Archive for charter schools

Hell Freezes Over


No, I'm not talking about The Eagles. But seriously, hell must have frozen over yesterday! Glenn Beck, the hate talker who was too extreme for Faux News, yesterday admitted that not only was he wrong about the US invasion of Iraq but, "Liberals, you were right!"

Seriously! If you need to hear it right from the horses mouth, I  don't blame you. Just hit play:

There was more. Of course, Beck was wrong about more than he got right in this clip... But there was more to enjoy:

From the beginning, most people on the left were against going into Iraq. I wasn’t. At the time I believed that the United States was under threat from Saddam Hussein. I really truly believed that Saddam Hussein was funding terrorists. We knew that. He was funding the terrorists in Hamas. We knew that he was giving money. We could track that. We knew he hated us. We knew that without a shadow of a doubt. It wasn’t much or a stretch to believe that he would fund a terror strike against us, especially since he would say that. So I took him at his word.

[...] Now, in spite of the things I felt at the time when we went into war, liberals said: We shouldn’t get involved. We shouldn’t nation-build. And there was no indication the people of Iraq had the will to be free. I thought that was insulting at the time. Everybody wants to be free. They said we couldn’t force freedom on people. Let me lead with my mistakes. You are right. Liberals, you were right. We shouldn’t have.

[...] Not one more life. Not one more life. Not one more dollar, not one more airplane, not one more bullet, not one more Marine, not one more arm or leg or eye. Not one more," he said. "This must end now. Now can't we come together on that?

Of course, the right's reaction to the capture and arrest of the alleged mastermind of the Benghazi attack was both predictable and nothing I could have ever imagined, at the same time!

“You have the former Secretary of State who is in the middle of a really high-profile book tour,”Independents host Kennedy said. “I think this is convenient for her to shift the talking points from some of the things she’s been discussing.”

Concerned Vets CEO and Fox contributor Pete Hegseth noted that Clinton was set to give an interview with Fox, that will almost certainly focus on her role in Benghazi, in just a few hours.

“What a great thing to announce tonight at Fox News that the perpetrators have been brought to justice,” he continued. “It’s all too neat and it’s too cute. I always want to give the benefit of the doubt to our authorities, but in this case it feels too neat on the timeline.”

These people really have nothing better to do?

Perhaps I shouldn't ask, as they spend the rest of their time trying to make a fortune on the backs of our nation's schoolchildren and health care.

Speaking of the deadbeats who are making huge profits by trying to kill off public education, this morning I spoke with someone who is working hard on behalf of our public education system. Sabrina Joy Stevens is a former teacher, now working at executive director of Integrity in Education.

Today, she told us about two issues. First, the fact that former FL Governor, Bush family member, and  possible 2016 presidential contender Jeb Bush today keynoted a convention of  predatory for-profit college industry leaders.  #Jebucation.

Secondly, she gave us the facts about the attack on teachers tenure in California in the wrongly-decided case of Vergara vs California. Sabrina wrote about it - and the big money behind the suit for the American Prospect magazine, "Billionaires Behind the Attack on Public Education in California Tenure Suit."

Finally, during the show today, a ruling was handed down by the US Patent Office cancelling the trademark for the Washington (offensive name) football team! I learned about it from a tweet from Dave Zirin of The Nation, who is in Brazil for the World Cup. He'll join me on the show tomorrow to talk about both stories! Plus The No More Bullshit Minute with Stephen Goldstein, and She's History's Amy Simon too.

See you then, radio or not!


Charter schools, corporations cheat kids, spend millions on trips, strip clubs #CharterSchoolsWeek


charter schools corporate

Charter schools are cheating our children. Brace yourselves: Over 100 million dollars meant for our kids have been misused, lost or stolen by charter operators and corporations. Why? Because there is no regulation. We all know how the GOP and corporate America hate regulations, and this is why.

Privatization gives greedy, corporate types all kinds of opportunities. For instance, the opportunity to use taxpayer funds meant for students; they're using that money, our money, to pay for house renovations, outings to strip clubs, and vacations to Atlantic City.

How in the world can we keep giving money to people (because we all know that corporations are people, my friend) who do this? How in the world can Americans keep supporting-- and voting for-- these pigs?

By the way, the report covers what "might just be the tip of the" proverbial iceberg, focusing on a mere fifteen of the forty-two states that have charter school laws.

Paul Rosenberg at Salon has the story:

While there are plenty of other troubling issues surrounding charter schools—from high rates of racial segregation, to their lackluster overall performance records, to questionable admission and expulsion practices—this report sets all those admittedly important issues aside to focus squarely on activity that appears it could be criminal, and arguably totally out of control. It does not even mention questions raised by sky-high salaries paid to some charter CEOs, such as 16 New York City charter school CEOs who earned more than the head of the city’s public school system in 2011-12. Crime, not greed, is the focus here. [...]

