Charter Schools & "Choice": A Closer Look
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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).  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: For additional education updates, see [Links to external site]
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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 

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


How Online Companies Bought America’s Schools


The Profit Motive Behind Virtual Schools in Maine


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


Enrollment in California Public Versus Charter Schools


Santa Clara County Office of Education Annual Charter School Databook


Death By A Thousand Cuts: Racism, School Closures, and Public School Sabotage //


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


Center for Media and Democracy Publishes List of [2,200]+ Closed Charter Schools (with Interactive Map)


The Perfect Storm: Disenfranchised Communities [Video]


“School Closure Playbook” – [Video]


Charter School Closure Leaves Parents Scrambling For Alternatives


The Continuum of Structural Violence: Sustaining Exclusion Through School Closures


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


How Did The 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 


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


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


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


NAACP Resolution Calling for a Moratorium on the Expansion of Charter Schools [Original]


KIPP Refuses To Abide By Conflict of Interest Code; Gets Approved By State Board of Education:


[Link no longer active – this was original document for State Legal Counsel’s opinion that a “charter school is subject to” government code 1090]


Charter School Vulnerabilities to Waste, Fraud, and Abuse 


Rocketship Pushes Expansion Despite State Denials and Strong Community Opposition //


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…”


New Orleans Charter School Problems Exposed at NAACP Hearing


“Blended Learning: A Wise Giver’s Guide to Tech-Assisted Teaching” // Philanthropy Roundtable (formerly chaired by B. Devos) //


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


Education School Dean: Urban School Reform Is Really About Land Development (Not Kids) //


Charter Schools, Race, and Urban Space: Where The Market Meets Grassroots Resistance //


Spending Blind: The Failure of Policy Planning In California’s Charter School Funding  //


A Comprehensive Guide To Charter School Closure


San Pablo Rocketship Appeal to State Board in Sacramento (Video with evidence of expanding gaps)


Cybercharters Have An Overwhelmingly Negative Impact 


Virtual and Blended Learning Schools Continue to Struggle and Grow


Red Flags Known and Overlooked With State Board Votes On San Jose Charter Schools //


How Will State Board of Education Vote on Controversial Charter School Petitions? //


Understanding Policies that Charter Operators Use for Financial Benefit


New Report Uncovers Systematic Failure by California Charter Schools to Meet Local Control Obligations


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


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


For more with current updates, please see:


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Schools or Boot Camps? #KIPP Charter School Students Without Time For Bathroom Breaks or To Eat Lunch // Schools Matter [via ABC News 7 On Your Side]  

Schools or Boot Camps? #KIPP Charter School Students Without Time For Bathroom Breaks or To Eat Lunch // Schools Matter [via ABC News 7 On Your Side]   | Charter Schools & "Choice": A Closer Look | 

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#KIPP Refuses Agreement To Abide By Conflict of Interest Law; Gets Approved By State Board of Education // EduResearcher 

#KIPP Refuses Agreement To Abide By Conflict of Interest Law; Gets Approved By State Board of Education // EduResearcher  | Charter Schools & "Choice": A Closer Look |

[Original Title]: Will KIPP Be Allowed To Bypass Conflict of Interest Law In Its Bid For State Funds?

[3/14/18] Update: The California State Board of Education has voted to approve two KIPP petitions to expand campuses into San Francisco and San Jose despite strong community resistance and knowledge of the charter chain's refusal to abide… 

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Letter from East Side Union High School District to State Board of Education Trustees Urging Denial of KIPP

Letter from East Side Union High School District to State Board of Education Trustees Urging Denial of KIPP | Charter Schools & "Choice": A Closer Look |

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"What Makes KIPP Work? A Study of Student Characteristics, Attrition, and School Finance" // National Center for the Study of Privatization in Education, WMU 

"What Makes KIPP Work? A Study of Student Characteristics, Attrition, and School Finance" // National Center for the Study of Privatization in Education, WMU  | Charter Schools & "Choice": A Closer Look | 

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No Excuses: A Critique of the Knowledge is Power Program (KIPP) Within Charter Schools In The USA // Journal For Critical Education Policy Studies  


"The purpose of this paper is to proffer a critical perspective about a specific brand of American schools within the larger charter school movement: the Knowledge Is Power Program (KIPP). KIPP is currently receiving wholesale acclaim as a radical alternative to public schooling ―that works.‖ While KIPP schools ostensibly claim that college acceptance for all students is their primary goal, the principles and practices that undergird their mission are founded upon capitalistic and militaristic ideals that run counter to the ideals of democratic education. I argue that KIPP schools merely preserve the status quo by asking students to overcome overwhelming disparities through ―hard work and ―motivation, instead of addressing the structural sources of poverty and poor academic achievement—i.e., the unequal distribution of resources in schools and society. By subscribing to a dictum of no excuses, KIPP essentially puts the onus on the victims of poverty and institutional racism. This clearly conveys the fallacy to urban students that failure in this society will solely be a reflection of not working long and hard enough, or simply not complying with rules set by those with authority."


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Letter to State Board of Education from East Side Union High School District to Urge Denial of KIPP // ESUHSD 

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For an updated version of this letter to the State Board Trustees, please see: 

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Why Investor Whitney Tilson Is Betting Against K12 

Why Investor Whitney Tilson Is Betting Against K12  | Charter Schools & "Choice": A Closer Look |

By Tony Wan

"Nothing should unite both critics and fans of education technology more than reports of companies making big money from shoddy products. But what about when the critic may also make a profit by betting that a company will tank because of its lackluster service and results?

At the Value Investing Congress in New York City on September 17, hedge fund manager Whitney Tilson of Kase Capital delivered a whammy of a case against online school provider, K12 Inc., with a 110-slide talk on "An Analysis of K12 (LRN) and Why It Is My Largest Short Position," shared on Business Insider. He said that K12 is his portfolio’s biggest short position.


Tilson is a staunch and outspoken fan of education reform. He blogs regularly on education reform and circulates weekly newsletters championing charter schools, reform and edtech in general. He joined Teach for America in its early days and serves on the board of KIPP. And he invests.


At last week’s meeting, Tilson argued that K12 Inc., the largest online K-12 education provider in the U.S., and manager of online charter schools in 33 states and D.C., is due for a fall. Although the company’s stock (ticker: LRN) has risen 70% since January 2012, Tilson says it’s “absurdly overvalued and sure to collapse.”

Tilson’s analysis of why K12 is a poor investment briefly describes its financial numbers, then dives deeply into why it’s failing to deliver education value.


