Posted in Article Medleys, Charters, Florida, poverty, Privatization, SchoolFunding, SchoolShootings

2015 Medley #37

Privatization, Poverty, YGWYPF,
Bullet-Proof Blankets

PRIVATIZATION – THE FALSE CHOICE

The adventures of Timmy in Public Schools…

You’ve got homework!

Gayle Cosby is a member of the Indianapolis Public Schools school board. In this entry she links to an excellent video of what has happened to education in New Orleans since charters moved in. Watch this if you care about public education…the falsehoods about “choice” will be coming to your town or state soon, if they’re not already there.

Go watch this 16 minute video. Share it on social media. Talk about it. I’ll let it sink in for a little while…give you some time to think about how similar this is to Indianapolis… then I’ll be back with a little discussion for ya.

Florida Has a Plan to Eliminate Public Education

The good news about ESSA is that it has moved some important education decision making to the states, instead of leaving it with the federal government. The bad news is that for some states, like Florida, that means nothing changed. State legislators can no longer blame the federal government for tying their hands and privatizing public education. Contact your state representatives now. End the use of tax revenue for private and religious profit. End the overuse and misuse of standardized testing.

Diverting……the name of the game in Florida and it is growing.

TALLAHASSEE — Without a word of debate Friday, the Florida House approved a controversial proposal that could require school districts to share tens of millions of dollars in construction funds with rival charter schools.

Just follow the money to find the corruption…..

The bill was one of four high-profile education proposals that won the support of the Republican-dominated House to end the week. The others would:

  • Ease the penalties for schools that fail to comply with the constitutionally mandated limits on class size.
  • Create a pilot program to give principals more control over hiring and budget decisions.
  • Encourage school districts to adopt mandatory school uniform policies for children in grades K-8 by offering incentive money.

All of the Democrats in attendance voted against the charter school bill, HB 7037. But none debated the measure on the floor

On top of everything else, the incentives of money to local districts to enforce school uniforms was added into the mix. I wonder which uniform company has major stockholders sitting in the legislature. 

New report: Charter schools great at making money for private business, not much else

Read this important report. The motive for public spending on education should be to provide education for the community not to provide a profit for corporate education amateurs.

Charter schools are able to siphon off large quantities of public money for private gain — and only substantial changes to state policies regarding charter schools can stop this, according to the authors of the report from the National Education Policy Center (NEPC) at University of Colorado Boulder.

The Adventures of Timmy, Part 2

Growing Evidence that Charter Schools Are Failing

“An educated citizenry is a vital requisite for our survival as a free people.” – Thomas Jefferson

“The whole people must take upon themselves the education of the whole people and be willing to bear the expenses of it. There should not be a district of one mile square, without a school in it, not founded by a charitable individual, but maintained at the public expense of the people themselves.” — John Adams

Sometimes regulation is necessary. The education of our children is one of those areas where the public needs to keep tabs on what’s going on for two reasons. First, charters and voucher schools use public tax money and they need to be held accountable to the taxpayers. Second, education is a public trust. The nation depends on an educated populace for its continuation. It is in our national best interest to make sure that public schools are fully supported.

Performance aside, charters have other serious issues. The Nation called them “stunningly opaque…black boxes.” Indeed, the federal government has spent billions on charter development without basic forms of accountability, even for the causes and details of school closings. The charter system is so unregulated that oversight often comes from whistleblowers who feel disturbed enough, and courageous enough, to report abuses.

The report Cashing in on Kids notes that the Walton Foundation, one of the biggest charter school supporters, has “supported the unregulated growth of a privatized education industry.” The Walton-funded New York Charter School Association, which takes considerable public money and advertises itself as “independently-run public schools,” refused state audits, arguing that they were run by boards outside the public domain. Charter operators want the best of both worlds. As Diane Ravitch explains, “When it is time for funds to be distributed, they want to be considered public schools. But when they are involved in litigation, charter operators insist they are private organizations.”

POVERTY

Are Low U.S. Scores on International Tests Caused by High Child Poverty or Bad Schools?

Poverty negatively affects student achievement. Students who are hungry or hurt by the effects of poverty, have trouble achieving at as high a level as students who don’t live in poverty. This isn’t new information. Politicians and policy makers can’t solve the problems of poverty so they continue to deflect the blame to schools instead of taking responsibility.

Do schools need to improve? Of course, but schools in high poverty areas need extra support, and politicians are loathe to provide it. Citizens in high poverty areas are rarely campaign donors.

…Harvard sociologist Matthew Desmond explores the many ways childhood poverty affects the lives of America’s poorest children—their child and adolescent development, their health, their academic potential, and their life prospects. Desmond begins with the story of Crystal, a premature baby born after her mother was stabbed. Crystal’s father is imprisoned; she is molested as a preschooler, placed, at age five, in foster care where she begins a life with “dozens of group homes and sets of foster parents.” Crystal drops out of school at sixteen, ages out of foster care at eighteen, and after a litany of other problems, becomes a homeless adult. Desmond continues: “Should we say Crystal is ‘poor’? She certainly is that—but living in mere poverty would be a tremendous blessing for Crystal. Poverty is defined officially as an income cutoff, a threshold. But there are many depths below the poverty line. Poverty is qualitatively different from ‘deep poverty’ (half below the poverty line), which in turn is a world apart from ‘extreme poverty’ (living on $2 a day). There is poverty, and then there is poverty. Recent debates about poverty measurement have focused largely on its material attributes…. These debates are necessary and productive, but a relatively small income is but one of any obstacles preventing Crystal from living a full, productive, and healthy life. Like many people from disadvantaged families, she experienced setbacks at a very young age (even before birth) and never fully recovered from them. Poverty is more than a material condition.” Surely we need to improve our public schools, but just as surely we need to learn how to identify and address challenges like Crystal’s. Today, we pretty much talk as though we expect school teachers to be able, on their own, to turn such children’s lives around.

YOU GET WHAT YOU PAY FOR

Eight Years Under the Ax

How have schools fared since the “great recession?”

Wall Street tanked the economy, resulting in a big bunch of cutbacks as every state tried to deal with a sudden lack of money. That part of the story we already knew.

The second part of the story, which you may have suspected, is that once states got in the habit of slashing education budgets, the just kept on doing it even after the economy began to recover. CBPP does not bury the lede on this one:

Most states provide less support per student for elementary and secondary schools — in some cases, much less — than before the Great Recession.

BULLETPROOF BLANKETS

Now you can buy a bulletproof blanket specifically made for your kids to use during school shootings

This article reminded me of my own childhood growing up during the Cold War. During monthly “air raid drills” we would hunker down under our desks and listen in fear for the sounds of Soviet planes ready to drop bombs on us. For most of the years of my childhood I would stop at the sound of every plane overhead and search the skies to see if I could see the bomber with the red star. This was especially disruptive since I lived on the incoming air route to O’Hare Field in Chicago…

Now that our leaders are too afraid of the NRA to provide sensible solutions to mass murder we will raise another generation of children growing up in fear.

If mass shootings weren’t such an integrated part of our culture, you’d think The Bodyguard Blanket was an SNL skit or an Onion article. Kids are being gunned down in their 1st grade classrooms, but what can we do? No we’re not talking about gun laws, just arm your children with these bulletproof shields!

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Article Medleys, Charters, poverty, Privatization, SchoolFunding, SchoolShootings

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Retired after 35 years in public education.