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Cross posted from Campaign for America's Future,

As American public education arrives at the summer of its discontent, we have to contemplate how a system that has already had over 201,600 jobs wrung from its payrolls since August 2008 will handle the prospect of having to shed nearly a quarter of a million more jobs.

The litany of deep education cuts being forced on public schools is prompting many educators in cut-happy states like Texas, where the state legislature reduced per-student funding for the first time since World War II, to wonder if under-funding schools has become a "chronic" condition. School children in at least 21 states are looking at "identifiable, deep cuts in pre-kindergarten and/or K-12 spending," with states like Mississippi proposing school budgets that "fail to meet statutory requirements," and states like Florida enacting legislation that takes school spending back in time to 2005.

But it would be a mistake to assume that deep cuts in direct services to school kids mean that increases in education-related spending aren't occurring somewhere else. In fact, many of the very same governors behind draconian cuts to classrooms and schools also muscled through state houses new legislation to increase spending on new programs for charter schools and vouchers.

In a useful round-up at Huffington Post,Joy Resmovits writes

Indiana approved a law that allows middle- and lower-income families to use tax funds for private school tuition. Arizona, Florida and Oklahoma also passed laws that created or expanded voucher programs . . . And charter school laws are expanding in Florida, Indiana and Idaho.

The transference of public spending on education to the private sector, whether it is to a private school or a "non-profit" charter entity, is a dynamic that is well underway. As the following infographic tweeted from ASCD (full disclosure: a client of mine) shows, nearly $1 billion every year is redirected from public schools to the private sector through voucher and tax credit programs alone.


Another form of public to private transference of school funds occurring this summer takes the form of federal outlays being sent to outside contractors. As Education Weekrecently reported, nearly all of the states participating in the Obama administration's Race to the Top program will be sending out requests for proposals for "technical help" implementing the complexities required by the RTTT grants.

In fact, those states, with the exception of Massachusetts, that have already been spending up RTTT largesse have sent at least half or more of the grant money to outside contractors. New York,for example, a state that received $700 million in RTTT money, on its way to severe budget cuts of $1.5 billion, somehow found the wherewithal to award a $27 million no-bid contract to Rupert Murdoch.

So as deep budget cuts lay waste to the public sector and new outlays are targeted to private interests, it should come as no surprise to anyone that the term "Shock Doctrine" has been suggested.

Recently, Danny Well got the conversation started, writing at The Daily Censored that Governor Rick Snyder’s proposed budget cuts of $470 per pupil will likely lead more schools to join "the 43 districts and charters already going bust" and becoming targets for take-overs. Proving him true was the announcement just last week that Detroit Public Schools are now going to be managed by a state overseer working with funding from "businesses and philanthropic organizations" to implement "reforms." As Jim Horn at the blog Schools Matter explains, "the specifics of the plans were not elaborated yesterday, but it does include firing all teachers in 'failing' schools, giving school CEOs latitude to set up their own fiefdoms without oversight, and control by the unelected anti-democrats who own the Governor's Office."

Echoing these concerns, Timothy Slekar, again in Huffington Post, warned about the efforts of Pennsylvania's newly elected conservative governor Tom Corbett. Slekar labeled as vintage "Shock Doctrine" the governor's "plans on cutting $589 million from public school appropriations" while enacting expensive voucher plans that will likely lead to overall increases in education spending.

To bolster Slekar's argument, even proponents of voucher programs agree that these schemes usually do not tend to reduce a school district's "central administrative overhead costs" and lead to spending increases due to the costs of requiring public schools to "transfer student records, re-allocate categorical program funding, arrange to test voucher students enrolled in private schools, re-structure public schools that had lost large numbers of students, prepare to accept disillusioned voucher students back into the public schools, and in some cases arrange student transportation to private schools."

In Wisconsin, for instance, where Tea Party-backed governor Scott Walker seeks to expand Milwaukee's school voucher system -- which by the way, have shown no evidenceof improving student achievement -- to the entire state, it seems apparent that costs will rise, at least if this analysisbears out.

These warnings of an education "Shock Doctrine" were foreshadowed much earlier this year by an eventwhich went largely unreported. Taking place within the DC Beltway, the event revealed all too well the forces that were at work in the nation's education sector just as soon as these draconian cuts were beginning to leave the drawing board. A brief recap, tucked away in the back pages of the Wall Street Journal, described the meeting's focus on the emerging "venture capital opportunity" in the US education market.

Speaking to the crowd of venture capitalists, corporate executives, public school educators, and government officials, one presenter, Jonathan Grayer, former chief executive of education company Kaplan Inc., welcomed the "very dire times" confronting the nation's schools as a fortunate opportunity for those who want to force onto educators and parents a new "model" of education that also just happens to align with corporate desires to expand their profits.

So what's to fear from an Education Shock Doctrine? A lot.

First, what must be understood is that a private interest is a private interest, regardless of the intent behind the privatization. And once a matter of the public sector -- a guaranteed right to education, police and fire protection, sanitation -- becomes private, it becomes intrinsically less democratic. Then, what had been a matter of shared responsibility among parents, citizens, and their elected representatives becomes a matter decided among elites behind the closed doors of boardrooms.

But there's an even greater risk seldom considered in this rush toward capitalization of public schools. So far, it's immensely profitable to invest in charter schools and other education ventures. As this blog post calculates, something called "New Market tax credits" established at the end of the Clinton administration make it possible for charter entrepreneurs to "double their money in seven years."

But what happens when these ventures fail, as some (most?) assuredly will? Profits of at least one large for-profit education provider fell in the most recent quarter due to "rapid enrollment growth," i.e., all those damned students. Which I'm sure will send corporate executives into a panic of deciding where excesses in the system -- due to say, the costs of educating students with special needs or who can't speak English well -- can be targeted for cuts, and ROI can be ratcheted up -- by perhaps, increasing class-sizes for well-performing students.

Or maybe these captains of industry decide that their ventures just won't pan out after all. And they decide to pull up stakes and head out to the next goldmine? Then where will we be?

Originally posted to jeff bryant on Thu Jun 23, 2011 at 06:31 PM PDT.

Also republished by Education Alternatives and Community Spotlight.

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Comment Preferences

  •  We might need to start (27+ / 0-)

    a group for "Shock Doctrine" diaries.  They seem to be accelerating their austerity push.  This won't end well, at least not before some really awful times.  

    ~War is Peace~Freedom is Slavery~Ignorance is Strength~ George Orwell "1984"

    by Kristina40 on Thu Jun 23, 2011 at 06:59:16 PM PDT

  •  Braindead, the governor of Iowa, is insisting upon (17+ / 0-)

    0% increase in education for the next year and 2% the following year.  The Iowa Senate 'agreed' to the 0% for the first year, but wants a 3% for the next year.  Braindead is saying that the Senate (barely 'controlled' by Democrats) is not negotiating in good faith.  Braindead wants a two year budget plan and since the House is held by Republicans, they're going to get that.  The State of Iowa is now 7 calendar days from a shut down because Braindead and the Republican party, in general, are being assholes..... 'they' say that the Democrats are not willing to cut spending enough and they won't approve a 50% cut to business taxes.

  •  Well, Arne Duncan did (19+ / 0-)

    say that Katrina was the best thing that had ever happened to the NO public schools.

  •  You post a link to an article about increased (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jem6x, Debby, Linda Wood, Sparhawk

    spending on charter schools and vouchers, linking the two as if both are negative. Here's what the article actually says:

    Yet many states, with much less fanfare, passed significant measures in areas including the creation or expansion of voucher programs, academic standards, teacher certification, and charter school expansion—in some cases with the backing of both major political parties.
    “It’s pretty unprecedented, when you look at how much education legislation has been enacted around the country,” said Patrick McGuinn, an associate professor of political science and education at Drew University, in Madison, N.J. “Rare is the state that was not legislating on education issues.”

    I have problems with voucher programs as well. I don't have problems with measures passing about charter schools - I would want to judge each measure on it's own. I'm tired of hearing charter schools being called out as the 'bad boys' all the time. There are good charter programs and bad charter programs, just like there are good and bad public schools. We need local communities to be involved in determining which are which.

    That said, the article does mention a specific program in Florida that rings warning bells. I would be interested in reading more - they are planning on giving charters 15 years contracts. Usually charter schools work with 3-5 year contracts. They are also considering allowing charters to form their own school districts. I'm not sure that makes sense at all.

    All I ask is that when you call out charter schools, that you please deal with specifics, not generalities. All charter schools are not bad.

    •  "All charter schools are not bad." (22+ / 0-)

      I completely agree with this. When a community decides that creating a charter school is the best way to serve a particular population of student that has become disaffected with typical schooling then by all means proceed. The problem is that the noble cause of charters has been usurped by the interest of privatization. And when states, rather than individual communities, decide to expand charter operations wholesale, the result generally is a rush to usurp the public well being. Instead of mandating that states must lift the caps on charter school start-ups, we should be encouraging moratoriums on charters in order to more thoroughly weed-out nefarious operations.

      •  they are all bad (8+ / 0-)

        because it's a long term plan to get rid of all public education.

        •  It's just one of the tools in the toolbox (10+ / 0-)

          used to dismantle public schools.  Charter schools are a Trojan Horse.  A particularly cruel and effective one, as they pit parents who understandably are trying to assure the best possible education for their individual children (arguably one of the strongest parental motivations there is) against those who want what's best for all the students in the district.

