The Washington Post published this editorial.

Trump said at the convention that he is the only one that can fix all our problems. Only dictators think that they are “the only one” and the salvation of the nation. That’s scary.

Trump has said that he will not necessarily support our NATO allies, as we have long pledged to do. The Baltic nations must be terrified as he withdraws America’s promise.

Trump has said he will appoint judges to the Supreme Court in the mold of Justice Scalia.

Trump has said he will eliminate gun-free zones in and around schools.

Here is the beginning of the editorial:

DONALD J. TRUMP, until now a Republican problem, this week became a challenge the nation must confront and overcome. The real estate tycoon is uniquely unqualified to serve as president, in experience and temperament. He is mounting a campaign of snarl and sneer, not substance. To the extent he has views, they are wrong in their diagnosis of America’s problems and dangerous in their proposed solutions. Mr. Trump’s politics of denigration and division could strain the bonds that have held a diverse nation together. His contempt for constitutional norms might reveal the nation’s two-century-old experiment in checks and balances to be more fragile than we knew.

Any one of these characteristics would be disqualifying; together, they make Mr. Trump a peril. We recognize that this is not the usual moment to make such a statement. In an ordinary election year, we would acknowledge the Republican nominee, move on to the Democratic convention and spend the following months, like other voters, evaluating the candidates’ performance in debates, on the stump and in position papers. This year we will follow the campaign as always, offering honest views on all the candidates. But we cannot salute the Republican nominee or pretend that we might endorse him this fall. A Trump presidency would be dangerous for the nation and the world.

Georgia’s K12 Cyber Academy rakes in millions yet gets poor results for many of its 13,000 students.

The state’s largest “school” collects $82 million a year, but the Georgia Governor’s Office of Student Achievement gave it a D for poor performance.

Georgians spend tens of millions of dollars a year on one of the biggest online schools in the nation, yet nearly every measure indicates the high-tech, online education model has not worked for many of its more than 13,000 students.

Georgia Cyber Academy students log onto online classes from home, where they talk to and message with teachers and classmates and do assignments in a way that will “individualize their education, maximizing their ability to succeed,” according to an advertisement. But results show that most of them lag state performance on everything from standardized test scores to graduation rates.

The charter school’s leaders say they face unique challenges, with large numbers of students already behind when they enroll. They have plans to improve results but also claim the state’s grading methods are unfair and inaccurate. However, the state disagrees, and if the academy cannot show improvement soon, the commission that chartered the school could shut it down.

Since it opened with a couple thousand students in 2007, the academy has grown to become the state’s largest public school, with students from all 159 counties. In the 2015 fiscal year alone, it reported receiving $82 million in state and federal funding.

The academy earned a “D” for 2015 from the Governor’s Office of Student Achievement. The academy scored near the bottom in the state that year for “growth,” a measure of how each student did on standardized state tests compared to others with similar past performance.

The graduation rate of 66 percent lagged behind the state average by 13 percentage points. Reading ability in third grade, a key marker of future academic success, also lagged, with 47 percent of its students able to digest books on their grade level versus a state average of 52 percent.

The State Charter Schools Commission, established in 2013 as an alternative to going through a school district to start a charter school, authorized the academy in 2014-15. The commission requires its schools to meet annual academic, financial and operational goals in three of the first four years of operation. The academy, which had operated for seven years under the Odyssey Charter School in Coweta County before obtaining its own charter, did not perform as required in its first year as an independent school. It scored one out of a possible 100 points on the academic portion of its evaluation, which assesses performance, mainly on standardized tests, compared to traditional schools. The results for 2015-16 are still being calculated.

There have been similar reports about virtual charter schools from other states, most recently from California, where the K12 operation is being investigated by the State Department of Education and the Attorney General’s office.

CREDO at Stanford reported that a student attending a virtual charter school lost 180 days of learning math and 72 days of learning in reading.

If the K12 school were a public school, state authorities in every state would have shut it down by now.

The burning issue is why don’t they?

These were three powerful speeches, each powerful in a different way.

Here is Michelle Obama’s speech. She was wonderful, eloquent. The Atlantic called it “a speech for the ages.”

Here is Elizabeth Warren speaking. She was sharp, tough, and funny.

Here is Bernie Sanders’ speech. He was met with raucous and sustained applause. He made two important points: the revolution he started will continue, and Hillary Clinton must defeat Donald Trump.

All the speakers said, “I’m with her.”

Carol Burris, executive director of the Network for Public Education, has written an excellent summary of the reasons that charter schools are not public schools. As she puts it, they are private schools that receive public funding. They are like private contractors who are working with a government contract; when they are sued in court, they claim they are not state actors, they are private contractors. That is, they plead that they can’t be held to the same laws as public schools because they are not public schools.

What makes public education advocates angry, she writes, is when charter schools claim “success” but play by different rules.

She uses the example of Eva Moskowitz’s Success Academy charters to show that her charters do not enroll the same proportions of children who are poor and children with disabilities as the neighborhood school. In addition, they don’t accept new students after a certain grade because they don’t want to ruin their “culture” by bringing in new students (this is called “backfilling”).

