Archives for category: Vouchers

Here is a forecast of education policy under Jeb Bush.

 

It is actually worse that what is portrayed. Bush is an evangelist for vouchers, charter schools, for-profit charter schools, virtual charter schools, and anything other than public schools.

In an interview, John White made it clear that he wants to keep his $275,000 job as state superintendent in Louisiana. Bobby Jindal pushed the state board to hire him after his brief stint as superintendent of the Néw Orleans Recovery School Diistrict. White loyally implemented Jindal’s agenda of vouchers, charters, for-profit schools, and attacks on teachers’ due process, as well as test-based evaluation. But then Jindal and White locked horns over Common Core. Jindal wanted out, White didn’t. (White’s only school experience is TFA. Also he attended the unaccredited Broad Superintendents’ Academy.)

Now one of the leading candidates for governor has said White has to go. Open the statement for links.

John Bel Edwards issued the following statement;

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: media@johnbelforlouisiana.com; 225-435-9808
Edwards: John White Will Never Be Superintendent On My Watch

BATON ROUGE, La. – State Representative and candidate for governor John Bel Edwards (D-Amite) responded to news that State Superintendent John White wishes to remain in his current position under the next governor’s administration.

“I have no intention of allowing John White, who isn’t qualified to be a middle school principal, to remain as Superintendent when I am governor,” Edwards said. “We have so many highly qualified candidates right here in Louisiana that we don’t need to go looking in New York City for our next head of K-12 education.”

White’s tenure as State Superintendent has been frought with controversy and accusations of wrongdoing. In 2012, White was embroiled in scandal after emails revealed political motives behind his fight to ensure that expanded school vouchers were approved by the Louisiana Legislature. Thanks to testimony by Rep. John Bel Edwards, the Louisiana Supreme Court later found the voucher scheme to be unconstitutional, because it did, as White denied, illegally divert funding designated for local city and parish public schools. Later, voucher schools approved under White’s watch were shown to lack a requisite number of teachers, lunch rooms, and other resources common to any proper school. In 2013, he was accused of having purposefully inflated letter grades for certain schools. For at least three years, White knew about inequities in special education funding which violated directives in the La. Constitution, but declined to take action to correct the problem even after the Legislature urged and requested that he do so in 2014. Under White’s watch per pupil funding for public k-12 schools was frozen despite many new unfunded mandates. During the same time period the per pupil amount paid to private schools through the state voucher program increased each year.

Citing these controversies Edwards said,”We need genuine leadership at the helm of the Louisiana Department of Education. We will have that when we elect a genuine leader as governor.”

White’s only formal training in educational administration was earned during six weekend trainings at the Eli Broad Superintendent’s Academy, meant to be an introduction to issues facing Superintendents at the local level.

You might (or might not) enjoy watching this 7-minute interview I did with former teacher Bob Greenberg. Bob has created a large archive of interviews like this one. It was filmed in my living room. The collection is called “The Brainwaves.” He sets up a camera and says “talk.” He doesn’t ask questions or interrupt.

According to the Denver Post, the Douglas County school board plans to appeal the ruling that declared vouchers unconstitutional. It will appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.

“The voucher program, which would use taxpayer money to send children to private schools, was put on hold in 2011 just as the first 304 students were about to enroll. Most planned to attend religious schools.

“The court found the program conflicts with “broad, unequivocal language forbidding the State from using public money to fund religious schools.”

“Wrote the court “… this stark constitutional provision makes one thing clear: A school district may not aid religious schools.”

The article describes the county as a “wealthy suburban district.”

School board officials promised to fight for vouchers:

“During a news conference Monday morning, Douglas County school officials indicated they likely would ask the U.S. Supreme Court to take up the case for consideration. They also said they will immediately seek a legal way to proceed with vouchers.”

The Supreme Court of Colorado struck down the voucher program in Douglas County. It is unconstitutional, the justices said.

After a radical group won control of the public schools of Douglas County in Colorado, they enacted a plan for vouchers. Being a relatively affluent community, there was no baloney about “saving poor kids from failing schools.” The point was privatization of public funds intended for public schools.

Here is the story, as told by the nonpartisan group that brought the suit, called Taxpayers for Public Education.

