Louisiana State Superintendent begs Private Schools to Take More Voucher Students– and Offers More State Money to Help Them Do So

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Posted by Libergirl

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Daytime television has nothing on the pathetic saga of non-success that is the Louisiana voucher program (reformerspeak: “Opportunity Scholarship Program”).

Vouchers were piloted in New Orleans in 2008 and offered to the public beginning the 2012-13 school year. However, the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee asked Louisiana State Superintendent John White about “due diligence” regarding his awarding voucher seats to schools without having conducted site visits. The now-infamous May 2012 “muddying the narrative” emails between White and Jindal administration officials indicate that White concocted a shady after-the-fact “due diligence” in an effort to cover his behind.

White allowed schools like New Living Word in Ruston to participate in the 2012-13 voucher program despite publicized concerns over adequate facilities, only dismissing the school from the voucher program after the state had overpaid it.

Then there is the issue of using money earmarked for public schools, Minimum Foundation Program (MFP) funding, as…

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The 4 Most Profound Ways Privatization Perverts Education

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Image: Getty

Profit-seeking in the banking and health care industries has victimized Americans. Now it’s beginning to happen in education, with our children as the products.

There are good reasons – powerful reasons – to stop the privatization efforts before the winner-take-all free market creates a new vehicle for inequality. At the very least we need the good sense to slow it down while we examine the evidence about charters and vouchers.

1. Charter Schools Have Not Improved Education

The recently updated  CREDO study at Stanford revealed that while charters have made progress since 2009, their performance is  about the same as that of public schools. The differences are, in the words of the  National Education Policy Center, “so small as to be regarded, without hyperbole, as trivial.” Furthermore, the four-year improvement demonstrated by charters may have been due to the  closing of schools that underperformed in the earlier study, and also by a variety of means to discourage the attendance of lower-performing students.

Ample evidence exists beyond CREDO to question the effectiveness of charter schools (although they continue to have both  supporters and detractors). In  Ohio, charters were deemed inferior to traditional schools in all grade/subject combinations. Texas charters had a much  lower graduation rate in 2012 than traditional schools. In Louisiana, where Governor Bobby Jindal proudly  announced that “we’re doing something about [failing schools],” about two-thirds of charters received a D or an F from the  Louisiana State Department of Education in 2013. Furthermore, charters in  New Orleans rely heavily on inexperienced teachers, and even its model charter school Sci Academy has experienced a skyrocketing suspension rate, the second highest in the city. More trouble looms for the over-chartered city in a  lawsuitfiled by families of disabled students contending that equal educational access has not been provided for their children.

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Posted by The NON-Conformist

NC State Board of Ed green lights 26 charter schools to open this fall

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Follow-up to earlier story about public school education in North Carolina…scary!

South Brunswick Charter approved amid questions surrounding charter operator’s financial conduct and conflicts of interest

After very little discussion, members of the State Board of Education gave final approval yesterday to 26 charter schools that intend to open in the fall of 2014.

Among those approved was South Brunswick Charter School, a fourth charter school to be run by Baker A. Mitchell, Jr.

Over the past several months, Brunswick County school district officials have called out Mitchell for profiting heavily off of taxpayer-funded charter schools that offer no new or innovative educational experiences outside of what traditional public schools already offer. Mitchell also serves on the Charter School Advisory Board, which is tasked with reviewing and recommending charter school applications.

The impact on Brunswick’s local schools

Public charter schools were intended to provide alternative educational settings for those who desire a different curricular approach to education or who need specialized attention. To accomplish these goals, charter schools receive taxpayer funds based on the number of students they enroll. Unlike traditional public schools, charter schools have few accountability requirements and are not obligated to explain in detail how they spend their tax dollars.

During the charter school application review process, local school districts have the opportunity to submit impact statements for members of the Charter School Advisory Board and the State Board of Education to take into account as they consider approving the opening of a charter school. Impact statements usually explain how the local public school could be negatively affected by the opening of a charter school.

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Posted by Libergirl

Reactionary Legislature in NC Set for Big Charter Expansion

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Image: godowntownraleigh.com

The governor and legislature in North Carolina are determined to privatize as many public dollars as possible.

They have approved vouchers for religious schools, private schools, and even home schools.

But their main privatization strategy is charter schools.

They are set to expand the number in the state, thus creating a consumer mentality and simultaneously draining funds from the public schools.

A news report says that:

The next two weeks will determine how rapidly North Carolina’s charter-school movement expands, at a time when supporters say the schools are giving families more choices and critics say they’re harming traditional public schools.

On Thursday, the State Board of Education will vote on whether to give final approval to 26 charter schools – four in Wake County, one in Durham, one in Harnett County and 11 in the Charlotte area – that want to open this fall. It would mark the state’s largest single-year expansion of charter schools since the program was in its infancy in the late 1990s.

Next week, the state Office of Charter Schools will recommend which of the 71 charter schools that have applied to open in 2015 should go forward for further review. Those applicants includes eight in Wake County, eight in Durham and 31 in Charlotte and surrounding areas.

North Carolina could have more than 200 charter schools open in 2015 – double the number that existed until a state limit was lifted in 2011. With the help of a sympathetic state legislature, charters are poised to become a larger part of the public-school landscape.

More from Diane Ravitch’s blog

Posted by Libergirl

The Bankruptcy and Privatization of Detroit Is a Terrifying Preview of What Republicans Want to Do to the Rest of the Country | Alternet

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Mitt Romney should be proud of what’s happening in Detroit.

That’s because during his time at Bain Capital, he perfected the type of glorified extortion tactics Rick Snyder and Kevin Orr are using right now rob city workers of their hard-earned pension plans.

When Mitt was running Bain during the 1980s and 1990s, the company made its money by forcing companies into debt and then robbing them blind for every last bit of cash they had.

Bain would take out a loan for, say, a billion dollars. It would then use that billion dollar loan – its leverage – to buy a company. But instead of paying back that billion dollar loan itself, Bain would dump it on the company it just bought. In other words, Bain would make the company it just bought pay for its own acquisition.

And where would that company get the billion dollars to do that? Well, good old Mitt would say that it got the money by eliminating fraud and waste. But in reality that money came from stripping the company of its assets and converting them into cash.

It came from taking employee assets – like pensions and decent paychecks – and converting them into cash to pay for the debt, and even converting future assets – the viability of the company itself – into cash to pay for the debt.

It came from gutting retirement funds and firing workers.

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Posted by The NON-Conformist

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