          •  bribing people with short term gain (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            like how private sector made more than public sector for years, so they bribed people to leave unions and once they did they shortly after laid off the entire private sector, now only 7% are in unions mostly in public sector which will soon be 0% too. Bait and switch.

          •  In some school districts, charter schools are the (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Linda Wood

            best option for all students. I know people don't like to hear that, but in some school districts, public schools no longer provide a decent education. If my kid is in one of those school districts, I'm going with the better education model. I have 12 years to educate my child - it takes at least 4-6 years to see changes within the system. A third to half of my child's education years can be lost while the local public school is trying to improve.

            Charter schools include parents in the governance model. I wish all public schools did as well. It might make a difference at the end of the day.

            I will say this... the benefit of a charter school is very much dependent on the school district. These are battles that need to be taking place in individual localities. The idea that we can declare all charters nationwide as a detriment to the system is part of the problem in itself.

            •  Well said angelajean! (0+ / 0-)

              Cooper Zale Los Angeles

              by leftyparent on Fri Jun 24, 2011 at 02:49:08 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  Public schools are supposed to include parents (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              in governance too, via school boards, perhaps a parent-teacher-association, and in California, School Site Councils.

              I suspect whether and to what extent parents are involved in school governance has more to do with the specific people running a school district and an individual school than it does with neighborhood public vs. charter. (I have certainly heard of instances within franchised charter school organizations where governance was very top-down and not so parent-centric, and there are public schools where parents are very much involved.)

              Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

              by elfling on Fri Jun 24, 2011 at 06:35:40 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  I agree (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          bigbroad, Azazello, Linda Wood

          and feel that the evidence of it (at least in my experience) is that the innovations charter schools were supposed to develop and seed back into the public schools seem never to appear in the public schools.  They designed a mechanism for the money to leave, but no mechanism for the improvements to return to the public schools.  That omission seems purposeful to me. Although I am always happy when children do well, wherever that may occur, I do feel that the charter school movement as a whole is parasitic.

          •  If public schools don't learn from the lessons (0+ / 0-)

            of charter schools, who is to blame?

            Charter schools didn't design a system to seed back into public schools... all charter schools do is make a contract between a charter organization (usually parents and teachers) with the local authorizing authority (usually the school board). The contract includes how money will be raised, how money will be spent, how standards will be met, the rules and regs governing the school, and the curriculum. If the local authorizing authority doesn't feel like charter is a good fit for the community, they don't have to approve it.

            Seems to me a lot of the problems are occurring with the authorizing authority. Hmmm... very often they are the very same school boards that are wrecking havoc with our public schools. Maybe we should start pointing figures at them.

            •  The whole point of charter is to be a testbed (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Linda Wood

              for different ideas.

              It should be written into the rules for charter schools that they report on what is working, what is not, and what ideas might be worth transferring back. It seems to me that the process of reauthorization would do that to a large extent.

              Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

              by elfling on Fri Jun 24, 2011 at 06:38:43 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  elfling... seems they've morphed beyond their/... (0+ / 0-)

                original "charter", as you say, to be experiments.  They have become a mechanism for frustrated communities to circumvent the byzantine bureaucracy of schools.

                Cooper Zale Los Angeles

                by leftyparent on Fri Jun 24, 2011 at 07:23:23 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

        •  The majority of parents and teachers who (0+ / 0-)

          start charter schools are not planning to get rid of public education. To the contrary, they hope to be a vibrant part of a good public education model.

          Don't let franchise schools ruin a potentially viable system. Call them out where they exist but please don't demonize all charter schools.

      •  If you want to pay to send your child to religious (4+ / 0-)

        or charter school, look for the best you can find, but don't take my tax dollar for some school that doesn't have to meet the same high standards required of public schools.

        •  Just limit vouchers to non religious schools (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          Problem solved. You can set critieria for what voucher eligible schools must abide by. Diversity, separation of religion and state. stuff like that.

          you can call me praveen.

          by pravin on Fri Jun 24, 2011 at 11:48:51 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Unfortunately that isn't Indiana law. Law states $ (0+ / 0-)

            follows the child regardless of where child goes to school. I guess Daniels and his pet Sec. of Education didn't think about establishing Madressa schools, but that is possiblity.

            •  Would an Indiana charter authorizer approve... (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              an explicitly religious school, whether Christian, Jewish, Muslim, or whatever?

              Cooper Zale Los Angeles

              by leftyparent on Fri Jun 24, 2011 at 02:53:33 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Yes. Catholic Schools are working to expand (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Linda Wood

                w. enough teachers to take care of expected increased enrollment this fall. Other religious schools are elegible to apply, too. First year for plan limits number of students that can leave Public Schools, but later transfers are open to all. IPS (Indianapolis Public Schools-largest district is state)  Supertendent is trying to pass rule city schools won't take Charter Kids back.  Reasoning is: School Funds are determined by enrollment in early September,but  a child may return later in the school year but funds would not be returned until the following year. Supt has a point because Public Schools are already so stretched for money, it makes moving about stressful.

                The real tragedy wil be with Special Education Students.  Parents may opt for voucher, seinding money to private/religous school, but find school is not equipped to deal with special needs students---after public funds are drained.

                •  So Catholic schools are becoming public charter... (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:

                  schools in Indiana?  Or are you talking about Catholic schools expecting higher attendance as private schools due to vouchers?  Those are two very different things that I would hope you are not confusing!

                  Cooper Zale Los Angeles

                  by leftyparent on Fri Jun 24, 2011 at 05:00:43 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  I think all religious schools are counting on (0+ / 0-)

                    voucher money for their ecpansion. Charter Schools will still be expected to meet state standards in curriculum, attendance, etc, but no such control was provided in Law for religious schools.

        •  Charter schools do have to meet the same high (0+ / 0-)

          standards. They are public schools. They are authorized by local governing authorities, usually school boards. They are a part of our democratic system of government. They are not outside the system like private schools.

          Just because some franchise schools are taking advantage of current charter law in many states does not mean progressives should abandon all charter school models.

          •  Not quite right: (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            elfling, Clues

            "They are a part of our democratic system of government." By their very nature charters are not bound by the same requirements that have been passed by the local school board with the parents' and teachers' inputs. Instead there is a contract agreement, which is a very different thing from being part of the municipal or county governing structure. So in a sense they are a "vendor" to the district even if they have boards made up of local teachers and parents.

            Here's the main problem with charters: They are being framed as a competitive model rather than a collaborative model within the local school system. Rather than an organic outgrowth of a community's demand, they are being imposed on the citizenry at the same time that traditional public schools are being decimated by cuts in services and personnel.

            •  Most charter schools grow out of the community... (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              and are not imposed on the community.  Charters are allowed to be different in terms of educational methodology and governance.

              But you may have a point that the system has become a competitive "us and them" type situation.  I'll have to ponder that some more.

              Cooper Zale Los Angeles

              by leftyparent on Fri Jun 24, 2011 at 05:08:52 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  Actually, my experience with charter schools (0+ / 0-)

              has been exactly this:

              Rather than an organic outgrowth of a community's demand, they are being imposed on the citizenry at the same time that traditional public schools are being decimated by cuts in services and personnel.

              Is California that different from your state?

              •  It does vary by where you live (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:

                In my district, there is a charter which is widely supported by the community and serves a community need. Yet in much of the state where I live (NC) I see charters that are being imposed by outside groups with money to invest while traditional public schools go begging. In CA where you live, schools are being cut to the bone while charter franchisees like Green Dot are being showered with donations from foundations. I think you're being naive. Or disingenuous.

      •  The purpose of a charter (14+ / 0-)

        is to bust teacher unions and to undermine local public schools. That's why 90% of them exist.

        As I have said here before, the charter schools that succeed - only a few do - either serve a VERY specific population (such as teen monthers) or they look exactly like a public school would look like if it had more funding.  

        Another charter trick we've seen in St. Louis, Minneapolis, etc: an inner city neighborhood school has a high dropout rate, so it is assumed the school - rather than lack of funding or lack of parent and community support - is the problem. So they shut down the neighborhood school and the kids are sent off to other schools, further away, harder to get to, including sad little strip mall charters that promise fancy uniforms.  Because the students are now distributed among many smaller schools in varying administrative configurations, nobody keeps track of whether they do better AS A SET than they would have if they had stayed at the first school. Charter schools are infamous for allowing students to quietly drop out in order to up their standards, so it's unlikely they'll be encouraged to stay.

        In other words, charter schools are part of a giant dropout laundering scheme.

        •  Scare tactics by ideologues (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          You are as bad as the right wingers who want to gut public education. Who cares what the intentions are? It is the Democrats job to protect public education while allowing other alternatives to prosper too. Private colleges havent killed public universities.

          you can call me praveen.

          by pravin on Fri Jun 24, 2011 at 11:50:18 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  I've written a couple of diaries on charter school (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Linda Wood

          in the last two weeks and one thing that I've learned is that there are broad differences in between states. The charter schools of your state may not be the charter schools of mine. But this desire of Democrats to hate all charter schools across the board will undermine those successful charters in other states. We need to start targeting the problem schools for what they are and quit demonizing all charter schools.

      •  Exactly... that's why I ask for care when (0+ / 0-)

        throwing around the words 'charter schools' and 'vouchers' in the same sentence. I would hate to see us lose the charter schools that are a benefit to their communities.