On the numbers (slides 11-19): K12 says its revenue has grown 32% annually over the past decade and that projected earnings per share is expected to climb 32% over the next 12 months. Smoke and mirrors, contends Tilson. He notes that although net income and EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization) have climbed over the past two years, revenue growth is slowing. Profit margins (over the past two years) have been erratic. And other indicators--how long it takes K12 to get paid, its aggressive accounting practices, and so on--make Tilson jittery.

Even more ominous are Tilson’s concerns about K12’s practices. Among them: (slide 8):


  • "K12's aggressive student recruitment has led to dismal academic results by students and sky-high dropout rates, in some cases more than 50% annually."
  • "I have been looking for years and have not found a single K12 school that is free of scandal and posting even decent (much less good) academic results."

Through personal interviews, analysis of a class action suit and media coverage, Tilson has compiled a lengthy indictment of the quality of K12's service. He recounts stories from former employees (slides 21-25) who say the company follows a "growth-at-any-cost mentality" and "increasingly target[s] at-risk students that it knows are likely to fail." He has strong reservations against K12's publicized academic "successes" after poor results and "sky-high" dropout rates at its schools in Colorado, Pennsylvania and Tennessee (slides 33-59). These issues, along with other regulatory infractions, place K12 under intense scrutiny from state officials. Tilson notes that the company will not be opening schools in any new states next year (slide 81).

Following his presentation, Tilson wrote in an email that "K12 reminds me of the subprime mortgage lenders and for-profit colleges when they were flying high--and the ending will be similar I believe."...


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Charter Schools, Race, and Urban Space: Where the Market Meets Grassroots Resistance // Kristen L. Buras [Review Published on Teachers College Record] 

Charter Schools, Race, and Urban Space: Where the Market Meets Grassroots Resistance // Kristen L. Buras [Review Published on Teachers College Record]  | Charter Schools & "Choice": A Closer Look |

Book Review by Ciro Viamontes & Miriam D. Ezzani August 14, 2017 [TCR]
"In Charter Schools, Race, and Urban Space: Where the market meets grassroots resistance, Kristen Buras reveals details of the remarkable story of the privatization of public schools in New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. A New Orleans native, Buras brings to this study the influential context of the historical past of New Orleans public schools and educational policy. The text can be taken as an ethnography of the public policy conflicts between white and nonwhite communities in the context of extant hegemonic social structures that prohibit educational access. This historical setting takes on deeper significance when we are reminded that New Orleans was home to Homer Plessy, whose resistance to segregation there led to the infamous 1896 Supreme Court decision in Plessy v. Ferguson. Buras’ advocacy and activism experience with the Urban South Grassroots Research Collective for Public Education (USGRC) will no doubt be used to attack the validity of this work. Yet Buras clearly addresses her positionality and acknowledges that “The critique presented in this book of market-based school reform does not imply the preexisting system in New Orleans was ideal” (p. 3). The included appendix on methodology further addresses and clarifies Buras’ positionality.


Buras argues that “black education writ large cannot be understood adequately without examining the reconstruction of public education in the South” (p. 9). Moving towards that understanding, Buras expands her previously published research. Chapters Two and Six examine the actions of the white power elite, while Chapters Three and Four examine community efforts to secure equity in educational opportunities. Rather than examine this book in a linear chapter by chapter fashion, it may be helpful to think in conceptual terms. Using critical race theory, Buras proposes three conceptual facets to the political ecology of market-based privatization efforts: whiteness as property, accumulation by dispossession, and urban space economy. Arguing that New Orleans may be the American city that historically demonstrates the harshest forms of white supremacy, Buras leads us to understand how these factors intertwine to limit educational opportunities for communities of color.


Charter school-based educational reform in New Orleans is a collaboration which can appropriately be examined as an ecological system (p. 40). The Recovery School District (RSD) effectively represents the interests of the white political establishment and educational entrepreneurs/reformers. The RSD acted with astonishing speed in taking over the public-school system post Katrina. Tacit support of the takeover came from the Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE), Governor Blanco, Senator Landrieu (Democrat) and the State Legislature, with the assistance of national groups such as the Heritage Foundation, Teach for America (TFA), and the Cowen Institute. These actions, seen as a response to the catastrophe, incited little if any resistance to the actions of the RSD. Meanwhile, accumulation by dispossession is evidenced by the RSD’s elimination of a school district by taking control of the buildings. This allowed the en masse firing of veteran teachers, predominantly people of color who had evacuated, as their jobs no longer existed. Citing a “teacher shortage” BESE then contracted with Teach for America (TFA) allowing the RSD to replace fired teachers with inexperienced, non-certified, non-union, predominantly white teachers. TFA recruitment efforts focused on teaching in communities of color as an entrepreneurial opportunity. This entrepreneurial spirit spearheaded by the RSD functions to recruit white people to come to New Orleans. Other examples of accumulation by dispossession through RSD actions can be viewed as malicious: a dramatic example is the diversion of funds from the state of Louisiana's resources for the displaced teachers’ salaries and benefits to the operating budgets of charter schools inheriting the former school district’s buildings.


Buras also shows how the historically racist political ecology served to shape the space economy of the city. The least desirable, lowest elevation, and thus most vulnerable areas became the predominately African-American areas (p. 12). It is for this reason that the African-American community suffered the brunt of the damage caused by Katrina. In these most vulnerable areas of New Orleans, grassroots groups have been struggling to mitigate the impacts of this historically inequitable political ecology. Delays in opening schools in African American communities, such as Bywater and the Ninth Ward continues to impact the space economy. After five years of RSD management, only three schools were reopened in the Bywater and lower Ninth Ward (p. 60). Even then, Frederick Douglass High School was reopened as a selective admittance charter school by the Knowledge is Power Program (KIPP). There are effectively no open enrollment high schools available to residents in the Bywater community, where Douglass served as a locus of community resistance to the white supremacist political ecology. Schools that were reopened relatively quickly were on the periphery of African-American areas near predominately white areas. The pattern of RSD re-establishment of educational facilities serves as a disincentive to African-Americans wishing to return to New Orleans, and also undermines grassroots movements.


