Tag Archives: Charter schools

Trump Administration to Raid Public Ed to Fund School Choice Programs

With key K-12 and higher ed programs on the chopping block, education advocate Diane Ravitch declares: “Don’t agonize. Organize.”

By Deirdre Fulton, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 5-18-2017

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) this year. (Photo: Gage Skidmore/flickr/cc)

The Trump administration is preparing to unveil a sweeping school choice plan that would be prioritized at the expense of student aid and debt relief as well as public education programs that help low-income children, according to news reports.

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, a wealthy philanthropist who lobbied for voucher programs and charter schools before being tapped to lead the nation’s K-12 and higher education systems, will reportedly announce the school choice proposal Monday at an Indianapolis summit hosted by the conservative group she formerly chaired, the American Federation for Children.  Continue reading

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Why every American should fear abolishing the Department of Education

Photo: Public domain via Wikimedia Commons

Written by Carol Benedict

On the same day as the confirmation of Betsy DeVos for Education Secretary occurred, KY Rep. Thomas Massie introduced a bill to the House of Representatives in Washington DC, which consisted of 1 sentence.

“The Department of Education shall terminate on December 31, 2018.”

No provisions for the Department’s various responsibilities to be distributed to others, nothing. Just simply GONE.

Massie attempts to offer explanations of local schools and states as being the best qualified to determine the educational requirements of America’s children. In an ideal United States, this is an entirely reasonable notion.

But reality is never ideal. Left without any federal guidelines, in the past schools have not been able to demonstrate an ability to teach students across the nation in any form of standardized curriculum. A student in Minnesota or Washington state is given completely lessons, and thus grade completion standards, than a student in Florida or Mississippi, for example.

DeVos promotes a voucher system that allows students to bypass public schools and instead attend schools selected as chatter schools, This will then siphon the student’s portion of public education funds and transfers that to the charter school.

But charter schools are not required to teach special education classes or accommodate special needs students. Nor are they required to offer any accountability for student outcomes. They are allowed free reign to spend budgets as they wish. They are not participants of the federal school lunch programs, and they often offer curriculum based on a denominational or religious point of view

While it may seem all streamlined, there are a few important details slipping through the cracks.

After DeVos’ confirmation, Facebook exploded with comments from teachers. Among them, we noticed the following sentiments:

When you take money away from public schools and give it to charter and private schools, schools will be even more segregated. Very few poor parents can drive their kids to school each day, nor can they afford to pay the cost of private education not covered by a voucher, which will leave these children stuck in a public school with even less funding than before.

In addition, all schools that take federal money should have to show they are educating children, all children. If you take federal funds, not only should you be required to take every kid (those with mental, physical, and behavioral challenges), but you should be able to show you can successfully educate them. That’s what we require of public schools. Private and charter should be no different. Betsy DeVos disagrees.

Her lack of knowledge of federal disability laws and basic educational concepts is also appalling. Her appointment sadly proves that party lines are more important than children. Every American should fear this.

About the Author:
Carol Benedict is an indépendant researcher and human rights activist. She is also an independent Journalist and a professional member of the US Press Association.

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Landmark Look at US Charter System Reveals Waste, Fraud, ‘Ghost Schools’

‘The bottom-line is taxpayers know far too little about how much their federal tax dollars are being used to fund charters,’ says Center for Media and Democracy

By Deirdre Fulton, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 8-21-2015

No one even knew how much the federal government had spent on its program designed to boost the charter sector until CMD started poking around. (Photo: GotCredit/flickr/cc)

No one even knew how much the federal government had spent on its program designed to boost the charter sector until CMD started poking around. (Photo: GotCredit/flickr/cc)

A year-long investigation by the Wisconsin-based Center for Media and Democracy has revealed a severe dearth of public information about how federal and state taxes are being spent to fuel the charter school industry in the U.S.

According to the report released Wednesday—Charter School Black Hole (pdf)—no one even knew how much the federal government had spent on its program designed to boost the charter sector until CMD started poking around. Now, after filing close to 50 open records requests and reviewing more than two decades of federal authorizations and appropriations, the national watchdog group has calculated that sum to be a whopping $3.7 billion.

Furthermore, how those billions were spent was equally difficult to discern. Continue reading

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Confidential Charter School Memo Blasted as ‘Outline for a Hostile Takeover’

Critic says billionaire’s plan to “charterize” Los Angeles public schools is “a ham-handed effort to circumvent democracy in a major American city.”

By Deirdre Fulton, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 9-23-2015

A sign at Sunday's protest outside the new Broad Museum in Los Angeles. (Photo: Joel Rubin/Twitter)

A sign at Sunday’s protest outside the new Broad Museum in Los Angeles. (Photo: Joel Rubin/Twitter)

A California billionaire is enlisting other wealthy backers in a $490 million scheme to place half of the students in the Los Angeles Unified School District into charter schools over the next eight years—a plan at least one critic says would “do away with democratically controlled, publicly accountable education in LA.”

The Los Angeles Times obtained a confidential 44-page proposal, “The Great Public Schools Now Initiative,” drafted by the Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation and other charter advocates. Continue reading

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In ‘Win for Public Schools,’ Wash. Supreme Court Rules Charter Schools Unconstitutional

“The Supreme Court has affirmed what we’ve said all along—charter schools steal money from our existing classrooms, and voters have no say in how these charter schools spend taxpayer funding.”—Kim Mead, Washington Education Association

By Andrea Germanos, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 9-5-2015

Diane Ravitch writes that the ruling "gives hope to parents all across America, who see charter schools draining funding from their public schools, favoring the privileges of the few over the rights of the many." (Photo: Chris Blakeley/flickr/cc)

Diane Ravitch writes that the ruling “gives hope to parents all across America, who see charter schools draining funding from their public schools, favoring the privileges of the few over the rights of the many.” (Photo: Chris Blakeley/flickr/cc)

Public education advocates are welcoming the Washington State Supreme Court’s ruling late Friday that the state’s charter school law is unconstitutional.

The Seattle Times reports that

The ruling — believed to be one of the first of its kind in the country — overturns the law [I-1240] voters narrowly approved in 2012 allowing publicly funded, but privately operated, schools.

Continue reading

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