Archives for the month of: December, 2017

Former TV anchor Campbell Brown made herself a big niche among education deformers by her repeated assertions that public schools were rife with sexual predators, and these predators were protected by teachers’ unions, seniority, and tenure. Through her articles in Rupert Murdoch’s New York Post and Wall Street Journal, Brown launched a campaign against teachers’ unions, tenure, seniority, and public schools. Ridding the schools of any protection for teachers’ right to due process became her singular mission. In service to her new-found cause, she became a friend of Betsy DeVos, became a member of the board of DeVos’ pro-voucher, pro-charter American Federation for Children, created a billionaire-funded education news organization called The 74, and launched an organization called the Partnership for Education Justice to pursue lawsuits against teachers’ rights.

But guess what? All kinds of schools—public, private, and charter— have had sex scandals, some of which remained hidden for years. This past year, elite private schools have revealed that some faculty members had engaged in affairs or predatory behavior with students, and the schools covered up the scandals to protect their reputation, either by ignoring them or by pushing out the teachers, who were then hired by other elite private schools.

Now Carol Burris notes that charter schools too have experienced similar problems.

She writes:

“On December 21, this was a headline in The New York Post: “Teacher at all-girls school busted for nude pics of student, molestation.” An important word was missing from the headline: “charter.”

“Ryan Evans, an English Language Arts teacher at the Bronx Global Learning Institute for Girls Charter School, had convinced a 12-year-old middle school girl to send him photos of her naked body. He then molested her after class.

“Just the day before, The New York Times ran a story about long term allegations and the ongoing investigation of the sexual abuse of two girls at a KIPP.

“These are not two isolated incidents. For the past six months, NPE has been logging all of the scandals associated with charter schools. The enormity has been startling. Often reported in local newspapers, the scope of the problems associated with this comparatively unregulated sector of schooling has been underreported.

“Earlier this month an Arizona charter school hired a male teacher who had been previously fired and had lost his license for having an inappropriate relationship with a student. Because charter school teachers in the state do not need to be certified and the charter did not do its due diligence, the teacher was hired and only fired when a concerned parent alerted the school about his record.

“In late November, Washington DC administrators of a charter school were fired because they failed to take appropriate action when they learned of a teacher’s abuse of a student. Earlier that month, a Chicago teacher was forced out after a “sex romp” with a 12 year old boy.

“In October, a KIPP counselor was charged with sex crimes and a Philly charter school administrator was charged with statutory rape.

“Granted, horrible incidents like these occur in public schools too but when you think about the far larger number of public schools compared to the small sector of charters, the frequency of scandals in charters is frightening.

“Expect this to accelerate for two reasons. First, the lack of regulations and scrutiny of the sector. Second, public schools are better places to work and will therefore always attract the better teachers and school leaders.

“Will Campbell Brown, who thought that public schools were full of sex offenders now give the charter sector a hard look?”

Sexual contact with minors is wrong in all settings. Would Campbell Brown, now in charge of monitoring content for Facebook, please call off her attacks on teachers, their unions, and public schools?







Bill Honig, former State Superintendent of Education in California and owner of the Honig Vineyard, has closely studied the Republican Tax Plan and found that it is even more harmful than originally presented.

He writes:

The GOP/Trump tax cut bill is a much more massive shift of the tax burden from the wealthy to the middle-class and low income families than reported–essentially borrowing from the future, taxing the working classes, and cutting needed services to finance an unnecessary tax cut for the wealthy who are already living high on the hog and receiving an unprecedented share of post-tax income.

“For the full FAQ sheet Text below.

“FAQ on the GOP/Trump Tax Cut

“How Large Is It?

“Most reporters and commentators characterize the GOP/Trump tax cut legislation as a $1.5 trillion bill. That’s not remotely accurate and seriously underestimates the magnitude and severity of the recently passed law. According to the latest Congressional Budget Office analysis, the ten-year effect of the legislation is a net $3.9 trillion tax reduction (more than 2 ½ times what is being reported) even after you subtract the elimination of $1.3 trillion of corporate deductions from the total of $5.2 trillion in total tax cuts.

