter schools.

    And, too bad for those kids who are left behind in crumbling schools that are now harder to staff, fund, and fix because the public school's mandate of educating all comers doesn't change because the lucky duckies approach is adopted.

    You just make it harder for the kids, and the staff, who get left behind.

    The lucky duckies approach to running a society doesn't have a great track record for benefiting the rest of the melting pot.

    Everything that makes education difficult is still there, but now you have more ways to leave more kids behind as a feature and not a bug of the new system.

    The more privatized the system is, the more likely it is to cost more, shut certain kids out, and make the top down class warfare and cultural divide between rich and poor worse.

    Educating all comers is still hard and riddled with setbacks, frustrations, and great social and fiscal expense.

    There is no magic bullet policy or policies when your mandate is to educate all comers.

    And that is the rub.

    It's the same debate I see with healthcare, people trying to make money, or who have an ideological agenda that is hostile to the existence of public schools, as their first priority being treated as if they are trying to do the right thing by those society is trying to serve first.

    I have no problem having a debate about improving America's schools. I have a real problem listening to people who sound like they are disguising a push towards what I believe will result in more class warfare and Social Darwinism as the end result of what they call reform.

    Not all kids are going to go to charter schools.
    Not all kids are going to get vouchers.

    The mission is to take all comers, not the best, the brightest, and those whose parents have more than more than enough.

    Corporations and Privatized institutions are not going to do that.

    Kids with problems, kids who are handicapped, kids who are poor, kids who just aren't very bright don't have an easy and relatively inexpensive answer for society.

    At some point, the 'educate all comers' policy that is the cornerstone of the public schools is the troublespot for those who want easy answers to hard questions, end points for problems that never go away, and cheap answers to expensive problems.

  •  don't forget Neil Bush (9+ / 0-)

    and his educational software company.

    http://www.bradblog.com/...

    fact does not require fiction for balance

    by mollyd on Mon Sep 27, 2010 at 03:18:02 PM PDT

  •  I've watched a lot of the coverage on Education (16+ / 0-)

    over the last few days, and the interesting thing is that no one actually addresses the real causes for declining educational outcomes.  Schools simply are no match for the social deficits their students are faced with on a daily basis (violence, poor nutrition, lack of adequate healthcare, lack of parental supervision/guidance and a society focused on anti-intellectual pursuits).

    "Because I am a river to my people."

    by lordcopper on Mon Sep 27, 2010 at 04:18:28 PM PDT

    •  It is obviously more then (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      badger, sfgb, lordcopper

      a few bad teachers. They never address the Administrative top heavy and cost. A principal for every classroom where in the past you had one principal for the whole school. Suspension when you should require children to stay after and learn more etc. etc.

      Vote 11.2.10 the penalty for refusing to participate in politics you end up being governed by your inferiors. Plato

      by coffejoe on Mon Sep 27, 2010 at 04:57:46 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I don't doubt that administrative costs are high (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Gareth, sfgb, Naniboujou

        at public schools, colleges, etc...but not as high as at these charter schools.
        I can't say I've ever heard of a principal for every classroom.

        Democracy is not just a counting up of votes; it is a counting up of actions. --Howard Zinn

        by tekno2600 on Mon Sep 27, 2010 at 08:53:20 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  But are the outcomes actually declining? (5+ / 0-)

      In the purely academic -- book learning -- educational sense probably not.  A much higher percentage of kids graduate from high school and go on to college today than they did fifty years ago.  A huge difference over the years is that drop-outs back then often left school having learned a bit of trade or manual skills.

      "Dulled conscience, irresponsibility, and ruthless self-interest already reappear. Such symptoms of prosperity may become portents of disaster!" FDR - 1937

      by Marie on Mon Sep 27, 2010 at 05:07:19 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I would call that the "dumbing down" of a (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Gareth, sfgb

        high school/college diploma.  There all kinds of games being played with standardized test scores, but there is little doubt that critical thinking has declined in todays generation of kids, on average (sure the top graduates are smarter than ever).  I would lay most of the blame on society in general (the decline of the nuclear family and the lack of a societal structure to raise children to the age of majority).

