Charter Schools & "Choice": A Closer Look
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Privatization of Public K-12 Education: Racial Disparities in Politics, Power, Policy, and Practice // Prepared for Race Equity through Prevention Workgroup, Santa Clara County Juvenile Justice Sys...

To download, click on title or arrow above. File is a pdf with live links to cited documents. Selected/related links are below:

 

Privatizing Schooling and Policy Making: The American Legislative Exchange Council [ALEC] and New Political and Discursive Strategies of Education Governance // Educational Policy http://epx.sagepub.com/content/early/2014/04/28/0895904814528794.abstract 

 
Cashing In On Kids: 172 ALEC Education Bills Push Privatization in 2015

https://www.prwatch.org/news/2016/03/13054/cashing-kids-172-alec-education-bills-2015

 

How Online Companies Bought America’s Schools
https://www.thenation.com/article/how-online-learning-companies-bought-americas-schools/

 

The Profit Motive Behind Virtual Schools in Maine

www.pressherald.com/2012/09/01/virtual-schools-in-maine_2012-09-02

 

K12Inc: California Virtual Academies’ Operator Exploits Charter, Charity Laws For Money, Records Show

https://www.mercurynews.com/2016/04/17/k12-inc-california-virtual-academies-operator-exploits-charter-charity-laws-for-money-records-show/

 

Enrollment in California Public Versus Charter Schools https://www.cde.ca.gov/ds/sd/cb/ceffingertipfacts.asp

 

Santa Clara County Office of Education Annual Charter School Databook

https://www.sccoe.org/supoffice/charter-schools-office/Documents/2016-17%20Charter%20School%20Report%20Final.pdf

 

Death By A Thousand Cuts: Racism, School Closures, and Public School Sabotage // https://www.j4jalliance.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/J4JReport-final_05_12_14.pdf

 

IES National Center for Education Statistics: Percentage of Public School Students Enrolled in Charter Schools, By State (2014)

https://nces.ed.gov/fastfacts/display.asp?id=30

 

Center for Media and Democracy Publishes List of [2,200]+ Closed Charter Schools (with Interactive Map) http://sco.lt/6KOm6z

 

The Perfect Storm: Disenfranchised Communities [Video] https://vimeo.com/161523742

 

“School Closure Playbook” – [Video]

https://vimeo.com/120338240

 

Charter School Closure Leaves Parents Scrambling For Alternatives

http://www.sacbee.com/news/local/education/article199107149.html

 

The Continuum of Structural Violence: Sustaining Exclusion Through School Closures http://sco.lt/9IcTKb

 

KIPP Refuses Agreement To Abide By Conflict of Interest Law: Gets Approved By State Board of Education

https://eduresearcher.com/2018/03/13/denykipp/

 

How Did The State Board of Education Vote on Controversial Charter School Petitions? https://eduresearcher.com/2018/09/07/how-will-state-board-of-education-vote-on-controversial-charter-school-petitions/

 

Separate and Unequal: The Problematic Segregation of Special Populations In Charter Schools Relative to Traditional Public Schools // Stanford Law and Policy Review http://nepc.colorado.edu/blog/are-charters-beacons 

 

Charter Schools, Civil Rights, and School Discipline: A Comprehensive Review: The Center for Civil Rights Remedies (UCLA)

https://www.civilrightsproject.ucla.edu/resources/projects/center-for-civil-rights-remedies/school-to-prison-folder/federal-reports/charter-schools-civil-rights-and-school-discipline-a-comprehensive-review/losen-et-al-charter-school-discipline-review-2016.pdf       

 

Are California’s Charter Schools The New Separate But Equal “Schools of Excellence”, or Are They Worse Than Plessy?

https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=3128802

 

How Privatization Increases Inequality: Section 5: Privatization Perpetuates Socioeconomic and Racial Segregation // In The Public Interest

https://public.tableau.com/profile/civil.rights.project.at.ucla#!/vizhome/CostofCASuspensions/DistrictDash

 

NAACP Resolution Calling for a Moratorium on the Expansion of Charter Schools [Original] https://eduresearcher.com/2016/10/21/naacp/

 

KIPP Refuses To Abide By Conflict of Interest Code; Gets Approved By State Board of Education: https://eduresearcher.com/2018/03/13/denykipp/

 

[Link no longer active – this was original document for State Legal Counsel’s opinion that a “charter school is subject to” government code 1090]

https://cde.app.box.com/v/SBE2018MARCH/file/282675343163

 

Charter School Vulnerabilities to Waste, Fraud, and Abuse
http://populardemocracy.org/sites/default/files/Charter-School-Fraud_Report_2017 

 

Rocketship Pushes Expansion Despite State Denials and Strong Community Opposition // https://eduresearcher.com/2016/03/09/rocketship-pushes/

 

John Danner (Co-Founder of Rocketship) Why Blended Schools Are “Whales” In The Ed Institutional Context Quote: “Schools like Rocketship will be a great way to test and validate products and we are happy to do it…” https://beyondschools2.blogspot.com/2012/

 

New Orleans Charter School Problems Exposed at NAACP Hearing

https://eduresearcher.com/2017/04/29/nola-charter/

 

“Blended Learning: A Wise Giver’s Guide to Tech-Assisted Teaching” // Philanthropy Roundtable (formerly chaired by B. Devos) // http://www.philanthropyroundtable.org/file_uploads/Blended_Learning_Guidebook.pdf

 

Breaking Point: The Cost of Charter Schools For Public School Districts

https://www.inthepublicinterest.org/report-the-cost-of-charter-schools-for-public-school-districts/

 

Education School Dean: Urban School Reform Is Really About Land Development (Not Kids) // https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/answer-sheet/wp/2013/05/28/ed-school-dean-urban-school-reform-is-really-about-land-development-not-kids/?utm_term=.ef77a9f69fd5

 

Charter Schools, Race, and Urban Space: Where The Market Meets Grassroots Resistance // http://sco.lt/6vGDMf

 

Spending Blind: The Failure of Policy Planning In California’s Charter School Funding  // https://www.inthepublicinterest.org/wp-content/uploads/FINAL_ITPI_SpendingBlind_April2017.pdf

 

A Comprehensive Guide To Charter School Closure

http://sco.lt/80B85Z

  

San Pablo Rocketship Appeal to State Board in Sacramento (Video with evidence of expanding gaps) https://www.youtube.com/watch?list=PLgIRGe0-q7Safim1TwdTNlcV7auIbigPr&v=uHpH63PsXKs

 

Cybercharters Have An Overwhelmingly Negative Impact

http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/DigitalEducation/2015/10/CREDO_online_charters_study.html 

 

Virtual and Blended Learning Schools Continue to Struggle and Grow

http://nepc.colorado.edu/newsletter/2016/04/virtual-schools-annual-2016

 

Red Flags Known and Overlooked With State Board Votes On San Jose Charter Schools // https://eduresearcher.com/2018/01/18/charter-red-flags/

 

How Will State Board of Education Vote on Controversial Charter School Petitions? // https://eduresearcher.com/2018/09/07/how-will-state-board-of-education-vote-on-controversial-charter-school-petitions/

 

Understanding Policies that Charter Operators Use for Financial Benefit

https://nepc.colorado.edu/publication/charter-revenue

 

New Report Uncovers Systematic Failure by California Charter Schools to Meet Local Control Obligations https://www.publicadvocates.org/uncategorized/22875/

 

KIPP subset of posts on Charter Schools & “Choice”: A Closer Look page:

https://www.scoop.it/t/charter-choice-closer-look?q=kipp 

 

Rocketship subset of posts on Charter Schools & “Choice”: A Closer Look page // https://www.scoop.it/t/charter-choice-closer-look?q=rocketship

 

For more with current updates, please see:

http://bit.ly/chart_look 

http://bit.ly/privatization_explained

http://bit.ly/naacp_resolution

 

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Charter Schools & "Choice": A Closer Look
This collection has been created to raise awareness about concerns related to the privatization of public education. The page also serves as a research tool to organize online content. The grey funnel shaped icon at the top (in the 'Desktop View' mode) allows for searching by keyword (i.e. entering K12 Inc, KIPP, TFA, Walton, Rocketship, ALEC, Koch, or 'discipline', etc.) will yield specific subsets of articles relevant to each keyword).  For posts related to TFA, see http://bit.ly/TFA_Files. For posts related to Rocketship, see http://bit.ly/Rocketship_Files. For posts related to KIPP, see http://bit.ly/KIPP_Files, and for posts related to the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), see http://bit.ly/ALEC_Files.  Readers are encouraged to explore additional links for further information beyond the text provided on the page. [Note: Views presented on this page are re-shared from external websites.  The content does not necessarily represent the views nor official position of the curator nor employer of the curator.] For critical perspectives on the next wave of privatization poised to take over public services, see the page on Social Impact Bonds and 'Pay For Success' programs: http://bit.ly/sibgamble. For additional education updates, see http://EduResearcher.com [Links to external site]
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National NAACP Board Approves Resolution Calling for Moratorium on Charter School Expansion [Full Resolution Included]// EduResearcher

National NAACP Board Approves Resolution Calling for Moratorium on Charter School Expansion [Full Resolution Included]// EduResearcher | Charter Schools & "Choice": A Closer Look | Scoop.it

For full post, click on title above or here: https://eduresearcher.com/2016/10/21/naacp/ 

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Commentary: Scandals show need to boost oversight of charter schools // San Antonio Express News

Commentary: Scandals show need to boost oversight of charter schools // San Antonio Express News | Charter Schools & "Choice": A Closer Look | Scoop.it

By David DeMatthews and David S. Knight

 

"Charter schools in Texas are granted autonomy from many state regulations so they can create innovative programs that promote student achievement — but a lack of public oversight has too often led to fraud, waste and abuse.

Texas needs to create a strong and proactive system of oversight: Instances of mismanagement of public funds within the state’s charter sector are well-documented.

State regulations make the Texas Education Agency commissioner responsible for authorizing charter schools after “thoroughly investigating and evaluating” each charter applicant’s “financial, governing, educational, and operational standards.” The commissioner is also tasked with monitoring, investigating and making closure decisions when appropriate.

 

Despite these regulations, local stakeholders have raised serious concerns about unethical and unlawful financial practices. For example, in 2020, the former IDEA founder and chief executive apologized for what he called “really dumb and unhelpful” plans to lease a private jet and spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on San Antonio Spurs tickets. He walked away from IDEA months later with a $900,000 severance package, which raises additional concerns about how tax dollars were being managed.

On May 25, IDEA’s board announced that it conducted a “thorough and independent review” led by a former federal prosecutor that found “a small number of IDEA senior leaders directed the use of IDEA financial and staff resources for their personal benefit on multiple occasions.” The audit also concluded that several actions “appeared to be done in a manner to avoid detection by the standard external audit and internal control processes.”

Before the recent review, state Rep. Terry Canales, D-Edinburg, had already asked the Texas Education Agency and the state auditor to conduct a joint audit of IDEA. Now, the TEA will probably respond by appointing a monitor or conservator.

IDEA is just one example; it’s not the only charter organization with fiscal management problems.
 

A recent report found that at least 72 of the 232 Texas charter schools that received money from the federal charter schools program between 2006 and 2014 were already closed or never opened. The amount received by these schools was about $24 million.

 

The U.S. Office of the Inspector General in 2016 conducted an audit of 33 charter schools in six states — including Texas — to detect fraud, waste and abuse. The audit found 22 of the 33 schools were in violation of federal conflict-of-interest rules, which posed significant risks to the U.S. Department of Education’s funding objectives.

In Texas, the audit provided several examples of conflicts of interest. In one instance, a member of a Texas charter school was also part of the charter management board and provided legal services to the charter but did not recuse himself from voting on his compensation for those legal services.

These ongoing problems represent a state scandal, and Texas needs to take several proactive steps to improve oversight so problems do not escalate over time.

The TEA should immediately evaluate its charter oversight and auditing policies to ensure appropriate protocols and resources are in place to effectively monitor all charter schools and public schools. No new charter school should be authorized until this evaluation is complete.

The commissioner should then ensure any new organization seeking to open its first charter school is adequately vetted and any existing charter management organization seeking to open more campuses is in full compliance with state and federal regulations.

Finally, the TEA should engage in random audits of charter schools and their management organizations. Audits should focus on identifying financial risks, as well as other relevant state and federal requirements.

These commonsense improvements to charter policy can significantly reduce fraud and waste in the state’s charter sector, which will benefit Texas taxpayers and students who deserve an efficient and effective public education system."

David DeMatthews is an associate professor in the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy at the University of Texas at Austin.

 

David S. Knight is an assistant professor of education finance and policy at the University of Washington.

 

[Picture caption: "IDEA Public Schools CEO JoAnn Gama, pictured in 2019, and Chief Operating Officer Irma Munoz have been fired after a forensic review of the charter district’s spending. The Texas Legislature missed an opportunity to add more oversight to charter schools. Gustavo Huerta, Houston Chronicle / Contributor]

 

For original post, please visit:

https://www.expressnews.com/opinion/commentary/article/Commentary-Scandals-show-need-to-boost-oversight-16222942.php 

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Success Academy Charter School Network Ordered to Pay Over $2.4 Million in a Disability Discrimination Case Brought by Families of Five Former Students // Stroock & Stroock & Lavan LLP 

Success Academy Charter School Network Ordered to Pay Over $2.4 Million in a Disability Discrimination Case Brought by Families of Five Former Students // Stroock & Stroock & Lavan LLP  | Charter Schools & "Choice": A Closer Look | Scoop.it

https://www.jdsupra.com/legalnews/success-academy-charter-school-network-3311378/ 

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Business Terms Used to Privatize Public Schools

Business Terms Used to Privatize Public Schools | Charter Schools & "Choice": A Closer Look | Scoop.it

By Nancy Bailey
"Privatizing public schools involves changing school words to reflect a business-like environment. There’s nothing wrong with these words in general, but when applied to schools, they change the nature of schooling and the way we look at teachers and students.