“Who Benefits?

“The tax reductions overwhelmingly benefit mega-wealthy families and corporations. Many of our most well-off citizens will annually pocket tens of thousands of dollars and some even millions while everyone else receives meager tax breaks or in some cases immediate higher taxes. Tax cuts which do help middle and low income families in 2018 (inflated to be in time for the 2018 elections) diminish over time until they are eliminated. According to Tax Policy Center, ten years from now 83% of the cuts will go to the top 1% and 53% of American families will suffer a tax increase–a classic case of bait and switch. In contrast, the corporation cuts are permanent.

“Do the wealthy really need such a large tax break so that they can buy another mansion, a bigger yacht or jet, throw another party, buy another designer outfit, or pad their bank accounts while tens of millions of families living paycheck to paycheck receive a pittance or get taxed? Republican mega-rich donors must think so because they drove the whole perverted process by which the tax bill was passed.

“Who Pays?

“Middle and low income families. The $3.9 trillion net tax cuts in the GOP bill are paid for by;

“borrowing $1.5 trillion or more by increasing the federal debt–a burden on our economy and our children in years to come;
“raising $2.1 trillion in taxes on mostly middle-class and working-class families by eliminating the personal exemption, changing the inflation measure, capping state and local tax deductions (which primarily affects the upper-middle class in blue states), and some other miscellaneous deductions; and
“cutting $314 billion from health care by eliminating the mandated Obamacare contributions which will have the added harm of increasing premiums by 10% and dropping 4-9million people from medical care.
“Thus, this tax cut bill is a much more massive shift of the tax burden from the wealthy to the middle-class and low income families than reported–essentially borrowing from the future, taxing the working classes, and cutting needed services to finance an unnecessary tax cut for the wealthy who are already living high on the hog and receiving an unprecedented share of post-tax income.

“What Happens to Inequality?

“This country is currently suffering from dangerously high levels of inequality not witnessed since the Guilded Age and the Roaring Twenties–the latter period followed by the Great Depression of 1930’s caused primarily by the failure to pass down to workers enough wages to sustain demand. A multitude of research has shown that high levels of inequality stunt economic growth and opportunity. At present, the top 1% own 40% of US wealth which is more than the combined wealth of the bottom 90% and receive almost 20% of yearly income which is about twice as much as the share of the bottom 50% of families. The GOP/Trump tax plan will make this bad situation much worse.

“Was There Any Bi-partisan Support?

“Not one Democratic senator or member of Congress voted for the GOP/Trump tax plan, so broad support is absent. Because the GOP congressional leaders rushed the drafting of the bill behind closed doors flouting normal procedure with no public hearings, there are many errors and hidden rip-offs creating fertile soil for gaming the tax code by such methods as turning individuals into corporations. Last minute loopholes and outright looting were obtained by lobbyists such as the pass-through write-off for real estate trusts which benefit real-estate moguls such as President Trump and his family. The real cost of the bill may turn out to be much higher and borrowing could exceed $2 trillion.

“How Extensive is the Collateral Damage?

“Severe. Existing budget rules, unless changed (good luck), mandate large and growing cuts to Medicare due to the increased deficit–$25 billion in 2018 and over $400 billion in the next ten years. GOP’ers are already using the existence of a larger deficit to refuse to fund health services for 9 million children under the CHIP program, insisting on public health cuts for millions of other children and calling for cuts to Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, and medical and basic research. Republican leaders and President Trump are also proposing wide-spread reductions in other public services. For example, the proposed GOP budgets reduce federal funds for public schools while the GOP tax bill gives wealthy private school parents a significant tax break–in effect subsidizing private schools at the expense of the public school sector. This is consistent with many Republican politicians and the President’s expressed hostility to public education and encouragement of privatization of our public schools.

