Archives for category: Accountability

After the massacre of students and teachers at Parkland High School in 2018, the Florida legislature raised the age for buying a gun from 18 to 21. That decision was just upheld by a federal appeals court.

However, the Florida legislature wants to lower the age back to 18, so as to restore the Second Amendnent rights of 18-20 year olds. What about the Second Amendment rights of younger children! Shouldn’t any child old enough to carry a gun and able to pay for one enjoy their rights too? Why should eight-year-olds go to the playground or to school without a deadly weapon? Imagine playing with your junior high friends after school, everyone locked and loaded.

With backing from Speaker Paul Renner, a House panel on Monday approved a bill that would lower the minimum age from 21 to 18 to buy rifles and other long guns in Florida.

The bill (HB 1543) would reverse part of a 2018 law that set the minimum age at 21 after a gunman killed 17 students and faculty members at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland. Nikolas Cruz, then 19, used a semi-automatic rifle to carry out the attack.

The Republican-controlled House Criminal Justice Subcommittee voted 12-5 along party lines Monday to approve the bill. Under the 2018 law, people under 21 can receive rifles and other long guns as gifts but cannot purchase them.

“The Florida House is restoring the ability of young adults to exercise their Second Amendment rights,” Renner, R-Palm Coast, said in a prepared statement after the vote. “Florida allows 18- to 20-year-old adults to obtain a long gun by having it gifted to them. This bill expands Second Amendment rights and improves public safety, because it requires young adults who have the intent of purchasing a long gun to go through the background check process that is consistent with Florida law.”

“The Florida House is restoring the ability of young adults to exercise their Second Amendment rights,” Renner, R-Palm Coast, said in a prepared statement after the vote. “Florida allows 18- to 20-year-old adults to obtain a long gun by having it gifted to them. This bill expands Second Amendment rights and improves public safety, because it requires young adults who have the intent of purchasing a long gun to go through the background check process that is consistent with Florida law.”

But opponents questioned why the Legislature would reverse course five years after including the 21-year-old minimum age in a broad school-safety bill that passed quickly after the Parkland shooting. Federal law prevents people under 21 from buying handguns.

“I just find it, when we are having shooting after school shooting after school shooting, there are children who are dying in my district, and this gun violence is happening by 18-, 19- 20-year-olds, that we are slapping people in the face when we’re saying, well, let them go have a gun,” Rep. Michele Rayner-Goolsby, D-St. Petersburg, said.

Monday’s vote came after a panel of the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Thursday upheld the constitutionality of the 2018 law. The National Rifle Association has waged a long-running legal challenge, arguing that the 21-year-old minimum age violates the Second Amendment.

It is no longer safe to vacation in Florida. The state does not care about your life. Avoid Florida. Go to Puerto Rico.

Several years ago, I went to an art house cinema to see a film about Sophie Scholl and the White Rose Society. I didn’t know much about this group other than that they were students who stood up to the Nazis and lost their lives. I am always interested in learning true stories about people who demonstrated courage against overwhelming odds. The film was indeed moving and inspiring. It ends when Sophie and her brother are guillotined. The audience knew the ending, yet many sat in stunned silence as a gesture of respect for these brave young Germans. Some wept.

Thanks to Greg B., I learned that the last surviving member of the White Rose Society just died, at the age of 103. Her name was Traute Lafrenze. She was repeatedly imprisoned. After the war, she moved to the U.S. She married an American. She died in South Carolina. The German government awarded her its highest civilian honor on her 100th birthday.

Read about her in The Smithsonian.

Or the New York Times.

She and the White Rose Society, these courageous idealistic young Germans, should be remembered forever. That is their ultimate triumph over the monster who murdered them.

I had the pleasure of speaking by Zoom to a meeting of the Pastors for Florida Children. The event was reported by Baptist Global News.

The morning session was also addressed by Baptist minister and retired Arkansas Judge Wendell Griffen. Although we have never met, our messages were in synch: Do not let the authoritarian Governor Ron DeSantis intimidate you!