The concluding chapter of this book is a refutation of the charter school incubator New Schools for New Orleans (NSNO) Guide for Cities. The NSNO Guide offers a template of lessons learned to facilitate other cities enacting New Orleans style market-based school reforms. Crafted in part by the USGRC, this chapter refutes four main points of the Guide using, in part, testimonies of community based groups that resisted the market-based reforms. Taken from a critical race theory perspective, these counterstories are used with other evidence to present the experiential perspective of communities of color on the lessons learned from the implementation of this public educational policy. These counterstories thematically share the argument that allegedly innovative market-based reforms fail to serve the needs of the students and the communities they live in. These failures are comprised of the marginalization of experienced minority teachers in favor of predominantly inexperienced white teachers, the restructuring of public education as a primarily profit generating asset, reducing access to special education services through “cost containment” measures, and a non-democratic process of external actors imposing reforms without regard to community input or participation. The last lesson is dramatically illustrated in a graphic representation of the relationship between and among the NSNO leadership and other outside actors.


Charter Schools, Race, and Urban Space represents a meticulously crafted work on the complexity of social justice issues in public education reform. Moving outside of the classroom and curriculum, this work details how historically inequitable political, economic, and social factors come together to create a “broken” educational system that limits the opportunities of communities of color. Rather than address the inequities of this artificially broken system Buras illustrates the reality of market-based reforms, which create a mechanism for educational “entrepreneurs” to profit from maintaining limited educational opportunities for communities of color. Further, Buras shows that the New Orleans experience is actively being presented as a template for public school privatization. This is an eye-opening book for anyone interested in the debate surrounding charter school based systems of reform."


Teachers College Record, Date Published: August 14, 2017 ID Number: 22135, Date Accessed: 10/17/2017


Title: Charter Schools, Race, and Urban Space Where the Market Meets Grassroots Resistance 
Author(s): Kristen L. Buras
Publisher: Routledge, New York
ISBN: 0415814626, Pages: 230, Year: 2014

For original review in Teacher's College Record, see:  

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How Hedge Funds Will Profit from School Privatization // Alan Singer 

How Hedge Funds Will Profit from School Privatization // Alan Singer  | Charter Schools & "Choice": A Closer Look |

By Alan Singer 

"In the News: A number of news items in recent weeks show how powerful money-brokers work inside and outside the law in their war on public education in the United States.

(1) In the State of Washington, a State Supreme Court Judge up for reelection sided with a 6-to-3 court majority in a ruling that declared a state law directing tax dollars to independently run charter schools unconstitutional. To remake the court in their image hundreds of thousands of pro-charter Bill Gates and Paul Allen “Microsoft money” was donated to support his opponents campaign. Fortunately Washington voters rejected the charter judge, this time.

(2) Federal authorities charged seven leaders of the Platinum Partners hedge fund with fraud for operating what was alleged to be a “Ponzi scheme.” They kept the fund afloat by continually using money from new investors to pay off older investors who wanted out. Mark Nordlicht, founder and the chief investment officer for Platinum, also dabbles in operating low-cost religious schools that would benefit from the Trump-Amway DeVos voucher give-away

(3) The New York Times Business pages featured Bill Ackman of Pershing Square Holdings in an article they called “Hedge Fund Math: Heads or Tails, They Win.” It seems that even when his hedge fund performs poorly, Ackman always takes a profitable slice of the pie. According to the Los Angeles Times, Ackman’s Pershing Square Foundation has poured millions of dollars into promoting charter schools in their city. Ackman, through his foundation, is also a major donor to private schools and to Teach for America.

(4) Old friends at New York’s Success Academy Charter Network are under investigation by the city’s Comptroller for lax financial oversight, poor record keeping, understating administrative costs, and for billing the Department of Education for special education services they did not provide to students. The charter schools transferred money earmarked for the education of the students to the governing charter network and could not adequately account for what happened to $25 million worth of computers, desks, whiteboards, and other supplies.

(5) Carol Burris, Executive Director of the Network for Public Education, writing in the Washington Post, documented the salaries charter school magnets pat themselves. KIPP co-founder David Levin received a compensation package of nearly $475,000 from the KIPP Foundation in 2014. Co-founder Mike Feinberg received $219,596 from KIPP Inc., and another $221,461 from the KIPP Foundation. Success Academy’s Eva Moskowitz paid herself $600,000 in 2014 as the CEO of forty-one charter schools. The online for-profit charter company K12 paid its CEO $650,000 in salary plus a series of bonuses that brought his total compensation package to over a million dollars.

According to the National Center for Education Statistics the “total expenditures for public elementary and secondary schools in the United States amounted to $620 billion in 2012-13, or $12,296 per public school student.” If American schools were an independent country, they would have the 21st largest economy in the world. This is a very big financial pie, certainly big enough to make hedge fund managers drool.


The question is, how would hedge funds profit from the Trump-“Amway” DeVos voucher plan if school dollars follow each student?

The two biggest expenses in running a school are teacher salaries and benefits and the cost of building and maintaining school buildings. The key to making a profit is hiring low-paid poorly trained non-union transient teachers who follow scripted test-aligned lessons, finagling free space in existing schools so the public picks up the cost of the facility, and attracting public dollars.


Let’s take a hypothetical small school in an average American community with a hundred students. Each of those kids is worth about $15,000, so the hundred students would be worth $1.5 million. Not a large amount for hedge funds, but not an insignificant amount for normal human beings.

The average beginning teacher’s salary in the United States is about $40,000 a year. With benefits figured at an additional 50% it would bring their cost to $60,000 per teacher. More experienced and better educated teachers cost significantly more. Average salary is about $60,000 a year and the benefits package would bring cost closer to $100,000 because it now includes higher pension payments.


If our hypothetical school had five beginning teachers for their 100 kids, the cost for teachers would be about $300,000, but if they had a very experienced staff the cost would be closer $500,000. Hiring inexperienced transient teachers alone frees up $200,000 to pay corporate administrators and investors.


But if our charter network operated ten small schools with a thousand students, its gross would be $15 million and the benefit of hiring inexperienced transient teachers alone would be $2 million.


Now if our charter network operated a hundred small schools with ten thousand students we are starting to talk about real money. Its gross would be $150 million and the benefit of hiring inexperienced transient teachers alone would be $20 million.

Michigan, Betsy DeVos’ home state, has 1.5 million children attending public elementary and secondary schools and spends about $11,000 per student. If charter networks operated all of Michigan’s schools, we are talking about $16.5 billion. Now that is real money! The charter network could stash away profits of $5.5 billion just my having high teacher turnover.

But that’s not the only way the hedge fund charter networks and private schools will make money. Inexperienced teachers need scripted lessons, staff development, and supervision, so the hedge fund schools can outsource these activities to subsidiary companies. They can also buy books, tests, supplies, computer software and hardware, and guidance services from their own companies and award maintenance contracts to themselves.

This is how the great philanthropists that run the hedge funds can make money if they succeed in privatizing education in the United States."

