Archives for the month of: April, 2019

The NewSchools Venture Fund will hold its annual meeting in Oakland on May 8. This is appropriate because Oakland has been one of the cities targeted by the billionaires who support NSVF, with the goal of eradicating public schools. As you will read, a significant number of public schools have been turned into charters, draining $57 million from public schools, which must cut services and programs to satisfy the greed of the billionaires. Make no mistake: their goal is privatization and they don’t care how much suffering they cause to public school students to get what they want. The public schools and their students are collateral damage.

Hi, Hoppy,

A friend sent me the column you wrote about the stalemate in West Virginia over school choice. 

I would like to help you out.

The first thing you should know is that charter schools are NOT public schools. They call themselves public schools to get public money, but that doesn’t make them public schools. Might as well call Princeton University a public college or Boeing a public utility just because they get public money. Charter schools are private contractors with private boards of trustees that do not hold public meetings. Public schools have an elected school board or a board composed of people appointed by an elected official.

As this study shows, when charter schools open, the money to pay for them is deducted from public schools. The public schools lose not only the tuition for each student, but are left with “stranded costs.” If 10% of the students leave, you can’t stop heating or cooling the building by 10%, you can’t cut back on transportation or other expenses or the principal’s salary by 10%. What the public schools must do is lay off teachers, eliminate programs, cut the arts, and increase class sizes. So the vast majority of students pay a high price so 10% can choose to attend a charter that may be a fraud or may close in a year or two.

You suggested that Ohio charter schools are an example of success.

Actually, two-thirds of the charter schools in Ohio were rated either D or F by the State Department of Education. And their enrollment is declining as parents realize that they are not better than real public schools.

1. Decline in number of charters. See Fig 3, p. 9. 2013-2014 base year (395). See 2017-2018 academic year 340. http://education.ohio.gov/getattachment/Topics/Community-Schools/Annual-Reports-on-Ohio-Community-Schools/2017-2018-Community-Schools-Annual-Report.pdf.aspx?lang=en-US
2. Number of charters closed – At this page, click on the third section under Schools heading for link – Schools that Have Suspended Operations (no separate URL for this Excel sheet) http://education.ohio.gov/Topics/Community-Schools  Last line = 293. Subtract heading line = 292 schools closed.
3. Decline in Charter Enrollments – 2017-2018 Annual Report, Fig 2, p. 8. 2013-2014 Base year = 120, 893 compared to 2017-2018 – 104,380. Diff = 16,513
Ohio also had a spectacular failure of its biggest cyber charter last year. It was called ECOT, or the Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow. It had the lowest graduation rate of any high school in the nation and very low test scores. Its owner collected $1 billion from the taxpayers of Ohio before he declared bankruptcy; that was after a court ordered him to return $67 million for one year of inflated enrollments.
I hope you will do some more research into charter performance and charter frauds and scandals. You might start by going to Twitter and looking at the list under the hashtag #AnotherDayAnotherCharterScandal.
Or look at the report by the Network for Public Education about the federal Charter Schools Program, called “Asleep at the Wheel,” which found that between the years 2006 and 2014 (Obama administration), the federal government wasted $1 billion on charter schools that never opened or closed shortly after opening.
Here are a few more readings for you:
https://dianeravitch.net/2019/04/07/bill-phillis-one-half-of-ohios-authorized-charter-schools-either-closed-or-never-opened/
https://dianeravitch.net/2018/09/01/stephen-dyer-ohio-charters-present-a-picture-of-incompetence-ineffectiveness-and-malfeasance/
https://dianeravitch.net/2019/03/10/ohio-another-reason-why-charter-schools-should-not-get-more-funding/
That’s only Ohio. If I had more time, I would give you even more hair-raising stories from Michigan and Arizona and California.
Think twice before you encourage diversion of funding your your public schools to entrepreneurs, corporate chains, and grifters.
I hope this helps.
Diane Ravitch

 

Sara Roos, the blogger known the Red Queen in L.A., is an intrepid investigator, following the money. She has learned inevitably that the charter school lobby is very rich and spends lavishly to buy politicians’ favor.

In this post, she scratches the surface of the charter lobby’s complex political-financial machinations. Given the known gaps that are not included in this excellent report (e.g., the funding for Marshall Tuck in his race against Tony Thurmond), the actual spending by the charter lobby may be five to ten times what she writes here.