“Will There Be Enough Growth to Offset the Increased Debt?

“Nope, or minimal at best. GOP arguments that that the tax cuts for the wealthy pay for themselves by causing higher economic growth which will increase tax revenues to pay for a substantial portion of the larger deficit have been debunked by almost every reputable economist and the federal financial advisors who forecast minimal growth from the cuts. Furthermore, if there turns out to be greater revenues from greater growth, they are necessary to pay for current Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security future obligations. To divert them to the un-needy wealthy now means cuts in these programs later.

“Was There A Reversal of Settled Tax Policy?

“The GOP tax bill violates elementary standards of good policy by creating different classes of winners and losers. For example, for the first time in our history, tax legislation overwhelmingly favors those who earn through capital over those who earn from wages.

“Does the GOP Rationale for the Tax Bill Withstand Scrutiny?

“No. The major selling point of the GOP is the assertion that reducing the corporate rate will substantially increase growth and workers will receive sizable benefits from that growth. That contention is also disputed by the vast majority of economists, the official scoring reports and the history of tax cuts and tax increases. Bush II cut taxes and subsequent growth was weak; Clinton raised taxes and subsequent growth was spectacular which flies in the face of the GOP theory.

“The GOP’s specific argument that wages will rise significantly because giving corporations more cash and lower taxes will cause them to invest, which will increase productivity, which will then be shared with their employees, doesn’t hold water. According to recent reports such as the one by the Economic Policy Institute each assumption is false. Corporations currently are awash with cash, corporate profits as a percentage of GDP are at their peak, the corporate tax share of federal revenues has plummeted (the wage share has skyrocketed) and yet large-scale investment hasn’t occurred. No surprise there. Investments are made based on projected demand. Availability of cash and tax rates play a small part in those decisions. More importantly, productivity gains during the past decades have not been shared with workers.

“Instead, the increased profits for most firms have been used to buy back shares to raise stock prices, balloon executive pay, and increase distributions to shareholders. That same overall pattern occurred when billions of dollars were repatriated in 2004. A repatriation holiday allowed corporations to bring back billions of overseas profits at a lower rate. The 15 companies that brought the most profits back to the U.S. used them to buy back shares instead of boosting investment, and actually ended up cutting jobs and slightly lowering their research and development spending. Why would corporate behavior change this time around? Experts say it won’t. Even the most optimistic predictions suggest that only a small percentage of any increased cash or profits from corporate tax cuts will be given to wage earners.

“For individuals, one of GOP’s more discredited arguments is that the super-wealthy pay the lion’s share of taxes so if taxes are cut they will have to receive most of the benefits. That’s nonsense. It’s true that the rich pay a large percentage of income taxes because, unlike most families, their before tax incomes have grown substantially during the past decades. However, the canard that these rich families pay almost all of federal taxes is demonstrably false. Income taxes constitute less than half of federal taxes. Payroll taxes are a third. The wealthy pay no payroll taxes on income just over $100k which means for mega-earners most of their income is exempt from payroll taxes. Corporate taxes were at record low levels in 2016 at only nine percent of federal tax receipts. There was no shortage of ways to ease the tax burden on the middle class without providing the rich with a windfall, if that’s what the GOP and the president wanted.

“Were There Much Better Ways to Stimulate Economic Growth and Increase Wages?

“Failure to bolster demand by sharing profits with workers is the most likely reason for low investment. Worker’s wages have been essentially flat for decades.

“If the goal was to increase wages, the tax plan could have just given wage earners a larger share of the tax breaks directly, reduce their payroll taxes, or invest in rebuilding the US. Growth strategies which aim at increasing demand or direct investment result in much higher growth than trickle down measures.