Business-like terms used with schools increased during the 1980s and 1990s. They are so frequent now they’re taken for granted.

Phi Delta Kappan’s October issue is called School for Sale. They discuss the role of business in schools. Did you put the For Sale sign in the front yard of your democratic public school? Probably not, and neither did I.

Privatizing public schools has not worked well, but business words and their meanings have reshaped how we look at public education."...

 

For full post, please visit:

https://nancyebailey.com/2020/11/15/business-terms-used-to-privatize-public-schools/ 

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The huge problem with education ‘pandemic pods’ suddenly popping up // Washington Post

By Valerie Strauss

"There is a new thing starting to happen in some places around the country: “Pandemic pods,” which are formed by families who can afford it, team up and pay for a teacher to come instruct their children.

 

For some of the parents, the instruction represents tutoring for material that students get at school. For others, it is a substitute. Some call it “micro schooling,” as did one educator on Facebook who wrote: “I’ve been hired as a white educator to teach a group of 5 white second graders (formerly in public schools) for the upcoming school year in a micro school setting. The parents are progressives and willing to let me design my own social justice based curriculum for the students throughout the year.”

My Post colleagues Laura Meckler and Hannah Natanson wrote about it in this story, saying:

 
 
"Weeks before the new school year will start, the trend is a stark sign of how the pandemic will continue to drive inequity in the nation’s education system. But the parents planning or considering this say it’s an extreme answer to an extreme situation.

The issue of inequity is what the following post is all about: how these new pandemic education pods replicate white flight. The phenomenon not only recalls the period when whites in the South resisted the Supreme Court’s 1954 historic school desegregation ruling in Brown v. Board of Education by opening private schools or by creating whites-only public school districts. It also reflects the current practice of school district “secession,” or the splintering off of whiter, wealthier districts from larger, more diverse ones.

This post was written by J.P.B. Gerald and Mira Debs. Gerald (@JPBGerald) is a doctoral student at CUNY — Hunter College, whose research focuses on white supremacy and racism in education. Debs (@mira_debs) is a sociologist who directs Yale University’s Education Studies program and researches school integration.

By J.P.B. Gerald and Mira Debs

The emails follow a common template: “I’m reaching out to see if you know of any recent early education graduates of Yale (with experience in teaching gifted children) in need of a position for the fall.”

 

The mother, or in some cases the personal assistant, asks to be matched to a Yale student or recent graduate who can home-school her child this fall. Half a dozen of these requests have landed in the inbox of Yale’s Education Studies program in the last few weeks, usually from a resident of one of Connecticut’s wealthier towns.

 

These parents are part of a new movement of “pandemic pods,” parents hiring teachers and tutors or forming a parent cooperative to teach a small number of students at home. Some of these are parents using their financial might to supplement their children’s online education in ways that other parents cannot, and some of these parents have dis-enrolled their children from public school.

The phenomenon is so new that there is no data on how many families are pursuing this option, but it does seem to be rapidly spreading; one Bay Area pandemic pod group set up two weeks ago on Facebook already has more than 10,000 members, and the director of a national home-school association has said that interest in the last few weeks has “literally exploded.”

 

With covid-19 surging in most parts of the country, federal leaders demanding schools physically reopen and threatening to withhold funds, and district policies that change by the week, parents (ourselves included) are in a desperate bind as they try to figure out a way to keep their jobs, keep their children safe and do what’s best for the community. Keeping your child at home if you have the privilege to do so may seem socially responsible: You are supporting social distancing and making limited classroom space available to other children.

 
 These personal decisions, however, have a collective consequence. If you don’t think it’s safe for your child to return to school, what makes it safe for other children, teachers and staff?
 

A little while ago, many of the same parents now forming pandemic pods — many of whom are white, affluent, or both — believed strongly in the power of collective action, posting black squares on their social media pages and placing Black Lives Matter signs on their front lawns.

 

When this potential hypocrisy was pointed out on Twitter, a number of responders wondered what these parents should do instead, or why this was problematic. Unfortunately, although pandemic pods may be a novel development, this pattern of fleeing public education is decades old.

 

 

When parents with privilege open their checkbooks and create private one-room schoolhouses for their children, they follow a long pattern of weakening the public education system they leave behind, especially in districts with predominantly black, Latinx, indigenous and low-income students. In the 1960′s, Southern white parents abandoned desegregating public schools to home-school or set up private segregation academies. Around the country, they fled the cities in bursts of white flight to the suburbs.

 

In the current accountability era, white parents can claim to be race-neutral, buying a house for the Great Schools score at the bottom of the Zillow listing but still perpetuating patterns of school segregation.

During covid-19, privileged families have already emptied wealthy neighborhoods in New York, buying up housing in surrounding areas. Parents seeking in-person options are flocking to private schools, all of which has a deleterious effect on the students with the most need, and the families with fewer means remain disproportionately families of color.

Pandemic pods follow all of these previous patterns of privileged flight, cocoons that may be well-intentioned but with potentially disastrous results for communities currently — and perpetually — in the crosshairs of this country’s oppression.

 

Many of these parents are politically liberal, but their school choices play right into the privatization playbook of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos. As we know from the fight over charter schools and vouchers, a district loses local, state and federal funding for each child who disenrolls from the public system. Combined with budget cuts and teacher hiring freezes, pandemic pods might exacerbate the defunding of traditional public schools.

While some parents argue that by withdrawing from public school they are allowing for more social distancing in school, this supposedly altruistic private learning is a further example of opportunity hoarding. These parents are avoiding the collective action necessary to make districts more supportive of all their learners.

Here’s our advice for worried parents: Stay and fight. If you don’t think the school arrangements are safe for your child, then work to make sure that the schools reopen in a way that is safe for all children, teachers and staff.

 

The Heroes Act passed by the House would provide close to $60 billion to fund K-12 schools in reopening safely this fall. The Senate just began considering its own legislation. Any additional funding will pay for safety measures and could also support training for remote learning, lower class sizes and even pod-style tutors to support distance learning.

Instead of hiring private tutors, some parents and educators are collectively mobilizing. Parents in Oakland have organized a free summer school program with technology and tech assistance to the community. Next week, New Haven parents and educators are organizing a socially distanced car caravan to the state capital to demand additional funding to reopen.

After you’ve put a BLM sign up in your yard, take time to read the many resources for supporting the lives and education of black and brown students. Connect with parents and educators willing to share their experience and expertise.

 

Parents have immense power if they work together and not in isolation. We need to think critically about what it means to protect our children if that protection takes the form of giving them something that leaves others vulnerable to harm.

The pandemic’s disproportionate effect on communities of color will cause great damage if it destabilizes our public education system, and pandemic pods have a chance to be far more destructive than protective. If we are going to say that black lives matter, then our actions need to match our words."

 

For full post, please visit:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/education/2020/07/22/huge-problem-with-education-pandemic-pods-suddenly-popping-up/

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No Way To Treat A Scholar // Gary Rubenstein

https://garyrubinstein.wordpress.com/2020/09/13/no-way-to-treat-a-scholar/ 

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The Latest in School Segregation: Private Pandemic ‘Pods’ // The New York Times

The Latest in School Segregation: Private Pandemic ‘Pods’ // The New York Times | Charter Schools & "Choice": A Closer Look | Scoop.it

By Clara Totenberg Green

"As school districts across the nation announce that their buildings will remain closed in the fall, parents are quickly organizing “learning pods” or “pandemic pods” — small groupings of children who gather every day and learn in a shared space, often participating in the online instruction provided by their schools. Pods are supervised either by a hired private teacher or other adult, or with parents taking turns.

At face value, learning pods seem a necessary solution to the current crisis. But in practice, they will exacerbate inequities, racial segregation and the opportunity gap within schools. Children whose parents have the means to participate in learning pods will most likely return to school academically ahead, while many low-income children will struggle at home without computers or reliable internet for online learning.

As a social emotional learning specialist, I know how important connection, community and socialization are for children and adults. I also know that parents are being crushed under the weight of having to simultaneously parent, work, and teach their children. Nowhere is the anxiety, fear and devastation that is gripping our country more evident than in our education system. The appeal of learning pods is immense. For parents who need to work and can’t supervise their children’s learning, joining a pod may feel like the only way they can educate their kids and keep their jobs.

Based on what I’ve seen online, the learning pod movement appears to be led by families with means, a large portion of whom are white. Paradoxically, at a time when the Black Lives Matter movement has prompted a national reckoning with white supremacy, white parents are again ignoring racial and class inequality when it comes to educating their children. As a result, they are actively replicating the systems that many of them say they want to dismantle.

 

Take the school where I work, a racially and economically diverse public elementary school in the heart of Atlanta. It’s a gentrifying school within a gentrifying neighborhood. The building is bordered by half-a-million-dollar homes on one side, and low-income apartments on the other, where a large portion of our Black students live.

But while our school is diverse, it is not integrated. As is the case across the country, white families largely socialize with one another, white children are disproportionately represented in gifted and talented programming, and white parents dominate parent committees.

This segregation will only intensify if learning pods become the norm. When people choose members of their pod, they will choose people they know and trust. In a country where 75 percent of white people report that the network of people with whom they discuss important matters is “entirely white, with no minority presence,” it is not a leap to predict that learning pods will mirror the deeply racially segregated lives of most Americans.

 

Parents are also more likely to join pods with families who have similarly low exposure to the coronavirus. This seemingly rational impulse will, in practice, exclude many Black and Latinx families, who are disproportionately infected by the virus. In New York City, a staggering 75 percent of all the city’s essential workers are people of color. In Georgia, Black people make up a third of the population, but, as of the end of June, they accounted for about half of all COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths in the state.

Will privileged families that have limited exposure to the virus willingly opt into learning pods with children of essential workers? And if learning pod parents have to pay to hire someone or be among the parents able to supervise on a rotating duty, is this even an option for low-income families working essential jobs?

 

To compound the problem, I’ve heard from my colleagues that some parents are already pressuring school leaders to create class rosters that would enable the children in learning pods to have the same teacher, making the online instruction easier to manage for these families. The implications of this when we return to the classroom could be disastrous. Schools painstakingly design class rosters to create a diverse learning environment where the academic and social-emotional needs of every child are met. Altering class rosters for the convenience of privileged families will in effect displace Black and brown children from their classrooms.

Learning pods undermine the very reason some districts are going online in the first place. Like any environment in which people gather, they’ll potentially contribute to the spread of the virus in the communities in which they exist, and that could contribute to delays in the safe reopening of schools. And if schools remain closed, the children who suffer the most harm will be the ones who rely on schools for free and reduced meals, internet access and a place to go while their parents work essential jobs. These are the very same children who will most likely be excluded from learning pods.

Many will read this article and ask what they’re supposed to do instead. I don’t have the answer. Parents are in an unimaginably hard position. Raising children without the in-person schooling so many families rely on can be a nightmare on the most personal level.

 

Whatever parents ultimately decide, they must understand that every choice they make in their child’s education, even the seemingly benign, has the potential to perpetuate racial inequities rooted in white supremacy. The history of public schooling in this country is one in which white parents have repeatedly abandoned public schools, or resisted integration efforts at every turn. As a result, schools are more segregated today than during the late 1960s.


We can either take this moment to continue that pattern by retreating into the comfort of our own advantages, or we can act to dismantle racist educational policies, fight for equitable distribution of school funding and build authentic community with one another. Now is the time to reimagine our beliefs, our lives and what we’re willing to do to create a future that works for all children."