”The Charter industry lobby has expended a total of $91.4 million dollars in California between 11/18/08 and 12/31/18, according to political financial information stored online by the Secretary of State through “Cal-Access”…

”What is so confusing is the multi-stage process by which the California Charter Schools Association (CCSA) lobby dispenses its largesse. There is a direct process and a derivative one. Over this time period CCSA has opened 25 distinct “Recipient Committees”, entities raising contributions from others, nine of which have been subsequently terminated. These 25 Committees have operated under 54 different names. Some of this multiplicity is reasonable because the lobbying effort is state-wide and different Committees will make expenditures to different local issues and candidates. But some of it is a succession of evolving names associated with a specific Committee. Sure, it all traces back to the same ideological pot of gold so while the zeitgeist shifts, the named Committee can just get a slight upgrade in verbiage since the spigot is unchanged. But it feels shifty in intention too, as if the Committee-As-Palimpsest were a deliberate effort to overwrite and obscure the group’s underlying, persistent and singular, special interest.”

The names of the organizations paid by the lobbyists is deliberately meant to fool voters into thinking that the lobby represents teachers, students, public schools, even the downtrodden, when it is actually a front for billionaires.

“Parent Teacher Alliance,” “Families and Educators for Public Education,” “Students for Educational Reform,” “L.A. Parents, Teachers, and Students for Great Public Schools,” are just a few of the deceptive shells advancing the cause of privatizing public schools.

Roos writes:

“The pattern of marketing hype is plain as can be:  “Teachers and Parents”, “Excellent Public Schools”, “Great Public Education”, “Public Charter Schools Now”. A bot could mix and match phrases but credibility or accountability is harder to design.”

Roos includes a list of the candidates to whom the charter lobby has given large sums, as well as those it spent big to defeat.

As she notes, her list is far from comprehensive. For example, it shows an expenditure of only $1,050,000 for Marshall Tuck by the charter lobby, when the actual amount spent on his campaign for State Superintendent of Public Instruction was about  $30 million.

The best news is that the massive spending of the charter lobby is no guarantee of victory.

“While undeniably the charter lobby is comprised of far more IECs than this limited set which display the “Charter Schools Association” label, something approaching the 40%-50% mark of charter lobby expenditures may have catastrophically failed in influencing anyone of late. It’s encouraging to recognize the discouragement of dark money and dark forces. Civil Justice is served when resources are distributed fairly and equitably.  There is no true way to describe jerry-rigged redistributions as anything but a favoritism scheme for the anointed. And there is no way that spending ungodly sums on persuasion and trickery is in the best interests of anyone but those with something to hide.”

 

 

I just finished reading a compelling book about the famed Atlanta Cheating Scandal. It is titled None of the Above: The Untold Story of the Atlanta Public Schools Cheating Scandal, Corporate Greed, and the Criminalization of Educators. I found it hard to put down.

It was written by Shani Robinson, one of the teachers convicted in 2015 of racketeering, for changing her students’ answers on a state test, and journalist Anna Simonton. It is Shani’s story, and with Anna’s help, it is a very good read.

Shani was a Teach for America teacher who taught first graders at Dunbar Elementary School in Atlanta. She was one of dozens of teachers and administrators accused of cheating to raise her students’ test scores. Being arrested, charged, threatened, tried, and convicted was an ordeal, which she describes in detail. Throughout this ordeal, she maintained her innocence. She very credibly insists that she never changed her students’ test answers. Her student scores were not counted towards the school’s “AYP” and had no bearing on the school’s rating because first grade scores were not part of the No Child Left Behind dragnet.

She never received a bonus or any other monetary reward. Yet she and other educators were accused and convicted on a racketeering charge (the federal RICO statute that was designed to snare members of the Mafia and other organized criminals). She did not conspire with anyone, she writes, and to this day she insists upon her innocence.

What is especially shocking is her account of the “justice” system. At every step along the way, she and the others who were accused were offered the opportunity to get out of the charges if only they agreed to plead guilty. They got off scot free if they were willing to accuse others. Repeatedly she was told that she had a choice: If you stick with your plea of innocence, you face 20 years in prison; if you confess your criminal behavior, you will get probation, community service, and a nominal fine. Those who were convicted lost their job, their reputations, their careers, and in some cases, their freedom.

Others whom Shani trusted confessed to crimes they had not committed. She insisted upon her innocence and refused to lie to win her freedom. She cannot help comparing the longest trial in Georgia’s history with the cheating scandal in Washington, D.C., where no one was charged and there was no trial or punishment, nor even a credible investigation.