        "Because I am a river to my people."

        by lordcopper on Mon Sep 27, 2010 at 05:44:55 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Not going to disagree that (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Larsstephens

          diplomas have been dumbed down.  A circa 1950 catholic high school grad or 1975 UK public school grad seemed to have better reading comprehension and writing skills than most college graduates by 1980.

          However, I'm reluctant blame all of that on societal changes.  In my experience, TV is a huge negative.  (That's why I wasn't surprised that the Baby Einstein videos were shown to make kids dumber.)  Combine that with more limited experiential learning and schools performing more drilling for standardized tests and it's no wonder that thinking skills seem to be eroding.

          "Dulled conscience, irresponsibility, and ruthless self-interest already reappear. Such symptoms of prosperity may become portents of disaster!" FDR - 1937

          by Marie on Mon Sep 27, 2010 at 06:29:17 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Did anyone watch the Charlie Rose (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Gareth, sfgb

            12 series special on the brain. There have been interesting research results in the past ten years that show how young children learn. Human interaction is always the key. Very young children in the prime years for language learning can not learn anything from a screen or monitor. Even if it looks like they are paying close attention they are not gaining knowledge. If the same material shown in a video is presented through human interaction the young child will learn and retain the information.

            Infidels in all ages have battled for the rights of man, and have at all times been the advocates of truth and justice... Robert Ingersol

            by BMarshall on Tue Sep 28, 2010 at 02:22:52 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  I think what I was trying to say is that U.S. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Azazello

        culture has become an impediment to success.

        "Because I am a river to my people."

        by lordcopper on Mon Sep 27, 2010 at 05:47:17 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Profession educators are like the Who down (0+ / 0-)

      in Whoville (Dr. Seuss).  I feel like Horton screaming at the top of my lungs to be heard, but the powers that be will not listen to educators. We have been left out of all major discussion in favor of Wendy Kopp and Michelle Rhee types, people who know nothing about education and everything about sucking up to the rich and collecting a big fat salary.

      "Every child deserves a great education."

      by annie em on Tue Sep 28, 2010 at 12:12:15 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  It smells to me also and thanks for (10+ / 0-)

    the information on Charter schools because I keep arguing with people that Charter schools are not the catch all answer. You have to pay for them so it still stretches our money too thin and it still uses up budget resources...why not just fix the public school?

    Do CMOs like KIPP intend to subsidize all charters to this extent?
    The per pupil expenditure is $30,778, but the government only provides $13,602.

    They have hook winked us into thinking privatization is the key and more efficient. If you can't make money without the government subsidy it isn't privately run and you shouldn't be in business. It isn't fair as other business don't get a subsidy. I rather it go directly to benefit students not corporate profit.

    Vote 11.2.10 the penalty for refusing to participate in politics you end up being governed by your inferiors. Plato

    by coffejoe on Mon Sep 27, 2010 at 05:05:52 PM PDT

  •  Yeah, the film was financed in part by (13+ / 0-)

    Philip Anschutz, a right wing philanthropist.

    http://demopedia.democraticundergrou...

    "I've never believed that government's role is to create jobs . . . So this week, I've proposed a six year infrastructure plan."

    by Paleo on Mon Sep 27, 2010 at 05:24:12 PM PDT

    •  That explains a lot. Anschutz (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      sfgb, Larsstephens, apimomfan2

      like the Koch brothers has been flying under the radar of the liberals for decades.  (Leftists tend to be better informed.)

      "Dulled conscience, irresponsibility, and ruthless self-interest already reappear. Such symptoms of prosperity may become portents of disaster!" FDR - 1937

      by Marie on Mon Sep 27, 2010 at 08:01:18 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  There's a war against public education (13+ / 0-)

    in this country.  As I said in one of the other threads.  It's being conducted by the president of the united states, the secretary of education, the entire right-wing establishment and echo chamber, and the MSM.  It's a bi-partisan effort to demonize public education and bust teachers unions by making public education responsible for the ills of society.  Poor inner city schools, which are due to socioeconomic conditions, are being turned into the face of the entire system.