 

For original story, please visit:

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/07/22/opinion/pandemic-pods-schools.html

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The Privatization of Education: A Political Economy of Global Education Reform // Antoni Verger, Clara Fontdevila, and Adrián Zancajo, 2016

Contents

Acknowledgments ix

Acronyms and Abbreviations x


PART I: INTRODUCTION

1. The Globalization of Education Privatization: An Introduction 3

Inquiring into Education Privatization Processes 4

The Scope and Meaning of Educational Privatization 7

The Systematic Literature Review Approach 10

Book Structure 12

2. The Political Economy of Global Education Reform 15

Global–Local Divide 16

Material–Ideational Divide 20

The Scope and Dynamics of Policy Change 26

Conclusion 31


PART II: PATHS TOWARD PRIVATIZATION

3. Education Privatization as a State Reform: The Ideological Road

to Privatization in Chile and the United Kingdom 35

The Neoliberal Influence in Education 36

An Education Privatization Laboratory: The Case of Chile 37

From Thatcherism to New Labour: The Case of the United Kingdom 45

Conclusion 53

vi Contents


4. Education Privatization in Social Democratic Welfare States:

The Nordic Path Toward Privatization 55

The Spread of Global Neoliberal Ideas 56

Political Institutions and Party Politics in the Nordic Region 57

New Social Democracy and the Modernization of the Welfare State 64

Conclusion 66

5. Scaling Up Privatization:

School Choice Reforms in the United States 69

School Choice Reform Breeding Grounds:

Discursive, Institutional, and Legal Contingencies 70

Policy Outcomes: The (Uneven) Advancement of Charter Schools and Voucher Programs 76

Conclusion 86

 

6. Privatization by Default in Low-Income Countries:

The Emergence and Expansion of Low-Fee Private Schools 89

A Growing Demand for LFPSs 90

The Global Promotion of LFPSs 95

Conclusion 102

 

7. Historical Public–Private Partnerships in Education:

The Cases of the Netherlands, Belgium, and Spain 104

The Netherlands: Pillarization and Religious Segregation 105

Belgium: Ups and Downs in a Private School Financing Agreement 109

Spain: The Consolidation of the Private Sector in the Transition to Democracy 112

Conclusion 116

8. Along the Path of Emergency:

Privatization by Way of Catastrophe 119

Education Privatization in Catastrophe Settings: Identifying Constant Features 119

Natural Disasters as an Opportunity to Privatize Education 121

Education Reform in Postconflict Contexts 128

Conclusion 132

PART III: ACTORS FOR AND AGAINST PRIVATIZATION

9. The Emerging Role of Nonstate Actors

in the Promotion of Educational Privatization 137

Think Tanks: Producing Pro-Privatization Ideas 138

The Media: Means or Agents in Education Privatization? 140

Policy Entrepreneurs 141

Private Corporations and New Forms of Philanthropy 144

Advocating Privatization: Frequent Strategies of Influence 151

Conclusion 156

10. Resisting Privatization: The Strategies and Influence of Teachers’ Unions in Educational Reform 158

Teachers’ Unions Participation in Policy Processes: Different Models of Engagement 158

Unions’ Strategies and Repertoires of Action 162

Conditions of Influence: Opportunities, Risks, and Threats for Unions 167

Conclusion 175

 

11. Conclusions: A Cultural Political Economy of Education Privatization 177

The Multiple Trajectories of Education Privatization 177

The Political, Economic, and Cultural Forces Behind Education Privatization 185

Final Remarks: Political Implications, Future Directions 193

Appendix—Methodology: Key Components 196

Notes 201

References 208

Index 230

About the Authors 244

 

For access, please visit:

https://www.academia.edu/30827734/The_Privatization_of_Education._A_Political_Economy_of_Global_Education_Reform_COMPLETE_BOOK_ 

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NAACP Sues Betsy Devos // July 22nd, 2020 

https://pfps.org/assets/uploads/DeVos_Complaint.pdf

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Report: PA Charters Game The Special Education System // Peter Greene

Report: PA Charters Game The Special Education System // Peter Greene | Charter Schools & "Choice": A Closer Look | Scoop.it

By Peter Greene

"In a new report, Education Voters of Pennsylvania looks at “how an outdated law wastes public money, encourages gaming the system, and limits school choice.” Fixing the Flaws looks at how Pennsylvania’s two separate funding systems have made students with special needs a tool for charter gaming of the system, even as some of them are shut out of the system entirely.

 

The two-headed system looks like this. Public schools receive special education funding based on the actual costs of services, while charter schools are funded with a one-size-fits-all system that pays the same amount for all students with special needs, no matter what those special needs might be."...

 

For full story, please visit:

https://www.forbes.com/sites/petergreene/2020/07/02/report-pa-charters-game-the-special-education-system/#460ca59e7828

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Parents worried about the fall plan ‘learning pods’ and micro-schools

Parents worried about the fall plan ‘learning pods’ and micro-schools | Charter Schools & "Choice": A Closer Look | Scoop.it

Worried about distance learning, families set up "learning pods." UC Prof. Janelle Scott discusses them."...

 

For full post and soundcloud interview, please visit: 

https://edsource.org/podcast/the-new-new-thing-worried-parents-form-learning-pods-hubs-and-micro-schools

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Another attempted cash grab by the corporate ed crowd in Washington State: House Bill 2788 // Seattle Education Blog

Another attempted cash grab by the corporate ed crowd in Washington State: House Bill 2788 // Seattle Education Blog | Charter Schools & "Choice": A Closer Look | Scoop.it

By Dora Taylor
"Even though charter schools have been a big fail in Seattle, as we said they were in other states ten years ago, the corporate education advocates still want money for what has shown to be simply one big cash grab by taking away money from PUBLIC schools.

There is a bill, HB (House Bill) 2788, if approved,  would allow charter schools to receive levy funding raised by the City of Seattle. This funding has been used previously for PUBLIC schools to supplement state funding.

 

State House Representative Eric Pettigrew, who has no problem selling his own people down the river, is the lead sponsor of this bill. For examples of his untiring bidding for the moneyed few, see Rainier Beach High Schools responds to the League of Education Voters Attack on its School and CommunityApartheid House Bill 1860: No one wants to split Seattle in two except for Reps. Santos, Pettigrew and oh yeah… Magendanz. Remember him?, and House Rep. Eric Pettigrew, House Bill 1497, mayoral control and the money.   
   

Testimony will be heard in the House Appropriations Committee today at 3:30 PM.  Catherine Ahl, the Education Chair for the League of Women Voters of Washington, will be giving testimony regarding this proposed legislation. To follow is a copy of what she will be saying in front of the committee.

Here is her testimony

"I am Catherine Ahl, Education Chair for the League of Women Voters of Washington, here to oppose HB 2788.  The League of Women Voters has opposed charter schools because they don’t have boards elected by the voters but instead the corporation running the schools appoints the board. We support full funding by the state for public schools. The state currently isn’t fully funding special education or funding support staff because of the outdated prototypical school model.

 

Now is not the time to ignore these problems and provide extra funding for charter schools. This bill will take more funds out of the WA Opportunity Pathways account, which is also supposed to fund various scholarships, grants, and the Early Childhood Education and Assistance program – approximately $7,800,000 in 2021-23 and $8,200,000 in 23-25.

 

Since charter schools were first authorized, five have closed, one is under a stay of revocation of its charter, two are being investigated on violating Special Education laws, and one is being required to file annual reports on its financial viability. Of the five that have closed, four were awarded grants of over $1 million from the federal charter schools’ program according to the Network for Public Education. It makes one wonder how much total state funding went to these closed schools.

 

Looking at Washington’s charter schools’ track record, now is not the time to provide more money to charter schools that may close in the future."

 

******

Here is the history of failed charter schools in Seattle:
First Place Scholars (K-5)  Seattle  –  Opened 2014, Closed 2015

SOAR Academy (K-5)  Tacoma  –  Opened 2015, Closed 2019  –  financial constraints

Green Dot Destiny (6-8)  Tacoma  –  Opened 2016, Closed 2019  –  enrollment & operational challenges

Green Dot Excel (7-9)  Kent  –  Opened 2016, Closed 2019  – enrollment & operational challenges

Ashe Preparatory Academy (K-2, 6)  Kent  – Opened 8/2019, Closed 10/2019 – enrollment, staff exodus

Willow (6-8)  Walla Walla  –  Opened 2018  – under a Stay of Revocation **

Summit Sierra (9-12)  Seattle  –  Opened 2016  – Special Ed. Investigation  **

Summit Atlas (6-12)  W. Seattle  Opened 2017  – Special Ed. Investigation  **

Rainer Valley Leadership Academy (6-12)  SE Seattle – Opened 2017 – must demonstrate financial viability yearly, new contract separating from Green Dot."...

 

For full post, please visit: 

https://seattleducation.com/2020/01/29/another-attempted-cash-grab-by-the-corporate-ed-crowd-in-washington-state-house-bill-2788/

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Charter School Tuition Paid and Charter School Enrollment from 2008 - 2019 // 

Charter School Tuition Paid and Charter School Enrollment from 2008 - 2019 //  | Charter Schools & "Choice": A Closer Look | Scoop.it

From Pennsylvania School Boards Association 

https://infogram.com/charter-growth-only-1h7g6kyplyxj4oyhttps://www.pacharterchange.org/

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Cornerstone founder Clark Durant accused of self-dealing by charter schools' biggest private funder // ABCNews Detroit

Cornerstone founder Clark Durant accused of self-dealing by charter schools' biggest private funder // ABCNews Detroit | Charter Schools & "Choice": A Closer Look | Scoop.it

By Allie Gross (March 3, 2020)

"A fissure has erupted between Clark Durant, the founder of Detroit’s Cornerstone charter schools, and the executors of the trust and estate of the schools’ largest funder: the late Bill Pulte Sr.

 

Last week Mark Pulte, the son of Pulte Sr. and a co-trustee of the William J. Pulte Trust, submitted a complaint to the office of Attorney General Dana Nessel. In it he called for an investigation into Durant as, well as the New Common School Foundation (NCSF), a non-profit Durant created to raise funds for the Cornerstone schools, a group of private, religious schools he opened in the 1990s, and subsequently transitioned into public-charter schools.

"I have grown increasingly concerned that NCSF, which is ostensibly a Michigan non-profit public charity whose mission is to educate disadvantaged students, is actually operating as a for-profit entity with the primary purpose of financially benefiting Mr. Durant," Pulte, whose father has donated tens of millions of dollars to the foundation over the last two decades, wrote in the Nov. 30 complaint obtained by 7 Action News.

Pulte’s complaint comes in the midst of an already tense legal battle between the trust and the foundation.

In March, following a 7 Action News investigation into ethical questions surrounding rental contracts between Cornerstone’s public charter school boards (which Durant advises as CEO of the Cornerstone Education Group) and the NCSF (which acts as landlord, as well as a charity fundraising for the schools), the trust requested an audit from the foundation.

"The trustees remain confounded why your client refuses their reasonable request for an audit regarding the funds they have donated to the New Common School Foundation," a trustee attorney wrote in a Mar. 12 email to the NCSF's chairman Jeffery Neilson.

"The lack of transparency is unsettling, particularly given the history of generosity from William Pulte, and more recently the trustees of his trust," the email continued, referencing the fact that in 2019, following the death of Pulte Sr., the trust signed a settlement agreement with NCSF promising to finish out a 2013 pledge made by Pulte Sr., and pay the foundation $1.45M a year through 2025.

When the trust never heard back, the trustees, in July, withheld a promised payment. In response, NCSF asked a Florida probate court to enforce the settlement agreement. They claimed the trust was in breach of contract, stating that the settlement agreement never tied payments to an audit. In October the probate judge ordered the trust to continue making the payments. The trust has since appealed, and Pulte subsequently filed the complaint with AG Nessel's office.

[Pulte AG Complaint by Allie Gross on Scribd]


While, 7 Action News' spring investigation raised questions about the ways in which public dollars were being spent within the Cornerstone network, the current back and forth highlights equally pertinent questions when it comes to private dollars. The Pulte trust wants to know how their donations are being used. But Bruce Baker, a Rutgers University professor and expert on education financing, points out that the public should be just as interested — and deserving — of these answers. The five Cornerstone schools, educating roughly 3,500 students, bring in around $20 million a year in public dollars.

"Most of the money that is going to run these schools — to provide the annual public service of providing education tuition-free to these kids — is public taxpayer dollars," Baker said, noting that while the NCSF may not be legally obligated to provide the trust — much less the public — with their private financial statements that doesn’t necessarily make it right.

"The public deserves an opportunity to be stewards over that taxpayer dollar and know just how that money co-mingles with all of this other money that is flowing through these kind-of murky non-profits," he continued. "They need to know this is what their system has reverted to: these battles among wealthy, private individuals to figure out how they’re going to control this quasi-public education system, where they can’t even get the information from each other, no less can the public get the information from them."

Pulte and the trust declined to comment for this story citing the pending litigation, however, their concerns about Durant allegedly using the foundation to enrich himself are highlighted in court documents, as well as the AG complaint. The documents raise questions around: the rental agreements 7 Action News investigated; loans made between Durant and the foundation; the foundation’s alleged decision to engage in speculative art buying; the alleged use of foundation dollars to sponsor a trip to Israel; and Durant’s compensation, which skyrocketed from just over $500,000 in 2017 to over $800,000 in 2018 after Bill Pulte Sr. passed away.

The New Common School Foundation contends the Pulte trust is trotting out frivolous accusations in order to get out of its "financial obligations" to the foundation. They also maintain the trust is going against the wishes of Bill Pulte Sr.

"Ultimately, this is not a legal case. What’s at stake is far greater," Neilson, the foundation chairman, wrote in a statement to 7 Action News.

"This case is about the legacy and impact of a very generous man, Mr. William Pulte," he continued. "Mr. Pulte had a clear vision that recognized the demand for quality urban education in Detroit. For twenty years until his death, he strongly supported both the Foundation's and Cornerstone’s mission to help meet that need. The Foundation has been and remains committed to the long-term vision of Mr. Pulte. The Foundation has acted fully in accord with his wishes as to Mr. Durant and the significant projects underway and previously approved by Mr. Pulte. We are hopeful the Pulte Estate will fulfill its commitments, affirmed now by two Court Orders, in keeping with Mr. Pulte's wishes and legacy."

When asked why the NCSF would not consent to the Pulte trust’s request for an audit, the foundation responded: "New Common School Foundation already has its financial statements audited by an independent CPA firm annually."

7 Action News did not hear back when we asked for copies of the audits, or if they were shared with the Pulte trust.

Court documents indicate, however, they were not: "To date, NCSF has refused to provide the Estate and Trust with a financial audit. In fact, NCSF has failed to provide any financial transparency despite repeated requests for information," the trust’s attorney wrote in a September court document.

Pulte reiterated the claim again last week in his complaint to the AG: "Mr. Durant has refused all my requests for an audit."

CLAIMS: COMPENSATION
Without an audit, the trust’s allegations are culled largely from tax documents: 990s that nonprofits are required, by law, to submit to maintain their non-profit status. This is where they pulled data on Durant’s compensation, which saw over a quarter of a million-dollar bump between 2017 and 2018.

"In the past," Pulte wrote in the AG complaint, "Mr. Durant has publicly tried to defend the amount of his compensation on the basis that my father’s donations were intended, in part, to cover Mr. Durant’s compensation. However, I suspect that this drastic jump in compensation in 2018 was timed with my father’s death in March that same year to avoid accountability to NCSF’s long-time major donor."