Public schools have public governance, with open meetings and financial transparency. Charter schools almost never do.

The differences between public schools and charter schools go well beyond issues of governance. One of the strengths of a true public school is its ethical and legal obligation to educate all. Public school systems enroll any student who comes into the district’s attendance zone from ages 5 to 21 — no matter their handicapping condition, lack of prior education, first language, or even disciplinary or criminal record. Not only will empty seats be filled at any grade, if there is a sudden influx of students, classes must be opened.

In contrast, charter schools control enrollment — in both direct and subtle ways. In 2013, journalist Stephanie Simon wrote a comprehensive report exposing the lengthy applications, tests, essays and other hurdles used by many charters schools to make sure they get the kind of student that they want.

Even when some charter chains, such as Aspire, Success Academy and KIPP, have simple applications and lottery entrance, student bodies are not necessarily representative of neighborhood schools.

Burris asks:

The Democratic National Convention is about to begin. Will the party show commitment to rein in the “Wild West” of charter schools, as new platform language suggests? Friends of public education will be watching.

There are nearly 400,000 comments on the blog. Every once in a while, some critic pops in to say that the blog is an “echo chamber” where everyone agrees. That is ridiculous. We agree about the dangers of privatization and the absurdity of teacher-bashing, but we have vigorous disagreements on many other topics.

Right now, there is a raging debate about the election. Many readers of the blog are passionate supporters of Bernie Sanders. Hillary supporters are fearful of awakening their wrath. Just read the last couple of days of comments, which are dominated with angry comments about Hillary, the Democratic party, and the failure of democracy. We have even had a few Trump trolls, who pop in to offer an incendiary comment linked to a far-right website. Sometimes, they recommend voting for Trump as the only one who will end Common Core, or they just stick to smearing Hillary. Their goal is consistent: Vote for Trump.

I let the arguments rage, although I have put the obvious Trump trolls into moderation (meaning I don’t post their comments until after I read and approve them) as they make me sick.

The Democratic convention starts today.

There is something I want to add about the current situation.

I believe the emails hacked from the DNC are authentic.

They demonstrate that the DNC favored Hillary and did not like Bernie.

This is hardly surprising since she has long been a Democrat stalwart, and he only recently joined the party to run for president.

It is not clear whether the DNC changed anyone’s vote.

I heard Bernie’s campaign manager on CNN saying that the election was not “stolen.”

Bernie ran a remarkable and inspiring campaign, depending on small donors, not big givers. He lost.

Hillary won more votes than Bernie, 15.5 million for her and 11.9 million for him.

She won more delegates (not including the super delegates). The final pledged delegate count was 2,220 to 1,831. The super delegates put her over the top, but why would they have voted for the candidate who won fewer votes?

If the Russian government hacked the DNC, then released the emails to help Trump, then, yes, that does matter independently of what the emails say.

And I reiterate: the emails are real, not fabricated.

Debbie Wasserman Schultz should have been fired long ago, along with the top staff.

She should not have left with an honorific title as “honorary chairman” of the campaign.

If she appears at the convention, she will be booed and jeered, and if she is wise, she should not go to the podium.

The Democratic party needs to embrace Bernie Sanders’ ideas and stop aligning with the 1%.

Here is where matters stand today:

Bottom line: the choice now is Hillary or Trump.

If you don’t like Hillary, vote for Trump or Stein or Anderson or stay home.

If you opt out of this election, prepare for President Trump.

As readers of this blog know, I think Donald Trump is unqualified to be president of the United States. He is both arrogant and ignorant, a bully and a flimflam man, a con artist and a nativist. A man who is quick to sneer and insult others, especially Hispanics, African Americans, women, people with disabilities, and anyone who dares to disagree with him. It is no wonder that the leaders of the Republican party refused to attend his coronation in Cleveland. One of his rivals, John Kasich, not only refused to attend the convention but put up a TV ad (see here) warning that he is dangerous (“first they came for the Muslims, but I was not a Muslim, so I didn’t care…”).

He seems never to have read the Constitution and has no understanding of checks and balances. He alone can “fix” all our problems. The Supreme Court and the future hang in the balance.

I believe this is the most consequential election of my lifetime.

No matter who you supported in the primaries, the choice is Hillary or Trump. No one else will be elected president.

I hope you will use your vote to stop Trump.

The Weekly Standard is a reliably conservative magazine owned by Rupert Murdoch. Stephen Hayes, one of its regular contributors, wrote after the GOP convention that “Donald Trump is crazy, and so is the GOP for embracing him.”

He focuses on Trump’s remarks the day after the convention ended, when he addressed the volunteers who worked the convention. He rambled on about his hatred for Ted Cruz, that he didn’t want his support, that he would reject his support, that he might start a PAC (after he is elected president) to defeat Cruz. He restated his claim that Cruz’s father was an associate of Lee Harvey Oswald and was somehow involved in JFK’s assassination. This is not what you call “moving on.”