“Particularly galling is the lost opportunity to re-build America. If we are going to borrow over a $1 trillion, wouldn’t it have been fairer and much more productive to invest it in fixing our roads, bridges, ports, fire and flood protection, airports, schools, and power grids instead of giving an unneeded windfall to the rich? In fact, the GOP could have chosen to invest in infrastructure without increasing the debt by just closing the corporate loopholes agreed to in the bill and not giving a whopping tax cut to the richest Americans. The economic payoff from building infrastructure is multiples higher than tax cuts skewed to the ultra-wealthy and corporations, with the added benefit of creating jobs and improving the health and safety of the nation. Unfortunately, any proposed GOP/Trump infrastructure plan for 2018 will be woefully short of funds because of the heavy debt borrowing to finance tax cuts for the rich.

“Were Corporations‘ Taxes Higher Than Other Countries?

“The GOP’s other argument made is that the US corporate tax rate of 35% was among the highest in the world and non-competitive. They contend that lowering it to 21% will attract investment from foreign companies or US companies threatening to leave. Actually, because of loopholes, our effective tax rate was 23%–already below the world average and thus competitive. Since most loopholes in the GOP tax bill weren’t changed, effective tax rates will plunge to 9% according to a UPenn-Wharton estimate, basically giving corporations a free ride. Since corporate taxes as a share of total taxes are already at historic lows, further lowering of their rates shifts that much more of the tax burden to the middle and working classes. Furthermore,, even if foreign corporations invest here, why would we think that these companies would act differently than domestic companies in allocating a decent share of profits to workers?

“How Much Do Foreigners Benefit?

“Corporate shareholders, most of them wealthy will do very well under this GOP/Trump tax bill. Unfortunately, nearly a third of them are foreigners, mainly millionaires and billionaires, so the effect of the GOP tax plan is to borrow from the future and tax the middle and working classes in order to ship large amounts of cash out of the country. Make America Great, indeed?

“Is This the Best Time for Massive Tax Cuts?

“Finally, with unemployment low and a potential recession on the horizon this is not the time to add to the debt and disarm our ability to fight a downturn when it arrives.”



The Houston Chronicle has taken note of the unusual expenditures of a small charter chain that found it necessary to purchase two condos in luxury apartment buildings for “office space” and “storage.”

I wrote about this charter “chain” yesterday.

Since Houston and Texas have been charter-crazy, this is a tiny little wake-up call about the risks of turning public money over to private entrepreneurs without accountability or transparency.

This editorial calls on the leaders of KIPP and other charter chains to join in demanding a state investigation:

“It’s easy to imagine the outrage that would ensue if Houston ISD purchased apartments in posh neighborhoods – and the inevitable electoral fallout for district trustees. With charter schools, however, voters don’t have recourse to the ballot box when problems arise.

“The public needs answers to the serious questions posed by Accelerated’s peculiar spending. TEA investigators must act quickly to ensure charter school funds are spent on behalf of students, and not to support the lifestyles of administrators.”

Start with this embarrassment, then investigate the state’s many Gulen charters, then keep going.







A friend suggested I subscribe to Andrew Tobias’ Blog, and I did. He mostly writes about economics, and I enjoy his clear explanations. You can subscribe for free at

I have strongly disagreed with him only once, when he raved about the test scores at Eva Moskowitz’s test prep Academies and suggested that she had created a new model. We have been engaged in a discussion on this issue since then.

This is his latest. If you want to read the links, go to his website.

A Republican touting the much-criticized tax bill recently told viewers to go to to see the truth about it.

So I did.

The bill has three goals:

More Jobs. The bill will “make America the jobs magnet of the world.”

Maybe. But the Wall Street Journal (here) and the Financial Times (here) worry it could cost jobs.
Bigger Paychecks. “Americans’ taxes are too high, so we are lowering individual tax rates for low- and middle-income Americans.”

No mention is made of “high-income” or “obscenely-high-income” Americans — yet they will get by far the biggest reductions. You might get a thousand bucks, they might get a hundred thousand or a million. Is that adequately disclosed on the website?