    "I've never believed that government's role is to create jobs . . . So this week, I've proposed a six year infrastructure plan."

    by Paleo on Mon Sep 27, 2010 at 05:34:16 PM PDT

    •  YOu gotta love (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Naniboujou, melpomene1, apimomfan2

      that the Dems calling for the busting of teachers unions are the exact same ones that strut around about what political "pragmatists" they are.  Apparently busting teachers unions is good for the political prospects  of Dem politicians?  That comes rather as a surprise to me.  But then, I'm not "pragmatic".

      American business is about maximizing shareholder value. You basically don't want workers. ~Allen Sinai

      by ActivistGuy on Mon Sep 27, 2010 at 08:24:13 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Thanks for that comment. What really annoys me (0+ / 0-)

      is that we have a Constitution.  Remember? We have case law that has determined that all children will recieve an equitable education.  So, how can competing for tax dollar to be awarded to a few while others shafted be constitutional?

      "Every child deserves a great education."

      by annie em on Tue Sep 28, 2010 at 12:18:41 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  The teacher bashing (9+ / 0-)

    and teacher-union bashing is at full screaming boil here at dkos already.

    Funniest part?  it's all these self-proclaimed "pragmatists" that want to bust the teachers unions.  I wanna know, how does busting teachers unions help elect democrats?  Hmm? Could there be a Democrat elected to anything anywhere without the teachers unions?  Apparently our "pragmatic" friends are wiling to take that risk on behalf of their corporate power-centrist ideology.

    American business is about maximizing shareholder value. You basically don't want workers. ~Allen Sinai

    by ActivistGuy on Mon Sep 27, 2010 at 08:22:30 PM PDT

    •  I know many public school teachers who (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      sfgb

      take to the streets to knock on doors for GOTV campaigns every election season. I always get involved through my union or the local labor council. Now that my President has decided to help push the anti union-anti teacher meme, it makes it more difficult to give up those weekends before the election.

      Infidels in all ages have battled for the rights of man, and have at all times been the advocates of truth and justice... Robert Ingersol

      by BMarshall on Tue Sep 28, 2010 at 02:32:29 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Imagine Schools (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    prfb, sfgb, BMarshall, Naniboujou, apimomfan2

    According to the August 27 St. Petersburg Times the local Imagine School has been graded "F" 2 years in a row and is  now on probation. My distaste for this charter school thing and the way Obama has bought into it is going to have a lot of impact on how I vote in 2012.

    •  The thing is the opponent would be an even worse (0+ / 0-)

      choice.  We have no choice here on a state and national level.  This is going to be a battle fought
      in school districts until the Dems come to their senses.

      "Every child deserves a great education."

      by annie em on Tue Sep 28, 2010 at 12:21:49 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Thank You (9+ / 0-)

    I tried both in passing in my diary about 10.2.10 yesterday and in the front page discussion last night about this issue to point out that this entire blitz is dependent upon corporate largesse (that we all know can disappear at any time) and that any school district could succeed if given the resources that we have thrown at charters and kept out of the public schools.

    Alas, some folks are just hell bent on following the party line when it comes to teachers, and especially teachers unions, as the enemy of poor children needing education.

    Talk about drinking the Koolaid.  Thanks for the diary.