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KIPP Teacher Caught Bruising Student // Schools Matter

KIPP Teacher Caught Bruising Student // Schools Matter | Charter Schools & "Choice": A Closer Look |

By Jim Horn

"The KIPP Model is both unustainable and inhumane in numerous ways that I document in a new book that examines inner workings of "no excuses" charter schools. Both teachers and students are being used, abused, and discarded in order to benefit a paternalistic corporate ideology that advantages powerful elites at the expense of the most vulnerable children. Parents should be up in arms.

When teachers with little teacher preparation or child development training and even less understanding of disadvantaged children's needs are commanded by school CEOs to keep children in a psychological lockdown state and laser focused on raising test scores by any means necessary, abused children often result.  The abusers are rarely apprehended, and if they are, they are almost never prosecuted.

After earlier KIPP abuse incidents this school year in New Orleans and St. Louis, a Denver KIPP is the latest venue for, yet, another bruised and battered KIPP student.  It is time for the white elites who support this dehumanizing form of education for the children of the poor to share the liability for this kind of predictable outcome that has become commonplace, even though most incidents go unreported to parents or police.

From Channel 9 in Denver:"... 


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5 Facts About Charter Schools You Won’t Hear in the ‘National School Choice Week’ Propaganda //

5 Facts About Charter Schools You Won’t Hear in the ‘National School Choice Week’ Propaganda // | Charter Schools & "Choice": A Closer Look |

Wow! Check out the fancy website for National School Choice Week. It’s polished, it’s colorful; it features kids of all races with bright smiling faces. They even have their own dance! The videos are tearjerkers, reminiscent, in emotional value, of the highly touted documentary film, Waiting for Superman, which propelled school choice advocates into the national conversation back in 2010.

I must confess that when I first watched that movie, seeing the tears of kids who lost the charter lottery and were doomed to attend terrible public schools hit me right in the gut. It struck me as so unfair that they’d have to miss out on… hold on a second.

Something didn’t feel quite right. Was I being manipulated? Why did those kids and their parents have to gather in an auditorium to be publicly devastated by not being selected for their choice school, anyway? Wouldn’t a letter or email have done the trick?

Turns out, I was totally taken in by a slick, well-made film that played a bit loose with the facts about school choice. Given how much Americans love the idea of choice, I’m sure I’m not the only one. So in honor of National School Choice Week, here are a few actual facts about charter schools you may want to consider before jumping on the bandwagon.

1. There are no data that support the idea that charter schools are superior to public schools. Even using data from the high-stakes tests school choice folks admire so much. According to Data First, an initiative of the Center for Public Education, on math assessments 17% of kids in charter schools perform significantly better than their peers in public schools. But 37% perform significantly worse. For the rest (46%), scores were comparable. According to a national study by the Center for Research on Education Outcomes (CREDO), “less than one hundredth of one percent (<0.01 percent) of the variation in test performance in reading is explainable by charter school enrollment.” Not exactly proof of a winning formula, no matter how you slice it.

2. Unlike public schools, charters can pick and choose their students. Children with special needs are not chosen. Children with behavior problems are expelled. According to Julian Vasquez Heilig, “KIPP and other charters faced a federal lawsuit in New Orleans for not serving special populations and/or doing so poorly.” According to Diane Ravitch in her book, The Myth of the Charter School, some charter schools “counsel out” or expel students just before state testing day. Lower-performing students tend to mysteriously drop out. Throws that “better performing” 17% into serious question, doesn’t it?

3. Children who are better resourced with more family support are the winners in the school choice game. Children from disorganized families don’t even enter the lottery. Children with significant special needs are not well served in charter schools that lack the appropriate resources. The privatization of our schools puts public schools at a huge disadvantage, stranding the least advantaged and disabled in underfunded, under-resourced schools. Much like Lady Liberty, public schools welcome all who end up on their shores:

“Give me your tired, your poor,

Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me….”

Just don’t send them to a charter school.

4. It’s family income, stupid. Ravitch and many others have pointed out numerous studies linking income and test scores. One study demonstrates how SAT scores favor students from wealthy families. Another study at Washington State University confirms the correlation between parental income and ACT and SAT scores, while a different article on the widening academic achievement gap between the rich and the poorshows how the gap between children from high- and low-income families is roughly 30 to 40 percent larger among children born in 2001 than among those born twenty-five years earlier. In fact, though good teachers are important and account for 10-20% of student achievement scores, University of Washington economist Dan Goldhaber has shown that nonschool factors such as family income account for 60% of achievement. That’s a mighty high percentage to try to overcome with uniforms and sustained eye-contact.

5. Public schools, in some communities, are doing just fine. The idea that our schools are falling behind and our students will not be able to compete globally is, according to a number of education experts, off base. Diane Ravitch, among others, has written that the notion that American students’ scores on international tests have declined is a mythA recent article by Ken Bernstein highlights the point that poverty is the real issue, noting that, “US schools with less than 25% of their children in poverty perform as well as any nation [on international comparisons], and those with 10% or less of their children in poverty outperform Finland.” And The Washington Post’s Valerie Strauss agrees:

“It bears mentioning that nations with high-performing school systems—whether Korea, Singapore, Finland, or Japan—have succeeded not by privatizing their schools or closing those with low scores, but by strengthening the education profession. They also have less poverty than we do.”

Again: it’s the poverty. And privatizing schools won’t cure it.

Circling back to that fancy website with its cute dance, I want to encourage us to be more critical in our evaluations of what is good for our children. Yes, it makes charter schools and voucher programs look shiny, happy and successful. But it’s worth remembering that School Choice Week is basically a giant commercial, paid for by a huge list of corporate sponsors. It’s pushing a product. Like all ads, I know it is a misrepresentation designed to make me want it. But just because I can buy it, doesn’t make it worth having. And I’m not buying."...

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K.I.R.M. God is Business " From Day One"'s curator insight, January 8, 2017 4:41 AM

Some public schools do the same and worse but have a catch 31 free government its not a crime on the book to hold them accountable criminally for their actions no matter how long. Just to say not all Charter Schools or Public Schools are the same 

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KIPP Charter Chain // Seattle Education

KIPP Charter Chain // Seattle Education | Charter Schools & "Choice": A Closer Look |

The following are links gathered by Dora Taylor about the KIPP Charter Chain


"From Seattle Education posts:

For KIPP charter schools, more computer time, less class time

Michael Feinberg’s selling of KIPP in New Zealand: FAIL

A look at KIPP, Michael Feinberg, NCTQ and Bill Gates

A former KIPP teacher comments on her experience

From other sources:

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The Jessica Marks Story: “Getting fired from KIPP was probably the best thing that ever happened to me.” // Schools Matter

By Jim Horn

"On February 19, 2014, former KIPP teacher, Jessica Marks, wrote to me after searching the web for any kind of confirmation that she might not be alone in her misery.  She had been fired by KIPP just before Christmas, after 5 months as an 8th grade English teacher for KIPP Austin. In her search for solace and understanding, she came across my blog, Schools Matter, which includes many posts about teachers’ experiences at KIPP.