      •  I just noticed your last sentence: (0+ / 0-)
        Instead of mandating that states must lift the caps on charter school start-ups, we should be encouraging moratoriums on charters in order to more thoroughly weed-out nefarious operations.

        The CREDO-Stanford report on charter schools actually came to the opposite conclusion. I have issues with the report mainly because it relies on standardized test scores so I think the results should be taken with a grain of salt, but I think it is only fair to let you know that their number show that states that limit charter school start-ups show kids doing less well in charter schools. States with unlimited start-ups show more success for students in those schools.

        I have a review of the CREDO-Stanford report at Education Alternatives.

        •  American society is built on innovation... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          where states allow innovation by not capping charters, they are getting a better result.  Makes sense to me!

          Cooper Zale Los Angeles

          by leftyparent on Fri Jun 24, 2011 at 02:55:50 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  You're cherry-picking conclusions from the data. (0+ / 0-)

          As Bruce Baker explains at School Finance 101, even charters that are "successful" aren't successful on a broader scale "because their successes are in many cases based on doing things they couldn’t if they actually tried to serve everyone." They simply are not replicable from one district to another. Don't distort the CREDO findings into the false conclusion that we only need to take what's successful in once district and replicate it everywhere. This is a false reading of the data.

          •  That is an issue that I need to think on further.. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            Do we serve everyone at the level of every school or at a higher level of every system.  Why can't we specialize schools if it makes them more effective with that part of the student population?  Why can't we do that with all schools, even the conventional public schools?

            Cooper Zale Los Angeles

            by leftyparent on Fri Jun 24, 2011 at 05:04:20 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I think we should specialize schools (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              but remove this competitive dog-eat-dog zero-sum-game element.

              Highly gifted kids are better served by their own school. Some kids will do better in a large school with lots of elective choices. Some kids will do better in a small school with close adult attention. Some kids are very into technology and some come alive with the arts.

              The problem is that when you make a "charter" school that sucks out all of the technology-oriented kids out of a school system - and then act SHOCKED! SHOCKED I TELL YOU when the original school's math scores go down. Obviously the teachers at the charter are better than the teachers at the original school, who have suddenly discovered their inner slacker. Right? Serious penalties are in order at Original School!

              If we all understand going in that this is going to happen, and has to do with the natural proclivities of the kids, it's easier for everyone to realize that even though they want Pumpkin to have great math scores, that the best school for her is the neighborhood school with her best friend and beloved drama teacher. Sending her to school with other people with great math scores may or may not raise her math scores (see "Bart the Genius" for a funny and more complete expression of this idea).

              Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

              by elfling on Fri Jun 24, 2011 at 06:52:38 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Good example, but is the point for schools... (0+ / 0-)

                to evaluate well or for kids to get the best possible education?

                Cooper Zale Los Angeles

                by leftyparent on Fri Jun 24, 2011 at 07:25:03 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Well, that would be the problem, wouldn't it? (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:

                  We say one but we act on the other.

                  We need to develop measures that truly evaluate what kind of education the kids are getting, and it's going to require real people walking into the schools, talking to students, parents, teachers, and administrators, looking at test results and portfolio samples, and making a judgement.

                  In California, we have an organization that does that, the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC), and they provide accreditation so that for example UC knows that the high school classes offered are sufficiently rigorous to meet their requirements. They evaluate and they make recommendations and it creates something of a networking opportunity for both the home and visiting staff.

                  You'll learn a lot more about a school from that report than their STAR test results.

                  Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

                  by elfling on Fri Jun 24, 2011 at 10:05:09 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

          •  I didn't distort the findings... I'm sharing their (0+ / 0-)

            findings. I am not fond of the study either but was just making you aware of what they said. Maybe a direct quote would work better so that you know I didn't make up, this comes from their summary:

            States that have limits on the number of charter schools permitted to operate, known as caps, realize significantly lower academic growth than states without caps, around .03 standard deviations.

            Now, if you want to argue with the guys at CREDO-Stanford, go for it!

            I will take a look at your link tomorrow on School Finance 101. Thanks for sharing it.

            •  Let me explain. (0+ / 0-)

              The correlation of charter school effectiveness to state caps does not prove that state caps cause lower performing charters. It's just a correlation. Those states with caps could have lower performing schools in general.  There could be a multiplicity of factors. This is statistics 101.

              BTW, it should be noted that the authors of the CREDO study went into the research with the assumption that charter schools would have generally higher performance. And they were shocked to find the opposite.

              •  And all I want to do is make us better debaters (0+ / 0-)

                about this topic.

                You said you wanted charter schools to have caps.

                That's great. I wanted you to be aware of the literature that suggests caps may actually make charter schools worse. Maybe you were already aware of this literature. Maybe not. I can't tell because you started to tell me how I had distorted the literature, when I hadn't.

                You now have the information and you can do with it what you will.

    •  I'm starting to think the word "charter" (18+ / 0-)

      is meaningless because it covers too broad a range of institutions.  It seems to make discussions on the topic of school reform even harder because everyone means something different when they say it.

      •  KIPP, Green Dot, White Hat, etc. (5+ / 0-)

        are "franchise schools."

        •  for profit education is a bad idea (9+ / 0-)

          no matter where it pops up. I remember hearing about the first years of Edison at San Francisco public schools, and how they "encouraged" black kids to leave their school...

          But non-profit charters can be problematic too. As many found out reading the various responses to Waiting for Superman, it's relatively easy to manipulate enrollment at a charter school, but over time even those manipulations generally don't hold up. The sheer proliferation of charter schools and the huge turnover of their staff - and in many cases, students - make it even harder to get the media to track them for accountability.

          In other words, the big public high school in the middle of town screws up, everyone hears about it. But 5 charter schools off on the margins screw up, will the local paper cover it? Probably not as well.

        •  I like this terminology... (0+ / 0-)

          I will start using the phrase franchise schools more often.

          Now we need to get more of us at DailyKos using the term Charter School as a positive - notice the comments above.

          My last diary on charter schools had a small poll asking if people thought charter schools were part of the diverse education program, if they need to be declared illegal, or if they needed more info to come to a decision. 25% of the respondees said that charter schools needed to be declared illegal. We have a problem, Houston.

          •  There are more than just (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            franchise schools and charter schools (with charter used as a positive).

            I'd like us to abandon the term charter altogether, as it's meaningless when used to discuss schools on a national level.

            In fact, I had a whole long discussion with someone in one of your dairies , and at the end of it, found out that he was using "charter school" as a synonym for "neighborhood school", which told me that I'd been wasting my time with half the comments I made.

      •  You know, you're so right (6+ / 0-)

        because  I know many people in public education who like the idea of charter schools because to them, it represents freedom and reform.  But this article so demonstrates the underside of so much of the movement toward charter schools.  

        And if these schools fail?  Well, we've always got Rupert Murdoch's "School of One" which essentially involves one kid sitting in front of one computer, the "customized" lessons spit out one at a time.  

        As a high school teacher, I start breaking out in hives if I let myself think too much about these things.  But we have to.  And I'm convinced that parents, if educated about where this is all going, may not stand for it.  Maybe some of it.  But do parents want their kids sitting in front of computers all day long?  Won't parents demand results from Charter Schools (franchise schools) as well?  

        •  We need to clarify between charter schools (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          started by local community members and charter schools were local communities hire a for-profit company to come in and run the charter. There is a huge difference, but many Democrats refuse to acknowledge it. They just see all charter schools as part of the problem.

          I know many a charter school that began to help children in their local communities - they didn't start to undermine the local public school, they started because parents and teachers in the local community saw potential solutions that the local public school couldn't or wouldn't try.

          Many for profit companies are talking advantage of a very progressive school model. We shouldn't hand it over without a fight.

          •  Isn't the American public school system... (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            "outsourcing" much of its curriculum, learning methodology and testing practice to the big businesses that develop and sell the textbooks, scripted curricula (like "Open Court") and the testing mechanisms to conventional public schools.  Is that evidence that, essentially, we are slowly but surely privatizing our conventional public schools already?

            I think that is a question for another diary?

            Cooper Zale Los Angeles

            by leftyparent on Fri Jun 24, 2011 at 03:01:46 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  We know parents that homeschool that way. (0+ / 0-)

          I feel sorry for the kids. But the mom is happy with the system and she is paying out of pocket for it. I think it's crazy. But, there may actually be demand for it.

          I'm the opposite extreme. I would rather see kids in more relaxed education climate for elementary education and then get more serious at about 13 years old. Throw out the computers and let them play (and learn through play). I think we can teach an awful lot to kids who haven't had to deal with homework and standardized tests for years on end... nowadays by the time a lot of kids get to high school, they are jaded. They don't see learning as important, they just it as something that needs to be done to get to the next part of their life. That is incredibly sad.

          •  I originally thought that computers (0+ / 0-)

            did not have as much educational value among younger kids, but I've been surprised by how much my daughter has benefitted even from such simple tasks as writing a story or essay on a computer.

            My daughter's 5th grade teacher has used Google Docs for collaborative projects that knocked my socks off.

            And she learned the art of managing a budget better from Roller Coaster Tycoon than she did from me.

            Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

            by elfling on Fri Jun 24, 2011 at 06:57:00 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Comuters definitely have there place. (0+ / 0-)

              But it is a shame when computers replace teachers completely.