Baptist minister and retired Arkansas judge Wendell Griffen stood before an audience of faith leaders and education advocates in Tallahassee, Fla., March 9, pointed to his lapel and dared Gov. Ron DeSantis to have him apprehended for being politically and racially aware.

“I wore a ‘woke’ button on purpose. I want to get arrested for being woke. I plead guilty to being woke. I want to be convicted of being woke,” Griffen said during a prayer breakfast sponsored by Pastors for Florida Children.

Wendell Griffen

Griffen, a BNG columnist and pastor of New Millennium Church in Little Rock, urged the in-person and virtual interfaith and multiracial audience to be equally defiant of Florida’s political leaders. “Be a community of prophets but teach as one and correct, confront, organize, interact, defy, dissent, disrupt.”

Jewish, Christian and Muslim participants who prayed ahead of the speeches by Griffen and education historian Diane Ravitch focused on DeSantis’ prohibition of books that teach about racial injustice and inclusion….

Please open the link and read his bold, wise, and brave advice.

Ravitch opened with a double-barreled barrage at DeSantis’ efforts to dismantle freedom of inquiry in public schools.

“I write a daily blog, and I find that it’s being overwhelmed by the bad news from Florida,” she said. “There doesn’t seem to be anything good coming from your elected officials. If anything, it seems to be building a more and more authoritarian empire to control the thinking of everybody in the state.”

She said DeSantis seems to be going out of his way to disprove Martin Luther King Jr.’s famous saying that “the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.”

“Your governor and your legislature are trying to flatten that arc so that it does not bend
towards justice,” she declared.

Current political events in Florida do not impact public schools alone, Ravitch said. “Florida today is at the very apex of a movement to turn the clock back a century, to turn the clock back on religious freedom, on racial justice and on all the evolution we have experienced over this past century to make ours a more just society. Your governor is creating a model of thought control and calling it freedom. Every time I see him standing in front of a banner that says ‘freedom,’ I’m reminded of George Orwell’s 1984, where freedom equals slavery.”

The conservative attack on the concept of “woke” is another sign of burgeoning authoritarianism, she said.

“We have to redeem that word. It means being awake — awake to injustice, awake to history, awake to all the things that are wrong in our society and that have been wrong over the centuries. And his (DeSantis’) idea of woke is simply to eliminate critical thinking about history and even knowledge of history. And this is very dangerous.”

And that’s only the beginning.

Dana Milbank, a fabulous columnist at The Washington Post, reviews Kevin McCarthy’s long record of claiming that he didn’t know, he didn’t see it, he didn’t hear it, he has no opinion.

After McCarthy gave 40,000 hours of security video from January 6, 2021, to Tucker Carlson, he was surprised to hear that Tucker Carlson took clips to “prove” that nothing much happened that day. He was confused. I’m confused too as I thought that Carlson had long advanced the claim that the insurrection and violence that we saw that day was actually a “false flag” operation, manipulated by the FBI, Antifa, and Black Lives Matter. All along, Carlson has pandered to his viewers by insisting that Trump supporters had nothing to do with the turmoil and desecration of the nation’s Capitol.

Just another day at the Capitol is the new line at FOX. If you thought otherwise, your eyes deceived you. The insurrectionists were actually peaceful protestors, now victims and patriots.

This new line was too much for many of the Republicans who were there that day and ran for their lives.

Milbank wrote:

Not since the Know-Nothing Party disappeared in the 1850s has a public figure boasted about his ignorance with as much gusto as Kevin McCarthy does.

It doesn’t seem to matter what you ask the speaker of the House. He hasn’t read it, seen it or heard about it.

The explosive documents from the Dominion case showing Fox News hosts privately said Donald Trump’s election lies were hokum but promoted the lies on air anyway?

“I didn’t read all that. I didn’t see all that,” McCarthy told The Post.

The way Fox News’s Tucker Carlson (predictably) manipulated the Jan. 6, 2021, security footage McCarthy (foolishly) gave the propagandist, giving the false appearance that the bloody insurrection was “mostly peaceful”?

“I didn’t see what was aired,” McCarthy asserted.