    If you don't stand for something, you will go for anything. Visit Maat's Feather

    by shanikka on Mon Sep 27, 2010 at 09:13:44 PM PDT

    •  Selfishness is the key to their strategy (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Gareth, sfgb, Naniboujou, apimomfan2, Azazello

      If they can get enough parents to see the corporate largess being handed out, then parent won't know, and probably wouldn't care even if they did know, that this kind of model is not sustainable or scalable. They just get them thinking I want my kid to have this big, expensive gift. Of course, there are not enough slots available for most kids to be in these schools that are being temporarily showered with corporate money. Furthermore, if they had a choice to take rich white kids versus underprivileged kids, they would clearly go with the rich white ones because they probably fear that the underprivileged ones would have more problems and maybe not perform as well. So, for their shell game to work, they need to grab as many of the kids who are already as high-performing as possible. Then, they can take credit for the kids performance, as if the school had anything to do with it.
      It's just sad to see poor and middle class people supporting this out of a misguided belief that they will get some special privilege for this kids, when the reality is that it was never intended for that.

      Democracy is not just a counting up of votes; it is a counting up of actions. --Howard Zinn

      by tekno2600 on Mon Sep 27, 2010 at 09:46:01 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Harlem Children's Zone (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      sfgb, shanikka, apimomfan2

      gets money from Goldman Sachs fer chrissakes. Does anyone really think that the Vampire Squid cares about our kids ?

      •  Actually (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Azazello

        In the case of Geoffrey Canada himself, he started the program for all the right reasons.  And I understand why he was willing to take the money, given this.  But even he does not spout the hard and fast rhetoric on this particular privitization issue  as those who now use his vision, and the ultimate success in HCZ, to further an agenda far less innocent.

        If you don't stand for something, you will go for anything. Visit Maat's Feather

        by shanikka on Tue Sep 28, 2010 at 08:02:28 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  It's pretty obvious that high corporate subsidies (7+ / 0-)

    being dished out to the charter schools today are just part of a shell game to make them look attactive at first, but they will not last. Once they can succeed in taking over large numbers of public schools, they will demand massive tax revenues to support their lavish admininstrative salaries and their cut-rate teaching salaries, educational supplies, curricula, and safety. It will be way more expensive more expensive than public school ever was and will have worse outcomes.

    It is surprising that people are buying into the concept of it being a reform at all. People are so indoctrinated to believe in privatization and the myth of the "free market" that they must simply believe, on ideological grounds alone, that efficiency is always increases. In fact, how could a for-profit entity ever provide more service and less cost for the public when the goal of the for-profit is to siphon off as much money as possible to put in their own pockets and minimize the expense of providing service? It just doesn't make a lick of sense.

    Democracy is not just a counting up of votes; it is a counting up of actions. --Howard Zinn

    by tekno2600 on Mon Sep 27, 2010 at 09:13:51 PM PDT

  •  So where is the reform plan (0+ / 0-)

    Trash Charter schools all day but we could just pick out the lousy public schools to match. Charter schools are not perfect, their are corrupt interest, but can they get the job done? I don't see any reason to be against them in the face of failure unless you think that is a conspiracy also. Making kids fail and all.

    •  Basically charter schools are like a monopolist (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Gareth, apimomfan2

      who is trying to drive competitors out of business. He will do everything he to drive all the competition out, including giving very attractive prices to customers, playing on their greed. But, history tell us, once the monopolist drives all competitors out of business, he will jack up your rates without mercy.

      Here the goal is similar: to shower charter schools with money (although it hasn't produced better results) and then make everyone abandon public schools. Then, the charter schools can take over and demand massive tax revenues. It is probably not possible that taxes could be raised high enough to pay for the lavish costs of charter schools, so that is the first thing on which they will blame their low performance.

      Your question seems basically like saying: Well what the problem with Standard Oil running competitors out of business as part of a conspiracy to create a monopoly? Isn't Standard Oil part of the solution? What about other bad oil companies?

      The point here is that a conspiracy is being conducted to fool you; to ruin market; to stack the deck. You have to first stop that before getting sidetracked on other issues. And, no, the conspirators are not part of the solution.

      There are many needs for reform in school curricula, as well as stable, fair funding for ALL districts. But, those are separate issues from that the fact that these corrupt corporate charter schools are a sham.