And, by the way? Why are “Americans’ taxes too high?” Is it because we’re running a surplus, collecting more than we need? (No, we’ve already run up $20 trillion in accumulated deficits and will now, thanks to this tax cut, be growing that debt faster than the economy as a whole, just as Reagan, Bush, and Bush did.)

Is it because our infrastructure is in such awesome shape we can now cut back on maintaining it? (No, it’s in truly rotten shape — we desperately need to spend more.) Is it because we pay more than workers in other countries? (No, according to this, our workers pay a lower rate than those in Belgium, Austria, Germany, Hungary, Italy, France, Finland, Czech Republic, Sweden, Slovenia, Portugal, Slovak Republic, Spain, Greece, Estonia, Turkey, Luxembourg, Norway, Denmark, Holland, Poland, Iceland, or Japan.)

Fairer Taxes. The bill will “make filing taxes so easy that you can use a form as simple as a postcard.”

First off, what does that have to do with fairness? Is it fair to give the lion’s share of the tax cut to people and corporations who don’t need it . . . and to do so at the expense of millions of lower-income Americans who will either lose their health insurance or see premiums increase? And at the expense of a higher National Debt whose consequences will hurt average Americans disproportionately?

But since the postcard aspect of this is what Republicans seem to mean by “fairer” — no, people will not be filing on postcards. Start with the “simplification” of the child tax credit, as per this 1,100-word explanation in Forbes. In part:

. . . Under tax reform, part of the Child Tax Credit remains nonrefundable but the “old” Additional Child Tax Credit, which was refundable, has essentially been merged into the new credit. I know that sounds confusing but what it means is that the Child Tax Credit is just one credit worth up to $2,000 per child and includes a refundable piece of up to $1,400 per child. To be clear, the $1,400 refundable piece is included as part of the $2,000 Child Tax Credit and is not an additional credit (unlike before).

A refundable credit means that you can take advantage of the credit even if you do not owe any tax. Unlike with a nonrefundable credit, if you don’t have any tax liability, the “extra” credit is not lost but is instead refunded to you. To claim the refundable portion, you must have earned income (generally, wages, salary, tips, and net earnings from self-employment). For purposes of the new Child Tax Credit, the refundable portion is equal to 15% of your earned income which exceeds $4,500 up to the maximum credit.

. . . If you have three or more qualifying children, you can use an alternative formula to determine the refundable portion. Under the alternative formula, the refundable portion is equal to the amount by which your Social Security taxes (those taken out of your wages or paid out as self-employment taxes) exceed your earned income credit (sometimes called EIC or EITC).

I know that this tax reform was supposed to be about simplification, but not when it comes to the Child Tax Credit. In order to claim the credit, you must file a federal form 1040, federal form 1040A, or a federal form 1040NR. You cannot claim the child tax credit using form 1040-EZ.

The main thing, of course: HAVE A WONDERFUL NEW YEAR.

Drive safely!



Actress Jenna Fischer criticized the tax bill for taking away the $250 tax deduction that teachers get for buying school supplies, but had to apologize when she discovered the deduction had been preserved. Her apology defended teachers, most of whom spend far more than $250 to supply their classrooms.

Conservatives lashed out at her for not realizing the $250 deduction was retained.

She tweeted:

”Thanks for your tweets! I had some facts wrong. Teachers surveyed by Scholastic in 2016 personally spent an average of $530 on school supplies for students. Teachers who worked at high-poverty schools spent an average of $672. The tax deduction was capped at $250.”


Ah, those highly paid teachers, always looking for tax breaks. Not equal to the breaks coming to the 1%, of course.

Nice to see an actress who knows the score.

I read that some one sent a box of poop for Treasury Secretary Stephen Mnuchin. But I didn’t pay much attention until I read this story’s out who sent it and why.

It was a act of protest and resistance.

Robby Strong did it.

“We’re returning the ‘gift’ of the Christmas tax bill. It’s bulls‑‑‑.” Strong wrote on the card. “Warmest Wishes, The American People.”