Senate GOP leader Mitch McConnell, in an implicit rebuke of McCarthy, blasting the Carlson propaganda while holding up a statement from the Capitol Police chief denouncing Fox News’s “outrageous,” “false” and “offensive” portrayal of the insurrection?

You guessed it. McCarthy “didn’t see” McConnell do that.

The benighted McCarthy has been amassing this impressive body of obtuseness for some time. If ignorance is bliss, the California Republican has been in nirvana for years now.

How about Trump’s speech on the Ellipse on Jan. 6, 2021, provoking the sacking of the Capitol?

“I didn’t watch it,” McCarthy said.

Rep. Andrew Clyde (R-Ga.) calling the insurrectionists’ rampage a “normal tourist visit”?

“I don’t know what Congressman Clyde said,” quoth McCarthy, and “I didn’t see it.

When his own designated negotiator reached a bipartisan agreement to form a commission to probe the Jan. 6 attack (a commission McCarthy ultimately killed)?

I haven’t read through it.”

Trump, in a recorded phone call, demanding Georgia’s secretary of state “find” enough votes to overturn the election results?

I have to hear it first.”

Trump telling four congresswomen of color (three of them U.S.-born) to “go back” where they came from, prompting chants of “send her back” among his rallygoers?

I didn’t get to see the rally.”

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) harassing Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) with shouts and slander just off the House floor?

I didn’t see that. I don’t know what happened.”

Trump’s ludicrous allegation that former GOP congressman and MSNBC host Joe Scarborough may have murdered a staffer?

“I don’t quite know about the subject itself. I don’t know this subject well.”

Trump’s scandalous claim that Democrats inflated the death toll from a hurricane in Puerto Rico to “make me look as bad as possible”?

“I haven’t read it yet,” McCarthy pleaded.

At best, McCarthy’s willful cluelessness is just a dodge. But this week, McCarthy’s see-no-evil approach was just plain evil.

After Carlson aired his phony portrayal of the insurrection, several Republicans finally spoke up about Fox News’s lies: “Inexcusable and bull—-” (Sen. Thom Tillis, N.C.), “whitewashing” (Sen. Lindsey Graham, S.C.), “dangerous and disgusting” (Sen. Mitt Romney, Utah).

Then there was McCarthy, questioned by reporters just outside the speaker’s office, which the supposedly “peaceful” insurrectionists had ransacked that terrible day.

“Do you regret giving him this footage so he could whitewash the events of that day?” asked CNN’s Manu Raju.

“No,” McCarthy replied, adding some gibberish about “transparency” (which is the very opposite of Carlson’s fabrication).

“Do you agree with his portrayal of what happened that day?” Raju pressed.

“Look,” McCarthy said. “Each person can come up with their own conclusion.”

Talk about dangerous and disgusting. Given a choice between fact and fiction, between law and anarchy, between democracy and thuggery, the speaker of the House proclaimed his agnosticism. In doing so, he threw the power of the speakership behind the insurrectionists and against the constitutional order he swore to uphold. McCarthy’s leadership team even endorsed Carlson’s fakery, promoting a link to the segment from the House GOP conference’s official Twitter account with four alarm emojis and a “MUST WATCH” recommendation.

Of course, were McCarthy to turn against Fox News, the speaker, weakened by the promises he made to secure the speakership, would be swiftly replaced by the likes of GOP caucus chair Elise Stefanik of New York (who claimed Carlson’s propaganda “demolished” the “Democrats’ dishonest narrative” about Jan. 6), or Rep. Tom Massie (R-Ky.), who went on Carlson’s show to congratulate him on his deception.

So McCarthy sells out democracy to preserve his title. He gave the security footage to Carlson in the first place because he promised that to the far-right Republicans denying him the speakership during his 15-ballot quinceañera in January.

Even Fox Corp.’s chairman, Rupert Murdoch, has expressed some regret over the network’s role in perpetrating Trump’s “big lie,” saying it should have been “stronger in denouncing it.” The internal documents exposed in the Dominion lawsuit show beyond any doubt that Fox News hosts knew the truth about the 2020 election and yet encouraged viewers night after night to believe Trump’s lies.

