Archives for category: Stand for Children

Broad-trained Dallas Superintendent Mike
Miles is in big trouble.
He is under investigation for
interfering with bidding for contracts and with internal audits;
several of his top staff have quit; DISD teachers are quitting in
large numbers; Miles’ family moved away from Dallas. But he has
good news: Miles’ special assistant is running for a seat on the
school board. Miguel Solis is not only running for the board, where
he can protect his unpopular and tyrannical boss, he is the Dallas
director of Stand on Children. Stand is a national organization
that was once grassroots but now reflects the interests of wealthy
investors in privatization and high-stakes testing. It will be
interesting to see if he has a credible opponent who cares about
public education. Of course, Stand will provide ample campaign
funds to keep the board committed to its program.

The corporate reform group, Stand on Children, dumped $500,000 into the Boston’s Mayor Race, and selected their candidate, City Councilor John R. Connolly.

It is prepared to spend even more, dwarfing the spending of other candidates.

This follows the pattern of the infusion of large outside money by corporate reformers in races in Louisiana, Colorado, California, and elsewhere.

After reviewing a large field, Stand on Children decided that Connolly was their man, the one who is likeliest to push hardest for privatization of public schools and to emphasize test scores as the highest goal of public education.

Stand began its life in Oregon as a civil rights group, but then discovered that there was a brighter future representing the interests of equity investors and Wall Street.

Subsequently, many of its original members left, but the budget greatly expanded, allowing them to be a major presence in states like Illinois and Massachusetts, where they promote charter schools and the removal of teacher tenure.

In Illinois, they bought up all the best lobbyists and got passed a law that made it illegal for the Chicago teachers to strike unless they got a 75% approval vote.

The Chicago Teachers Union got more than 90% and went on strike, much to the surprise of the big-money funders who thought they had crippled the union.

Edelman boasted at the Aspen Institute Festival about how he had “outfoxed” the teachers’ union by working with the state’s wealthiest hedge fund managers, buying up lobbyists, and winning anti-union legislation.

Stand pretends to be a “progressive” organization. It is, in fact, as Edelman boasts on the Aspen video, a mouthpiece for the 1%: Pro-privatization, anti-union, anti-public education.

The session title was, “If It Can Happen in Illinois, It Can Happen Anywhere.”


Rightwing groups have targeted Tennessee as ripe for privatization on next year’s election.

Last election, Michelle Rhee’s StudentsFirst pumped more than $200,000 into Tennessee races, mostly to Republicans but also to a pro-voucher Democratic legislator.

The pro-privatization groups Democrats for Education Reform and Stand on Children are also likely to add funding to candidates who oppose public education.

These groups want to solidify the control of far-right Governor Haslam and a legislature that is hostile to public schools and professional teachers.

Big corporate and rightwing money can be defeated by an informed public.

The state of Pennsylvania, the School Reform Commission, Governor Corbett, and the Legislature have decided to strip bare the publuc schools of Philadelphia. They are doing to these students what they would never do to their own. They are vandals.

This morning, i received this poem written by a student, Siduri Beckmann. Why is Siduri less deserving of a full education than the children of the city and state’s leaders?

“This poem has brought tears to many eyes in Philadelphia in the last twenty-four hours!

“Siduri Beckman is a ninth-grader at Julia R. Masterman School. She is the city of Philadelphia’s first Youth Poet Laureate. She “felt like it was part of my job and my duty as a Masterman student to write a poem protesting the school budget cuts.”

A Word from the Cripples

I’ve got something

to say.

It won’t take long

Just as long as it took you

to snatch everything away

One fourth of the body is

the leg

You have crippled us

Cursing us to hobble

all of our lives.

I cannot run


on just

one leg.

Rip song

off of our tongues

to find songs are not Velcro but flesh

Snap the bows of the violins

in case the students could ever get the idea

that music

is alive

Because then you would have blood on your hands.

God forbid.

You see us as a problem

the classic class problem

INNER CITY streaked like mud across our faces

they’re all on the street anyway.

But leeches don’t suck out the disease

just the lifeblood.

I am angry

But I will not stoop

and hurt you

As you have hurt me

Thrusting fear

into our hearts

Why make us feel

so small


Forgotten by the people

whose duty it is to remember

Turn your back on your city

that chose not to choose


Because they feared

and now do all fears dawn true.

Bust the beehive

We will come out

In droves of wasps

We sting and live

to sting again

We will show ourselves to be

as formidable a foe

as all of those frackers

who you refuse to tax.

But you have also forgot

all of those ink marks slashed

with no faces or hopes or dreams or blood or flesh

Dismiss us

We cannot vote.

But in this country

we can speak.

It is clear by now that there is a very small number of very wealthy people who just don’t like public education. They don’t like teachers who work in public schools and want to strip them of any and every right, privilege, and status. They want to treat them like fast-food workers or salesmen who work on commission.

Given the chance, they would take the public’s money and give it to voucher schools, religious schools, entrepreneurs, to anyone who wants to start a school or an online business, regardless of their experience or qualifications. No one can take seriously their claim that they want to improve education or that they are “doing it for the kids” or they “put kids first” or they want to make kids “globally competitive.”

None of this is true.

Here Mike Deshotels explains who the haters are. They need do do some rethinking about the damage they are doing to our students, our teachers, and our nation.

One of Governor Jindal’s “reforms” is called Course Choice. This is supposed to allow public school students to sign up with private vendors, using public school dollars extracted from their local school. Most of the vendors are online operators.

