Angie Sullivan teaches in a Title 1 elementary school in Las Vegas, Nevada (Clark County). She frequently sends letters to every legislator in the state about the need to fund schools like hers adequately and the dismal failure of charter schools.

She responded to a post that featured an interview with Jennifer Berkshire, who predicted that some states would phase out public schools in the next few years.

Sullivan responded:

There would have been a time I would have said this will never happen. Public Schools are such an American Insitution. They are protected by laws.

Now I know charter schools are built to go around the laws. Our Nevada Constitution states one district one county. But charters claim they are not a district. And when necessary they are not even a school. The beauty of the EMO/CMO makes them slippery too. They are often a combination for-profit/non-profit. What law can apply to all of the above: a non-profit education.business, managed by a for-profit management corporation which can then also take advantage of all public school resources and tax advantages, while also applying for all the small business grants and money.

Nevada never got the immediate overnight conversion Elaine Wynn and her reformers wanted. That was too quick and shocking. The ASD grabbing 30 schools at a time did not work. [Elaine Wynn is chair of the state Board of Education and wife of a major casino owner.]

So neoliberals have settled for a slow and steady 5 or 6 charters a year. Along with adding to charter chains by grade level every year – 100 students here and 100 students there.

Jana Wilcox-Lavin uses the $22 million in grant money to grease wheels and find favor. Rebecca Feiden is one of the most powerful women in the state. She grants charters; She refuses charters. Rebecca gives some chance after chance after chance to start their charter business. Others, she stops dead in their tracks. They both inherited a dysfunctional and failing charter business. The Charter Authority is still mired in failing charters – failing financially, failing academically, and failing to enroll diversity. Charters in Nevada are obvious segregation and white flight. There is limited appetite to serve poor students.

Mayors in Clark County seem to think running a school is easy. The pandemic allowed them to use education money to offer micro-charters. This seems to have whet some appetites to own a district of their own.

Mayor Goodman of the City of Las Vegas wants a charter. For some unknown reason she paired up with the EMO TNTP (Michelle Rhee’s Group). She signed on the who’s who of education reform. The City of Las Vegas is now in the school business. Interestingly enough Mayor Goodman was successful at running an expensive private school. She does know education. She has zero experience running a school for diverse poor students. She is about to get a wake-up call. Cedric Creer was only voice of reason when this was discussed. He has the failing Agassi, Rainbow, and 100 Academies in his area – he warned the City Council not to go into the school business. Those charters have had few successes and much more failure. Turnover is constant both teachers and students. Mayor Goodman is about to learn that loads of donations and cash from the City of Las Vegas will not be enough if you let Michelle Rhee’s teaching hating group abuse labor. Interestingly enough, Goodman will retire and the City Council will then run this charter school.

Things I did not think were possible.

Are happening.

I thought our straight forward laws would prevent the Mayors from owning a district through their City Councils.. But charters are not in “districts”. Nor are they schools. Nor are they businesses. They become whatever they need to be to skirt the rules the rest of us live by daily. They claim it is “innovation”. Grifters do it everyday. I do not find it new.

I watched Rebecca Feiden define EMO/CMO very differently to the Nevada Legislature the other day – than she has ever defined it is a Charter Authority Meeting. Perhaps she does not even know or want to know. She was certainly snippy like legislators should already know.

I think this year, The Nevada State Public Charter School Authority will become the second largest district (yes, I know they claim they are not one, but they act like one) in Nevada. It is the size of the Reno/Washoe School District almost. And it serves mainly rich white students inside the middle of Clark County. Yes I know it has a hand full of diverse charters – those are not the norm. Yes I know there are charters in other counties. The bulk of the Nevada charters are serving rich white students inside CCSD. Creating a systematic segregation in Clark County. White Flight is obvious.

Charters segregate by religion, race, and money. They are actually tracking special education, language learning, and free and reduce lunch because those categories earn businesses more pupil center funding dollars. This tracking does not help with Mormon charters, all black or all white charters, and charter locations which are obviously limiting access.

Rebecca Feiden is focused on trying to get more free and reduced lunch children into charters. The Charter Authority is sending the charters a letter, inviting them to participate in “Weighted Lotteries” to help correct their diversity issues. All the charters are getting a “Weighted Lottery” and the Charter Authority is claiming this is a tool to diversify. Weighted Lotteries do not help at all. Especially with new charter enrollment which required diversity by law. Weighted Lotteries only go into affect if charters are full. Technically if a charter has even one spot open – the lottery is not triggered.

The irony of all this is not lost on me. CCSD is one of the most diverse districts in the United States. Yet our Nevada Charters which are predominantly EMO’d For-Profit Academica – serve the rich and white. Now Nevada Charters are spending money to attract diversity to their charters – advertising, flyers, walking door-to-door, or so they claim they tried to find a diverse child to enroll. The Tax Payer has to pay these businesses to admit a few IEP, language learners or poor children. For some perspective, my public school is 100% diverse on every and all levels – we do not try at all to add diversity. In fact

Nevada never closes a failing charter. Even charters that cannot fill out the application or meet the requirements just sue until they are finally allowed to do whatever they want. There is not remedy to stop this. $950 million in Nevada Charters and not a single soul can tell you where it is or what it was spent on.

This is why I think Jennifer Berkshire is correct. Eventually, there will be no place called public schools. There will be a selection list and rich people will be able to pay to have a teacher and school. Others will accept cash and their children will not receive anything and that will be fine because it is their “choice”. And most will meet in a charter warehouse somewhere to sit in front of a device with software teaching them. The poor will be used to privatized and receive the lesser quality of the lists.

It will be slow. CCSD has a parasite. At this rate, the Charter Authority will just keep growing and making more messes which use up more education dollars. It takes from some to give to others. And folx are just fine with allowing a corporation take everything from the disadvantaged so their own children can get ahead. The so called “progressives” are leading the charge.

It is wrong and I hope we fight it. I believe in our imperfect public schools. I see nothing the charters offer that is new. I do not see them being a remedy at all. There is some limited liability advantages for businesses – is that good use of tax dollars?

I hope I am wrong.

Logically I am just afraid Jennifer Berkshire is right.

She followed up with another comment:

Sadly CCSD and Nevada “Leadership” are TFA. They are here to stay. Having catapaulted themselves above everyone.

An example is the very powerful Rebecca Feiden who control $950 million in Nevada Education Dollars which go to Nevada Charters.

Another is Jana Wilcox-Lavin in Opportunity 180 which spreads charters and gives “grants” to them.

No one wants to be a teacher – seems there will always be an appetite to make six figures and control everyone and everything for an eduphilantrophist like Elaine Wynn.