Contact: Cindy Barnard
(303)905-3803

CO Supreme Court Strikes Down Vouchers

Douglas County Program Found to Violate State Constitution

“Denver, CO June 29, 2015) In a landmark legal decision today, the Colorado State Supreme Court struck down the Douglas County School District (DCSD) voucher program. In the case of Taxpayers for Public Education, et al., v. Douglas County School District, et al., the Court found that the program violates the Colorado Constitution.

“This is a great victory for public school children in Colorado,” said Cindy Barnard, President of Taxpayers for Public Education (TFPE), one of the plaintiffs in the case. “The DCSD voucher program took taxpayer funds, intended for public education, and used that money to pay for private school education for a few select students. The decision means that money set aside for public education in Colorado can only be used the way it was intended to be used- for the betterment of education in Colorado public schools.”

“In this groundbreaking case, Michael McCarthy and Colin Deihl of the Denver office of Faegre Baker Daniels represented Taxpayers for Public Education pro bono. Other plaintiffs and intervenors in the suit included children and parents of the Douglas County School District, Douglas County citizens and several local and national organizations that support a strong and vital public education system.

“As we celebrate this important victory, we have to continue to closely watch the leaders of the Douglas County School District as they look to implement other programs and methods to intentionally erode the quality of public education in their own district,” said Barnard.

“Details of the Court’s ruling can be found on the Taxpayer for Public Education website at taxpayersforpubliceducation.org. ”

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About Taxpayers for Public Education:
Taxpayers for Public Education, (TFPE), is a Colorado-based, bi-partisan, 501c4 organization. The members are Colorado taxpayers and parents of children enrolled in public schools. TFPE supports public education and believes that a strong public education system is instrumental in building and maintaining an extraordinary workforce that will keep American companies and American entrepreneurship viable and robust to meet the challenges in the years ahead.

For more information, please visit: http://www.taxpayersforpubliceducation.org.

Contact:

Cindy Barnard
President, Taxpayers for Public Education
(303) 905-3803
cindrabarnard@q.com

Anne Kleinkopf
Director, Taxpayers for Public Education
(720) 219-6253
annekleinkopf@msn.com

Michael McCarthy
Attorney, Faegre Baker Daniels
(303) 607-3670

Mason Barnard

Plaintiff/Former Douglas County Student

(303) 518 – 7939

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Sweden decided to open the floodgates of school privatization in 1992. Twenty-three years is a good long time to see the effects of vouchers and for-profit corporations running schools.   As this article in The Daily Kos shows, the results are not pretty. Test scores have fallen, segregation of all kinds has increased, one of the private corporations running schools went bankrupt, stranding students and wasting millions.

The gains are hard to discern.

The Wisconsin legislature is considering a bill sponsored by two suburban Republican legislators that would allow a state takeover of the city’s lowest performing schools, which would be turned into charters or voucher schools. None of this is new to Milwaukee; it has had a charter sector and vouchers schools for 25 years. The public schools outperform the other sectors. Well, let’s see what happens? Does Governor Scott Walker and the Legislature listen to the citizens of Milwaukee or do they listen to ALEC and the Koch brothers?

The Milwaukee Common Council overwhelmingly passed a resolution opposing the state takeover:

Milwaukee Common Council Adopts Resolution Firmly Opposing Kooyenga/ Darling MPS Takeover Proposal
Filed under: MPS Takeover 
Introduced by Alderperson Tony Zielinski and adopted by the Milwaukee Common Council on June 21 2015

Resolution opposing the Opportunity Schools and Partnership Program proposal currently pending in the Wisconsin Legislature.

This resolution expresses the City’s opposition to the provisions of the Opportunity Schools and Partnership Program proposal currently pending in the Wisconsin Legislature.