Course choice and vouchers were the centerpiece of Jindal’s plan to privatize public education, by funding these choices from the state’s Minimum Foundation budget. Unfortunately for the governor and his State Superintendent John White, the state’s highest court said that it was unconstitutional to spend the money dedicated to public schools on vouchers and Course Choice. The court decided by a vote of 6-1, which in the eyes of most people is decisive.

One of the state’s investigative bloggers discovered that some 1,100 students had enrolled– without their knowledge— in an online course offered by a Texas corporation.

How could this happen? Why were Louisiana dollars shipped to a Texas company when the students and their parents didn’t know they had signed up? How did the corporation get their contact information?

Will the legislature provide alternate funding for vouchers and Course Choice?

Will there be a legislative investigation of this curious “choice”?

An interesting detail. The state department of education is in a frenzy trying to identify the leaker of salacious details about their prized programs.

Guess whose schools were closed? The poorest, the neediest, the children of color. Now the charter operators will decide which ones they want. They will take the “strivers.” Who will take the others?

Which children will be left behind in the era of No Child Left Behind?

Which children come in last in Arne Duncan’s Race to the Top?

How will the PR folks spin the mass closure of 50 public schools as a victory in “the civil rights issue of our time?”

It is historic. Never in our history have 50 public schools been shuttered at one time. Rahm Emanuel and Barbara Byrd-Bennett will enter the history books, undoubtedly in a chapter about the corporate assault on the very principle of public education. No doubt, the hedge fund managers and equity investors are clicking their champagne glasses tonight. Quite a victory for them and Stand for Children and Democrats for Education Reform, and yes, for ALEC.

The great social movements of the past 60 years advanced through the mechanism of public education: racial desegregation; gender equity; the inclusion of children with disabilities. And what began in the public schools radiated out into the society as a whole.

The page on which Rahm Emanuel’s name is inscribed in the history books will record this day of infamy, this betrayal of children, this abandonment of an institution that has been so essential to our democracy.

It is useful every so often to review the list of organizations that are funded by the ultra-rightwing Walton Foundation. This past year, the foundation gave out $158 million for “education reform.” As you will see, almost all of that money went to support charter schools and vouchers and organizations that advocate for privatization.

Of course, this is the foundation’s list of grants, and it does not include the millions of dollars that the members of the Walton family have poured into privatization campaigns and elections in Georgia, Washington State, and elsewhere.

Republican leaders in the Tennessee legislature are pushing ALEC model legislation to strip the Metro Nashville school board of its power to authorize charters. This is intended to punish Nashville for refusing to support Arizona-based Great Hearts Academy, a corporate chain that wants to open in an affluent white neighborhood. Memphis is also included in the proposal.

Nashville leaders, excepting the corporate-friendly mayor, oppose the legislation. The mayor believes that the power to expand charters is more important than local control. .

The ALEC bill has the support of Michelle Rhee’s StudentsFirst, the Wall Street hedge fund managers’ Democrats for Education Reform, and Stand for Children. In other words, the usual cheerleaders for corporate reform.

Opposition to the ALEC legislation was so intense from parents in Nashville and Memphis (the only districts targeted to lose local control) that the House Education Committee delayed a vote on the measure.

Supporters of public education are not giving up without a fight.

I received a desperate message on Facebook from Tarrey Banks, the founder of The Project School in Indianapolis. TPS is a charter school started with a grant from the Walton Foundation. Greg Ballard, the mayor of Indianapolis, is the authorizer. TPS has low test scores, after four years, and the mayor has decided to close it. Banks and TPS parents are outraged. They went to court, blocked the mayor in a lower court, but then lost when a federal judge upheld the closure. TPS is losing the battle.

To get the big picture of what is happening in Indianapolis, read here. You will encounter a familiar cast of characters, including, of course, Bill Gates and Stand for Children.

What is happening in Indianapolis is terrifying if you believe that public education belongs to the public, not to private corporations. .

Here comes a scary future. First, the “blueprint” for Indianapolis, confidently predicting a future of perfection and excellence, but without any meaningful road map. Just promises. And here come the charters, opening with high hopes and closing when judged by scores.

Open, close. Open, close. Open, close.

Below is Banks’ letter. Read it. Read Mayor Ballard’s Blueprint for Utopia. But if you read nothing else today, read this article about the grand plan to privatize the schools of Indianapolis.

This is the Mind Trust / Mayor Ballard (TFA Deputy Mayor Jason Kloth) take-over blueprint. This will literally be the end of public education in the urban core of Indianapolis.

We need help. It’s all but over. The 10th most populated city in the country is about to be one of the biggest systems of educational apartheid in the nation.

My name is Tarrey Banks and I’m the founding school leader of the Indianapolis Project School. I am a lifelong public school educator who made the decision to start a charter school with a group of passionate educators. We are the only truly progressive public school in our city. We take and teach all kids…we don’t push out, kick out, expel, etc. My daughter is a 7 year old student at our school…I made it for her because I know that all kids deserve what she deserves. We are four years old and this week we were the victim of a conservative political strategic attack. Just 3 weeks our mayor has decided to close our doors. The process was corrupt and the information they used was false and/or inaccurate. We are fighting the good fight, but I firmly believe our school will be shut down by the close of business on Monday. I truly believe this is the death of progressive public education in our city if we do not use this as a catalyst to attack the corporate reform agenda.

I know you are busy…you must be. I intend to use the closing of our school as the beginning of a rebellion. Will you help? How can I get you to Indianapolis to push this force back and make folks wake up and see what is happening? Our city is doomed if I can’t move this conversation in a different direction. We have 100′s of families, students, community members, educators ready to protest…to really blow it up…but I need more…I need a national presence…

Will you? What can I do?

Tarrey Banks


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