              Of course, teachers and students can have great interactions using computers... if online education takes that route, I might have less problems with it.

              And I absolutely love Google Docs!

              If she liked Roller Coaster Tycoon and likes history, you may want to take a peek at Civilizations. Very cool stuff. Both of my boys loved that game and learned tons from it - history, civics, economics, political science. It's a neat program.

              •  My son Eric loved playing Civilization... (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:

                learned so much and was best of all inspired to really get into real history as well, once the game had taught him that history can be a compelling narrative as interesting to read as any fiction.

                Cooper Zale Los Angeles

                by leftyparent on Sat Jun 25, 2011 at 09:41:18 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

      •  I think we have let Republicans take the word (0+ / 0-)

        charter just like we let them own the word liberal.

        It's time to take it back. Let's call out bad schools as bad schools but reclaim the word charter for all it is worth. Democrats need to know that when they bad mouth all charters that they are also kicking many progressive schools in the teeth.

        •  I think we've assumed that if Republicans... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          support parents having educational choices including charters, then we progressives have to oppose all educational choices and oppose the very concept of charter schools.  And when the facts get in the way of that strategy, we manage to ignore those facts!

          Cooper Zale Los Angeles

          by leftyparent on Fri Jun 24, 2011 at 03:03:54 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  But the fact continues to be overlooked.... (11+ / 0-)

      charters, good are bad, are being touted as the way to end "failing" public schools.  Rather than address the issues surrounding why some urban schools fail, the charter school movement, many of whom are "privatization" gurus want the general public to see "public education" as a failure.

      Charters are a stepping stone to privatization and the ending of public education.  I know you are a sincere parent and I know your goal is what you feel is best for YOUR kids. I get that.  

      But the fact is, imo, the people who see potential millions to be made on the backs of children, especially poor children, are happy to continue the "charter vs public" divide.
      Makes it easier for them and the right wing politicians they own to break teacher unions, defund public schools and let the building rot.   And when there is only the charter for competition, then the private school businesses come in; get voucher laws to be the norm and thing, charters will be the target of public trashing.  

      •  Actually, my kids are no longer in the American (0+ / 0-)

        public school system... we're currently assigned overseas.

        I honestly see charter schools as an option for many American children... I don't see all charter schools as the enemy. I do see some for-profit, or as Jeff Bryant states so well, franchise schools, as part of the problem.

        For those of you who see all charter schools as a wedge I think you're well behind the power curve. We've had successful charter schools around since the 1990's. Let's own the ones that work well and use them to continue to improve all public education, charter and traditional public school.

        •  "All charter schools" (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Linda Wood

          are not necessarily in the "charter movement being pushed by the right" but they sure as heck are being used by them to help destroy public schools.

          And that does matter to many of us.  Being demonized by the right is hard enough on public school educators.  When the left joins in (and essentially by not looking at the whole picture, imo, it hurts public education), it really hurts.

          I think for those of you not willing to see the implication of the corporations pushing the "public schools are bad, charters schools are better and (the unsaid) vouchers for private are the best," are making it easier for the we hate public anything gang to win.

          •  Can you explain to me how supporters of charter (0+ / 0-)

            schools are demonizing public school educators?

            And, do you have examples of  supporters of charters schools on DailyKos making these kinds of claims?

            •  Well, the answer seems to (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              be from some, "if the public school is failing, replace it."  That 's the gist of what I read.  What I would like to read, well then let's as a community FIX the public school rather than automatically declare it something that needs to be replaced.

              That to me is placing the blame on the educators.  Cause if you are not blaming the teachers, or the notion of public schools, then what are you saying?   That some charter has a magical way of fixing?  That somehow because an entity is a charter, and since it will take all the same students, and all the same teachers, it will suddenly succeed?  
              How is a charter going to be different?   By not being held to the same standards and testing?  By not having the same texts?  By denying some students entry?  
              If a charter is no different than a public school, what's the point?

              •  A charter can be different by... (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                angelajean, Linda Wood

                1. Using a different educational methodology

                2. Using a different school governance model

                3. By using a different curriculum that still covers the same subjects and facilitates students doing well on the standardized tests

                Cooper Zale Los Angeles

                by leftyparent on Fri Jun 24, 2011 at 03:09:36 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

              •  Some public schools work but many don't... (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Linda Wood

                What if your local public school can't be fixed? Teachers' hands are basically tied in the current system. Teachers are required to teach to the test and to stick to only approved curriculums. What if you're a family that knows this isn't the best way to teach kids and you don't have the money for private schools (which aren't much different) or want to homeschool?

                What if parents have tried to find a way to fix public schools in their community and have failed?

                What about places where public schools have closed because the school district can't afford to fund one anymore and they want to bus the kids to another community?

                What about places where school districts are not interested in offering progressive models like Montessori or Waldorf but a population exists to support such a school?

                Those are the charter schools I'm talking about.

                I'm not talking about coming into a community and trashing the public schools. Many of them are already trashed and parents are at wits end. They don't know how to work within the current system to affect change... or, if they do, they know it can take years to convince a school district to do things differently, even if they have the money to make the changes needed.

                I hope you hear that we're not at war with teachers!

                •  Listen to what you're saying. (3+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  elfling, Linda Wood, Clues

                  "What if your local public school can't be fixed?"
                  Substitute different words for public services that are guaranteed to your local community because they are a fundamental human right:
                  "What if your local police can't be fixed?"
                  "What if your local fire protection can't be fixed?"
                  "What if your local sewage facility can't be fixed?"
                  "What if your local water supply can't be fixed?"
                  Fixing the essential service is the issue. Not creating workarounds.

                  •  I see charter schools as part of the public system (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:

                    Aren't they? Charters are supposed to be established by local citizens, authorized by local authorities, and accountable to the local school district or country school district. At least, that's the way it works in CA. They are run with taxpayer funds. Teachers earn retirement in the CA system. Some teachers at Charter schools in CA are even union members.

                    I know that rules are different in other states but the CA system worked well for us and it works well for thousands of families.

                    All I'm asking is that we acknowledge that some charter schools are worth keeping.

                    •  But if they are getting taxpayers monies (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:

                      it is incumbent upon all to meet the testing standards.  

                      Some public school teachers have been fighting like heck to be heard.  They want to join with parents to end the test mentality.  But instead of working with teachers, what I see happening is certain groups are simply bailing and creating their own school.
                      Now you may think that is great but in the end, as a community you abandoning those kids who parents do not care.  As public educators we don't get to choose what kids matter and what kids don't.

                      What I see happening is that there is a divide and conquer happening and in the end when some kids lose through being abandoned, it's on ALL of us and we all lost something.

                      •  They do have to meet the testing standard. (0+ / 0-)

                        The kids still test... it's that many charter schools takes much less time in test prep and in the drama that is associated with testing.

                        I'm curious, as a teacher, how do you work with parents to end the test mentality? Do you encourage parents to pull their kids out on standardized testing days?

                        Families that use charter schools are not abandoning kids whose parents don't care (I would say that those kids have been abandoned by their parents, in truth).

                        Any improvement to a school system will help all kids, in all schools, overtime. We just have to prove that other systems can and do work.

                  •  jeff, I agree with you about this, (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:

                    but I think the perspective of many parents is that their districts are entrenched in educational methods that are questionable, ineffective, or harmful, and that their districts' responses are fatalistic, such that nothing can be done until poverty is solved.

                    I agree that public schools should be improved rather than starting charters. I agree that privateers will swoop in and kill public education given any opening created by this problem.

                    But one of the most awful things about this controversy is that some of the questionable teaching methods used in public schools are also commercial products purchased by districts with an enormous amount of financial investment in materials, workshops, conferences, travel and fees for specialist trainers, whole libraries of books designed to be the only books used by children in the system.

                    It's a nightmare because reasoning with administrators who are responsible for all this expenditure, and therefore locked into believing they couldn't have made a mistake, is like talking to a stone wall. They will look at every possible reason for children's failure to achieve proficiency except the commercial program they use in their schools.

                •  Re. financing charters (0+ / 0-)
                  What about places where public schools have closed because the school district can't afford to fund one anymore and they want to bus the kids to another community?

                  This is the part I don't get.  If your school district is strapped for cash and closing schools, how can they afford to open a charter school?  And doesn't this argument imply that just wanting a school in your own neighborhood is a good enough reason to open a charter, even after the district has had to close such a school for lack of funds?

                  If this is considered a reasonable argument for opening a charter, then why does one neighborhood get a school and not another?  If they all get schools, then how on earth is this affordable?

                  •  I agree that this part is confusing. (0+ / 0-)

                    Charters in CA are funded at 2/3rd ADA. So, when a charter school starts, they use the funding of their projected ADA to make their budget. If they can get kids to sign up for their school, they will have money coming in. And, yes, it means another public school in the district will lose students unless the charter is attracting students that aren't already enrolled in school (private school students, homeschool students, etc.)

                    The one example that I have been using is occurring in CA right now. The school district has had to close a local elementary school because they can no longer afford to keep it open. They are going to bus the students to another school. The parents in the neighborhood fought the closing... they want to keep the school open, but no joy. So, a large group of those parents decided that the next best thing would be to start their own charter in the very same building that their kids have been attending school. They can manage it on 2/3rd ADA. Lets face it, this charter school is starting out of a sense of desperation. But these parents feel like they have few choices other than to bus their elementary age children. They like having a local elementary school and I can't say as I blame them. I would have been joined them in their fight.