This is Jessica’s letter to me:




'Hi, James—

I was wondering if you were still doing a study about KIPP - I got your email [address] from a blog that was posted more than a year ago, so I understand that you might be finished with your work.


In case you need more stories, I have time to talk and I would like to discuss what happened to me. I moved to Austin to teach English at KIPP Academy of Arts & Letters in July and I was fired in December. I am not bitter or angry about getting fired - please understand. I don't have a vendetta against the organization, and I hold everyone who is still at the school in high regard. I still believe in their mission of sending all students to and through college. However, KIPP misled me, and I think it is harmful for students and teachers to go there.


I had been teaching at an early college high school in Prescott Valley, Arizona. I'd become a kind of teacher celebrity (if there is such a thing) in the town over the four years that I taught there. In fact, I was even named one of three finalists for First Year Teacher of the Year by the Yavapai County Education Foundation. I was experienced—more so than any other core content teacher at KIPP Academy of Arts & Letter—but I left Arizona because I thought I could do more good.


Over the course of the six months that I worked at KIPP, I was harassed, ridiculed, and intimidated by administrators so much that I eventually suffered a nervous breakdown.


I'm on the mend, but KIPP squashed my spirit and my confidence and it did so without cause. I worked 90 hours a week and was told that "effort doesn't equate results" and then told to take better care of myself because "how did that look to the children to have someone so stressed out be their leader?".


If you would like to discuss further, I would be absolutely willing to talk or email more, if it would help you with your research. As a teacher (and as being a reporter before I was a teacher!) I can appreciate someone trying to find evidence for a study and I'd like to help.


I apologize if this email was too long or not what you were looking for. If your study is over, please accept my thanks for doing good work. The interviews I read online already have been validating and completely accurate.


All the best,

Jessica Marks'



When I first talked with Jessica the following week on February 27, 2014, she asked to remain anonymous, as did all but one of over two dozen teachers that I interviewed for my book, Work Hard, Be Hard: Journeys through ‘No Excuses’ Teaching.  Just weeks after being fired and in the throes of despondency, Jessica feared what her KIPP principal, or the KIPP Foundation, might do or what influence KIPP supporters might exert as retribution against her speaking out.  Jessica, too, suffered a deep sense of shame that is typical among former KIPP teachers for failing at a job that she had put her heart and soul into and had so obviously failed to meet the expectations of KIPP administrators. 


Jessica began work at as a KIPP teacher July 2013, and she was fired just before Christmas the same year. When I talked with her just two months later in February, she was still living in Austin, Texas and seeing a therapist for what she described as a nervous breakdown, which was clearly in full flower at the time she was fired in December.  Jessica’s principal at KIPP Academy of Arts and Letters had recommended a particular therapist, who he knew by way of at least one other KIPP teacher who, too, had suffered a mental and emotional breakdown while teaching at KIPP.  Following extensive treatment, that teacher had eventually returned to her job at KIPP. 


Even though Jessica’s treatment was extensive, too, her future would be quite different.  After some deliberation, Jessica would return to public school teaching the following school year.  And as I was to find out in 2017 when she contacted me once more, she would come to thrive anew.  


Today, Jessica no longer fears what KIPP Austin or the KIPP Foundation might do, or try to do, for sharing the truth about her experiences at KIPP.  Her documented accomplishments since leaving KIPP reach far beyond the fearful behavioral vice and unsustainable job expectations of KIPP’s corporate creed, where individual creativity quickly wilts within an organizational pressure cooker based on total compliance and unsustainable performance requirements.


With time, a good therapist, and a new job where she is valued, trusted, and rewarded, 
Jessica has regained her confidence and tapped into those deep wells of care and empathic understanding that made her a great teacher to begin with.  In fact, on April 27, 2018, Jessica Marks (her real name) will offer an address to the Yavapai County Education Foundation in Prescott Valley, Arizona. Her speech will be her last official act as Teacher of the Year for Yavapai County, Arizona will focus on the critical need to value teachers and teaching.


So based on our written communication and interviews, this is Jessica Marks’s story of what happened before and after her short stint as a KIPP teacher.  Spoiler alert: it is a story of how personal tragedy was disrupted by personal triumph and redemption." 

The Jessica Marks Story:“Getting fired from KIPP was probably the best thing that ever happened to me.” by ontogenyx on Scribd


For post on Schools Matter blog, see: 

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What's Charles Schwab Into? Charter Schools, Of Course // Inside Philanthropy

What's Charles Schwab Into? Charter Schools, Of Course // Inside Philanthropy | Charter Schools & "Choice": A Closer Look |
By Ade Adeniji

"Brokerage firm founder Charles Schwab rode the emerging wave of online investing to amass client assets of over $2 trillion, and he now has a net worth of $6 billion. 


Schwab is one of those people who's been rich for a very long time, since the 1970s, and he's now well along in his philanthropy. The Charles and Helen Schwab Family Foundation (CHSFF) funds programs in several areas, but of course, being a finance guy, Schwab's biggest passion is education and, more specifically, charter schools.


We're not sure why charters and finance billionaires go together like peas and carrots, but we'll save the theorizing for another article. What's notable about Schwab is that he's deeper into this area than many of the more glitzy hedge fund donors who get so much attention.  


Perhaps his profile is lower because he's based out West. While he's very much a national funder, with grantmaking that has reached into many states, such as New York and Massachusetts, Schwab's biggest investments have been in California. He was born and raised in the state, got a B.A. and an M.B.A. from Stanford University and Charles Schwab Corporation is headquartered in San Francisco. 


Let's take a closer look at what CHSFF has been funding in recent years.


The first thing that jumps out is that the foundation has put money into a pretty broad swath of the usual suspects in the ed reform world. These include charter school chains like Aspire Public Schools and KIPP, and charter advocacy outfits like the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools and California Charter Schools Association. CHSFF has also given money to Michelle Rhee's outfit, StudentsFirst.


The foundation is also working the human capital side of things, and has put money into Teach for America, The New Teacher Project, and the Stand for Children Leadership Center. Money has also gone for "ideas," with support for the Thomas Fordham Institute among a few other places. 