Somehow the whole procedure sounds like a story from the old Soviet Union, but this is American “justice” as practiced in Georgia.

What makes the story even more interesting is the way she connects her personal dilemma with the history of racism and injustice in Georgia and with the manipulation of politics by corporate interests. She notes again and again that the media created a feeding frenzy because of allegations that educators cheated, but were not interested at all in reporting how corporate interests shifted or stole hundreds of millions of dollars from the schools for real estate development or gentrification.

She describes Atlanta’s history as the first city to build public housing, which became home to many thousands of black families, and the first city to tear down all of its public housing, ostensibly to woo middle class families back to the city (and to push out poor black families).

She became disenchanted with Teach for America as she saw its recruits—funded by out-of-state billionaires and trained by TFA’s Leadership for Educational Equity– organize a takeover of the Atlanta school board so as to make way for corporate education reform, especially charter schools.

She details the efforts of for-profit Charter Schools USA to open a charter in Atlanta, and the determination of the black community to keep them out.

Hypocrisy?

She writes:

“I tried to keep my cool as I came to terms with the fact that some very bad things had happened in my school district, worked to remain self-assured that my name would be cleared, and attempted to quell my outrage at the naked hypocrisy of some of the public figures who scrambled to condemn educators for ‘cheating the children.’ There were so many ways that children, particularly black children, were being cheated out of a decent life. During the decade that some APS staff members were tampering with tests, most teachers were doing the best they could with few resources for contending with kids who suffered generational trauma stemming from urban renewal, racialized violence, the drug epidemic, mass incarceration, and the obliteration of public housing. Meanwhile, real estate moguls and financiers were finagling ways to line their pockets with the education dollars that should have been going to the classroom.”

The most memorable line in the trial was uttered by the utterly reprehensible Judge Baxter, who said that the cheating scandal was “the sickest thing to ever happen in this town.” Shani wonders if he never gave any thought to slavery, Jim Crow, and the many other attacks on blacks as equally “sick.”

Shani Robinson’s appeal has not yet been heard. She may yet be sent to prison. Her book is a persuasive argument that some of the worst criminals in Atlanta were never tried for their crimes against the children of Atlanta.

 

Ken Robinson is famed for his inspirational books, lectures, and articles about the importance of creativity.

In this article, he describes how standardization has broken education, and what we must do to change it.

It is tempting to reprint the article in its entirety because it is so beautifully written, but I will give you a start so you are tempted to read it yourself.

The problem with fixing it in the U.S. is that the only way to end standardization is to change the federal law that mandates that all children must learn the same thing in the same way and be prepared to answer multiple-choice questions that satisfy Pearson or some other giant testing corporation.

But the way to make that happen is to start now. Opt out. Write letters to the editor. Speak up at Parent meetings and in the teachers’ lounge. Get your union–if you are in one–to take a stand. Be relentless. Promote creativity, diversity of thought, and a stubborn resistance to standardization. Treasure collaboration, oppose competition. Value each person for his or her unique gifts. That’s hard, but that’s where we need to go in our thinking and our actions.

Robinson begins:

We are all born with fathomless capacities, but what we make of them has everything to do with education. One role of education is to help people develop their natural talents and abilities; the other is to help them make their way in the world around them. Too often, education falls short on both counts. As we face an increasingly febrile future, it’s vital to do better. For that to happen, education has to be urgently transformed. We have the resources and the expertise, but now we need the vision and commitment.

In my book, You, Your Child and School, I make a distinction between learning, education and school. Learning is acquiring new skills and understanding; education is an organised system of learning; a school is a community of learners. All children love to learn, but many have a hard time with education and some have big problems with school.

Usually, the problem is not the learners – it’s the inherent bias of education and the enforced culture of schools. For generations, formal education has been systematically biased towards narrow forms of academic ability. The result is that it largely disregards the marvellous diversity of human talents and interests.

For the past generation especially, politicians have been smothering schools in a depressing culture of standardisation. As a result, they have been marginalising the very capabilities our children need to create a more equitable and sustainable world – by which I mean creativity, compassion citizenship and collaboration.

As far as we know, human beings are the most creative creatures ever to walk the Earth. We are endowed with deep powers of imagination and the physical capacities to realise our imaginings in complex languages, theories and beliefs, as well as in the tangible forms of technology, architecture, agriculture, the arts and the sciences and so on.