According to tax documents Durant received a total compensation of $523,294 in 2017. The following year, his compensation jumped to $843,475.

"I can think of no justification for Mr. Durant’s staggering 61 percent increase in compensation between 2017 and 2018," Pulte continued in the complaint.

[NCSF 2018 990 by Allie Gross on Scribd]


NCSF maintains Durant’s base-salary remained the same in 2018 ($475,000) but that the increase was due to bonuses — a $100,000 retention bonus and a $235,000 incentive bonus — that were recommended by an independent consulting firm, and approved by the foundation board with Durant abstaining from the vote.

7 Actions News inquired about who was on the board when the vote occurred, we did not hear back from the NCSF. The foundation’s tax documents list no board members, and there is no documentation online of who currently sits on the board of the foundation.

The only people listed on the 2018 990s are: Durant (president), Nielson (chairman) and Mindy Barry (director).

Barry is the former CEO of the Cornerstone Education Group and a former school board member at Madison-Carver Academy, one of the Cornerstone public-charter schools. Neilson represented Durant’s U.S. Senate campaign in the 1990s when it was accused of violating campaign finance laws.

CLAIMS: LOANS
The Pulte trust also raises questions about various loans that have been made between the foundation and Durant over the years.

In 2014, for example, Durant borrowed $300,000 from the foundation. In court documents, the foundation explained that the loan was made "with full approval of the Foundation board to afford [Durant] the ability to make a leading and/or matching gift which would encourage other donors to do the same."

NCSF, in court documents, maintains Durant is continuing to pay 4 percent interest on the loan every year and that the loan will be paid when due in 2026. 7 Action News asked the foundation for further clarification on the terms of the loan, we did not hear back.

Pulte in his letter to the AG raised two points about the loan. First, he questioned whether the arrangement would allow Durant to make a donation and then claim a charitable deduction. Second, he asked what this indicated about the foundation’s processes for wooing donors.

"At best," Pulte wrote in the AG complaint, "this appears to be a disingenuous characterization of the donation and one must wonder how many other donors would not have contributed to the campaign if they were aware of the true nature of Mr. Durant’s donation."

The trust, in the AG complaint and court documents, also raised questions about a $495,000 loan — with 5 percent interest — Durant made to the foundation in 2017 for — as marked on the foundation’s 2017 tax documents — the "purchase of a foundation asset."

In court filings, NCSF conceded the loan, and interest, were paid back in 2018. They explained the purpose of the loan was to help the foundation purchase "a painting that could be used to facilitate donations from collectors of similar sought after works."

Further, they claimed the painting was "sold, at a small profit to the Foundation, to a third-party outside purchaser and collector who made an additional and substantial donation to the foundation" which was then used on part of a school expansion project.

NCSF did not respond to 7 Action News' questions about what art was purchased, and how long the foundation has been engaging in art investments. Without a response or access to an audit, we could not confirm the details of the transaction.

The trust, in response to news that the foundation was using funds to buy art, wrote in court documents: "There is no legitimate reason why New Common School Foundation should be using its cash reserves to make speculative investments in high-end artwork."

The trust went on to say that they believed Durant was "using NCSF’s assets to fund his hobbies and grow his personal art collection."

In the AG complaint, Pulte pointed to two examples where a Winston Churchill painting — Garden Scene — was featured in exhibitions and the museums cited the art as being on loan from Clark Durant and The New Common School Foundation.

Durant has publicly expressed much adoration for Churchill. In 2018 he was inducted into the Association of Churchill Fellows. That same year, he made plans to commission a sculpture by Churchill's granddaughter for one of the Cornerstone campuses.

CLAIMS: ISRAEL
Finally, the Pulte trust raised questions about the use of foundation funds for a trip to Israel. Pulte, in court documents and the complaint to the AG, claimed Durant invited him to go on a trip to Israel and suggested that they could use foundation funds to cover the trip. He maintained he did not go on any trip but had "information and belief, Mr. Durant did visit Israel, and he used NCSF’s funds to pay for his travel expenses."

The NCSF, responding to the allegation in court documents, maintained Durant had traveled to Israel but that the trust mischaracterized the trip. They stated that it was not for "personal benefit" but rather a trip with other "business leaders and public officials."

While the foundation conceded expenses were paid for by the foundation, the trip’s objective was about business.

"Mr. Durant’s expenses were paid for by the Foundation. Mr. Durant’s specific trip objectives included a prayer at the Western Wall with a major corporate partner of the private Cornerstone Schools, introducing two other Cornerstone leaders to the roots of the Cornerstone enterprise in the land of Israel and building relationships with donors and potential donors," NCSF stated in a court document, adding that while Durant did invite Mark Pulte to go on a different Israel trip, this trip never occurred.

"A pilgrimage was planned for that trip, a pilgrimage which William Pulte, Mark’s father, had encouraged Mr. Durant to arrange," the court document states, not addressing whether foundation funds had been offered, even if the trip had never occurred.

7 Action News reached out to the NCSF for comment on the new AG complaint, we have not heard back. Currently, the trust’s payments are in an escrow account as they wait for the probate litigation to proceed."

For original post with video and access to documents, please visit: https://www.wxyz.com/news/clark-durant-in-battle-with-pulte-trust-a-major-cornerstone-charter-funder 

 

See also: 
https://www.wxyz.com/ethical-questions-raised-around-cornerstone-charter-schools-real-estate-deals  

 

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Privatization of Public K-12 Education: Racial Disparities in Politics, Power, Policy, and Practice // Prepared for Race Equity through Prevention Workgroup, Santa Clara County Juvenile Justice Sys...

To download, click on title or arrow above. File is a pdf with live links to cited documents. Selected/related links are below:

 

Privatizing Schooling and Policy Making: The American Legislative Exchange Council [ALEC] and New Political and Discursive Strategies of Education Governance // Educational Policy http://epx.sagepub.com/content/early/2014/04/28/0895904814528794.abstract 

 
Cashing In On Kids: 172 ALEC Education Bills Push Privatization in 2015

https://www.prwatch.org/news/2016/03/13054/cashing-kids-172-alec-education-bills-2015

 

How Online Companies Bought America’s Schools
https://www.thenation.com/article/how-online-learning-companies-bought-americas-schools/

 

The Profit Motive Behind Virtual Schools in Maine

www.pressherald.com/2012/09/01/virtual-schools-in-maine_2012-09-02

 

K12Inc: California Virtual Academies’ Operator Exploits Charter, Charity Laws For Money, Records Show

https://www.mercurynews.com/2016/04/17/k12-inc-california-virtual-academies-operator-exploits-charter-charity-laws-for-money-records-show/

 

Enrollment in California Public Versus Charter Schools https://www.cde.ca.gov/ds/sd/cb/ceffingertipfacts.asp

 

Santa Clara County Office of Education Annual Charter School Databook

https://www.sccoe.org/supoffice/charter-schools-office/Documents/2016-17%20Charter%20School%20Report%20Final.pdf

 

Death By A Thousand Cuts: Racism, School Closures, and Public School Sabotage // https://www.j4jalliance.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/J4JReport-final_05_12_14.pdf

 

IES National Center for Education Statistics: Percentage of Public School Students Enrolled in Charter Schools, By State (2014)

https://nces.ed.gov/fastfacts/display.asp?id=30

 

Center for Media and Democracy Publishes List of [2,200]+ Closed Charter Schools (with Interactive Map) http://sco.lt/6KOm6z

 

The Perfect Storm: Disenfranchised Communities [Video] https://vimeo.com/161523742

 

“School Closure Playbook” – [Video]

https://vimeo.com/120338240

 

Charter School Closure Leaves Parents Scrambling For Alternatives

http://www.sacbee.com/news/local/education/article199107149.html

 

The Continuum of Structural Violence: Sustaining Exclusion Through School Closures http://sco.lt/9IcTKb

 

KIPP Refuses Agreement To Abide By Conflict of Interest Law: Gets Approved By State Board of Education

https://eduresearcher.com/2018/03/13/denykipp/

 

How Did The State Board of Education Vote on Controversial Charter School Petitions? https://eduresearcher.com/2018/09/07/how-will-state-board-of-education-vote-on-controversial-charter-school-petitions/

 

Separate and Unequal: The Problematic Segregation of Special Populations In Charter Schools Relative to Traditional Public Schools // Stanford Law and Policy Review http://nepc.colorado.edu/blog/are-charters-beacons 

 

Charter Schools, Civil Rights, and School Discipline: A Comprehensive Review: The Center for Civil Rights Remedies (UCLA)

https://www.civilrightsproject.ucla.edu/resources/projects/center-for-civil-rights-remedies/school-to-prison-folder/federal-reports/charter-schools-civil-rights-and-school-discipline-a-comprehensive-review/losen-et-al-charter-school-discipline-review-2016.pdf       

 

Are California’s Charter Schools The New Separate But Equal “Schools of Excellence”, or Are They Worse Than Plessy?

https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=3128802

 

How Privatization Increases Inequality: Section 5: Privatization Perpetuates Socioeconomic and Racial Segregation // In The Public Interest

https://public.tableau.com/profile/civil.rights.project.at.ucla#!/vizhome/CostofCASuspensions/DistrictDash

 

NAACP Resolution Calling for a Moratorium on the Expansion of Charter Schools [Original] https://eduresearcher.com/2016/10/21/naacp/

 

KIPP Refuses To Abide By Conflict of Interest Code; Gets Approved By State Board of Education: https://eduresearcher.com/2018/03/13/denykipp/

 

[Link no longer active – this was original document for State Legal Counsel’s opinion that a “charter school is subject to” government code 1090]

https://cde.app.box.com/v/SBE2018MARCH/file/282675343163

 

Charter School Vulnerabilities to Waste, Fraud, and Abuse
http://populardemocracy.org/sites/default/files/Charter-School-Fraud_Report_2017 

 

Rocketship Pushes Expansion Despite State Denials and Strong Community Opposition // https://eduresearcher.com/2016/03/09/rocketship-pushes/

 

John Danner (Co-Founder of Rocketship) Why Blended Schools Are “Whales” In The Ed Institutional Context Quote: “Schools like Rocketship will be a great way to test and validate products and we are happy to do it…” https://beyondschools2.blogspot.com/2012/

 

New Orleans Charter School Problems Exposed at NAACP Hearing

https://eduresearcher.com/2017/04/29/nola-charter/

 

“Blended Learning: A Wise Giver’s Guide to Tech-Assisted Teaching” // Philanthropy Roundtable (formerly chaired by B. Devos) // http://www.philanthropyroundtable.org/file_uploads/Blended_Learning_Guidebook.pdf

 

Breaking Point: The Cost of Charter Schools For Public School Districts

https://www.inthepublicinterest.org/report-the-cost-of-charter-schools-for-public-school-districts/

 

Education School Dean: Urban School Reform Is Really About Land Development (Not Kids) // https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/answer-sheet/wp/2013/05/28/ed-school-dean-urban-school-reform-is-really-about-land-development-not-kids/?utm_term=.ef77a9f69fd5

 

Charter Schools, Race, and Urban Space: Where The Market Meets Grassroots Resistance // http://sco.lt/6vGDMf

 

Spending Blind: The Failure of Policy Planning In California’s Charter School Funding  // https://www.inthepublicinterest.org/wp-content/uploads/FINAL_ITPI_SpendingBlind_April2017.pdf

 

A Comprehensive Guide To Charter School Closure

http://sco.lt/80B85Z

  

San Pablo Rocketship Appeal to State Board in Sacramento (Video with evidence of expanding gaps) https://www.youtube.com/watch?list=PLgIRGe0-q7Safim1TwdTNlcV7auIbigPr&v=uHpH63PsXKs

 

Cybercharters Have An Overwhelmingly Negative Impact

http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/DigitalEducation/2015/10/CREDO_online_charters_study.html 

 

Virtual and Blended Learning Schools Continue to Struggle and Grow

http://nepc.colorado.edu/newsletter/2016/04/virtual-schools-annual-2016

 

Red Flags Known and Overlooked With State Board Votes On San Jose Charter Schools // https://eduresearcher.com/2018/01/18/charter-red-flags/

 

How Will State Board of Education Vote on Controversial Charter School Petitions? // https://eduresearcher.com/2018/09/07/how-will-state-board-of-education-vote-on-controversial-charter-school-petitions/

 

Understanding Policies that Charter Operators Use for Financial Benefit

https://nepc.colorado.edu/publication/charter-revenue

 

New Report Uncovers Systematic Failure by California Charter Schools to Meet Local Control Obligations https://www.publicadvocates.org/uncategorized/22875/

 

KIPP subset of posts on Charter Schools & “Choice”: A Closer Look page:

https://www.scoop.it/t/charter-choice-closer-look?q=kipp 

 

Rocketship subset of posts on Charter Schools & “Choice”: A Closer Look page // https://www.scoop.it/t/charter-choice-closer-look?q=rocketship

 

For more with current updates, please see:

http://bit.ly/chart_look 

http://bit.ly/privatization_explained

http://bit.ly/naacp_resolution

 

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New report finds high closure rates for charter schools over time // Washington Post

New report finds high closure rates for charter schools over time // Washington Post | Charter Schools & "Choice": A Closer Look | Scoop.it

By Valerie Strauss

[Selected quotes included below]

"A comprehensive examination released Thursday of charter school failure rates between 1999 and 2017 found that more than one-quarter of the schools closed after operating for five years, and about half closed after 15 years, displacing a total of more than 867,000 students.

 

The report, using information available from the U.S. Education Department, also found that in three of the poorest cities in the country — Detroit, Tucson and Milwaukee — there were more charter closures in areas with higher rates of poverty than in those with lower rates.