He castigates Republicans who pretend that he is normal. Hayes says he is “not of sound mind.”

His amplification of the Cruz-Oswald conspiracies is part of a long pattern of embracing crazy. He hinted that Antonin Scalia was murdered. He’s suggested autism is linked to vaccinations. He claimed “thousands” of Muslims celebrated in the streets of New Jersey after 9/11. He said many people consider Vince Foster’s death a “murder” and called it “very fishy.” And before he ran for president, his deepest foray into politics was a campaign to prove that Barack Obama wasn’t born in the United States. (It failed.)

Trump has praised Alex Jones, whose radio program is to conspiracy theories what ESPN is to sports. Jones, a prominent 9/11 truther, claimed there was a “98 percent chance” that the 9/11 attacks were controlled bombings perpetrated by the U.S. government. In an appearance on Jones’s radio show last year, Trump offered the host deferential praise. “Your reputation is amazing,” Trump said. “I will not let you down.”

He urges his fellow Republicans to speak out against Trump. He is not a normal candidate.

This is a man who has been repeatedly suedfor discriminating against blacks in his rental properties. The Washington Post says he is a threat to the nation and the world.

And yet Trump is tied in the polls with Hillary Clinton. Many Americans like his fear-mongering and conspiracy theories. They want him to protect them. They believe it when he says he will bring back all the lost jobs. They believe it when he says that he alone can “fix” the problems.

This man could be elected president. Think about that.

The charter industry in Texas wants to take part of the capital funding that now goes to public schools. Charter schools in Texas do not perform as well as public schools, but they have a powerful lobby of business elites who are contemptuous of public schools.

Currently, public schools are required to give space to charter schools. Public education in Texas have been underfunded since the legislature cut $5.2 Billion from them in 2011.

But charters want their own dedicated funding stream, even though the funding will be taken from public schools.

Here’s a thought: why don’t the billionaires like John Arnold and Tecans for Education pay for charter facilities?

A few years ago, when I visited Michigan, I spoke with about 80 district superintendents. The most common complaint from them was the money they had to spend every year advertising themselves in a fierce competition with other districts. The money follows the child, so larger enrollments meant bigger budgets. Each district, they said, typically puts about $100,000 into campaign to poach students away from neighboring districts.

They thought this was a huge waste of resources, since they also had to hire people to design their marketing materials.

This study reviews the practices of branding and marketing schools in a competitive environment.

The charter chain that does it best is Success Academies, which targets its audience, sends out mailers, and blankets the neighborhood with notices to parents. Its goal is to have more applicants than places, so it can advertise that it has a long waiting list.

When Success Academy opened its first school in Harlem, it had a marketing budget of $325,000. The public school with which it competed had $500 to print flyers and brochures.

Bill Phillis of the Ohio Equity and Adequacy Coalition writes about the results of an investigation conducted by the Ohio Department of Education.

ECOT is the Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow. It is a for-profit online virtual school. It has one of the lowest graduation rates of any school in the nation. Its owner, William Lager, is one of the biggest campaign contributors to Republicans in Ohio.

ECOT’s waste felt at the school district level

The Ohio Department of Education (ODE) has determined that a sample of ECOT students participate, on the average, one hour per day-one fifth of the time required. If that holds true of ECOT’s enrollment, of the $108 million ECOT extracted from school districts in FY 2016, a total of more than $80 million was collected for time students were not participating in instruction.

589 districts are suffering funding deductions flowing to ECOT. On the average, the deduction is $183,175 per district. Columbus Public Schools lost $11,618,822 to ECOT at the high end and Indian Creek lost $177 last school year.

The ECOT scheme drains scarce resources from school districts–and for what? Student participation, an average for 20% of the time required. Hence, for a district like Northridge Local in Licking County, over $100,000 of its $154,000 flows to ECOT for time students are not participating.

The district-by-district deduction data should be of concern to school officials and their constituents.

Debbie Wassermann Schultz announced her resignation as chair of the Democratic National Committee.

During the campaign, Senator Sanders called for her resignation and said the DNC was not playing fair. The leak of emails proved him right.

Her departure should signal more than just a change at the top.

It should open a much-needed discussion of the neoliberal policies that many national Democrats shared with the GOP. The bipartisan consensus on critical issues should be reconsidered.

The party must take a clear stand against fracking, against privatization of the public schools and other public services, against trade deals that hurt working Americans, and for stronger protections for college students, the environment, and the 99%. Regulations of banks must be strengthened to prevent a repeat of the 2008 economic meltdown.

Democrats must begin here and now to renew their commitment to social justice, economic fairness, and promotion of the common good. The blurring of the lines between the two parties is nowhere more obvious than in the Democrats’ support for school privatization and high-stakes testing. Historically, these are Republican issues. Democrats must listen to the experts in every field, the people who do the actual work, not the think tanks in D.C., not the hedge fund managers, not the financiers, and rebuild the trust of their base.


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