The trouble is that, in the past 300 years, we have created civilisations that have dislocated our relationships with the natural environment and that now imperil our survival as a species. We face existential challenges. We have immense capabilities to innovate, but the clock is ticking and education is the only key to unlocking these capacities – not the torpid system of testing we have now, but forms of education that celebrate and cultivate these unique powers deliberately.

 

 

 

 

This statement was released today by the Alliance for Quality Education in New York City.

 

Despite years of advocacy, court mandates and promises from politicians, the new NYS budget plan once again locks in educational inequality. And while politicians refuse to cough up $1.6 billion to begin fully funding our schools, the state spends over $1.5 billion a year on its high stakes standardized testing program.

For years, Albany has told parents that standardized tests will help close the “achievement gap” in our schools – but year after year of testing, while refusing to fully fund our schools, has not closed this gap, which is an “opportunity gap” and NOT an “achievement gap.”

The truth is, you won’t heal the inequities that plague our schools by administering something that is toxic, and these high stakes tests are toxic, for our kids, and for our schools. You want to close the gap? Start by funding our schools.

While Albany keeps expecting our schools to do more with less, while the tests lay the foundation for closing and privatizing more neighborhood public schools, we keep calling, writing, traveling to Albany, meeting with legislators, rallying and petitioning. We keep working within a system that won’t respond to our needs.

What do we do with a system that won’t respond?

We break it. Albany has ignored us for years. We succeed when we make ourselves impossible to ignore.  Enough is enough. We are joining the hundreds of thousands of parents and educators that have had deep concerns on the corrosive effects of these tests.

Math exams administration dates are May 1–2, with make-up exams on May 3, and May 6–8. You have a right to opt out with no consequence to your child. The right to refuse the state tests in encoded in ESSA, the federal law that governs education policy, which explicitly recognizes that right.

As we know from history, the power of a boycott is huge. If Albany won’t comply with a court ruling to fully fund our schools, why should we give Albany what they want? Join the hundreds of thousands of New York State families who making their voices heard in a most powerful way, and consider joining boycott the state tests this week. A sample opt out letter is here and questions can be sent to nycoptout@gmail.com.

The Washington Post FactChecker Glenn Kessler and his team announced today that Trump had passed a total of 10,000 lies. That is a record, even for him! And he still has another 20 months to go in his term!

It took President Trump 601 days to top 5,000 false and misleading claims in The Fact Checker’s database, an average of eight claims a day.

But on April 26, just 226 days later, the president crossed the 10,000 mark — an average of nearly 23 claims a day in this seven-month period, which included the many rallies he held before the midterm elections, the partial government shutdown over his promised border wall and the release of the special counsel’s report on Russian interference in the presidential election.

This milestone appeared unlikely when The Fact Checker first started this project during his first 100 days. In the first 100 days, Trump averaged less than five claims a day, which would have added up to about 7,000 claims in a four-year presidential term. But the tsunami of untruths just keeps looming larger and larger.

It seems that the longer he is in the White House, the easier it is to say whatever he wants, without bothering to discern whether it has any factual basis.

Also, he has gotten rid of anyone who restrained his impulse to lie or distort the facts, like General Kelly.

About one-fifth of the president’s claims are about immigration issues, a percentage that has grown since the government shutdown over funding for his promised border wall. In fact, his most repeated claim — 160 times — is that his border wall is being built. Congress balked at funding the concrete wall he envisioned, and so he has tried to pitch bollard fencing and repairs of existing barriers as “a wall.”

Trump’s penchant for repeating false claims is demonstrated by the fact that The Fact Checker database has recorded nearly 300 instances when the president has repeated a variation of the same claim at least three times. He also now has earned 21 “Bottomless Pinocchios,” claims that have earned Three or Four Pinocchios and which have been repeated at least 20 times.

About a fifth of his lies are told at his campaign rallies, where he gets up without a speech and riffs on whatever crosses his mind, whatever makes him angry, free associates about his enemies and critics and alleged accomplishments.

When the president of the United States lies wantonly and when he calls the press “the enemy of the people,” you can see we are on a downward trajectory in which there are no truths and no objective facts, whom do you believe? George Orwell wrote about this phenomenon.