The analysis (see in full below) is the latest in a series of reports on charter schools by the Network for Public Education, a nonprofit organization that advocates for traditional public schools and was co-founded by historian and activist Diane Ravitch. Earlier reports focused on waste and fraud in public charter school funding."...

 

***

 

"...The Federal Charter School Program has invested close to $4 billion in charter schools since it began giving grants in 1995. Charters had bipartisan support for years, but a growing number of Democrats have pulled back from the movement, citing the fiscal impact on school districts and repeated scandals in the sector.

 

The Education Department did not immediately respond to a query about the findings. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos has made expanding alternatives to school districts — including charter schools — her top priority.

 

In the new report, titled “Broken Promises: An Analysis of Charter School Closures from 1999-2017,″ authors Burris and Ryan Pfleger based their analysis on information from the Education Department’s Common Core of Data, which is the primary database on elementary and secondary education in the United States. 

 

They analyzed groups of schools that opened in the same year and looked at their failure rates at three, five, 10 and 15 years.

The findings include:

* Of 77 groups of schools that opened from 1998 to 2014, 18 percent closed by the three-year mark. A large proportion of failures occurred by the completion of the first year.

* By the five-year mark, the closure rate had jumped to more than 1 in 4 charter schools.

* By the 10th year, 40 percent of charter schools had closed.

* In the available data, five groups of charter schools reached the 15-year mark, and by this point, one in two of those schools were gone. Failure rates ranged from 47 percent to 54 percent.

 

Earlier reports from the Network for Public Education detailed fraud and waste in charter schools, finding that the U.S. government had wasted up to $1 billion on charter schools that never opened, or opened and then closed because of mismanagement and other reasons.

 

It also found that oversight of federal charter school funds by the Education Department was lax and that the state with the most charters that received public funding but never opened was Michigan, DeVos’s home state.

 

Burris, a co-author of the new report, is executive director of the Network for Public Education and a former award-winning New York principal. She has been chronicling the charter movement for years on this blog. Pfleger, the other co-author, is an education policy researcher."...

 

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https://www.washingtonpost.com/education/2020/08/06/new-report-finds-high-closure-rates-charter-schools-over-time/

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COVID-19 “Microschools” Are Betsy DeVos’s Latest Privatization Scheme // Truthout

COVID-19 “Microschools” Are Betsy DeVos’s Latest Privatization Scheme // Truthout | Charter Schools & "Choice": A Closer Look | Scoop.it

By Candice Bernd
"Working parents grappling with the difficult choices before them this school semester — keeping their children home to learn remotely, or risking COVID-19 transmission by sending them to class — are increasingly turning to a new trend being hailed as a “solution” to the pandemic: privatized “microschools.”

 

Microschools consist of small groups, or “pods,” of mixed-level students located in homes or local facilities like churches or community centers, who are guided through personalized pedagogies by parents or educators as an alternative to public education. The model blends a private school and homeschool approach, retaining flexibility of homeschooling while relying on paid teachers to facilitate a classroom experience.

Right-wing and libertarian proponents of privatization, including Charles Koch, the Walton Family Foundation, the Heritage Foundation, the Reason Foundation and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, are exploiting the pandemic to push the model.

 

DeVos tweeted her support several times last week for the School Choice Now Act that would provide $5 billion in tax credits for families opting for homeschooling or private school. At the same time, DeVos and the Trump administration have threatened to withhold federal funds from any school that does not open its classrooms fully in the fall.

 

Microschools were already gaining interest over the last several years with companies like Prenda piloting the model in Arizona in 2018. Since its launch, Prenda has opened more than 200 “campuses” in the state, according to its CEO, Kelly Smith. The pandemic, however, has strengthened the appeal: Google searches for “microschool” have spiked since major districts began announcing plans to remain online for the fall.

 

Now, Silicon Valley is jumping on the bandwagon, with several new start-ups hoping to take advantage of what they see as a big market amid the COVID-19 crisis. New online platforms in Seattle and San Francisco are connecting families and educators looking to pool resources and form microschools.

 

But educators and union activists warn privatized microschools could exacerbate inequality as affluent parents leave public schools for the social and economic benefits of cocooning their children into pods. Predominantly Black and Brown families are likely to be left behind, widening an already dire racial gap in public education.

 

These educators are fighting back against the impossible choice driving many parents toward private microschools. The Demand Safe Schools Coalition, made up of progressive teachers unions and organizations, is mobilizing today for increased government resources to ensure safe, equitable and science-based school reopenings for working families.

 

The Chicago Teachers Union, the United Teachers Los Angeles and National Educators United are among the coalition groups demanding more nurses and counselors, personal protective equipment, cleaning supplies and virus testing services. The coalition is also targeting DeVos’s privatization agenda, demanding a moratorium on new charter and voucher programs.

Meanwhile, teachers across the U.S. are set to revitalize the Red for Ed movement in a strike wave similar to 2018. Today’s “Day of Resistance” comes as the American Federation of Teachers adopted a resolution last week authorizing last-resort “safety strikes” if school reopening plans fail to meet demands to ensure teachers’ and students’ health and safety amid the pandemic.

 

In Arizona, teachers are mobilizing today in the state’s capitol as part of a motor march “funeral procession” of educators delivering their own signed obituaries to Gov. Doug Ducey. Hundreds of teachers have held similar motor marches in cars painted with slogans like “Red for Ed, Not Dead for Ed,” over the last several weeks.

Governor Ducey announced last week that schools would wait for a green light from public health officials before reopening. His latest order requires schools to open in-person in some capacity starting August 17.

When it comes to privatizers’ proposed solution to the crisis though, Arizona educators say microschools are just another way to siphon public dollars into a charter model.

Mesa Rejects Microschool Pilot

Organizers with Save Our Schools Arizona and the Mesa Education Association successfully beat back a proposed microschool pilot for 100 K-8 students in Arizona’s Mesa Unified School District by flooding school board members with 76 public comments in opposition to the proposal ahead of a special board meeting on July 23.

 

The district proposed an emergency procurement of $440,000 to partner with Prenda on the program, which would have placed students with unlicensed “guides” teaching company curricula with a Mesa public school teacher overseeing as the “teacher of record.”

 

During the July 23 public meeting, Prenda CEO Smith told Mesa Public Schools board members that the company’s microschools are about 80 percent white, 8 percent Black and 8 percent Latinx, emphasizing that those figures include many poor rural students. He insisted that the pilot would be representative of demographics of the predominantly Latinx school district, but board members questioned the extent to which Prenda guides determine which students are selected.

 

“Speaking as a person of color, this just reeks of just separating — ok, so we’ll have a special meeting for children of color and families of color … in this model. Absolutely not. I don’t like anything that’s been said,” said Mesa Governing Board Member Kiana Maria Sears during the meeting. She described the plan as chasing down students who were leaving the district for charters. “This is unconscionable, where we are right now.”

 

Later Smith cited his participation in a program led by 4.0 Schools, which trains “education entrepreneurs” and has helped launch dozens of start-ups and private schools in New Orleans. The lessons he learned in the program, he said, helped him design Prenda. Board Member Sears was again shocked, saying, “That’s an explosive point for someone who’s originally from New Orleans, who saw … the decline and the privatization of all of Orleans Parish,” where more than 93 percent of students now attend charter schools.

 

Smith declined to discuss how many other districts in the state are weighing potential partnerships or pilot programs with Prenda, telling Truthout that, “We like [that kind of partnership] a lot. We’re in talks with various people in multiple states about doing more of that as one of our goals to make this model accessible.” Partnerships with school districts, he says, are “the best way” for the company to ensure equity.

 

According to its website, Prenda is backed by 4.0 Schools, the Walton Family Foundation and the Mercatus Center at George Mason University, a right-wing think tank funded by Charles Koch, who serves on the organization’s board of directors. Koch also funds 4.0 Schools. In 2018, the Walton Family Foundation gave $325,000 to Prenda, according to the Foundation’s publicly listed grantees.

 

Moreover, Prenda microschools are partly funded through the state’s voucher-style Empowerment Scholarship Account (ESA) program. The company also partners with several charter schools, through which state funding flows to its campuses. In June 2020, Prenda raised $6,149,990 in new equity, according to a news site that tracks venture capital.

 

Other privatization groups backed by the Kochs and the Waltons, such as Yes. Every Kid. and the American Federation for Children, are already promoting similar voucher programs for microschools as an innovative solution for families in crisis.

 

“My goal is not to engage in a political struggle,” Smith said when asked about company’s backers. “My goal is to empower kids as learners, and we’re excited to work together with anyone who wants to work with us.” His company’s goal, he says, “is not to replace, it’s not to destroy; it’s to augment and add and innovate together.”

 

Christina Bustos, an executive board member with the Mesa Education Association, doesn’t see it that way. She told Truthout that Prenda’s failed partnership with Mesa Public Schools was in part due to the company’s desire to extract funds from the district after the May 15 extended deadline for ESA applications. She also argued that new legislation is needed to regulate microschools.

 

Prenda’s microschools use tax dollars to place children as young as 5 in a private home or facility with an unlicensed and untrained independent contractor. To make matters worse, there is no law in the state regulating this kind of corporate operation. Smith, similarly, has no background in education.

 

Bustos is not just concerned about safety; she’s also worried about the cultural competency of Prenda’s untrained guides. “They have these Black and Brown kids coming into these white people’s homes, and we have no control over what these white people are saying to our children, or how they’re teaching them to think critically or question or not question authority,” Bustos says. “I’m far more confident that there’s checks and balances in public schools.”

 

That’s if Mesa’s Black and Brown kids are included at all. Teachers and Mesa school board members questioned the model’s ability to include low-income families who live in apartments or those who can’t access broadband internet. The problem is amplified by the fact that communities of color are the ones that have been hardest hit by COVID-19. “It’s white flight, but for the schools,” Bustos says.

 

Research on charters has long confirmed that self-selection ultimately becomes self-segregation, and widens existing gaps in achievement and school funding. Bustos says it’s all part and parcel of DeVos’s plan to dismantle public education by depriving schools of federal support amid a national crisis.

 

The GOP’s new coronavirus relief package includes $105 billion for education, but two-thirds of the funding is tied to schools reopening for in-person instruction. DeVos outlined the privatization plan on “Fox News Sunday” saying, “American investment in education is a promise to students and their families. If schools aren’t going to reopen and not fulfill that promise, they shouldn’t get the funds. Then give it to the families to decide to go to a school that is going to meet that promise.”

 

Just as privatization proponents exploited Hurricane Katrina to decimate the public school system in New Orleans, DeVos is now exploiting the pandemic to redirect federal relief funds intended for public schools into vouchers for private schools. If the current trend continues, more and more of those federal relief dollars are likely to be funneled into corporate microschools.

 

“This community was trying to create some kind of a solution to a problem that they think that they have: that people are going to pull their kids out of the school because they want them homeschooled,” Bustos told Truthout. “In my mind, part of the reason they’re having this problem is because Betsy DeVos is pushing this model.”

 

Mesa school board members ultimately agreed that it would be better to replicate a public version of the microschool model, using district teachers and resources instead of outsourcing to a private company. Until a vaccine for COVID-19 is fully developed and distributed, public school districts are finding real merits in the model. Bustos supports the effort, which is already underway.

 

“We as teachers have been begging for school districts to allow us more freedom to teach children in ways that are more meaningful, bring more joy, inspiration and natural curiosity to our schools,” Bustos submitted to the Mesa school board on July 23. “If you divided up the money [originally allocated for Prenda] with a small cohort of teachers, we would be overjoyed to teach a small group of students in a very similar way.”

Beyond Arizona, Microschools Multiply

Despite the company’s defeat in Mesa, Smith’s microschool model is spreading rapidly across the state and across the U.S. Prenda is building fast-growing Facebook communities for both guides and parents to share tips and resources.

 

But Arizona isn’t the only state in which parents and educators are scrambling over Facebook to organize themselves into microschools and more informal pods for child care and education. Throughout the nation, parents are increasingly pooling their time and sharing the costs of nannies and tutors. Others are volunteering their living rooms as contemporary one-room schoolhouses.

 

Tech start-ups are taking advantage, using the forums to advertise and hone their services. School districts are also turning to such online platforms, hoping to formalize the creation of microschools in their own communities.

 

A new public-private partnership may already be in the works in Seattle, where Bloomberg reported that the CEO of one such startup, Weekdays, said she has been in contact with administrators at Seattle Public Schools. Last week, San Francisco officials announced plans to open 40 “learning hubs” of low-income students to assist their remote learning needs.

Susan Solomon, president of United Educators of San Francisco, tells Truthout the district hasn’t yet involved the union in its communications regarding the new plan for hubs, but the union is also struggling with the creation of pandemic pods among wealthier families in the Bay Area.

 

“All of this is taking advantage of a pandemic to do what certain people like Betsy DeVos have wanted to do all along, and that is starve public education to death,” Solomon says. “If all the money and effort that’s going into monetizing microschools and starting private pods would be going toward … helping public schools have enough resources to reopen safely, we could solve this crisis.”

 

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Charter schools and their management companies pulled at least $925 million in federal coronavirus funding // Washington Post

By Valerie Strauss


"The Paycheck Protection Program, or PPP, is a $660 billion business loan program established as part of the $2 trillion coronavirus economic stimulus legislation that Congress passed in the spring. PPP was aimed at helping certain small businesses, nonprofit organizations, sole proprietors and others stay in business during the economic downturn caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

 

The U.S. Small Business Administration administered the program, and recently the SBA and the Treasury Department released some data on what organizations won loans from the program and how much they received. (Some loans can be forgiven if the PPP money is spent on keeping employees on the payroll.)