Those hosts continue to deceive and manipulate viewers nightly. The same day Carlson aired his Jan. 6 fabrication, Trump said on Sean Hannity’s radio show that he would have been willing to let Vladimir Putin “take over” parts of Ukraine. But when Hannity played excerpts of the interview on Fox News, the network edited out Trump’s proposed surrender.

The latest Fox News lies have proven too much for the Senate GOP leader. Though McConnell has enabled Trump at crucial moments, he said at a news conference this week that it was “a mistake” for Fox News to portray the insurrection “in a way that’s completely at variance with what our chief law enforcement official here in the Capitol thinks.”

Yet McCarthy continues to put himself before his country. In just two months on the job, McCarthy “already … has done more than any party leader in Congress to enable the spread of Donald Trump’s Big Lie,” the Senate majority leader, Chuck Schumer, charged on the Senate floor this week. The speaker, he said, “has made our democracy weaker.”

And McCarthy isn’t finished with his depredations. Greene, given a position of influence and respectability by the speaker, is launching a probe, complete with a field trip to a D.C. jail, into the “inhumane treatment” allegedly suffered by the accused insurrectionists awaiting trial. McCarthy has also given the green light to a new probe designed to challenge the conclusions of the Jan. 6 committee.

The man who will lead that panel, Rep. Barry Loudermilk (R-Ga.), declared this week that Americans “didn’t see the other side” of the insurrection. “I think the truth is going to be somewhere between the violent videos and the supposedly peaceful actions there,” he said.

No. The only truth is that Jan. 6 was a violent attack on the seat of American democracy. There was nothing peaceful about an armed insurrection attempting to overturn an election — even if some people there that day weren’t themselves violent.

But that truth — and this democracy — are threatened by a dangerously weak speaker of the House, who has concluded that the only way to preserve his own power is to support Fox News in its sabotage of this country.

The Arizona Republic reported that Republican legislators are focused on imposing new demands on the public schools, reflecting the rightwing cultural agenda. This is somewhat ironic since they previously used their power, when the Governor was Republican, to create a universal voucher program so that students can use public money to attend private schools that are entirely unregulated by the state.

Arizona lawmakers are seeking to reach deep into classroom operations with proposals to require the recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance, to designate which students can use which bathrooms and, once again, to limit how race and ethnicity are taught.

Those are in addition to proposals that would require gun safety training at schools and mandate that instructional materials and teacher lesson plans get posted online. Another bill would have the state Department of Education create a list of books banned from classroom use.

To some, these bills, among others, are a replay of recent legislative sessions, where the public school system became the turf for battles over hot-button cultural issues.

That ignores the changed political reality at the Capitol, with the arrival of a Democratic governor after more than a decade of unified GOP control, said Marisol Garcia, president of the Arizona Education Association.

If the GOP actually cares about these issues, why don’t they put the same requirements on voucher schools? It appears that if you want to escape the GOP mandates, the way to do it to open a private school, where you are free to teach about race and gender, free of testing, free of any accountability.

Josh Cowen is a Professor of Educational Policy at Michigan State University. He has spent many years as a voucher researcher and recently concluded that vouchers are a failed experiment, based on a multitude of research studies.

As soon as anyone becomes a critic of charter schools or vouchers, the choice lobby attacks them and claims they are paid by the teachers’ unions. I know this from personal experience. A few years ago, a choice lobbyist accused me of taking union money to buy the house I lived in; I assured her that I paid for my home all by myself.

Funny that the shrill well-paid lobbyists act as though unions are criminal enterprises, when in reality they have historically enabled poor and working class people to gain a foothold in the middle class, to have job security, health benefits, and a pension. They also give public schools a voice at the table when governors propose larger classes, lower standards for new teachers, or decreased funding for schools. I believe we need unions now, more than ever. Whenever I hear of a charter school unionizing or of workers in Starbucks or some other big chain forming a union, it makes my day.

Josh Cowen has undoubtedly been subject to the same baseless criticism from the same union-haters whose salaries are paid by plutocrats. He shares his thoughts here about teachers’ unions.