                    •   I don't think I'm confused (0+ / 0-)

                      And  I think my questions are pretty logical.

                      You have a school district facing budget deficits, and they decide to close a school. The new budget shows the lowered costs of maintaining that school, and they manage to balance the budget.  Then a charter school starts up for that neighborhood.  The charter pulls 2/3 of the revenue for those students out of the budget, leaving the district short on the revenue side even though they've cut costs on the expenditure side.

                      So what happens next?  The public school faces further cuts, and the expectation has been set that if each neighborhood doesn't have its own school, those parents are should feel "desperate" about that and demand their own charters?

                      I suppose at some point, if the public school is getting 1/3 of the money for all the students no longer attending it, and the charters become numerous enough, the public schools could become quite posh, but I don't exactly see that happening.

                      And I'm curious as to how the charters can operate happily on 2/3 the budget previously needed to educate those kids.  Is there a conscious tradeoff that parents are making that they would rather have an under-equipped school in the neighborhood than a fully-equipped school in the district?  Are they busting teachers' unions and cutting salaries and benefits?  How exactly does this happen?

                      •  Charters that I'm familiar with... (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:

                        typically pay their teachers less with less benefits.  They have less administrative staff than conventional schools and pay less for janitorial and groundskeeping services.  They tend to be much simpler, "back to basics" operation than a conventional public school.  

                        This can be for better or for worse of course, but the charter schools I have been involved or familiar with tend to have an energy that I have not seen in most conventional schools that I've entered.  Often its the energy of the founder(s), present on the staff, exuding their educational vision.  Not simply worker-bees following district directives, but folks with real "ownership".

                        Cooper Zale Los Angeles

                        by leftyparent on Sat Jun 25, 2011 at 09:50:49 AM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                      •  I'm sorry I implied you were confused. (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        Linda Wood

                        It was a poor choice of words.

                        And you understand how it works. You don't like the system. I'm not sure I can ever convince you that in some circumstances, charters are the best solution out there.

                        I will continue to work towards understanding the entire public school system better and see if I change my mind but I highly doubt I will on this one. I am for any school that gets us back to local communities making decisions and in the few times we've chosen to use public schools, charter schools have been the best option for my family.

                        I will continue to argue that all families should be given the options of a great a school in their neighborhood - be it a traditional public school or charter school. I think having that small, local school within walking distance is too much to ask parents to give up... in any community. Better that we make all of those small schools successful than keep pushing more and more neighborhoods to abandon their local schools and move to the mega school down the road.

                        Trust me, if a small public school exists and serves it's local community well, I would fight to keep it as well.

                        •  If your community can afford it (1+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:

                          then sure, I'd support a public school within 1 mile of every student's house.  (possibly less in areas where 1 mile isn't walkable due to bad weather.) I'm assuming that these schools can be funded to pay the teachers and other workers there decent wages and benefits, and the school has enough money to be supplied with the things they need to run well.

                          I just don't think this is the situation in many communities today, or that school reform is necessarily a priority in such rich communities, since they seem to be doing pretty well for themselves.  But if you happen to live in such a place, and the community agrees t pay for that, I have no problem with it.

                          And now we're talking "neighborhood" schools again, rather than charter schools...or whatever we plan to call them if we're not talking charters anymore.  Maybe it would be interesting to discuss a list of what we consider acceptable reasons to demand a new school -  proximity, special educational needs, ....other?  I guess my feeling is that we'd have to prioritize the list, because nobody can really afford everything we'd like to do for education.

                          •  A prioritized list sounds like a good idea. (0+ / 0-)

                            Have you seen the list of demands from the Save Our School march this July? It's probably a great place to start:

                            For the future of our children, we demand:

                            Equitable funding for all public school communities

                            Equitable funding across all public schools and school systems
                            Full public funding of family and community support services
                            Full funding for 21st century school and neighborhood libraries
                            An end to economically and racially re-segregated schools
                            An end to high stakes testing used for the purpose of student, teacher, and school evaluation

                            The use of multiple and varied assessments to evaluate students, teachers, and schools
                            An end pay per test performance for teachers and administrators
                            An end to public school closures based upon test performance
                            Teacher, family and community leadership in forming public education policies

                            Educator and civic community leadership in drafting new ESEA legislation
                            Federal support for local school programs free of punitive and competitive funding
                            An end to political and corporate control of curriculum, instruction and assessment decisions for teachers and administrators
                            Curriculum developed for and by local school communities

                            Support for teacher and student access to a wide-range of instructional programs and technologies
                            Well-rounded education that develops every student’s intellectual, creative, and physical potential
                            Opportunities for multicultural/multilingual curriculum for all students
                            Small class sizes that foster caring, democratic learning communities

        •  Agreed... that's a good path forward! (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          Cooper Zale Los Angeles

          by leftyparent on Fri Jun 24, 2011 at 03:05:11 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  This is probably the "end game" (20+ / 0-)
    Or maybe these captains of industry decide that their ventures just won't pan out after all. And they decide to pull up stakes and head out to the next goldmine? Then where will we be?

    Maybe not a couple of years, maybe not within the decade. But these "ventures not panning out" will be the end result, and nearly everyone who is a member of this cyber community will be around to see it.

    After the body politic has demonized traditional Public Educators and traditional Education study and training to give "these ventures" the best possible chance of gaining traction, only to see the big money players abruptly walk away muttering "the margins just aren't there", then what? It won't be easy to go back to what millions were convinced with Crusader-esque certainty was "abject failure."

    The so-called "rising tide" is lifting only yachts.

    by Egalitare on Fri Jun 24, 2011 at 05:04:06 AM PDT

    •  Thanks for adding this (14+ / 0-)

      Conservatives started laying the groundwork for the privatization movement after Sputnick and Nation at Risk with a steady, incessant drumbeat about the "failure" of American public schools, despite all evidence to the contrary. It has been a blatant, thorough, and remarkably successful propaganda campaign. And the fact that so many "liberals" have now bought into it is truly exasperating.

      •  And now look at the rhetoric (13+ / 0-)

        about college.  Speaking of drumbeats, think how many pieces you've read recently asking, "Is college worth it?" or "think" pieces about how underprepared America's college graduates are, how little time they spend studying and learning.  I can't help but wonder if those seeds are being planted by the "for-profit" college/online college proponents.  A friend of mine who teaches in a community college says that the accountability movement is already making its way to her classroom.  That's how it all starts, and you're right, it's all about laying the groundwork.  (ie, "Waiting for Superman.')

      •  Thank you (7+ / 0-)

        You have succinctly explained what I have been trying to explain for years.  Too many liberals and/or progressives are being duped.  The general public, whether they admit it or not, are jumping on the "those dam teacher unions are destroying the schools" bandwagon.  
        And the sincere believer (by that I mean the ones who truly believe charters have no "profit" motive) are helping to drive the destruction of public education.

        Eventually they, like the many people who either did not vote or voted in these right wing extremists in places like MI, WI, MN, NJ will have buyer's remorse.  Unfortunately there is so much damage being done to the concept of "the common good" I am not sure we can stop it.  Schools are simply the first and easiest target because everyone thinks they are an expert.  After all everyone went to school themselves or they have children in school.  And if they had a bad teacher in public school, omg, all teachers must be blamed ....because "bad teachers" can be labeled so just on the word of one parent or one teacher.  In the minds of experts, it must be the teachers' faults.... certainly it can't be theirs or their child's fault.

        Sorry but I am in a bad mood about this issue.  I am so sick of so many people, including some in my own extended family, being so ignorant when it comes to education and their kids.

      •  Privatizers are a swarm of locusts. (0+ / 0-)

        They will devour whatever occurs in their scent field.

        But failure in the public schools is not an imaginary concept. Parents have not been paying for private schools, preschools, and tutoring because of rumors. They have seen the confusion and failure to thrive in their children, and they are doing whatever they can or whatever they have to in order to improve their children's chances to succeed.

        You're right that this fuels the privatization movement and plays right into the vortex of destroying public education. But you are kidding yourself if you think this movement is based on smoke and mirrors. Parents do not move their children out of neighborhood schools when their children are doing well and making good progress.

    •  Someone else picks it up. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      happymisanthropy, qofdisks, Sparhawk

      Venture capitalists never stick around to run low-margin ventures.  Their business is venture capital, not the day-to-day running of a firm.

      Other industry comes in at that point and buys them to run, or they get sorted out in bankruptcy, which also ends with someone else running them.

    •  Big business makes the big money selling... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Linda Wood

      textbooks, testing, reading and other programs to conventional public schools.  That is the many billion dollar industry that is the tale wagging public education, not vouchers or for-profit charters

      Cooper Zale Los Angeles

      by leftyparent on Fri Jun 24, 2011 at 12:07:21 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  is this the best we can do for the children? (8+ / 0-)
    Or maybe these captains of industry decide that their ventures just won't pan out after all. And they decide to pull up stakes and head out to the next goldmine? Then where will we be?

    That last paragraph says it all about the short-sightedness of privatization.