[The report] organized the abuse into six basic categories, each of which is treated in its own section:

• Charter operators using public funds illegally for personal gain;
• School revenue used to illegally support other charter operator businesses;
• Mismanagement that puts children in actual or potential danger;
• Charters illegally requesting public dollars for services not provided;
• Charter operators illegally inflating enrollment to boost revenues; and,
• Charter operators mismanaging public funds and schools.

Perhaps most disturbingly, under the first category, crooked charter school officials displayed a wide range of lavish, compulsive or tawdry tastes. Examples include:

• Joel Pourier, former CEO of Oh Day Aki Heart Charter School in Minnesota, who embezzled $1.38 million from 2003 to 2008. He used the money on houses, cars, and trips to strip clubs. Meanwhile, according to an article in the Star Tribune, the school “lacked funds for field trips, supplies, computers and textbooks.”


Others spent their stolen money on everything from a pair of jet skis for $18,000 to combined receipts of $228 for cigarettes and beer, to over $30,000 on personal items from Lord & Taylor, Saks Fifth Avenue, Louis Vuitton, Coach and Tommy Hilfiger. But the real damage came from the theft of resources for children’s future.

No wonder Republicans are trying to do away with public schools. They're no fun!

More at Salon.

charter schools privatization corruption


WalkerWorld: Achievement gap between black and white Wisconsin students “unacceptably high”


walker world

The LaCrosse Tribune is reporting on how things are going in Scott Walker World, specifically how fourth- and eighth-grade students are coming along.

The good news?

Wisconsin fourth- and eighth-graders are scoring at and above national averages in reading and math, according to results of the National Assessment of Educational Progress tests released Thursday...

The bad news?

... but the results also showed the state’s achievement gap is the highest of all 50 states.

Wisconsin’s gap [between black and white students] is the highest in each of the four areas tested among states, according to the NAEP testing data. [...]

The achievement gap between black and white Wisconsin students is “unacceptably high,” DPI said. Wisconsin’s black students’ average scores were some of the lowest in the country.

Gee, could it have anything to do with his budget funding school vouchers, charter schools "leaving public schools on life support"?


Wisconsin report card: 53% of charter schools fell below expectations, 2 got failing grade


grade F

Back in February I posted, Gov. Scott Walker's budget: Planned Parenthood closes 4 locations; funds school vouchers, charter schools "leaving public schools on life support."

Yes, Scotty not only tries to bust unions, but he also makes it harder on children, including special needs children, to access public education.

By the way, did you know that e-mails linked the Jeb Bush foundation, corporations, ALEC, and education officials? Of course, corporate funders benefited. Leave it to the GOP to put profits over the educational needs of all children.

When schools are privatized, they exist to make money, which leads to cutting corners and catering to those who can afford the high price of a private education. And charter schools challenge teachers’ unions while education opportunities suffer. In Philadelphia, charter school teachers rallied for unionization:

[T]hese teachers are on the frontlines of the education reform movement and among the first to seek to unionize the corporate education sector.

$400,000 was spent by the group that owns the charter of the high school in question to stop that union effort.

At the rally, the teachers were pretty clear about what they were fighting for; and, it doesn't revolve around pay and benefits. Emily Guck who has been teaching at Olney Charter High School for two years explained that since teachers see how policy affects their students on a day-to-day basis, teachers at the charter school should be granted a seat at the table.

Period. That was their priority, not money.

One twelfth grade teacher at the school explained:

"One of the reasons we feel our charter school union drive is so important in the present moment is that over the last decade or so, as we've seen charter schools continue to proliferate, major changes have happened in terms of who actually gets to make decisions about public education. Traditionally, such decisions have been made through collaborations between elected officials, teachers, parents, and administrators. Increasingly, they are now being made in closed-meetings by the unelected board members of private organizations, who may or may not have backgrounds in education, or children in the schools for which they are making decisions."

In Wisconsin, charter schools and voucherizing have consistently been pet issues for Gov. Walker. Let's check in on how that's been working out.

Via JSOnline:

Despite having more freedom over curriculum, budgets and staffing than traditional public schools, the majority of Milwaukee's independent charter schools are not meeting performance expectations, according to statewide report card results for 2012-'13.

Of the 17 independent charters in Milwaukee that received a rating through the state's new school report card accountability system, 53% fell below expectations, with two schools authorized by the City of Milwaukee receiving a failing grade... The schools are publicly financed but privately managed, and are given freedom from bureaucratic restraints on school districts in exchange for upholding a promise to deliver on performance. [...]

[O]n a percentage basis, the 134 schools rated in MPS [Milwaukee Public Schools] educated three times as many students learning English and twice as many students with special needs, compared with independent charters. The charter schools enrolled a higher percentage of white students and lower percentage of students in poverty than MPS.

Class dismissed.