“And then, he says, he went through with it. On Saturday, Strong hand-delivered the manure to two Los Angeles homes he believed belong to Mnuchin — one in Beverly Hills, and one a mansion in Bel Air that consequently got a visit from Secret Service agents and a bomb squad.

“I wanted to ring the door and hand it to him myself,” Strong told the next day, after his early Christmas package had locked down one of the richest neighborhoods in the world.

“Strong works as a psychologist for Los Angeles County, he told 89.3 KPCC, and expects that delivering animal feces to the man in charge of the U.S. Treasury Department could jeopardize his job.

“But Strong doesn’t sound as if he regrets it.
“I need someone to ride along and document my Secret Santa project. I’m going to hand deliver boxes of horse s‑‑‑ to Steve Mnuchin,” he wrote on Facebook on Saturday afternoon, a couple of hours before police were called to Bel Air. “No disguises, no fake names. Totally owning this one. You’re only powerless if you do nothing!!!

As proof of his commitment, he posted photos of himself — shovel in hand, serene smile beneath his beard — loading manure into a box the size of a mini-fridge. It looked much like the box a news helicopter would later observe being dumped out by police in Bel Air, as so many police and federal agents swarmed the street that Mnuchin’s neighbors couldn’t leave their driveways.

“We have $50 million homes and we can’t move,” complained the widower of Zsa Zsa Gabor. “They have to find another way.”

But to Strong, this was the perfect way to express his outrage over a bill signed last week that is expected to massively increase the deficit by cutting taxes for most Americans — especially corporations and the rich.
“In the long run, if we don’t do stuff like this, what are we going to have left?” Strong told KPCC.

“What I did, I would like to compare to what Jesus did when he went into the temple and overturned the tables of the money-changers, who were exploiting the people financially in the name of religion.
“I feel like that’s what the GOP has done to the American people.

Even before he pushed for the tax bill, Mnuchin symbolized wealthy entitlement to many critics of President Trump’s administration. The financier is worth hundreds of millions of dollars. Since becoming treasury secretary, he has battled reports that he requested a government jet for his honeymoon and used a government plane to fly to Fort Knox and watch a solar eclipse.

A small Texas charter organization has spent sizable sums to buy residential condos, claiming they are for “office space and storage.”

“Accelerated Intermediate Academy – the charter school network criticized for its purchase of a Houston condominium with taxpayer dollars – also owns a second condo in downtown Dallas where similar units have been appraised at more than $300,000.

“The network also shelled out nearly $120,000 in property taxes on the Houston property, including $45,700 in late fees and attorney costs, in 2016 after the Harris County Appraisal District denied a request for a property exemption, tax records show.The two-school charter network, which served fewer than 300 students last year at two campuses, spent $427,238 for the Houston condo and an undisclosed amount for the high-end Dallas residence, property records show. Both were purchased in June 2011…

“The property purchases and tax payments mean hundreds of thousands of dollars less for the academy’s classrooms, raising additional questions about the network’s leadership.
Accelerated Intermediate Academy has received about $55 million in taxpayer dollars since opening in 2001, producing solid academic results. It is one of dozens of charter school networks that are publicly funded and privately governed by nonprofit boards to provide parents an option in place of traditional public schools.

“A Houston Chronicle investigation last month uncovered the Houston condo purchase in 2011 and reported that the school’s superintendent, Kevin Hicks, earned more than $250,000 each of the past three years despite several parents and former teachers saying he rarely appeared on the Houston campus….

“School officials told appraisers in Dallas that the unit would be used for office and records storage, even though the school already had a 9,600-square-foot campus in the nearby suburb of Lancaster. That campus has never enrolled more than 17 students since opening in 2012, according to state reports. The Houston unit also was described as an office and storage facility.
Following both purchases, school leaders sought full property tax exemptions, which routinely are granted for charter schools. The network noted in a letter to Harris County appraisers that “the only funds we receive are state and federal funds….”