    Propaganda is where someone uses the truth as a context for sneaking in their own bullshit.

    by jcrit on Fri Jun 24, 2011 at 05:04:33 AM PDT

  •  "Special Needs Scholarships" - one avenue (15+ / 0-)

    via which the voucher proponents seek to gut public education and funnel taxpayer money to unregulated for-profit schools:  The oft-touted McKay Scholarship program in Florida has just been outed as a "perverse science experiment, using disabled school kids as lab rats and funded by nine figures in taxpayer cash."  A recent report in Florida shows that the utter lack of regulation on the schools that receive their special-needs vouchers has led to rampant fraud and abuse.

    The controls are SO loose, fraudsters are getting away with stealing information about disabled students and using that info to "enroll" the students and snag the money -- while said students are actually still being educated in the public schools!

    And -- wouldn't you know -- there's a bill on it's way through the Wisconsin legislature that would copy the Florida model pretty much exactly (seeing as how they're built on the same ALEC model legislation).  I diaried about this before this new Florida report even came out:
    Piratizing Special Education in Wisconsin: AB110

    If an elephant has its foot on the tail of a mouse and you say that you are neutral, the mouse will not appreciate your neutrality. - Bishop Desmond Tutu

    by AnnieJo on Fri Jun 24, 2011 at 05:21:26 AM PDT

  •  Well Done & Well Researched Diary (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Found it easy to read for a total layman like myself.

    Action is the antidote to despair---Joan Baez

    by frandor55 on Fri Jun 24, 2011 at 05:37:52 AM PDT

  •  I thought it might be useful to include a link (8+ / 0-)

    about Michelle Rhee here too. She's one of the primary "education experts" mendaciously cheer-leading for school reform/privatization. And she recently caught some bad press as it turned out that some of the data supporting her position turned out to have been the result of cheating. Surprise!  

    "I'm a pessimist because of intelligence, but an optimist because of will" - Antonio Gramsci

    by ewmorr on Fri Jun 24, 2011 at 06:03:56 AM PDT

    •  And in what other profession (11+ / 0-)

      would anyone consider a person who put in only three years on the job an "expert."  Besides lying or embellishing her achievements, she was (by her own admission) known to have used "duct tape" on a young child to control his behavior.   You do that in any public school and it's national news story.  And there's a good chance the teacher would be fired.  Yet M. Rhee is invited by the press constantly to voice her "expert" opinion.  DUH??   She is no more an expert than a third year resident is "the national expert" for doctors, or a third year law school student is a candidate for a high court.

    •  Here's another Rhee link, (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      slatsg, houyhnhnm, ewmorr

           not at all surprising, look who she's allies with.

      ¡Viva Baja Libre!

      by Azazello on Fri Jun 24, 2011 at 07:23:42 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Say what? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        “It’s very high risk—people have spent years trying to be clear that we’re sending an anti-teacher message, that’s something we’ve been very careful about,” says Kate Walsh, president of the National Council on Teacher Quality.
        [emphasis added]

        Here's another link dedicated to HRH Michelle

        Light is seen through a small hole.

        by houyhnhnm on Fri Jun 24, 2011 at 09:29:10 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  even though my kids are grown and out of the (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ewmorr, drmah

      system, i shuddered when ads started airing here in northern nevada for her students first organization.

      ...enjoy every sandwich... ~Warren Zevon

      by oblios arrow on Fri Jun 24, 2011 at 07:57:43 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  "Give me a billion dollars" (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      "I'm not sure exactly what I'm going to spend it on but I assure you I'm the only person in the whole country looking out for your kids."

      It appalls me that she has done this and even more that people sent money, money that could have been used more effectively on a local level.

      She's a lobbyist. And if she thinks she can spend a billion dollars (literally, that is the amount she seeks) in a brand new organization effectively and without waste, fraud, and abuse, then she's a foolish lobbyist.

      Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

      by elfling on Fri Jun 24, 2011 at 09:43:17 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Links to 2 Seattle Blogs doing OUTSTANDING (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    blueoasis, shanikka, Sister Havana

    stuff on all the education deform bullshit happening out here in the pacified northwest -

    thanks bill gates! graduate of Lakeside Academy for rich people.


    Save Seattle Schools Community Blog

    Seattle Education

    Yond Cassius has a lean and hungry look; He thinks too much: such men are dangerous

    by seabos84 on Fri Jun 24, 2011 at 06:45:16 AM PDT

  •  Rheeformers (8+ / 0-)

    I found this bit in a blog by
    Rachel Levy interesting.  How much of the attitude about DC schools was shaped by racism?

    "According to Whitmire, Rhee inherited a "bloated and poorly run" central office filled with "people who had little guidance as to do their jobs." Michelle Rhee inherited all of  these "incompetent" African American "Barry appointees." Never mind that several mayors served between Barry and Fenty. Never mind that the numerous superintendents serving under those mayors also came in and went on similar firing sprees. Never mind that under Rhee, the number of central office employees rose by 20% (and they claim to be understaffed!) as direct services to students and overall enrollment fell . Never mind that at least 100 central office employees now make more than $100,000 a year. Never mind that most of the people Rhee hired to replace the vastly "incompetent" black employees were white and under the age of forty with little to no experience in education.
    See, when Fenty spent vastly more money on facilities and playgrounds in the whiter and more affluent Ward 3 and when Michelle Rhee crowded central offices with underqualified and overpaid employees, it's "progress" and "courage", but under previous (black) mayors and superintendents, it's "incompetence," "a jobs program," and a way of "hiring people and securing votes." (And perhaps an understandable response to all of that nasty, isolated racism of the 1970s.)"

    •  Check out Brandenburg's #'s (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Linda Wood

      "I was astonished at the enormous fraction of these funds that goes into the category “consultants”. Out of roughly $97 million spent on all of these various items, about $47 million went to consultants – nearly half of the money spent by DCPS. And, if you look carefully, a lot of those general ‘consulting’ funds go to Rhee’s former companies: Teach for America and the New Teacher Project. So, no wonder MR could claim she’s quadrupled funding for staff development. She did it by hiring her friends with little experience in actual classroom teaching, to ‘teach’ to the rest of us.

      And notice the very small part of all of this that actually gets into the classroom for school-related supplies, equipment, books, computers, and so on: just about exactly one-third (33.7%)."

  •  That Wall St. Journal link says it all. (3+ / 0-)

    Compare this paragraph:

    But it’s going to take more to jump start real education reform, Jonathan Grayer, former chief executive of education company Kaplan Inc., said Friday, speaking at the Mid-Atlantic Venture Association’s Capital Connection in Washington, D.C. “Changing that model can only occur in very dire times,” he said.

    with the quote from Milton Friedman's 1982 preface to Capitalism and Freedom that Naomi Klein used in The Shock Doctrine:
    There is enormous inertia - a tyranny of the status quo - in private and especially governmental arrangements. Only a crisis - actual or perceived -produces real change.

    Then the very next paragraph puts forward the Central Myth, that public education is a consumer good rather that a public good and that the parent, not the society, is the "customer."

    Those times could be upon the U.S. over the next several years as states and municipalities struggle with the impact of constrained tax revenue and falling federal support, while parents demand an education system that produces results. “The customer for K-to-12 education in this country is the parent,” said Grayer, who is now chairman and CEO on investment firm Weld North.

    Good diary. I'm afraid that by the time people wake up it will be too late. Once they've destroyed the non-profit public system, we'll play Hell getting it back again.

    •  It is already too late. Now we will have to wait (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Azazello, drmah

      to calculate the damage to the students who are being used as experiments in this whole enterprise. (sorry for my pessimism but I have been following the issue for awhile)

      I am the fellow citizen of every being that thinks; my country is Truth. ~Alphonse de Lamartine, "Marseillaise of Peace," 1841

      by notdarkyet on Fri Jun 24, 2011 at 09:24:23 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Great diary title, T&R. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Education reform in it's current structure has nothing to do with improving education. It is one of the last public cash cows (along with Social Security) that has not been sucked dry by the American Plutocracy.

  •  Edu-Crats, Teacher Unions & Planned Parenthood. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bluehen96, terabthia2


    Why has Planned Parenthood gotten its ass kicked for decades by 13th century, flat earth intolerant ignoramuses - despite providing all kinds of necessary services to women who really need the services?

    Answer: Choose 1.

    A. Because we're noble and we're selfless and we're smart and we're betterer and gooderer and they're mean meanies ... whine, whimper, snivel ... sternly wag finger.

    B. Because their upper middle cla$$ "leadership" does NOT know how to engage outside their upper middle cla$$ echo chamber. Preaching to the choir = getting your ass kicked by flat earthers.

    Why have teacher unions gotten their assess kicked by these lying 13th century raiders working on behalf of Gilded Age robber barons with Ivy degrees and fat paychecks?

    A. Because we're noble and we're selfless and we're smart and we're betterer and gooderer and they're mean meanies ... whine, whimper, snivel ... sternly wag finger.

    B. Because their upper middle cla$$ "leadership" does NOT know how to engage outside their upper middle cla$$ echo chamber. Preaching to the choir = getting your ass kicked by flat earthers.

    Why have the educrats at state offices, at local school district offices and at colleges of education gotten their assess kicked by these lying 13th century raiders working on behalf of Gilded Age robber barons with Ivy degrees and fat paychecks?

    A. Because we're noble and we're selfless and we're smart and we're betterer and gooderer and they're mean meanies ... whine, whimper, snivel ... sternly wag finger.