All in all, it's just the sort of diversified portfolio that a finance guy might put together.


A $1 million gift to the Charter School Growth Fund in 2011 stands out, not only because of the size of the gift but also because of its destination. Founded in 2005, the Charter School Growth Fund (CSGF) is a bit like the mother ship of the charter school movement, working to grow and professionalize this alternative ed sector. A lot of the major players in the charter school funding world have given to CSGF, including Walton, Gates, Dell, Bradley, and Fisher. Schwab 's investment here is yet more evidence that it's a core member of the charter cabal."... 

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Why Doesn't KIPP Sign Agreement To Abide By Conflict of Interest Law? (Government Code 1090) 


"The above video includes excerpts from the Santa Clara County Board of Education meeting on November 1st, 2017 where KIPP refused to sign a Memorandum of Understanding indicating that it would abide by Government Code 1090 related to conflicts of interest. The final board vote was 5 to 2 to deny the petition at the County level. This decision was overturned by the State Board, which rubber-stamped the charter on March 14th. 


Government Code 1090 is stated here:


For more information, see:

The Business of Charter Schooling: Understanding the Policies that Charter Operators Use For Financial Benefit // National Education Policy Center

KIPP's Efforts to Keep the Public in the Dark While Seeking Millions in Taxpayer Subsidies //  via Center for Media and Democracy 

Red Flags Known and Overlooked with State Board Votes on San Jose Charter Schools: 

The Failure of Policy Planning in California’s Charter School Facility Funding 


Charter School Vulnerabilities to Waste, Fraud, and Abuse: Federal Charter School Spending, Insufficient Authorizer Oversight, and Poor State & Local Oversight Leads to Growing Fraud Problems in Charter Schools // 


Letter from East Side Union High School District to State Board of Education Encouraging Denial of KIPP: 


“KIPP” Keyword Search Subset of posts from Charter Schools & Choice: A Closer Look collection: 


Charter Schools & Choice: A Closer Look 


Is Charter School Fraud The New Enron? 


School Privatization Explained 


NAACP Statement and Resolution Calling for a Moratorium on Charter School Expansion   


For update, see: 


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Student/Parent Concerns Expressed About Experiences at KIPP School // NY Public School Parents 

Student/Parent Concerns Expressed About Experiences at KIPP School // NY Public School Parents  | Charter Schools & "Choice": A Closer Look |

[Re-shared from NY Public School Parents page. Original title: "At KIPP, I would wake up sick, every single day"] 


"A few months ago, Class Size Matters met with a former KIPP student who lives in the Bronx and her mother to hear about their experiences at the celebrated charter school. What follows are excerpts from this interview.  The girl’s name has been changed to protect her privacy.

: Students who are accepted to KIPP and who have IEP's [individualized education plans] do not get the correct services or help to be successful.  The school would rather make it difficult, leaving the parent frustrated and forcing her to remove her child. The principal always invited me to take my child out if I did not like the way she was being treated.  My response was always, "She has a right to be here just like any other child who went through the lottery system.  She will stay until she finishes."  My reasons for her to continue were because the curriculum was good and I knew that she could benefit academically from the rigorous demands, but sometimes they went to the extreme and she suffered for it."...


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KIPP Principal Quits After Workers Drink With Minors on Campus // Houston Chronicle

KIPP Principal Quits After Workers Drink With Minors on Campus // Houston Chronicle | Charter Schools & "Choice": A Closer Look |

By Erin Mulvaney


"The founding principal at KIPP Sunnyside High School has resigned after not reporting that several staff members brought alcohol to campus this summer and drank with minors, a school spokeswoman said.


Principal Shannon Wheatley was not on the charter school campus at the time of the incident, but he was aware that the gathering took place, KIPP spokeswoman Chris Gonzalez said.


“It is unacceptable to have alcohol on our campuses,” Gonzalez said. “No children were on campus, but regardless of that we have to hold that line. The principal was not there. He wasn’t even in town, but he did not report it to the administration.”


“We took a hard stance because he was aware and did not follow our protocol,” Gonzalez said.


Gonzalez could not elaborate on whether Wheatley was forced to resign. She said he is no longer employed by KIPP.


Wheatley could not be reached for comment.


The principal resigned on Aug. 9, after four clerical staff members brought alcoholic beverages onto campus after hours sometime in July, Gonzalez said. No students were present but two college-aged alumni drank at the unauthorized gathering.


The alumni were volunteers interning at KIPP over the summer. Gonzalez said she does not know if the incident was reported to police.


The four clerical staff members are also no longer employed at KIPP, she said."...


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Michael Feinberg, A Founder of KIPP Schools, Is Fired After Misconduct Claims Of Sexual Abuse Of A Minor // The New York Times

Michael Feinberg, A Founder of KIPP Schools, Is Fired After Misconduct Claims Of Sexual Abuse Of A Minor // The New York Times | Charter Schools & "Choice": A Closer Look |

By Anemona Hartcollis
"KIPP, one of the country’s largest and most successful charter school chains, dismissed its co-founder on Thursday after an investigation found credible a claim that he had sexually abused a student some two decades ago, according to a letter sent to the school community.


The co-founder, Michael Feinberg, was accused last spring of sexually abusing a minor female student in Houston in the late 1990s, according to someone with close knowledge of the case who was not authorized to speak publicly and asked not to be identified. An outside investigation found her claim credible after interviewing the student and her mother, who both gave the same sequence of events. Mr. Feinberg denies the accusation, his lawyer, Christopher L. Tritico, said.


Investigators also uncovered evidence that Mr. Feinberg had sexually harassed two KIPP employees. One case, in 2004, led to a financial settlement, the letter said; the other could not be corroborated because the woman involved would not cooperate, but the letter found it to be credible.


“We believe that Mr. Feinberg’s actions were incompatible with the leadership qualities that are central to our mission,” said the letter, which was sent Thursday afternoon to teachers, administrators and families of students.


Mr. Feinberg was told of his dismissal at a meeting on Thursday in Houston.


Mr. Tritico said an initial investigation last summer by outside counsel for KIPP’s Houston board had found the 1990s allegation to not be credible, before a second investigation by WilmerHale, a law firm specializing in sexual misconduct, reversed that finding.


He said Mr. Feinberg had never been told of the precise allegations against him, and had not been given a chance to defend himself. “The investigation was conducted without even the most rudimentary form of due process,” Mr. Tritico said.

KIPP said the first investigation found the claim inconclusive.