The release of funding details sparked some controversy about whether some of the organizations that received funds should have gotten them, including public charter schools — which are publicly funded but privately operated — and some elite private schools. (A Washington Post database shows the data.)

 

Charter schools received emergency stimulus money from Congress from the same fund that traditional public schools did — but some charter schools decided to apply for PPP loans as well, saying that they are underfunded through regular funding formulas and had a right to seek more aid. Other charter schools chose not to apply for loans, saying it would be double-dipping in federal aid funds.

Among those charters that did were some that knew they didn’t actually need the money to maintain financial stability. For example, 2KUTV in Salt Lake City did an investigation into Utah charter schools taking PPP funding and found that they took a total of $7.9 million. It reported on a discussion at the June 25 meeting of the governing board of the Utah Military Academy, a charter with two campuses, in which an unidentified board member explained how the $1.15 million in PPP funding that the school was expecting would be spent.

The conversation, heard on audio tapes, went like this, according to the CBS affiliate:

 
“So we take this money to pay the salaries, and the money we were going to pay salaries is going to go into our accounts to help flush up our funds,” said the board member.

“Can I ask a question?” a female voice said. “My understanding was that this money is for businesses who, because of the drop in business, were having trouble keeping all their employees. How do we qualify for that? Because our funding wasn’t cut at all.”

She also notes that no employees have been laid off by the school because of the covid-19 pandemic. Two more voices interject, “We’re a business,” and, “We’re a nonprofit.” A third voice is heard saying, “It’s some of that good free government money!”
 

With that, here is the post about just how much charter schools did get in PPP money, written by Carol Burris, executive director of the Network for Public Education, an alliance of organizations that advocates for the improvement of public education. Burris, a former award-winning principal in New York, has been chronicling the charter school movement and the standardized-test-based accountability movement on this blog for years.

By Carol Burris

On May 13, Washington Post reporter Perry Stein reported that some Washington, D.C., charter schools had been receiving funds from the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), although all of their taxpayer revenue continued to flow. By June 15, the New York Times’s Erica L. Green also wrote a story about how charter schools, some of which had billionaire backers, had been applying for and getting PPP money. Before long, local news agencies picked up on the story, questioning why schools that received public funding were tapping into the SBA program.

Unknown at the time was the national scope of the use of PPP funds by charters. Therefore, the Network for Public Education decided to scour the list of PPP recipients disclosed by the SBA and create lists by state of the charter schools and their management organizations that had received funding.

 

The amount that we have identified is staggering. More than 1,300 charter schools and their nonprofit or for-profits and management companies secured between $925 million and $2.2 billion through the PPP. We provide a range not from uncertainty but because the SBA chose not to report the exact amounts of the forgivable loans.

Even this range is an underestimate. Excluded from our calculations is the sizable number of PPP loans below $150,000 — which the Trump administration has not disclosed. You can find our state-by-state list of charter schools and charter management organizations, along with each school’s PPP range amounts, on our website here.

Background

 

The National Alliance for Public Charter Schools informed its members via email in March that it had successfully lobbied for charter schools to receive PPP funds and provided instructions on how such funding could be obtained. The blog that contained the contents of that email has been removed, but you can find it in the Internet archives here. Not only did the charter school alliance encourage its members to apply, but the organization received its own PPP forgivable loan in the range of $350,000 to $1 million.

 

Because the laws regarding charter transparency vary from state to state, prior to the publication of the SBA list we could only obtain information about PPP loans by reading charter school minutes, if they were posted. In some cases, we were able to listen to available recordings of meetings. From that limited information, a disturbing pattern emerged.

Well-funded charters with ample funding were applying for and receiving large PPP awards. A discussion of the governing board of California’s Summit Public Schools was particularly insightful. Not only did the school’s CEO report that the schools were in good fiscal standing, the only major concern of the board, in addition to public relations, was whether they would find themselves under criminal investigation if they took the funds and it was then discovered that Summit did not need the money.

 

When the SBA finally released the PPP data, a nonprofit research and policy organization group called In the Public Interest, and the nonprofit grass-roots advocacy group Parents United for Public Schools, analyzed charter school recipients in the state of California. Meanwhile, Carol Burris, Marla Kilfoyle and Darcie Cimarusti of the Network for Public Education concentrated on the other 49 states and Washington, D.C. Professor Gary Miron of Western Michigan University provided a national list of for-profit and nonprofit charter management organizations, which we checked against the PPP database as well. Because some organizations did not list themselves as nonprofits but rather as corporations, and some charter schools have nonprofits with names different from the name of the school, it is likely we missed a sizable number of grantees.

 

What we found

California has the most charter schools in the nation — approximately 1,300. Even so, its charter sector received a disproportionately large amount of PPP funding, which may be as high as half a -billion dollars.

 

More than 400 charter organizations received loan money totaling between $240.7 million and $565.6 million. In the Public Interest has created a searchable database of the California charters that received PPP loans, available here. Two-thirds of these charters are affiliated with “CMO’s,” or “charter management organizations,” such as Learn4Life and Magnolia Public Schools, large chains with campuses statewide. Inspire Schools, whose founder and former CEO has recently drawn criticism for receiving more than $1 million in retroactively authorized payroll, took as much as $29.7 million in PPP funding. This home-schooling charter network was expelled last fall from the California Charter Schools Association, an organization that typically unabashedly defends its members.

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In Los Angeles County — where the Los Angeles Unified School District has more charter schools than any other school system in the country — according to In the Public Interest, charters received as much as $201 million. San Diego County charters received as much as $91 million.

The New York State charter sector received between $126 million and $293.2 million — even as local businesses were going belly up because of a lack of revenue during the high point of the coronavirus pandemic in that state.

 

While New York public school districts may have felt the pain of Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s (D) decision to not distribute federal Cares Act funding to schools and use it to fill the state’s budget hole instead, 146 of the 327 charter schools had that blow cushioned by PPP. For example, six of the eight New Vision Charter High Schools received PPP funding, which totaled at the high end of the range to $10 million. In addition, the New Visions charter management organization that manages the schools received its own PPP funding in an amount between $2 million and $5 million.

 

Beside California and New York, two other states’ charter sectors received high-end range PPP funding in excess of $100 million: Florida, at $152.8 million, and Louisiana, at $107.4 million. The charter sectors in three other states received up to $80 million or more: Arizona, $99.4 million; Pennsylvania, $85 million; and Texas, $81.1 million. Again, readers can find state totals along with school names and funding ranges here.

National charter chains cash in

 

Learn4Life is a charter school chain claiming 80 campuses in California enrolling nearly 40,000 students. It is expanding to North Carolina, South Carolina and Texas. Its schools are often storefronts in malls where over-aged or at-risk students pick up work to independently complete. On-site teachers provide support if needed.

According to In the Public Interest, Learn4Life schools received as much as $51.7 million in PPP funds — more than the total amount received by the entire charter sectors in the majority of states. Last June, a judge ordered the chain to close three of its San Diego County locations after school districts said they were operating illegally within their boundaries. Later that year, a Voice of San Diego investigation revealed that John Helgeson, a Learn4Life executive vice president, was collecting two paychecks paid with public money. In a scheme described as “a classic conflict of interest,” Helgeson owned a for-profit company that loaned money and leased corporate office space to Learn4Life while he worked for the chain.

 

 

At a glance, Learn4Life seems too big to apply for a PPP loan. But like Shake Shack and other corporations with multiple locations, Learn4Life’s leaders took advantage of the chain’s structure to apply school by school, while also applying for their central management organization.

 

Learn4Life was hardly alone. Twenty-one organizations related to the KIPP charter chain have in total received an amount at the high end of the range, $68.7 million, more than the high end of the charter sector in 42 states.

The for-profit charter management organization Academica runs charter schools in seven states. Its home office is located in Florida, where the company manages scores of charter schools down the east coast of the state from Fort Pierce to Homestead. Academica also has a presence in Arizona, California, Nevada, South Carolina, Texas and Utah. Academica Management LLC, Academica West and Academica Virtual Education, which the organization uses to support online schooling, received PPP funding, as did 15 of the schools it manages and supports. High-range amounts for Academica and its schools produce a total of $35.7 million.

Small charter management organizations jumped in as well. Philips Education Partners, located in Newark, New Jersey, got between $150,000 and $350,000. It runs two charter schools. One of those two schools, Philips Academy of Patterson, also received PPP in the same amount — $150,00 to $350,000 — as the charter management organization. Miguel Brito, the CEO of Philips Education Partners, received total compensation in 2017 of $410,205. Meanwhile, the average salary for New Jersey school superintendents in 2017-2018 was $155,631, according to an NJ Advance Media analysis of state data.

Authentic need or money grab?

The board of Palisades Charter High School near Los Angeles voted in June to accept $4.6 million in PPP funding despite admitting that they didn’t have an immediate need for the money. Yet, earlier this month, they voted to lay off five staff members, including a tutoring center coordinator, and reduce the hours of 18 other employees.

Palisades was not alone. In all of the minutes we read, and recordings we listened to, charter school boards reported ample fund balances and justified taking the money because future funding was uncertain. During a meeting of the Utah Military Academy, one board member described taking PPP funds as follows: “So we take this money to pay the salaries, and the money we were going to pay salaries is going to go into our accounts to help flush up our funds.”

However, preparing for possible uncertainties or “flushing up funds” was not the purpose of the program. We are aware of no other sector funded nearly exclusively by the taxpayers that received PPP.

This raises questions about whether charter schools should have been allowed to access PPP money, and whether harm was caused by allowing them to do so.

Charter schools have received the same continuity of funding as district-run neighborhood public schools during the pandemic. Eligible charter schools — those schools with large numbers of low-income students — have also received federal Cares Act funding, as well as other state-based coronavirus relief. While receiving this funding that was intended to support public schools, charter schools are now also receiving funding that was intended for small businesses and nonprofits whose revenue streams were drastically impacted by the pandemic.

Granted, charter schools are not alone among nonprofits in taking funding just because they can. We found 17 nonprofit organizations that support charter schools (or advocated for charters receiving PPP funding) receiving that funding themselves — in total receiving between $6.3 million and $14.8 million. For example, the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, a school reform think tank, is also an authorizer of charter schools in Ohio. It received between $350,000 and $1 million in PPP funding despite its initial endowment of $50 million. In 2018, the organization ended the year with a fund balance of $8 million. Readers can find a list of these charter support organizations and the amounts they received here.

And now to the question of harm. By taking PPP when not needed, systemic inequities increased. The PPP has been widely criticized as being difficult to access for many small businesses, particularly those owned by people of color.

survey conducted in May of 500 black and Latinx small-business owners found that just 12 percent of those who had applied had received the funds they asked for, with nearly 50 percent anticipating having to permanently close in the next six months. A recent study by the National Community Reinvestment Coalition found “different levels of encouragement to apply for loans, different products offered, and different information provided by bank representatives.”

Certainly, there are other nonprofit and for-profit organizations beyond the charter school world that took coronavirus money just because they could. Although eligible via our nonprofit status, the Network for Public Education did not apply for PPP funds. We encourage other nonprofit organizations that were able to meet payroll without the funding to return those funds, making them available to the small businesses that never received them or that may need a second infusion of cash."

 

For full post, please visit: 

 

https://www.washingtonpost.com/education/2020/07/27/charter-schools-their-management-companies-won-least-925-million-federal-coronavirus-funding-data-shows/

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Kids Last: A Lawsuit alleges that a proposed KIPP charter school will be built “on a hazardous waste site” posing the risk of “significant environmental harms” // Change The LAUSD

Kids Last: A Lawsuit alleges that a proposed KIPP charter school will be built “on a hazardous waste site” posing the risk of “significant environmental harms” // Change The LAUSD | Charter Schools & "Choice": A Closer Look | Scoop.it

By Carl Peterson

..."why is it always okay for big money to generate toxic messes in non-white communities?

 

Common sense would dictate that a site chosen for a school building would be free of any hazards to children. This would be especially true in neighborhoods in areas like Cudahy and the rest of Southeast Los Angeles where there is a “history of environmental injustice”. This is the same area that is dealing with the long-term effects of the arsenic and lead released by the now-closed Exide Battery Plant. One of the schools in this area, Park Avenue Elementary, was built on “an old city dump site that contained contaminated soil with pockets of the toxic sludge”. These are the same neighborhoods where last year Delta Airlines dumped jet fuel directly on children as they played in their schoolyard.

As an organization that claims that they “will always prioritize safety as [their] #1 concern” and “knows the responsibility [they] have to ensure the environment and community are safe”, one would assume that KIPP Charter Schools is especially sensitive to the environmental injustice suffered by generations of residents in Southeast Los Angeles. Knowing the history of the area, this chain of privately operated schools would definitely not purchase a plot of land that “has been used for approximately 90 years for manufacturing metal” and storing the resulting “hazardous materials”. Its concern would be especially heightened if soil samples at the site showed “levels of arsenic…as high as 14.5 milligrams per kilogram,” which is “200 times the amount of arsenic that is identified as safe for human health by the state of California for school or residential areas.” The fact that the “site is contaminated with toxic gases” which “can cause cancer, cognitive and motor impairments, liver damage, kidney damage, and impair one’s immune system, development, reproductive system, and fertility” would have definitely killed any purchase agreement.

 

According to a lawsuit filed against the City of Cudahy, KIPP not only purchased this land but also intend on building a school on the property. The charter school chain says on their website that they “completed all of the required environmental investigations to ensure the Cudahy campus is safe for our community”. However, the suit alleges that the city improperly waived the need to perform a full study under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). This study would have included a “full environmental review for the project”.