    B. Because their upper middle cla$$ "leadership" does NOT know how to engage outside their upper middle cla$$ echo chamber. Preaching to the choir = getting your ass kicked by flat earthers.

    Robert Murphy

    Math Teacher in Seattle.

    Yond Cassius has a lean and hungry look; He thinks too much: such men are dangerous

    by seabos84 on Fri Jun 24, 2011 at 07:42:23 AM PDT

  •  This is about ideology, not results (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    elfling, Azazello, qofdisks

    I have posted in several places about this issue pointing out that the nations with better math, science, reading scores do not do it with vouchers, charter schools, or by busting unions.

    Several responders to my posts were very honest. They would say, "This has nothing to do results but doing away with government control of education."  

    I don't know what consciousness is or how it works, but I like it.

    by SocioSam on Fri Jun 24, 2011 at 07:50:09 AM PDT

  •  Excellent essay but there is a larger issue here (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bigbroad, Linda Wood

    It is important to understand that despite what people say in polls our culture is moving politically, culturally and economically onto a new path whose outlines are beginning to be visible. That society could be described as neo-feudal with a semi-totalitarian Imperial structure over it.

    If you study our culture you will realize that the reason we are moving towards neo-feudalism is because people want to live in such a culture. Without going into a sociological analysis the most obvious aspects of American culture are narcissism and addiction. Americans, collectively, act as if they were addicted. They mouth platitudes but, when push comes to shove and there's a choice between their comfort and the comfort of their children or grandchildren they'll select their little hit of pleasure almost everytime--but they'll couch it first in a way that makes it sound like they are doing the "right thing" except their not and, at some level, they know it. Cosequently, in my view, the need for ever increasing medications.

    Education is, in many ways, where the rubber hits the road in any culture. Who are we? What do we believe the good life to be? What is virtue? What is the meaning of our life? How do we fit into the collective? How do we fit into the broad range of the narrative of our family, tribe, society, and so on? These are questions every system needs to ask. The answer for us is that there's only one thing we believe in and that is money as the final arbiter of value. As long as we hold that idea then education will reflect that value. People want money and class to determine the quality of education you get, the quality of health-care you get, the quality of food you eat, the quality of the environment you live in. The proof? Look around you. Americans are the most platitude-addicted people on earth. We are always spouting how virtuous we are but, in my experience and travels, we don't act the way we claim to act. Just look at our hyper-brutal foreign-policy--there you find our values in action! You find the platitudes disgusing? Good, you are at least a little healthy. The look in the mirror and see how you look--we are all like that and it wasn't always that way in this country.

  •  Same old plutocratic scams (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bigbroad, Azazello, Linda Wood, maryabein

    that we see everywhere, all designed to drain money from the citizens into private coffers and dumb down and thereby further control the people.

    The confusion created here, under the guise of choice, is quite similar to health care and the public option manipulations in stategy, or any of the financial reforms.  And we're saving public education much like the plans to save medicaid, medicare, and social security.  Much like we saved the free market with tax cuts for the obscenely wealthy and de facto business monopolies.  Like the Patriot Act and hundreds of spying agencies are saving our freedoms.

    It's all exactly the same thing.  The propaganda and implementation of reform are part of the rightwing agenda just as much as all the other assaults that are reaching fruition today.

    For those who serve the greater cause may make the cause serve them.... Murder in The Cathedral......T.S. Eliot

    by blueoasis on Fri Jun 24, 2011 at 07:51:39 AM PDT

  •  don't let's forget (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    elfling, maryabein

    My beloved Idaho, where they are in the midst of handing public education over to the Tech Ed Biz folks (who, surprisingly, gave scads of campaign money to the perpetrators of this scam).  Starting next year, they will require every student to take four credits online.  The money to pay for the courses and the computers (one for every student) will come from teacher salaries.

    Interestingly, having strenuously asserted that learning online is just as effective (well, maybe even MORE effective) than in a class with a living teacher, the Shock Doctrine Idaho folks invited heavy hitters Jeb Bush and Bob Wise (fmr. W. Va. governor) to address the state's technology task force.  And they insisted on having them there (at great expense) in PERSON, because a teleconference would be too impersonal.  Gotta have that one-on-one, doncha know.

    This is plainly all about the dough.  These guys looked at that big chunk of government money labeled "education," and predictably thought to themselves, "How do we get our mitts on THAT?"  

    And they will.

    •  Idaho (0+ / 0-)

      seems to want to lower its educational standards to the level required for potato harvest and nothing more.

      I mean I have no problem with supplementing with online education - particularly if the accountability is well designed to minimize cheating - but as I recall they want this to be the first step toward eliminating most teachers completely and dumping kids on the street to fend for themselves.

      •  Online ed can be great (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        decembersue, kay dub

        especially for rural kids who otherwise would not have access to some classes. But, it requires just as much supervision from a teacher as a regular class, perhaps more, because the teacher has to know what each student is working on and be monitoring progress in 30 different courses.

        So, you save no money in the classroom, and you gain costs for computers, for bandwidth, and for computer technicians to keep everything running.

        As a positive teacher-led change: absolutely. As a cost saving measure, it would be a disaster.

        Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

        by elfling on Fri Jun 24, 2011 at 09:50:34 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Excellent diary. My question is "Who will get (0+ / 0-)

    left behind."  Unfortunately I see no way to stop it and it will be years before the damage is calculated.

    I am the fellow citizen of every being that thinks; my country is Truth. ~Alphonse de Lamartine, "Marseillaise of Peace," 1841

    by notdarkyet on Fri Jun 24, 2011 at 09:17:06 AM PDT

    •  IMO we need to let our public education evolve... (0+ / 0-)

      and charter schools seem like the only mechanism currently out there that allows communities to develop new educational alternatives that better meet their needs rather than leaving it up to "the man".

      Cooper Zale Los Angeles

      by leftyparent on Fri Jun 24, 2011 at 12:11:44 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  If charter schools are a priori the answer (0+ / 0-)

        Then you would expect that small schools and small districts might be a way to bring more of that to more schools.

        But when you go in and look at the research and the case studies, there are significant pros and cons that leave it all pretty muddied. The Gates Foundation was a big proponent of trying to smallify large urban schools, but they did not get the results that they sought.

        To have some charter schools is a good idea. I'm not sure we need significantly more than we have already.

        Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

        by elfling on Fri Jun 24, 2011 at 05:56:54 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  They are a path forward, but there should be... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Linda Wood

          other ways that can communities can get back in the education dialog, which seems mostly limited to state governments and the education-industrial complex that supports and increasingly molds public schooling as its best "customer".

          In your view, how else can a community have a real impact on their local schools in the current educational climate of increasing standardization and nationalization of learning?

          Cooper Zale Los Angeles

          by leftyparent on Fri Jun 24, 2011 at 06:28:37 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  You're so right in saying this. (0+ / 0-)

            In so many ways, public education in this country is already privatized. Well said.

          •  In my school, it is very easy (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Linda Wood

            Parents are supportive as a community but low key; anyone who comes to the meetings and has good input (ie applicable to all students, not just Your Suzy) will be listened to and have influence. But, mine is a small school, not LAUSD.

            If you're in a district where there are already a lot of parents shouting at the various powers that be, it will be harder. Or, if you're in a really large district, that will also make it challenging. I see educators torn between differentiating schools and letting their teachers run with their best ideas, and between ensuring that all kids get an equal education, and standardizing the experience across their schools.

            Circumstances may dictate what is better for a particular school. In particular, while the idea of every 4th grade being in lockstep on lessons delivered each day is somewhat repugnant to me, in a district where kids move around a lot, that will have a much higher value than in a district where most of the kids will do their K-12 time in the same school.

            Magnet academies within schools are also options, and many districts experiment with those. These schools remain more under the direct control of a school or district and still can provide opportunities for innovative curriculum. Quite a few very popular bilingual immersion programs are run this way.

            I am not against charter schools; I think they have a place. My area has several community based ones that are a net positive.

             I am against using charter schools as a vehicle for a fight to the death contest between schools. And my view is that teachers there should have their own unit of a union (not necessarily under the same contract as the main district, if they choose otherwise), and that the charter should only be added if it will raise the educational prospects for the district as a whole - that is, it should not harm the education of the kids who do not attend it.

            Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

            by elfling on Fri Jun 24, 2011 at 09:56:57 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  I am certifiably insane. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    drmah, angelajean

    I must be: I'm actually in school seeking a teaching degree... aiming to teach English and Social Studies in public high school.

    Silly me: I think it's important, challenging, interesting work.

    Ever notice how pregnant women are bombarded with horror stories about nightmarish births?

    Same goes with would-be teachers. All I ever hear is how awful it is to be a public school teacher, and how crazy I am to want to do it. Even my college advisors are actively trying to dissuade me from my goal.

  •  just another one of those philosophical (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Linda Wood, Sister Havana

    disagreements between the parties; the republicans prefer a less educated citizenry. makes things easier for them.

    Whatever action a great man performs, common men follow. And whatever standards he sets by exemplary acts, all the world pursues. The Gita 3.21

    by rasbobbo on Fri Jun 24, 2011 at 10:11:34 AM PDT

  •  And yet they are doing all this (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    in order to "save public schools."

    With a straight face, even.

    And sadly enough, too many people buy into this.