The program, started in Texas in 1994 with 47 fifth-grade students, achieved extraordinary results with poor and minority schoolchildren and became a model that many others sought to replicate around the country. Today it has nearly 90,000 students and 209 schools in 20 states. The vision of Mr. Feinberg and the other founder, David Levin, Ivy League graduates who came together through Teach for America in the early 1990s, is largely credited with its success.


In the early years, Mr. Feinberg was a teacher and administrator in Houston, but his current role had been mainly external — fund-raising, lobbying, political advocacy and college partnerships. In the year ended June 2016 — the latest period for which the organization’s tax filings were available — Mr. Feinberg received $231,885 in compensation and benefits while working for KIPP’s Houston schools, and $220,241 for work at the parent foundation in San Francisco, the filings show.


KIPP Houston Public Schools, as the local chapter is known, contacted Texas Child Protective Services, which declined to investigate because the victim was no longer a minor, according to the person with knowledge of the case. After an initial investigation, KIPP Houston and the KIPP Foundation hired WilmerHale.


Mr. Feinberg is the latest in a cascade of prominent men to be forced out of jobs over sexual misconduct allegations since October, when dozens of women stepped forward to accuse the film producer Harvey Weinstein of sexual abuse. The Weinstein allegations touched off a movement that has added impetus to investigations of sexual assault and raised the discussion about sexual harassment.


“It certainly is not a good time for anyone to be accused of something like this,” Mr. Tritico, Mr. Feinberg’s lawyer, said.


Mr. Levin said he had spoken to Mr. Feinberg about the matter, but he would not describe the conversation. “It is very hard to reconcile — I’ve known Mike for almost 30 years,” Mr. Levin said. “To reconcile what we’ve learned as a result of this investigation and the evidence that’s been presented to us with the work I’ve known him to do is very hard.”...


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KIPP High School Petition Denied By Santa Clara County Board // San Jose Mercury News 

KIPP High School Petition Denied By Santa Clara County Board // San Jose Mercury News  | Charter Schools & "Choice": A Closer Look | 

Marian Hall Killian's comment, February 6, 2018 2:13 PM
Cheers to the Santa Clara County School Board for blocking this Kipp High School. With this decision, the SCCSB demonstrates its stewardship responsibility to educate the majority of all students, advocate for valuable programs for all students and to remain fiscally sound in the process. The Kipp people have none of this accountability. CA charter policy allows these charter companies to take public education dollars while having none of the fiscal accountability or responsibility to educate all children in the district.
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"Student Enrollment & Charter School Marketing Playbook" // (Arnone & Tilford) Bain & Company

Available online at 


KIPP is featured heavily in this document. For a subset of posts on KIPP, see: 

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KIPP Mothers Want to Sue Charters

KIPP Mothers Want to Sue Charters | Charter Schools & "Choice": A Closer Look |

By Julian Vasquz-Heilig

"If you are paying attention, the evidence about KIPP charter schools, a darling of the charter movement, is not all roses and bows. This blog actually began back in 2012 in response to a KIPP charter schools press release. The KIPP press office..."  

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KIPP's Efforts to Hide Data While Seeking Millions in Taxpayer Subsidies // via Center for Media and Democracy 

KIPP's Efforts to Hide Data While Seeking Millions in Taxpayer Subsidies // via Center for Media and Democracy  | Charter Schools & "Choice": A Closer Look |

By Lisa Graves and Dustin Beilke
"Charter schools are big business, even when they are run by "non-profits" that pay no taxes on the revenue they receive from public taxes or other sources.


Take KIPP, which describes itself as a "national network of public schools."


KIPP (an acronym for the phrase "knowledge is power program") operates like a franchise with the KIPP Foundation as the franchisor and the individual charters as franchisees that are all separate non-profits that describe themselves as "public schools."

But how public are KIPP public schools?

Not as public as real or traditional public schools.


New documents discovered on the U.S. Department of Education's website reveal that KIPP has claimed that information about its revenues and other significant matters is "proprietary" and should be redacted from materials it provides to that agency to justify the expenditure of federal tax dollars, before its application is made publicly available.


So what does a so-called public school like KIPP want to keep the public from knowing?"...


For full post, please see: 

- See more at: 

Additional downloads/links available at:
KIPP redactions
KIPP redaction list
KIPP 2013 990
KIPP 2012 990


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The Disturbing Reason Why Charter Schools May Have Higher Test Scores // Mother Jones

The Disturbing Reason Why Charter Schools May Have Higher Test Scores // Mother Jones | Charter Schools & "Choice": A Closer Look |

"Last September, Gene Demby, a writer with NPR's Code Switch team, penned an essay mourning the loss of public schools in his native Philadelphia. The elementary and middle schools he'd attended as a kid had closed in recent years and were eventually replaced by charters.

"Our schools are signposts in the stories we tell ourselves about ourselves and our communities," Demby said.

As more public schools shutter—Philadelphia has shut down more than 30 of them since 2012, while hard-hit cities such as Detroit haveclosed 204 since 2002—that story increasingly revolves charter schools. And a new study raises intriguing questions about how these schools discipline students and how such rules disproportionately affect black children and students with disabilities.


And while charter schools encompass a broad range of teaching styles—some follow the Montessori model or have an ethnocentric focus, for example—many in urban areas follow a "no excuses" philosophy.

This approach borrows heavily from a "zero tolerance" policing ideology that emphasizes cracking down on minor offenses, including by searching the pockets of teenagers living in low-income neighborhoods for drugs and weapons, to prevent major crimes such as drug dealing down the road.

"No Excuses"

In a classroom setting, this translates into a belief that the smallest infractions, such as passing a note during class, is to be met with an immediate consequence. Depending on the offense, that can escalate from being asked to stand up for the rest of the class to being sent home on an "out-of-school suspension." Schools such as the Knowledge is Power Program (KIPP), Success Academy, and Uncommon Schools, among others, use various parts of "no excuses" ideology.

"If you don't tuck in your shirt, if you space out for a minute and don't track your teacher with your eyes, if your binder is messy, you lose points," one former KIPP student told me in 2014 of his middle school experience.

"If you lose enough points, you are not allowed to go on field trips or be a part of graduation ceremony. My homeroom teacher was really young and didn't know how to control the classroom. She kicked me out a lot and I was sent home a lot. Some of us called it the Kids in the Public Prison Program," he said.

A famous example of "no excuses" charter school is the Roxbury Preparatory Charter School near Boston that was founded by Secretary of Education John King Jr. in 1999. Roxbury Prep became the highest-performing urban public school in Massachusetts, according to NPR. It is these high test scores—more than any other measure—that charter school advocates cite as a strong argument for replacing traditional schools.