Here in Michigan, the Democratic legislature just re-affirmed our state’s longstanding commitment to working families by removing anti-labor provisions from state law. The move doesn’t apply to teachers and other public employees, because the conservative U.S. Supreme Court sided a few years back with Right-wing activists in their efforts to hinder contributions to public sector unions, but it’s still good news for the labor movement overall.

And I wanted to use their effort—alongside Republican efforts in other states to threaten teachers for what they say in classrooms—to make a simple point.

We need teachers unions. Other folks more prominent than me, like AFT’s Randi Weingarten, have made this point recently too. But I wanted to add my own voice as someone who has not been a union member, and someone who—although I’ve appeared with Randi on her podcast and count many union members as friends—has never been an employee or even a consultant.

If you want to talk dollars, The Walton Family Foundation once supported my research on charter schools to the tune of more than $300,000. Arnold Ventures supported my fundraising for a research center at Michigan State–$1.9 million from them. And the US Department of Education awarded my team more than $2 million to study school choice—while Betsy DeVos was secretary.

Think about that when I say school vouchers are horrific. And understand, I’m getting no support from teachers’ unions.

Instead it is I who supports them.

I’ve been studying teacher labor markets almost as long as school vouchers. Mostly my research has looked at teacher recruitment and retention. But I’ve also written about teachers’unions specifically. There’s a debate among scholars on what unions do and whether their emphasis on spending translates into test score differences. In the “rent seeking” framework economists use, the concern is that dollars spent on salaries don’t have direct academic payoffs.

There is no question that spending more money on public schools has sustained and generational impacts on kids. Research has “essentially settled” that debate, according to today’s leading expert on the topic.

But I want to branch out from dollars and cents and test scores to talk about teacher voice.

And I want to do that by raising a few questions that I’ve asked myself over the last couple years:

Why should the voice of a billionaire heiress from Michigan with no experience in public schools count for more than the voices of 100,000 teachers in my state’s classrooms every day?

Why should the simple fact that they work with children made by other people mean that teachers surrender their own autonomy and judgment not just as professionals but as human beings?

Why should educators have to work under what amounts to gag orders, afraid to broach certain topics or issues in the classroom? Some states are setting up hotlines to report on teachers as if they’re parolees, and a bill in New Hampshire would essentially give the fringe-Right Secretary of Education subpoena power to haul teachers in front of a special tribunal for teaching “divisive concepts.” This, after a Moms for Liberty chapter put out a bounty on New Hampshire teachers who were likewise divisive on an issue. Read: an issue of race or gender.

It’s not just threats to teacher employment. We know this. There are threats to teachers’ lives. How many teachers have died alongside their students—other people’s children—over the years in school shootings?

Why does the Right claim to trust teachers enough to arm them with guns in response to those shootings, but not enough to let them talk about race, gender, or any other “divisive concept?” Even some conservative commentators have worried publicly that we’re asking teachers to do too much. Why are we asking them to be an armed security force too?

‘In her recent history of “The Teacher Wars”, The New York Times’ Dana Goldstein noted that teachers formed unions, and fought for teacher tenure, to protect themselves not just professionally but personally. For free speech. To prevent harassment from supervisors—then as now, teachers were mostly professional women—and to keep from being fired for pregnancy or marital status.

So really, attacks on teachers are nothing new. Instead, teachers seem to be one of the few professions that it’s still acceptable in political conversation—even a mark of supposed intellectual sophistication in some circles—to ponder the shortcomings of the educators who work with our kids every day.

There’s nothing sophisticated about attacking hardworking, thoughtful, and dedicated people. And the only result of doing so will be the further erosion of our public, community schools. And that’s really the point. Just a few days ago, we learned that the big data that I and many others have gotten used to working with finally caught up to the on-the-frontlines warnings of educators everywhere: teachers are exiting the profession at unprecedented rates.

I’ve taken no money from teachers’ unions for any of the work I do. I’ve never been a member of a union—teachers’ or otherwise. Until now. Because after writing this today, I made a donation to my state’s primary teachers’ union and became a general member: a person “interested in advancing the cause of education…not eligible for other categories of membership.”