    Yes we can! Yes we did! Yes we will!

    by Sister Havana on Fri Jun 24, 2011 at 10:47:56 AM PDT

  •  Something else to add. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Linda Wood

    Another aspect of Shock Doctrine. Most alarming thing I've seen yet:

    Energy industry shapes lessons in public schools

    By Kevin Sieff, Published: June 2

    In the mountains of southwestern Virginia, Gequetta Bright Laney taught public high school students this spring about a subject of keen interest to the region’s biggest employer: the economics of coal mining.

    “Where there’s coal, there’s opportunity,” Bright Laney told her class at Coeburn High School in Wise County.

    Her lessons, like others in dozens of public schools across the country, were approved and funded by the coal industry. Such efforts reflect a broader pattern of private-sector attempts to influence what gets taught in public schools.

    Eager to burnish its reputation, the energy industry is spending significant sums of money on education in communities with sensitive coal, natural gas and oil exploration projects. The industry aims to teach students about its contributions to local economies and counter criticism from environmental groups.

    So when one of these sets of fake curricula make their way into the schools, what sorts of things do the kids "learn"?

    CEDAR also offers a video to teachers called “The Greening of Planet Earth,” which says that “our world is deficient in carbon dioxide, and a doubling of atmospheric CO2 is very beneficial.”

    Terrible, right? But ingenious!

    Think about it. How does this play run?

    Jeff Perry, the Wise County superintendent, gave teachers permission to apply for the grants.

    “With our ever-dwindling revenue, we’re very appreciative of the coal industry’s contribution,” Perry said. “They’re providing opportunities for teachers that would otherwise never exist.”

    Gee whiz! Why is your revenue ever-dwindling?

    Could it be that the same wingnuts who are placing these "free" textbooks are also pressing for ever more reckless tax and education cuts?

    And just imagine what would happen if there was some sort of coordinated effort to do this in multiple states!

    Wouldn't it be convenient if all those energy interests (think Koch Industries, too!) could pool their money to do this most efficiently? Well, now they can, with ALEC. And wouldn't it be great if they could do it all with the distracting cover of a "nonpartisan reformer" who could even get Oprah on board? Like, say, Michelle Rhee?

    Gosh, that'd really be... difficult to stop.

  •  Would rich public school neighborhoods allow poor (0+ / 0-)

    Would you be in favor of rich public schools being forced to accept poor kids from other neighborhoods? Or all kids be forced to take a lottery and be forced to go to whatever public school they are assigned in reasonable proximity? Let's see how idealistic our public school advocates become.

    I posed this question to 10 people. 7 said they would not like it. Very anecdotal , yes. But this is where I get my skepticism from about the infallibility of publicly run schools.

    Let there be different kinds of school systems in different states. After a decade, the real results will be obvious for many to see.

    you can call me praveen.

    by pravin on Fri Jun 24, 2011 at 11:47:39 AM PDT

    •  I don't like the lottery (0+ / 0-)

      Because I think that whenever possible, there's a benefit in giving people control over their school; you wouldn't want to send two best friends who were next door neighbors to different schools.

      I do like setting up schools for public school choice, allowing the money to follow the kids and giving parents options to take their kids to different schools. The challenge is handling the situation where a particular school is oversubscribed.

      Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

      by elfling on Fri Jun 24, 2011 at 06:19:17 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  If Democrats fixed public education, (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    angelajean, Linda Wood

    You know the best way to get rid of the voucher movement? Fix the damn public schools system. At some point in time, we have had communities that had democratic party governance at the local, state and federal level. yet no improvement in the public schools for those localities during such time periods. Why?

    you can call me praveen.

    by pravin on Fri Jun 24, 2011 at 11:54:55 AM PDT

    •  I think even if every school was a paragon of all (0+ / 0-)

      that was good and spectacular and lightness, that there is a group of people who want vouchers for all kinds of reasons that are not necessarily altruistic.

      Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

      by elfling on Fri Jun 24, 2011 at 06:21:06 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Jeff... When you put this line in your opening... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    The transference of public spending on education to the private sector, whether it is to a private school or a "non-profit" charter entity, is a dynamic that is well underway.

    It indicates to me, by putting "non-profit" in quotes, that you are implying that most charter schools are non-profit in name only.  The only statistics I've been able to find on profit vs non-profit charter schools is the Yale Law School study, which estimates as of 2006 that 14% of charter schools were essentially for-profit, with the overwhelming majority real (not front-only) non-profits.

    I feel that your characterization is perpetuating the incorrect myth that most charter schools are in fact for-profit, when the statistics that I was able to dig up say otherwise!

    Cooper Zale Los Angeles

    by leftyparent on Fri Jun 24, 2011 at 11:56:15 AM PDT

    •  Everything I read talks about how (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      elfling, Linda Wood

      charters have to get "alternative" funding because public school monies do not meet the needs.  I read all kinds of ways charters are being encouraged to "compete" for grants, compete for public funds, or turn to investors.
      Just like public schools sooner or later those schools will find they need something more than competing for monies.
      But in public schools, we understand this.  When we compete for monies, some kids win, some kids lose.   One way the whole soda/candy machines got in the high schools was that the strapped for money public schools made deals with Coca-cola et al to allow their machines in the school, if the schools got a percentage of the monies.  Public schools were partnering with corporations that we making our kids obese, forming bad habits for kids, in order to buy more ever increasing in costs materials.  Teachers, every one of us, HATED it back when it started and we know most now have buyers' remorse.

      Hardly my idea of the common good.  I resent this whole "Race to the Top" for top for the states from the Obama administration.
      A sentence or two from some adult hired by the state  determines whether the children from State A or from State B deserve some monies to enhance their education.

      In grants, it is determined by some writer which school gets the monies.  The school where I sub often is in a relatively wealthy ares, the majority of parents being college educate.  Many of the parents are doctors, lawyers and college professors at a small, expensive private liberal arts college.
      The guy doing the same job I did for the seven years before I retired (media center/librarian/technology educator and I are friends.  Our jobs were the same but oh so different.  He never ever shelves any books.  He has parent volunteers doing that for him.  I did it myself every day after school.  He gets parent volunteers daily to help kids while he teaches classes.  I never got a parent helper except once (she was a assigned by the courts for community service and had no idea how a library worked.  She was more work than help for me).

      And when grants came available he had a cadre of college educated parents on a committee whose sole job was to help the school get grants.  

      If I did not write the grant, it simply did not get written. Both of us besides our daily teaching classes were required to keep all the computers and printers working for everyone in the school, train the staff on all new technologies, software and hardware, order new materials from books to equipment, and repair books, etc etc.  

      So here's the thing. I was in a school where we had over 85% of our population was on free/reduced lunches.  Our teachers were pressured constantly to take classes for getting our scores up.  They cut all spending on field trips and the arts.   So while his school's PTA raised money for field trips, an art teacher, we had neither.   Sure we got lots of Title I funds.  Much of it was spent on tutors, on materials.    When his staff asked parents to supply calculators, paper, pencils, art materials, kleenex, snacks, they got it tenfold.  We, the teachers, at our school filled in for the parents who did not send anything.

      The whole notion of competing for funding with other public schools, let alone add charters, is just, imo, another step on the road to destroying the notion of public education.

      •  Good provocative questions... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Everything I read talks about how charters have to get "alternative" funding because public school monies do not meet the needs.  I read all kinds of ways charters are being encouraged to "compete" for grants, compete for public funds, or turn to investors.

        Charters generally get less per student than conventional schools so they can make up the gap by being more efficient, "doing more with less", or seeking grants from foundations and other non-profits.  The bulk of charter schools are not for-profit so they cannot have investors and offer a return on that investment. They can only have donors.

        One way the whole soda/candy machines got in the high schools was that the strapped for money public schools made deals with Coca-cola et al to allow their machines in the school, if the schools got a percentage of the monies.  

        Conventional non-charter public schools are facing a much more profound privatization effort from big business.  More so than soda machines, from the big business that makes billions selling text books, testing programs, reading programs, and consulting.

        I resent this whole "Race to the Top" for top for the states from the Obama administration.

        Agree with you completely there!

        The whole notion of competing for funding with other public schools, let alone add charters, is just, imo, another step on the road to destroying the notion of public education.

        Conventional schools compete with each other for grant funding.  Charter schools are no different than conventional schools in this regard.  As long as state educational funding is less than ideal (and when has that not been the case?) enterprising school staff are going to seek additional funding where it may be available.

        Cooper Zale Los Angeles

        by leftyparent on Fri Jun 24, 2011 at 03:26:34 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  semantics (0+ / 0-)

      Google "charter school fraud" for an extensive list of scams linked to charter schools. In most instances, these fraudulent operations are "nonprofit," but individuals are walking away with huge piles of cash. Furthermore, studies in Texas, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and elsewhere have found that charter schools tend to have higher administrative costs, much of which is due to marketing staff and higher salaries for management. So it can be very profitable for an individual to work in management of a non-profit charter school. Just because an entity is defined as a "non-profit" doesn't mean it can't be a vehicle for individual enrichment.

  •  Good to see you here Jeff. I used to follow you at (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jeff bryant


    Thanks for the linky rich and informative post. I am trying to attract attention of ed bloggers to this :

    NYT reader comment (via Susan Ohanian) : Arne Duncan great example of peter Principle. Failed in Chicago; then promoted so he could repeat failure on national scale.

    by Funkygal on Fri Jun 24, 2011 at 07:11:19 PM PDT

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