      Democracy is not just a counting up of votes; it is a counting up of actions. --Howard Zinn

      by tekno2600 on Mon Sep 27, 2010 at 10:01:43 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  It looks pretty obvious to me (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      sfgb

      that you have some skin in this game.  Some of your diaries and your comments are not just run-of-the-mill pro-charter school.  I think you have a vested interest in privately run charter schools.

      Most of the educators here are up front about identifying themselves. Want to share so that we can put your comments into context?

      Real science is rarely done by petition. --John R. Mashey

      by Naniboujou on Tue Sep 28, 2010 at 05:16:32 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  What does "Waiting for Superman" mean? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Gareth, sfgb

    I guess I'm asking for a spoiler here. The movie will not be available where I live until October 6th, and from what I've heard, I doubt I'd want to give money to this extremely misguided effort to lionize charter schools and demonize public schools and teachers' unions.
    However, I'm curious about the title. What point is it trying to make? That we should wait for some superman teacher to come in and make everything better? I know lots of superhero teachers. They bust their butts for low salaries and no guarentee of results or even recognition in the most difficult of circumstances. However, hopefully the movie isn't saying that we all need to just wait for a superman teacher to come in, or that somehow charter schools attract more supermen. Personally, I don't think we can rely on superheros to fix all our problems anyway. The number one predictor of student success is parental involvement and that has been steadily going downhill. Lazy, selfish, accusatory parents are the first to fault teachers for any problems with their kids. They would love a superman to do everything for them...and do it for no money, no job security, and no respect.

    Democracy is not just a counting up of votes; it is a counting up of actions. --Howard Zinn

    by tekno2600 on Mon Sep 27, 2010 at 09:32:48 PM PDT

    •  It was explained on one of the Oprah shows (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      tekno2600

      YouTube it and get the full details. Basically, one of the "heroes" [and may very well be one - I haven't seen the movie] was relating a story from his childhood where his mother broke the news to him that superman wasn't real. At that point he realized that he had been waiting for superman to show up and fix things in his neighborhood instead of taking it on himself. So he decided to have a go at it. That part definitely IS heroic. The methods he used are what I don't know anything about. Could be good could be bad Could be a neutral as an avalanche. Just don't get in the way.
      Cheers,

      "A government that robs Peter to pay Paul can always depend on the support of Paul" -G.B. Shaw

      by daddybunny on Mon Sep 27, 2010 at 09:56:05 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Thanks. It's alway good to get people inspired. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        apimomfan2

        But, it can sometimes also create well-meaning but misguided people. This is a tough thing to deal with, because these are often good people, but their belief and methods are not always rational.

        Democracy is not just a counting up of votes; it is a counting up of actions. --Howard Zinn

        by tekno2600 on Mon Sep 27, 2010 at 10:08:20 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  If they are all about performance based evals.... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sfgb, BMarshall, Egalitare

    The administrators who cannot manage a school so that they retain the good teachers, help the "bad" teachers to improve [or move on willingly] and provide the physical resources to enable success to all the staff and student body are fired FIRST right? Or maybe they have a "union" courtesy of who they know at district or state or national???

    The failure of a school is not just the educators. It's the environment the kids have to live in, the parents who are working 2 jobs to make the rent and just can't sit and do homework with them each night, the lack of health care, the nutrition gap, etc etc etc.. It all comes into the classroom with the kid... and the teacher has to deal with it and make lemonade out of lemons or else.

    Oh, and do this in a facility that is sometimes poisonous and dangerous to work in. With long-standing problems that the principal, the District and even the State level administrators all know about.

    Sure, let's blame the teacher for the kid's failure. Makes sense-- if you don't look for the things that are wrong so you can actually FIX them. If you can just assign blame elsewhere, you can keep your admin job for another year or two [or more] and then move on to a "better" school since you've been so "successful" in your present post.

    Creative resume writing must be part of the "training" such educational "lights" as Arne Duncan have mastered. Their mastery of accomplishing something with what they actually have to work with is not very evident -to me at least.

    Glad I made the correct career choice.