“Accelerated Intermediate Academy’s properties had high-end touches befitting their price tags, according to online real estate listings. The Dallas unit came with hardwood floors, stainless steel appliances, a wine cooler, granite countertops and access to a rooftop deck with a hot tub. The 1,118-square-foot Houston condo has floor-to-ceiling windows, hardwood floors and access to a pool with skyline views.

“As Accelerated Intermediate Academy has sunk money into buying properties, however, the charter network has paid teachers salaries that are well below average, payroll data shows. Most of its educators have earned about $35,000 to $45,000 in recent years. By comparison, the starting salary at traditional public school districts in the Houston area is about $50,000.

“The school also has stockpiled $12.5 million in cash, enough to cover six years’ worth of operating expenses; most schools keep three to six months’ worth of operating expenses in cash.”

Every storage space should be equipped with a wine cooler, granite countertops, and access to a rooftop hot tub.

This Rocketship Charter teacher describes what a typical recess is like in the Bay Area School.

For a time, Rocketship was the hottest charter chain in the nation. Richard Whitmire’s wrote a book about it, after have written a biography of Michelle a Rhee.

Would you put your child in a school like this?

Laura Chapman writes here about the beast that wants to Destroy Public Education, which has many names:

Many of these schemes are part of the Education Cities initiative. I may have commented about this before.

About Education Cities: FUNDERS Laura and John Arnold foundation, Michael and Susan Dell Foundation, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, and Walton Family Foundation.


“Education Cities works with leading organizations to help our members achieve their missions.”

“Bellwether Education Partners works with Education Cities on research and capacity building projects. Bellwether is a nonprofit dedicated to helping education organizations—in the public, private, and nonprofit sectors—become more effective in their work and achieve dramatic results, especially for high-need students.”

In Cincinnati, Bellwether was the recruiter for the “Accelerate Great Schools,” initiative that seemed to have appeared out of nowhere, pushed by high profile local foundations and deep pockets in the business community—all intent on marketing the need for “high quality seats” meaning you close and open schools based on the state’s weapon-ized system of rating schools. You also increase charter schools and hire TFA. (We have a TFA alum on the school board). The CEO of Accelerate Great Schools recruited by Bellwether was a TFA manager from MindTrust in Indianapolis. He lasted about 18 months and accelerated himself to a new job.

“Center on Reinventing Public Education (CRPE) at the University of Washington partners with Education Cities to analyze and identify policies that create the conditions that allow great schools to thrive. Through research and policy analysis, CRPE seeks ways to make public education more effective, especially for America’s disadvantaged students.”

CRPE should be regarded as an operational arm of the Gates Foundation. It marketed the Gates “Compacts.” These are MOUs (memoranda of understanding) designed to create a “make-nice-with-your-charter schools who want to have you for lunch.” The MOUs mean that districts agree to give central office resources to charters (e.g., deals on meals and transportation) with charters promising to share their “best practices” and other nonsense. The bait to districts included $100,000 up front with the promise of more money to the district if they met x, y, z, terms of the MOU. Only few districts got extra money. Many reasons, some obvious like the departure of the people who signed the MOUs.

“Public Impact” partners with Education Cities (and Bellwether Education Partners) on research and capacity building projects. With a mission to dramatically improve learning outcomes for all children in the United States, Public Impact concentrates its work on creating the conditions in which great schools can thrive. The Opportunity Culture initiative aims to extend the reach of excellent teachers and their teams to more students, for more pay, within recurring budgets. Public Impact, a national research and consulting firm, launched the Opportunity Culture initiative’s implementation phase in 2011, with funding from The Joyce Foundation, Carnegie Corporation of New York and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.” Current work is funded by the Overdeck Family Foundation and the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation.”