While KIPP maintains that “no material issues were identified during” its “extensive” environmental investigations, the suit states that a Site Assessment for the Project Site found that “elevated levels of arsenic…‘pose a…exposure and contact risk to the children and general public human health.’” This assessment also found that the site “has elevated waste oil concentrations” and “is not currently safe for construction of a school or housing.” It states that “without environmental mitigation”, this construction “will put children at KIPP Pueblo Unido at risk of exposure to toxic gasses.”

KIPP itself acknowledges that soil on the site was “impacted by arsenic” and they “already removed 50 cubic yards of impacted soil.” This is a small percentage of what is on the property as another 36,000 cubic yards of soil will be excavated to build the school’s underground parking garage. If this soil is not properly tested, then the site’s neighbors and others will be at risk of possible exposure as the soil is disturbed and trucked out through the neighborhood.

KIPP owes its future students, the taxpayers who are helping to fund its construction project, and the citizens of Southeast Los Angeles assurances that its proposed Cudahy campus is completely safe. It needs to cease its attempts to avoid the studies required by CEQA before embarking further on a project that is alleged to pose “significant environmental harms to students”. Better yet, KIPP should find a site that is not “identified by the State of California as a hazardous materials release site on the Hazardous Waste and Substances Sites (‘Cortese’) List.”...

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https://changethelausd.medium.com/kids-last-d6d69df749d4 

 

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Accused A3 charter school ringleaders plead guilty to conspiracy // The San Diego Union Tribune

Accused A3 charter school ringleaders plead guilty to conspiracy // The San Diego Union Tribune | Charter Schools & "Choice": A Closer Look | Scoop.it

By Kristen Taketa

"The two men accused of crafting an elaborate statewide charter school scheme to funnel tens of millions of public school dollars into their own pockets pleaded guilty Friday to felony conspiracy charges.

Sean McManus and Jason Schrock, creators of the now-defunct A3 charter school network, each admitted in San Diego Superior Court to one count of conspiracy to commit theft of public funds.

In addition, McManus pleaded guilty to another count of conspiracy to commit theft of public funds, while Schrock pleaded guilty to conflict of interest.

As part of their plea agreement, the two men agreed to return more than $210 million in cash, 13 houses and shares in third-party companies that were fruits of the A3 scheme, San Diego County District Attorney Summer Stephan said.

 
“With these guilty pleas, the defendants now admit they engaged in a devious, systematic public corruption scheme on the backs of students, their parents and the public that diverted millions of taxpayer dollars into their own pockets,” Stephan said in a statement. “This is one of the largest fraud schemes targeting education dollars for K-12 students in the nation. Unraveling this complex scheme came as a result of over a year of persistent and dedicated work by our team of prosecutors and investigators, who specialized in public corruption.”
 

The men’s guilty pleas come a year and nine months after they and nine other people were indicted by a San Diego County grand jury for their involvement in the alleged A3 scheme.

 

The San Diego County District Attorney’s Office had accused McManus and Schrock of creating a network of 19 online charter schools that fraudulently obtained at least $400 million in state school dollars from 2016 to 2019. Three of those schools were in San Diego County.

 

Prosecutors accused A3 leaders of buying children’s personal information to falsely enroll them into the schools and providing incomplete education services, while taking tens of millions of dollars for personal use. A3 leaders also manipulated enrollment across their schools to receive more state funding per student and manipulated school attendance reporting to get more money for time that children were not spending in A3 schools.

 

Charter schools are public schools run independently of school districts.

 

McManus and Schrock admitted in court that the purpose of their conspiracy was to get public funds through the A3 charter schools and transfer that money to their own private companies under the promise that they would provide educational services. In reality, they did not provide those services.

McManus, an Australian national who had gone on the run when the charges were filed, is now cooperating in the case. He appeared in court virtually Friday, wearing a suit and sitting slightly slouched in a plain black office chair, from a law firm in Australia.

Both McManus and Schrock agreed to cooperate with prosecutors in getting back as much of the state’s money as possible. Judge Frederick Link, who has been presiding over the A3 case for more than a year, said if they continue to cooperate, he will take that into consideration at their sentencing.

McManus and Schrock now face up to four years in state prison at sentencing. McManus and Schrock also agreed to testify in court if called upon.

Their sentencing date is scheduled for June 18.

Of the nine other people charged in the case, three have pleaded guilty: Troy Kukahiko and Nyla Crider, who were accused of helping A3 schools to falsely enroll students, and Richard Nguyen, who prosecutors said helped with finances.

The A3 case has become one of California’s largest cases of alleged charter school fraud and has brought attention to how weaknesses in charter school oversight can allow such fraudulent schemes to occur.

In the aftermath of the indictment, prosecutors have also pursued school districts who were supposed to hold the A3 schools accountable and private vendors who received public school dollars from A3 schools to act like schools for A3.

 

Prosecutors are still trying to recover state funds that were paid to those school districts, including San Diego County’s Dehesa Elementary, to oversee the A3 charter schools. That litigation is pending."...

 

For original post, please visit:

https://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/news/education/story/2021-02-26/accused-a3-charter-school-ringleaders-plead-guilty-to-conspiracy 

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Mission to Destroy Public Education Rebrands Under COVID-19: Understanding the Christian Homeschooling Movement // Political Research 

Mission to Destroy Public Education Rebrands Under COVID-19: Understanding the Christian Homeschooling Movement // Political Research  | Charter Schools & "Choice": A Closer Look | Scoop.it

By Chrissy Stroop

"As we speculate about the ways that our world will be different when we emerge from the global COVID-19 pandemic, it’s important to keep an eye on the way that right-wing authoritarians at home and abroad are exploiting crisis conditions to grab or consolidate power.

 

The dictatorial powers granted to Prime Minister Viktor Orbán by the Hungarian Parliament in late March are an obvious example. But the subtler ways in which right-wing authoritarians are exploiting pandemic conditions for their own ideological ends may be even more insidious.

 

Anti-government ideologues in the United States have long awaited the kind of catastrophic system failures that they believe will position them well to gain power and influence in a destabilized society. Some on the Christian Right see our current crisis as an opportune moment to strike a death-blow against public education, one longstanding target. While public schools work heroically to adapt to the challenges of providing remote instruction, far right-wing organizations like the Home School Legal Defense Association are recruiting."...

 

For full post, please visit

https://www.politicalresearch.org/2020/04/17/mission-destroy-public-education-rebrands-under-covid-19

 

 

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The next wave of the ‘Wall Streetification’ of education and public services in America [Perspective] // Washington Post 

The next wave of the ‘Wall Streetification’ of education and public services in America [Perspective] // Washington Post  | Charter Schools & "Choice": A Closer Look | Scoop.it

Valerie Strauss
"There is an emerging financial phenomenon in the education and social service world that could change the way social services are delivered in the United States — and who gets them. The term that describes a number of different programs in this arena are social impact bonds, and if you have managed not hear about them in recent years as they have been developed, now’s a good time to learn. What are these bonds?


They basically are a way of financing social services by bringing together social service providers with private funders and nonprofit organizations that want to expand social services committed to expanding social services to Americans.

 

Those who support these bond programs see them as a great way to get private entities to invest in schools and districts that are strapped for resources. Critics say they essentially are a way for the private sector to make money off investments in public education and are more likely to enrich the private entities than help children. They also see this financing technique as the next step in the privatization of education and social services, which they find troubling.

 

The following piece, written by scholars Martin Carnoy and Roxana Marachi, explain this new world in depth.


Carnoy is a professor of education and economics at Stanford University, where he chairs the International and Comparative Education program in the School of Education. His research explores educational policy and practice in the United States as part of the Consortium for Policy Research in Education.

 

Roxana Marachi is an associate professor of education at San Jose State University, where she teaches courses in the Department of Teacher Education and the Doctoral Program in Educational Leadership. Her current research interests are focused on strengthening systemic strategies for the prevention of data harms and bridging research-to-practice gaps in the integration of emerging technologies in education. 

By Martin Carnoy and Roxana Marachi

Does Goldman Sachs’ investing in desperately needed preschools in your state sound too good to be true?

 

No surprise, there’s more to this funding than meets the eye. And at worst, it may mean that much of today’s philanthropic giving for public services may end up as profit-making investments and the privatization of the public sector.

 

In the past decade, new funding structures have emerged within the social services and education arenas, with accompanying legislation poised to transform how services are delivered and who delivers them. The umbrella term for these new financial arrangements is the Social Impact Bond (SIB), although Pay For Success (PFS) and Results-Based Financing (RBF) are also often used interchangeably to refer to the same basic structures.

 

SIBs have been widely promoted as innovative funding approaches that allow private investors to fund public projects in health care, homelessness, early education, workforce development, and prison reform. These investors can then be repaid with interest, providing a profit to funders if the project meets predetermined success criteria with accompanying cost savings to the public. A key feature of SIB projects involves third-party evaluators whose job it is to measure whether certain “success” metrics are met by the end of the project period.

 

On the surface, social impact bonds may appear great for all involved.  Local governments using the approach may be viewed by the public as more prudent in their use of tax revenue, since they can scale up programs to address recidivism reduction, homelessness, education, and other public services without immediate risk to taxpayer money. Elected officials tout such investments as innovations in public service delivery.

 

Private financial institutions, such as Goldman Sachs, get to make profits off their upfront investments provided that final success metrics are achieved. These same financial institutions also get favorable public relations for helping fund projects intended to support underserved communities.

 

And SIBs appeal to the nonprofit sector, since they allow higher levels of funding for their social projects than would otherwise be available in current resource-stressed environments.

 

As attractive and straightforward as the basic rationale for bringing private funding into social programs may seem, there are many troubling aspects of these financing structures.

 

  • They shift public monies to private investor profits for what are actually low-risk, tried-and-true, cost-saving interventions that the public sector could just as well have financed and directly managed itself. To date, almost no SIB projects have failed to meet performance metrics, largely because their interventions have worked before on similar populations. In addition, the U.S. Department of Education has funded ($3 million in 2016) what are essentially eight pre-studies, or feasibility studies, to establish whether preschool education PFS projects could be made attractive for private investors — in the IES’s words, “to test the viability of using Pay for Success as a way to pay for preschool services.”
  • Social Impact Bonds and Pay For Success structures are expensive to set up and administer, even apart from the premium that they pay private investors. While taxpayer dollars do not immediately fund these projects, taxpayers must ultimately foot the bill in order to pay back the original investments along with the added profits, evaluation costs, and administrative expenses. As an example, according to estimates from the OECD, contracts for a Massachusetts Juvenile Justice related SIB involved over 1,100 hours of consultant time and required coordination among multiple investors and delivery partners.

  • Private investors are interested in short-term returns, so the kinds of projects that attract SIB funding will necessarily avoid and undermine attention to more complex, deeper structural inequities that fuel continuing disparities at the root of social problems. Reducing youth recidivism by a certain percentage, for instance, may save local government money but has only a marginal effect on the underlying causes of youth crime.

  • A final concern related to these privatized projects is that they involve extensive data gathering from youth/participants in evaluation studies designed to demonstrate so called impacts of the interventions. Shifts in governance of these projects and evaluations to the private sector eliminate opportunities for public oversight and remove participant protections that would have otherwise been required by publicly governed processes. Just two examples: in the Chicago Parent Child Study, student mobility and retention, social-emotional learning, parent engagement, and school attendance were all tracked even though they were not involved in the investors’ payout metrics. And in the Utah Preschool Project, twelve years of longitudinal data are being gathered. What are the plans for how these data are to be used, by whom, and to what end?

One indication of how quickly we can expect SIBs to expand in the United States is the passage of the 2018 Federal Social Impact Partnerships to Pay for Results Act (SIPPRA), within the Social Security Act. That set aside $100 million in funding over 10 years to support outcome payments for Pay for Success projects, feasibility studies, and project evaluations.

 

SIPPRA stipulates that the Treasury Department will accept applications for a variety of different kinds of projects, from increasing reducing recidivism rates, improving rates of high school graduation, and reducing teen pregnancies, to reducing homelessness and reducing the incidence of preventable diseases — in sum, many of America’s most serious social and economic challenges. In addition to SIPPRA funding, Pay for Success initiatives are also embedded directly into federal education legislation through the 2015 Every Student Succeeds Act.

 

In our full policy brief published by the National Education Policy Center at the University of Colorado at Boulder, we conclude that policymakers and others should be skeptical of the hype that SIBs are a win-win for all concerned and without downsides. Such claims are often made by private investors and by non-governmental organizations seeking more funding to engage in social interventions. We urge caution in bringing the private sector further into the areas of social services and education and reveal several layers of potential exploitation that appear to be tethered to such financial structures.

We agree with David Macdonald, senior economist with the Canadian Center for Policy Alternatives, who refers to SIBs as “anti-philanthropy."

 

He suggests that at the core, they are profit-driven, government-funded business deals that eventually will lead to the Wall Streetification of public services. Public agencies are encouraged to take a “thanks, but no thanks” approach to middleman markups that would allow intermediaries and investors to profit off projects funded by the public. No matter how well-intentioned private investors may appear to be, they are ultimately governed by private interests, which can diverge from the public interest behind these policies."

 
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The City Fund Spending Prolifically to Privatize Public Education // Thomas Ultican

The City Fund Spending Prolifically to Privatize Public Education // Thomas Ultican | Charter Schools & "Choice": A Closer Look | Scoop.it

By Thomas Ultican 3/2/2020

The City Fund has joined the Walton Foundation, the Broad Foundation, and the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative (CZI) in the upper echelon of spending to privatize public education. (Gates is in a spending zone of his own.)  City Fund grants are of the same magnitude as CZI’s and approximately half the size as those from the Walton foundation. Since its establishment in July, 2018, City Fund reports issuing $110 million in large grants defined as more than $200,000; smaller grants not accounted for. Founders John Arnold and Reed Hastings have also provided the associated political action group, Public School Allies, with $15 million.