Orwell wrote in his essay, “Looking Back on the Spanish War”:

I know it is the fashion to say that most of recorded history is lies anyway. I am willing to believe that history is for the most part inaccurate and biased, but what is peculiar to our own age is the abandonment of the idea that history could be truthfully written. In the past, people deliberately lied, or they unconsciously colored what they wrote, or they struggled after the truth, well knowing that they must make many mistakes; but in each case they believed that “the facts” existed and were more or less discoverable. And in practice there was always a considerable body of fact which would have been agreed to by almost anyone. If you look up the history of the last war in, for instance, the Encyclopedia Britannica, you will find that a respectable amount of the material is drawn from German sources. A British and a German historian would disagree deeply on many things, even on fundamentals, but there would still be a body of, as it were, neutral fact on which neither would seriously challenge the other. It is just this common basis of agreement with its implication that human beings are all one species of animal, that totalitarianism destroys. Nazi theory indeed specifically denies that such a thing as “the truth” exists. There is, for instance, no such thing as “Science”. There is only “German Science,” “Jewish Science,” etc. The implied objective of this line of thought is a nightmare world in which the Leader, or some ruling clique, controls not only the future but the past. If the Leader says of such and such an event, “It never happened” — well, it never happened. If he says that two and two are five — well two and two are five. This prospect frightens me much more than bombs — and after our experiences of the last few years that is not such a frivolous statement.

 

Peter Greene found an insightful article at The 74 about the serial failures of the Democracy Prep Charter Chain.

Betsy DeVos gave the chain $21.8 million to expand but it is having trouble growing beyond its New York City home base.

It was invited to take over the massive disaster that was Andre Agassi’s charter school (which had principal churn, teacher churn, abysmal academics, etc.), and Democracy Prep is struggling to hold on to teachers and students. (Andre Agassi, of course, has abandoned the role of charter founder to become a builder of charter schools in partnership with a venture capitalist. More money, fewer headaches.)

Democracy Prep was asked to take over a failing charter in D.C., where it too failed.

Greene notes:

“The DC school was in trouble from the start. The Executive Director was Sean Reidy who graduated from Loyola with a BS in business administration, did two years with TFA, taught another two years at Harlem DP, went on to get his MBA from Georgetown, and then took over the DC school. (DP, like many charters, likes its TFA recruits, but Mahnken doesn’t really address that, though I’d argue that the culture of edu-amateurs is part of the root of DP’s problems.)”

Greene concludes:

Educational amateurism combined with Big Apple hubris leads to people who don’t think they have to learn anything about the culture where they want to set up shop. This is not unique to DP, or even charters, or even education– it’s just extra-ironic because DP is supposed to be all about being informed effective citizens. Of course, public schools that are owned and operated by the people in the community (and not run from an office thousands of miles away), aren’t so prone to this problem.

No excuses schools are a lousy idea. I know there are students here and there who thrive in them, but they’re still a lousy idea. No wealthy white parents would put their kids in a No Excuses school.

One size does not fit all. Charter folks insist that charters are the solution to OSFA [Editor’s Note: “One Size Fits All”], but their insistence on having everything under one roof be a tightly united philosophical whole has the opposite effect. Public schools have room for many cultures and many philosophies under one roof, which means that students can find a corner of the school that “fits” without having to start over at a whole new school. There’s no reason that charters can’t operate the same way.

Solve problems; don’t walk away from them. This article just gives a peek at the world where charter after charter after charter is taken over, turned around, handed off to some other business. DP moves in, tries their one thing, waits, makes some tiny tweaks, and if it fails, they walk away. Public schools may not always live up to the promise of their commitment, but they don’t just walk out the door saying, “Good luck, kid. Hope somebody happens by to help you out.”

Education concerns and business concerns don’t fit together. Again– business concerns are not evil or wrong, but they don’t match the considerations of education. Good business decisions are not good education decisions.

One of the selling points of charters has always been that they will figure out great new things that the rest of the education world can then pick up and run with. But most of what Democracy Prep needed to know they could have learned from a public school teacher.

 

 

 

Almost everyone in California seems to acknowledge that the state charter law is broken and needs reform. Governor Gavin Newsom created a Task Force, under the leadership of Tony Thurmond, State Superintendent of Public Instruction, charged with coming up with ways to fix the law. Since the majority of the Governor’s Task Force has ties to the charter industry (including two members of the state’s charter lobbying organization), it bears watching to see whether the proposals are effective or cosmetic.

Now the California School Boards Association has released its recommendations. Its report mentions in passing that only one of every three charter schools outperforms the public schools in the district where it is located.

“After more than 25 years of continued charter school growth, California now finds itself far removed from the original mission and vision of the Act, which was, in part, meant to improve student learning with an emphasis on those who are academically low achieving, and to help generate innovation to benefit students in all schools. California is now a state where only one in three charter schools produces student outcomes that are significantly better than those of the traditional public schools that those students would have otherwise attended.5 Moreover, rapid expansion has brought about examples of inequitable access to schools of choice, financial misconduct, and governance challenges.”

