Monday, December 16, 2019

In Case You Missed It – Dec 16, 2019

Here are links to last week's articles receiving the most attention in NEIFPE's social media. Keep up with what's going on, what's being discussed, and what's happening with public education.

Be sure to enter your email address in the Follow Us By Email box in the right-hand column to be informed when our blog posts are published.


Charter Schools USA loses charter bid, giving IPS a shot at reclaiming takeover schools

The charter board voted against allowing a shady, failing charter operation to help run three Indianapolis schools. Unfortunately, IPS probably doesn’t have the resources it needs, or the will required, to keep the schools in operation without teaming up with other nefarious groups.

From Chalkbeat*
Indiana Charter School Board denied charters Friday for three Indianapolis turnaround schools — a stunning move that could spell the end to the Florida-based Charter Schools USA’s operations in Indianapolis.

As a result, the three Indianapolis schools — Howe High School, Manual High School, and Emma Donnan Middle School — face the prospect of another rocky transition to new management, or even possible closure.

But the board’s 4-3 votes against the charters, which elicited gasps from the audience, marked a major victory for Indianapolis Public Schools, which could win back the three schools that have been under state takeover since 2011.


North Carolina: Leandro Report Sets a New Direction for the State’s Schools; Will the Politicians Listen?

From Diane Ravitch
A report on a 25-year-old court case in North Carolina was released yesterday. The long-anticipated report rebukes the past decade of education policy in the state, led and directed by the Republican majority in the state’s General Assembly. The powers that be don’t like to spend money on education.
...The report confirms what North Carolinians have been saying for years: The state has consistently failed to give every child in this state access to the education they deserve.


A new Indianapolis education PAC wants to bypass controversy. That could be hard.

The fact that charters drain money away from public schools is a fact that cannot be wished away by pretending it’s not happening.

From Chalkbeat*
Jasmin Shaheed-Young has a vision for a political organization that focuses on education — while avoiding deeply contested, emotionally fraught debates over school choice.

Shaheed-Young says she wants the new political action committee she founded, known as RISE Indy, to be driven by community priorities and focus on unifying issues, such as improving student achievement, rather than the debate between charter and traditional public schools.

“There’s so much rhetoric around what is the school model? Who is funding what? But kids are continuing to fail,” said Shaheed-Young, a former vice president for a real estate development firm and Democratic fundraiser. “How do we approach looking at this as a quality of life issue — so everyone feels like they need to do something and there’s not this apathy?”

Although its agenda is not yet fleshed out, Shaheed-Young’s fledgling political group is poised to play a significant role in politics because of its close ties to influential school choice advocates. But those same connections mean that it will be hard for the group to avoid the volatile politics that have come to define Indianapolis Public Schools board elections.


Charter Schools Exploit Children of Color

From Gadfly on the Wall Blog
How do charter schools disadvantage the students enrolled there?

Like other vulture capitalist enterprises, they exploit the students they purport to serve by convincing people of color to accept fewer services than they already get at authentic public schools.

Authentic public schools invariably are run by school directors elected from the community who have to make all possible decisions in public and present their records for review.

Charter schools are permitted to run without elected school boards. Decisions are often made by appointed bureaucrats behind closed doors. They are not required to hold public meetings or present school documents as public records. Parents have no way of having their voices heard except that they can take it or leave it.

Authentic public schools have to use all their funding for the benefit of the students.

Charter schools can cut student services and pocket the savings. This is true regardless of whether they are designated for-profit or non-profit.


Report: Federal government wasted millions of dollars on charter schools that never opened

From the Answer Sheet
The new report found:
  • The disbursement of more than $1 billion during the program’s first decade — from 1995 to 2005 — was never monitored, and there is no complete public record of which schools received the funds because the Education Department never required states to report where the money went. During that period, California received $191 million, Florida $158.4 million and Michigan $64.6 million.
  • The overall rate of failed charter projects from 2006 to 2014 was 37 percent, with some states posting a much higher failure rate. In Iowa, for example, 11 charter schools received grants and 10 failed after receiving a total of $3.66 million. The failure rate exceeded 50 percent in a number of states, including Georgia, Delaware, Hawaii, Maryland and Virginia. In California, 37 percent failed to open or stay open, after winning nearly $103 million in CSP funding.
  • Although Congress forbids for-profit operators from directly receiving CSP grants, some of them still were able to benefit. The report says 357 schools in the database were run by for-profit chains, for a total cost of $125 million in federal CSP start-up costs. Most of that money was spent in Michigan and in Florida.


Ohio Expands Its Failed Voucher Program, and Most School Districts Will Lose Funding

A study of the Ohio voucher program showed that it failed to improve student achievement. The decision by the state to expand the program shows that the purpose of vouchers were never really to help children. Instead, vouchers are simply a way to divert public funds to religious schools.

From Diane Ravitch
Three years ago, the pro-charter, pro-voucher Thomas B. Fordham Institute published a study of Ohio’s voucher program. The study, conducted by David Figlio and Krzysztof Karbownik of Northwestern University is called “Evaluation of Ohio’s EdChoice Scholarship Program: Selection, Competition, and Performance Effects.”

The study concluded that the voucher program was failing to improve student achievement.

*Note: Financial sponsors of Chalkbeat include pro-privatization foundations and individuals such as EdChoice, Gates Family Foundation, The Walton Family Foundation, and others.


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