Reorganizing and Retooling the Attack on Public Schools

Reorganizing the Attack Little Sis Map

On the ides of March (2018), the Indy Star reported that David Harris the CEO of Mind Trust in Indianapolis was leaving to join a new national organization. Since Julius Caesar’s assassination, events linked to the ides of March are often viewed with alarm. This event portended a reorganized attack on public education and a new billionaire financed entity dedicated to establishing the portfolio model of public school management throughout America.

Until February of 2020, the secretive City Fund did not even have a web site. On July 31, 2018, City Fund Managing Partner, Neerav Kingsland, took to his blog and made public The City Fund – a new non-profit – and named its founding staff. He also arranged for a small group interview with The 74. Matt Barnum of Chalkbeat wrote an introductory piece called With big names and $200 million, a new group is forming to push for the ‘portfolio model.’” In December 2018, Barnum reported that The City Fund was starting an associated political action organization called Public School Allies. Since those few 2018 articles, The City Fund has operated in the dark.

This February they finally launched a web site and made available some accounting for their spending over the last year and a half. Because City Fund is a non-profit organization, they must soon file tax documents that will reveal in even more detail their spending and organizational structure. Their new transparency is apparently related to the imminent non-profit tax reporting requirements.

The Little SiS map above outlines some for the 2018 reorganization for the coming relentless attack on democratically run public schools. There were changes at The Mind Trust. It was co-founded in 2006 by Indianapolis Mayor Bart Peterson and the youthful lawyer he chose as his education guy, David Harris. It became the prototype corporate education reform local organization. In 2010, Harris and Mind Trust Vice President, Ethan Gray founded the Cities of Education Entrepreneurship Trust (CEE-Trust) which became Education Cities in 2014 after its disaster in Kansas City. This organization was designed to scale the Indianapolis methods of school privatization nationally.

In the 2018 reorganization, Mind Trust continued under new leadership and Education Cities was divided into two new school choice promoting organizations; School Board Partners and Community Engagement Partners. City Fund gave both new organizations $250,000 in seed money. Two lawyers, David Harris and Kameelah Shaheed-Diallo, left Mind Trust to become partners at City Fund. To insure Mind Trust’s continued success as an anti-democratic school privatizing organization, City Fund provided the new leadership with $18,000,000.

School Board Partners is an organization looking to co-opt elected school board members into furthering the portfolio model of education reform. They claim to offer training for school board members however every state requires school board members to go through training provided by the state. Community Engagement Partners purpose is continuing Education City’s support for local organizations that are working to privatize public education and instituting Betsy DeVos’s school choice agenda.


Education Cities CEO Ethan Gray became a Partner at The City Fund. Gray’s Director of Finance and Operations, Kevin Leslie, became Director of Grants and Operations at the City Fund. Education Cities Managing Partner Carrie Douglass became founding leader of School Board Education Partners. Senior Fellow Charles MacDonald is now Executive Director of Community Engagement Partners (CEP) and Associate Partner Rebecca Weinberg Jones became CEP Deputy Director.

Neerav Kingsland worked at both Arnold Ventures and The Hastings Fund before becoming Managing Partner of City Fund. He was also a board member of the California Charter Schools Association. Chris Barbic, the co-founder of YES Prep, worked at Arnold Ventures after a disastrous tenure leading Tennessee’s turnaround schools. He became a partner at City Fund in 2018. Noor Iqbal worked at Arnold Ventures and then for about a month at Mind Trust before becoming the Chief of Staff for City Fund. Ken Bubp worked first at Mind Trust, then Arnold Ventures and is now a Partner at City Fund.

Public School Allies

Founding City Fund staff member Gary Borden is no longer on the team, but he really is. Borden is now Managing Director of Public School Allies the 501 C4 organization established by City Fund to administer their political influence campaign. A lawyer by profession, Borden holds a bachelor’s degree from Pennsylvania State University, majoring in economics and international business, and JD from Georgetown University. Before taking on Public School Allies, Borden was executive director of California Charter Schools Association Advocates (CCSA Advocates), which is CCSA’s political influence organization. Borden lives in Oakland, California.

For last November’s elections in Louisiana, Borden sent $1,500,000 to Louisiana Federation of Children which also received large contributions from California billionaire William Oberndorf plus Arkansas billionaires Alice and Jim Walton. These funds were used for independent expenditures supporting choice friendly candidates; five running for the state school board and 20 vying for the state legislature."...

 

For full post, please visit:

https://tultican.com/2020/03/02/the-city-fund-spending-prolifically-to-privatize-public-education/

 

 

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Education Reform and Gentrification in the Age of #CamdenRising: Public Education and Urban Redevelopment in Camden, NJ // Keith E. Benson 

Education Reform and Gentrification in the Age of #CamdenRising: Public Education and Urban Redevelopment in Camden, NJ // Keith E. Benson  | Charter Schools & "Choice": A Closer Look | Scoop.it
 

Keith E. Benson
Education Reform and Gentrification in the Age of #CamdenRising: Public Education and Urban Redevelopment in Camden, NJ
 examines the perceptions and interpretations of Camden—a New Jersey community whose population is predominately minority, historically impoverished, and rapidly employing neoliberal strategies in public education and urban redevelopment. Using the framework of standpoint theory as a lens to alternatively view change and "progress" in Camden (dubbed by city officials as #CamdenRising), this book highlights the views of Camden residents who hold little sociopolitical capital yet are profoundly impacted by the city’s efforts in employing neoliberal approaches within urban development and public education.

This book will center current and future resident viewpoints on living in a city whose leadership employs neoliberal tactics in redevelopment and in rebranding public education. Participants in this work reported feelings of political alienation pertaining to participation in redevelopment and public education decision-making.

Further, participants also believe such recent efforts for change in Camden are intended to benefit a targeted, potentially gentrifying, population and not the majority low-income minorities who currently reside there."

 

https://www.peterlang.com/view/title/63421

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Inglewood Charter School with History of Alleged Wrongdoing Denied Renewal by County // Los Angeles Times

Inglewood Charter School with History of Alleged Wrongdoing Denied Renewal by County // Los Angeles Times | Charter Schools & "Choice": A Closer Look | Scoop.it

By Anna M. Phillips and Howard Blume
"The Los Angeles County Board of Education voted Tuesday to close an Inglewood charter school with a lengthy history of financial problems and mixed academic performance that illustrated flaws in California’s oversight system.

The board’s unanimous decision marks the third time it has attempted to shut down a charter school run by Today’s Fresh Start, a nonprofit started by a wealthy couple, Clark and Jeanette Parker of Beverly Hills. The group currently operates two charters on three campuses in Los Angeles, Compton and Inglewood.

Times investigation published last year found that although the Parkers have portrayed themselves as philanthropists, they have made millions from their charter schools.

The schools paid more than $800,000 annually to rent buildings the couple own, financial documents showed. They contracted out services to the Parkers’ nonprofits and companies and paid Clark Parker generous consulting fees, all with taxpayer money.

 

The couple spent tens of thousands of dollars on lobbyists and campaign contributions to many of the people responsible for regulating their schools, including school board members and state elected officials.

The Parkers have denied any wrongdoing, calling the claims against them baseless and manufactured by opponents of their schools.

The board’s Tuesday vote, which affects only the Inglewood charter, leaves the future of the school, its staff and its more than 400 students in doubt.

Jeanette Parker declined to comment following the decision.

 

Under current California law, Today’s Fresh Start can appeal the county’s decision to the State Board of Education. A possible appeal would most likely be heard before July, when a new law takes effect that significantly limits the state board’s power to approve charter schools that have been rejected elsewhere.

Decisions like the county board’s vote to close Today’s Fresh Start are rare. Los Angeles County is home to more than 350 charter schools, most of which are routinely renewed every five years by the local school districts where they are located. Only six schools appealed renewal denials to the county in 2017-18 — the last time appeals were heard — and three were denied.

 

In their recommendation to close the school, consultants hired by the county voiced concern about students’ stagnant performance on the state’s standardized English language arts tests and said the school hadn’t met the necessary academic criteria to be renewed. On both English and math tests, students’ scores increased between 2015 and 2017 and spiked upward in 2018 before declining last year. The overall picture, they wrote, was “troubling.”

 

The consultants also raised questions about the nonprofit’s management and fiscal practices, adding that many of their concerns had surfaced more than a decade ago when the county board last tried to close one of the organization’s schools.

 

“It should be noted that concerns regarding conflicts of interest and self-dealing were significant bases for revocation 12 years ago,” the report stated. “Those concerns regarding conflicts of interest and self-dealing have continued to follow [Today’s Fresh Start] to this day.”

 

In letter to the county board, the Parkers defended Today’s Fresh Start as one of the few African American-founded and operated charter schools in the state, serving mostly low-income black and Latino students. Its school in Inglewood is a “sanctuary” for those students, they wrote.

 

“We have been quite exemplary in administering our program for the last 10 years,” Jeanette Parker told the board.

 

Rahul Reddy, a lawyer representing the charter school, said the county had no reason to be concerned about self-dealing because Today’s Fresh Start’s five-year construction management contract with Clark Parker expired in 2018.

 

Founded in 2003, Today’s Fresh Start and its schools have weathered more than a decade of intense scrutiny from regulators at both the county and the Los Angeles Unified School District.

 

The county board voted to revoke its charter in 2007 based on a detailed report accusing the Parkers of self-dealing, financial conflicts of interest and wrongly administering the state tests.

The Parkers sued the county, and while the case worked its way through the courts Today’s Fresh Start applied to have its charter renewed, which the board also denied.

The state Board of Education overturned the county’s decision, however, giving the Parkers another chance.

In the years that followed, Today’s Fresh Start expanded. The Parkers won approval for a second charter school in Inglewood and, with the help of a nearly $20-million state grant, built a large school building on Imperial Highway.

 

In 2015, the Compton Unified School District assumed responsibility for overseeing one of the schools, later voting to extend its charter until June 2023.

 

The political landscape that drove the Parkers’ success began to shift last year.

 

change in leadership at the Inglewood school district led staff to begin paying closer attention to the charter schools within its jurisdiction. Last year, when Today’s Fresh Start asked to have its charter renewed, the school board refused, citing the school’s erratic academic performance and operational concerns — leading to the county appeal Tuesday.

 

To remain open in Inglewood, Today’s Fresh Start must win over the state board on appeal. Under previous governors, the board had a reputation as a rubber-stamp for charter school applicants, but its membership has changed since Gov. Gavin Newsom’s election.

 

The politics around charter schools have also evolved. In California and across much of the country, a growing backlash against charters has pushed left-leaning state legislatures to place stricter regulations on how the schools are opened and overseen.

 

Beginning in July, school districts in California will have more authority to deny charter applications. In addition to academic performance, they will be able to weigh a charter school’s potential fiscal effects on the local district and whether the charter plans to offer programs that the district already provides.

 

“It won’t just purely be unchecked discretion to deny,” said Lisa Mori, an attorney who specializes in charter school law. “But they do have more basis upon which to deny new petitions, whereas before boards were pretty constrained.”

 

The prospect of more empowered school districts has fueled anxiety among charter advocates.

 

“We encourage schools to submit their renewals early!” the California Charter Schools Assn. suggests on its website, noting the date the new law takes effect."...

 

For original post, please visit:

https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2020-01-08/la-county-board-votes-to-close-todays-fresh-starts-inglewood-charter-school 

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The Point of No Return? Interest Groups, School Board Elections, and the Sustainment of the Portfolio Management Model in Post-Katrina New Orleans // Welsh & Hall, 2018 

Richard Welsh & Michelle Hall - 2018
"Context:
 Given the growing popularity of the portfolio management model (PMM) as a method of improving education, it is important to examine how these market-based reforms are sustained over time and how the politics of sustaining this model have substantial policy implications.

Purpose of Study: The purpose of this article is to examine important patterns and trends in the relationship between campaign contributions to local and state school board elections and the sustainability of the PMM in urban districts. We provide a descriptive analysis of the role of interest groups in education reform in post-Katrina New Orleans and document how the PMM changed the landscape of education politics, with a focus on the actors, both local and national, that sustain the PMM.

Research Design: We describe the creation of Act 35 and the evolution of educational governance changes in New Orleans to determine whether the same interest groups that played a role in the origin of the PMM also contributed to its sustainment. We analyze how these educational governance changes influenced the politics of education reform using data from the Louisiana Ethics Commission on campaign contributions to both state and local school board elections. We apply several non-board and board governance theories to examine interest group behavior. We also conduct interviews with stakeholders throughout the educational system to inform our discussion of the evolution of educational governance and the politics of education reform in post-Katrina New Orleans, as well as the categorization of candidates in school board elections.

Results: We find that in the post-Katrina era, there was a diversification of actors in the interest group landscape. These groups influenced educational governance through unprecedented levels of campaign contributions to the state and local school board elections. The influence of interest groups, especially out- of- state actors, contributed to an emerging shift in political control from “traditional” school board candidates to an increase in “pro-reform” board members.

 

Conclusions: The PMM is accompanied by heightened interest as well as an influx of out-of-state actors in educational policy making and the provision of public education. Unprecedented levels of campaign contributions suggest that state and local school board elections may be one of the primary mechanisms through which interest groups influenced post-Katrina educational governance. Out-of-state campaign contributions were mostly in support of pro-portfolio candidates. There appears to be tangible national support for the PMM that may play a crucial role in sustaining these reforms."

 

For full post, please visit:

https://www.tcrecord.org/Content.asp?ContentID=22116 

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