Get past the self-aggrandizing rhetoric and you see that Public Impact is marketing 13 school turnaround models, almost all of these with reassignments of teachers and students to accommodate “personalized” something. One arm of the “opportunity culture” website is a job placement service for teachers. In prior USDE administrations, Public Impact and Bellwether worked together to get federal support for charter schools.Both have political clout.

“Thomas B. Fordham Institute partners with Education Cities to analyze and identify policies and practices that create the conditions that allow great schools to thrive. The Thomas B. Fordham Institute works to advance educational excellence for every child through research, analysis, and commentary, as well as on-the-ground action and advocacy in Ohio.”

Well, we have a pretty good idea in Ohio of how all of that pontification worked out.

Here are the cities in the foundation-led move to eliminate democratically elected school boards and fold public schools into a portfolio of contract schools that receive public funds but are privately operated. At one time the number of Education Cities was 30, then 28, now 25.

Albuquerque, NM, Excellent Schools New Mexico
Baton Rouge, LA New Schools for Baton Rouge
Boise, ID Bluum
Boston, MA Boston Schools Fund, Empower Schools
Chicago, IL, New Schools for Chicago
Cincinnati, OH, Accelerate Great Schools
Denver, CO, Gates Family Foundation, Donnell-Kay Foundation
Detroit, MI, The Skillman Foundation
Indianapolis, IN, The Mind Trust
Kansas City, MO, Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation
Las Vegas, NV, Opportunity 180
Los Angeles, CA, Great Public Schools Now
Memphis, TN, Memphis Education Fund
Minneapolis, MN, Minnesota Comeback
Nashville, TN, Project Renaissance
New Orleans, LA, New Schools for New Orleans
Oakland, CA, Educate78, Great Oakland Public Schools Leadership Center, Rogers Family Foundation
Philadelphia, PA, Philadelphia School Partnership
Phoenix, AZ, New Schools for Phoenix
Richmond, CA, Chamberlin Family Foundation
Rochester, NY, E3 Rochester
San Jose, CA, Innovate Public Schools
Washington, DC, Education Forward DC, CityBridge Education

These cities have been targeted by national and local non-profits for capture by promoters of choice, charters, and tech. This is a national effort designed to make school “reform” look like it is a local initiative, inspired by generosity and driven by civic values and “partnerships” in combination with “forward thinking” associated with a chamber of commerce campaign. Look at the names of these initiatives; New Schools, Education Forward, Comeback, Renaissance, and so on. Marketing market-based and corporate managed education is the aim and it is sought by pushing the idea that established public schools are failures

TrustED, a new education “news hub,” listed me as one of its 20 “thought leaders” (a term I have never liked) for 2017. I am grateful for the recognition. However, I mistakenly confused TrustED with Education Trust, a Gates-funded organization known for its devout support for high-stakes testing and its belief that standards and tests are the best path to racial equality. We have been on that past for nearly two decades without any reduction in inequality.

I am not familiar witfh TrustED. I got a comment on my new Facebook page from Todd Kominiak, the managing editor, pointing out that TrustED is not EdTrust. So there. My apologies. I am reposting to clear up the mixup. I have learned over many years that the best way to deal with a mistake is to own it and correct it.

The post called me the “most overtly political” person on the list.

That is true.

Let me explain.

If you don’t like bad policies, you have to become political.

If you want change, you have to become political.

If you don’t like decisions made by the U.S. Department of Education or your state legislature, you have to be political.

If you don’t like the idea of turning Title 1 and special education funding into a honey pot for vouchers, charters, and home schooling, you must be political.

If your governor and legislature want to privatize education and destroy the teaching profession, you must be political.

If you want to protect children, teachers, and public schools from profiteering predators, you must be political.

I confess.

I am overtly political.

It is a strange role for a scholar and a historian. I am supposed to observe.

But when you observe malfeasance, fraud, lies, propaganda, corruption, and error, you can’t stand by as a detached observer. You just can’t.

You have to get political, get up, act, raise your voice, fight for what you believe in.

That’s why I am political.