Discipline data

But as more "no excuses" charter schools open, a growing number of critics have been raising serious concerns: Do charters truly admit all students—such as kids who face great challenges like severe disabilities or recent immigrants who don't speak English—like traditional schools do? And do some charters engage in practices that artificially raise kids' test scores?

Yesterday, the UCLA's Center for Civil Rights Remedies published a study that for the first time looked at discipline data for 5,250 charter schools and 95,000 public schools. The study, "Charter Schools, Civil Rights and School Discipline: A Comprehensive Review," focused on how often students were sent home on detention (or "out-of-school suspensions," in education jargon) during the 2011-12 academic year.

Researchers have found that being suspended is a strong indicator that a student will eventually drop out. And students who drop out are much more likely to end up in prison, becoming part of the "school to prison pipeline." This issue disproportionately affects black students (in charter and noncharter schools), who are suspended at a rate three times greater than white students.

Here are the most significant findings in the report:

Suspensions are falling, but there is a disturbing trend.
The good news is that early data suggests suspension rates have been declining in many districts since 2012, thanks in part to a recent push by the federal government and various advocates to encourage schools to consider alternative discipline approaches grounded in strong research.

That said, there were troubling exceptions in two states, the authors write. Last year, charters in Connecticut suspended and expelled higher percentages of students in preschools and elementary schools (14 percent) than the public schools did (3 percent). And in Massachusetts, data from 2015 showed that charter schools made up a disproportionate share of the state's highest-suspending schools. Secretary of Education John King's Roxbury Prep had the highest suspension rate of all charter schools in the state: 40 percent of all students and 58 percent of its students with disabilities were suspended in 2014. (Nationally in all schools, that number was 10 percent and 18 percent, respectively, in the 2011-12 academic year.)

Charter schools suspended higher percentages of black students and students with disabilities than traditional schools did. The overall difference between suspension rates in charters versus traditional schools isn't huge: In the 2011-12 academic year, charters suspended 7.8 percent of all students, compared with 6.7 percent for noncharters. But these gaps increase when you look at who is getting suspended: In charter schools, black students and students with disabilities were suspended at higher percentages in all grades than their peers in traditional schools. In middle and high schools, 12 percent more students with disabilities and 2.5 percent more black students were suspended in charters compared with noncharters.

What the authors of the report found especially worrisome was that close to half of all black students at middle and high school charter schools went to one of the 270 schools that was highly segregated (80 percent black) and where the suspension rate for black students was extremely high: 25 percent. Even more disconcerting, 235 charter schools suspended more than 50 percent of their enrolled students with disabilities, the researchers wrote.

The patterns among some charter schools of having high test scores and very high suspension rates prompted the authors of the report to conclude, "Although beyond the scope of this report, the possibility certainly exists that some charter schools are artificially boosting their test scores or graduation rates by using harsh discipline to discourage lower-achieving youth from continuing to attend."

Charter schools may benefit from another advantage that potentially boosts test scores: so-called "selection bias." Many scholars have pointed out, the report says, that since charter schools require parents to apply for a charter or enter lotteries, the schools typically attract more students who have engaged parents, or who are higher achieving or better behaved. A 2015 study by the University of California-Berkeley showed that in fact students who entered charter schools in Los Angeles were already higher achieving, as measured by their standardized test scores, than their peers in traditional schools.

Charter schools teach fewer students with disabilities and fewer kids who are learning to speak English. While the report found that charter schools enroll higher percentages of black students and poor students than traditional schools, the researchers also found that charters tend to have smaller percentages of students with learning disabilities (ranging from attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and autism to kids in wheelchairs) and kids just learning to speak English. Yet students who live in poverty are more likely to be diagnosed with learning disabilities and to be learning English, so researchers were surprised to find that these two groups were underrepresented at charters. This data raised additional concerns with the study authors about enrollment and suspension policies in charter schools.

Many charter schools don't suspend a lot of students, and some "no excuses" followers are reforming their discipline tactics.
The report found that among middle schools and high schools, only 332 schools were classified as "high-suspending" (meaning these schools suspended more than 25 percent of any group). With elementary grades, the 240 high-suspending charter schools were far outnumbered by the 486 lower-suspending schools (those with a suspension rate around 10 percent or less).

And while some charter schools such as the widely known Success Academy have publicly defended their suspension policies, others like KIPP are embracing reform. Just last month, many KIPP school leaders at a national meeting attended sessions on the "restorative justice" approach to school discipline—which uses misbehavior and conflict as opportunities for self-reflection and learning with the help of a trained coach—as an alternative to "zero tolerance" discipline. And California and Connecticut have recently prohibited the use of suspensions for minor infractions for young students in all schools in those states.

The new federal Every Student Succeeds Act now requires that states include many measures in their school grading formulas—not just standardized test scores—including "school climate" indicators such as suspensions.

"Currently, half of all states do not report discipline data broken up by race and disability to the public on their state site, even though every state is required to do so every year," Daniel J. Losen, one of the authors of the report and the director of the Center for Civil Rights Remedies, told Mother Jones.

As Demby reflected in his essay on the past and future of public education, "It's no accident that local schools are battlegrounds for so many of our most heated, pitched battles over race and place in America." There are big questions embedded in how we decide to educate kids and how we allocate public resources to schools, he added. "Who gets to go to the best of them?" he asked. 

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Teach For America Parent Speaks: Should Kids Teach Kids? #TFA25 // KVOI The Voice

"Julian Vasquez Heilig joined the show State of Education on 1.2.2016 to discuss Teach For America on 1030 AM KVOI The Voice. Anonymous parent of a Teach For America corps member also joined the show. 

Topics and questions addressed:
* How much taxpayer money does Teach For America spend?
* Do Teach For America teachers stay in the classroom?
* How much money do the Walmart heirs spend on Teach For America?

* Should Teach For America privately control the provision of teachers for communities?
* Why do Teach For America alums go into politics and political jobs?
* A parent talks about the "caring and wonderful" but "floundering"
Teach For America teachers in her daughter's school. 

* Parent discusses going from "excitement" to "devastation" about her daughter's participation in Teach For America.
* Could charters in Chicago, Louisiana and other cities survive without the temporary labor provided by Teach For America?
* Parent discussed the "militaristic" approach of the KIPP charter school that her daughter (TFA) taught in.
* Do charter schools actually perform better than traditional public schools?
* Caller asked whether it would be a better idea for kids to teach kids instead of teachers teaching kids.
* Does Teach For America punish corp members and alums (backlash) for speaking out?"...

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Also see 

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