Whereas, The proposed Opportunity Schools and Partnership Program currently pending in the Wisconsin Legislature provides that the Milwaukee County Executive oversee the turnover of up to 5 struggling Milwaukee Public Schools (MPS) district schools to public charter or private voucher school operators; and

Whereas, The proposed program would diminish the power of Milwaukee City residents to control their public school district by allowing non-City residents to indirectly control the operation of certain City public schools by playing a part in the election of the Milwaukee County Executive who would have the authority to intercede in MPS operations; and

Whereas, Turning over struggling MPS schools to public charter and private voucher school operators is no guarantee of success given the fact than many public charter and private voucher schools have been no more successful than MPS in improving the performance of low-performing schools; and

Whereas, A change in governance of struggling MPS schools offers no promise to remediate the root cause of poor performance in low-performing public schools and seems a thinly-veiled attempt by the state to privatize public schools; now, therefore, be it

Resolved, By the Common Council of the City of Milwaukee, that the City of Milwaukee opposes the provisions of the Opportunity Schools and Partnership Program proposal currently pending in the Wisconsin Legislature; and, be it

Further Resolved, That the City Clerk shall forward copies of this resolution to members of the City of Milwaukee’s delegation to the State Legislature and Governor Scott Walker.

Update! A few minutes ago, I posted that the budget lifted the charter cap by 100. There are differing reports; this one says there will be 180 new charters.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and legislative leaders reached a deal on the budget that included major education issues.

The budget does not include the “education tax credit” for private and religious schools (vouchers), but does include $250 million for religious schools. That should satisfy Mr. Cuomo’s friends in the religious communities whom he courted.

The deal includes 180 new charter schools, 50 in Néw York City and 130 outside the city. That should please the hedge fund manager who gave millions to the Governor’s re-election campaign, while providng Eva Moskowitz plenty of room to grow her chain.

The deal extends mayoral control in NYC for only one year, despite Mayor Bill de Blasio’s request to make it permanent. That should remind the Mayor who is in charge.

The deal retains the tax cap on school districts. Regardless of their needs, they won’t be able to raise property taxes by more than 2%, unless they are able to win 60% approval by voters. It may be undemocratic, but it is popular, especially among GOP legislators.

It is amazing how much education policy is now being made during budget negotiations, with no educators in the room.

Rick Hess of the conservative American Enterprise Institute explains why Nevada’s recently passed vouchers-for-all is a terrific step forward. He calls it a “landmark” in the struggle for school choice. There are few limits on who can get a voucher worth about $5,000. This is a boon for religious schools and home schoolers.

He writes:

“Nevada’s ESA is a landmark bill due to two striking features: it’s universal and it one-ups school vouchers by offering ESAs (more on why that matters below). Nevada’s ESA is available to all families as an alternative to attending a Nevada public school, so long as the student in question has attended a Nevada public school for at least 100 days. The ESA can be used to fund tuition at approved private schools, textbooks, tutoring services, tuition for distance learning programs, the costs of special instruction for students with special needs, and so on. Students with special needs or whose families earn less than 185 percent of the federal poverty level ($44,863 for a family of four) will receive between $5,500 and $6,000—the full amount of statewide base per-pupil support. Students whose families earn over 185 percent of the poverty level will receive about 90 percent of base support.”

He is puzzled by the lack of enthusiasm from public school teachers.

I am puzzled by his enthusiasm. Surely he doesn’t believe that Nevada will emerge at the top of NAEP in five years, ten years, or ever because of all this sudsidization of nonpublic schools.

What is the point?

No praying in schools! But no ban on praying outside school for the survival of public education in Molwaukee, now in the hostile hands of Scott Walker and the Wisconsin legislature.

NEWS ADVISORY

Members of Milwaukee’s faith community and public school supporters will hold a prayer vigil for public schools this Thursday at 4:30 p.m. The event is organized by the Milwaukee Inner-City Congregations Allied for Hope (MICAH).

After a brief prayer vigil at Bethesda Baptist Church, participants will walk to Hopkins-Lloyd Community School, where community and faith leaders will share information with participants about the proposed public school takeover plan that is being advanced by Rep. Dale Kooyenga (R-Brookfield) and Sen. Alberta Darling (R-River Hills).

What: Prayer vigil for public schools

Who: Milwaukee Inner-City Congregations Allied for Hope (MICAH) parents, students, educators, community members, Schools and Communities United

When: Thursday, June 11, 2015 at 4:30 p.m.
Where: Bethesda Baptist Church, 2909 N. 20th St., and Hopkins-Lloyd Community School, 1503 W. Hopkins St.
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