Frankly, after reading this brief document, I found myself wondering yet again, why is the government supporting two different systems? Charters are not more innovative than public schools, are not more successful in educating students, are less accountable, and do not cost less. Remind me, what’s the point?

 

Betsy DeVos recently gave $116 million to the IDEA charter chain, mostly to expand in Texas. Previously, she had already given millions to IDEA, altogether this lucky business has received $225 million in federal funds.

In El Paso alone, IDEA will open 20 new charters. That’s bad news for the El Paso public schools, because IDEA is known for pushing out the kids it doesn’t want and sending them back to the public schools, which will have to slash their budgets to adjust to lost enrollment.

Veteran Texas educator Tim Holt says that this IDEA invasion doesn’t pass the smell test. Parents and taxpayers are being fooled. He wrote this before DeVos gave IDEA its latest plum, $116 million.

“In the next few years, IDEA plans to increase from one school today in El Paso to over 20, making them larger than either the Anthony, Canutillo, San Eli, Fabens, or Clint ISD’s in terms of number of campuses. (“IDEA’s big goal is to serve 100,000 students by 2022” in Tejas according to the IDEA website.

“That would make them larger than Ft. Worth or Austin ISDs, which each have about 88,000 students each.) Of course, local districts are concerned because they get funding based on the number of students attending. Less students means less money. Even if it is for a year or so, as parents find out IDEA is not such a good fit for their kids. Less funding means more crowded classes, elimination of popular programs (say adios to that Mariachi band your young Vicente Fernandez wanna-be is in)…

“Public charter schools like IDEA use a combination of taxpayer funds, grants, and large-scale private donations to operate. Like public schools, they are accountable to meeting standards, but unlike public schools, they are businesses, beholden to those with a financial vested interest in their success or failure.

“Did you get that? They use your taxes to fund their business. You are paying for them whether they last a year or a decade. They can, as a business, pick up and leave at any time, shuttering their doors with no notice as many charter schools have done across the nation. Nothing prevents this.

“And like any business that needs to grow to get money, they have to advertise. Check out the slick work of this ad agency on behalf of IDEA.

“Smelly.

“Public schools in Texas have locally elected officials, that are responsible for watching the checkbooks of the districts. Don’t like the way money is being spent? You can vote them out and replace them. Not so with Public Charter Schools like IDEA. The Board of Directors of IDEA schools are mostly made up of well-to-do east Texas business people.

Think your kid is represented at the table? Check out the IDEA Board. Look like people from El Chuco? Yeah, maybe a meeting of the El Chuco Millionaires Club, but other than that, no, they are not your type. Unless you think that Dallas and Houston millionaires are your type.

Stinky.

“IDEA schools have a model of teaching that looks something like this: Curriculum is canned, pre-scripted and designed in such a way that even non-teachers can conduct classes. It is designed solely to focus on the standardized tests, that all students must pass. It is homework-heavy even though study after study has found that a heavy homework load is probably overall detrimental to students learning. Failure on tests mean dismissal from the school.

“Sorry kid, we don’t take no dummies.

“Since it is a scripted curriculum, IDEA can hire non-teacher teachers, ones that do not have any kind of education experience or degree. Think about that: Anyone that can read a script can teach at IDEA. That is perfect for young, inexperienced Teach-for-America rookies, from where IDEA likes to recruit their teaching ranks. Less experience equals less expensive to pay.

“Less pay means the chances that the teacher can deal with “non traditional” or troubled students is low. Want something for your kid that is innovative? Don’t bother enrolling at IDEA. Success is measured by how many pages the teacher can plow through in a week on the way to the test.

“Smells bad…

”Now consider this: On top of the millions in Federal funds that the State has awarded to IDEA, if they achieve their goal of having 100,000 students, that means, that every year, $915,000,000 will NOT be going to Texas’ traditional public schools, your neighborhood school, but into the hands of for-profit businesses that have little to no local accountability.”

Well, it’s a terrific article. Read it all.

And don’t believe those pundits who say that Betsy DeVos is so hemmed in that she can’t do any harm. Her $225 million gift to IDEA will eventually cause Texas public schools to lose nearly $1 billion a year, every year.  Really good for the IDEA bank account.  Terrible for the millions of children in Texas public schools.

That really stinks.