    "A government that robs Peter to pay Paul can always depend on the support of Paul" -G.B. Shaw

    by daddybunny on Mon Sep 27, 2010 at 09:50:22 PM PDT

  •  National day of action to defend public education (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sfgb, Egalitare, apimomfan2
    - October 7. Details at :

    http://www.defendeducation.org/

  •  What evidence? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Uncle Milty

    "When I had the documents scrutinized by a Certified Public Accountant, he said with authority there seems to be corruption here."

    This is an extremely damaging and dangerous statement to make.  

    You need to provide what specific evidence of corruption they found and not hide behind unnamed allegations by unnamed parties.  Just because you think they spent money unwisely does not mean they are corrupt.

    What evidence of corruption do you have?

    •  Agree... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Balto

      Any CPA who merely examines a few documents and declares anything with authority hasn't spent much time in public practice.  That's why CPAs to audits, and charge a bundle for them, because things are rarely what they seem on the surface.

      Those expenditure reports are misleading.  Many charter schools can't have mega-million dollar bond offerings to build facilities and they don't have unfunded retirement obligations.  In fact, many don't have pensions at all.  When you factor in all of the benefits, many public school teachers easily make 60-80k/year and probably more.

      Additionally, I think we're all forgetting the big picture here.  Why is it so horrible that private money is being put into education?  Would you prefer they buy yachts or vacation homes?

      Who cares if they dig a hole, poor money into it and burn it as long as the parents are happier with the school than the public school option?  I'm sympathetic to the notion that alternatives undermine public schools by leaving them with a disproportionate number of disadvantaged kids.  But if parents chose a charter school, it seems a little silly to argue that we all know better than the parents do and the public school is really better.

      Lastly, why does it matter who does and does not have a teaching certificate?  By that standard, 95% of college professors aren't "qualified" to teach K-12.  Teaching is a skill.  It can be improved, but mostly by being mentored and with practice, not with a teaching certificate.  

  •  Thanks to so many of you (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sfgb, BMarshall, Egalitare, apimomfan2

    for showing your support of public schools in your comments. There's a lot of hype out there right now for charter schools and against public schools. Don't get side-tracked. Read her blog -- really read it. How many of you are the product of public schools? I am. The media uses these hot topics to draw people to their sites. Don't buy it. Public schools are the bedrock of our democracy. Unless someone has worked in the trenches, he has no credibility.
    Be careful. Dangerous times ahead.
    www.inthetrencheswithschoolreform.com

  •  In the movie poster there's a Cross hidden in the (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sfgb

    clouds in the upper lefthand corner of the poster. The Cross has rays of sunshine beaming down onto a little girl sitting at her desk, hand raised. The ad campaign says (quote): The fate of the US will be won in the classroom. What's up with the religious symbolism??

  •  And now some OT good news (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Gareth, sfgb

    This success story runs counter to most of the Duncan RttT template. These teachers worked WITHIN the framework of their union contract, decided what was important and created success without replacing half the staff with "new blood".

    This snip to whet your appetite:

    Brockton never fired large numbers of teachers, in contrast with current federal policy, which encourages failing schools to consider replacing at least half of all teachers to reinvigorate instruction.

    But Dr. Szachowicz and her colleagues did make some teachers uncomfortable, and at least one teacher who refused to participate in the turnaround was eventually dismissed after due process hearings.

    Teachers unions have resisted turnaround efforts at many schools. But at Brockton, the union never became a serious adversary, in part because most committee members were unionized teachers, and the committee scrupulously honored the union contract.

    An example: the contract set aside two hours per month for teacher meetings, previously used to discuss mundane school business. The committee began dedicating those to teacher training, and made sure they never lasted a minute beyond the time allotted.

    "Dr. Szachowicz takes the contract seriously, and we’ve worked together within its parameters," said Tim Sullivan, who was president of the local teachers union through much of the last decade.

    4,100 Students Prove ‘Small Is Better’ Rule Wrong

    "Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will." -- Frederick Douglass

    by Egalitare on Tue Sep 28, 2010 at 02:23:22 AM PDT

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