There’s a word for that in the labor movement. You hear it a lot here in Michigan, where I grew up and now teach future teachers in a college of education. That word is Solidarity.

Sign me up.

Julie Vassilatos writes about Paul Vallas’ school reform ideas here. Privatization and choice. She says that they are no longer innovative: they have been tried again and again, and they have failed again and again. We seen this rodeo before: disruption; closing schools; high cost; poor results.

An excerpt:

Here’s what you need to know if you don’t already. Vallas is the OG of a tired, old, failed style of school reform marked by privatization of public services, charter proliferation, and school choice. These elements are now omnipresent in American public education; he helped make this so. In no school district anywhere have these initiatives enabled positive transformation, not in thirty years. But choice-based school reform does two things well—it racks up big, huge spending deficits, and it racially stratifies urban school systems. Vallas has achieved both, here and everywhere he has led districts.Vallas-style school reform has a kind of tech-bro aesthetic: spend big, break things, disrupt systems, do it all at once. But this has always come with a cost. We need to know the cost.

Vallas’s push for privatization and its ugly impact in urban districts

In Chicago, the effort to privatize is by now the rather hackneyed status quo. Charter advocates say there just aren’t enough charters yet. But critics say we can’t possibly afford to keep throwing money at this worn-out approach. After all, in Chicago we have seen the rise and fall of the UNO network, and embroilment in scandals for Urban Prep, Acero, Epic, Gulen, and many other chains.

If you click this link, you can find 26 articles on charter scandals in IL dating back just to 2017.

Privatization lacks accountability. These schools are not subject to the standards and accountability faced by traditional public schools, which eventually is what lands many of them in trouble—they say they are handling special needs and aren’t. They claim they offer bilingual services and they don’t. They get millions in funding from the district and it goes up in smoke. These schools also yield a poor ROI—that is to say, their results are not good. On top of this, these schools are prone to closing without notice.

Privatization always results in disinvestment of traditional public schools. Privatizers love to say that public schools are terrible without ever acknowledging that they’ve been deeply disinvested for decades, then divert much of what funding remains to charter schools, entrenching the cycle of disinvested schools failing to provide what students need and deserve. When you factor in poor ROIs, scandals, and instability, banking on charters seems like a pretty poor bargain. In Chicago, the district added charter schools for years prior to the school closings, very much impacting or even creating the 2012/13 “school utilization crisis” pushed by Rahm and Barbara Byrd-Bennett. Suddenly we had too many schools for too few students. The end result was 50 closed neighborhood public schools, displacing 30,000 kids.

By the way, I posted a tweet the other day, retweeting Fred Klonsky’s Blog titled “Vallas Will Defund CPS.” CPS=Chicago Public Schools. Hours later, I received a notice from Twitter that my comment had been deleted because it contained offensive content. What? An opinion about a mayoral candidate is “offensive”? And this on the giant social media site that welcomes Nazis, election deniers, COVID crackpots, and assorted conspiracy theorists.

This was the “offensive” post that had to be censored.

A reader named JCGrim posted an important fact about vouchers: Voucher schools are not required to comply with the federal law that protects the rights of students with disabilities.

Vouchers are a backdoor scheme to make kids with disabilities disappear. Move them off the books & into unaccountable, unstable, non-transparent places.

The Council for Exceptional Children (CEC) oppose vouchers on the grounds that voucher & voucher-like programs fail to comply with IDEA’s provision of a free, appropriate, public education (FAPE).

Position on Use of Public Education Dollars to Fund
School Vouchers and Other Voucher-Type Programs
Approved July 2020 CEC opposes school vouchers and voucher-type programs for all children and youth including those with disabilities. Such programs are contrary to the best interests of all children and youth and their families, the public-school system, local communities, and taxpayers.

Here the link to the full position paper.

Click to access Public%20Funds%20-%202020.pdf

Texas Governor Greg Abbott and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick have been pushing voucher legislation hard this year. Texas is one of the few red states that has not adopted voucher legislation for religious and private school tuition. The big stumbling block in the past has been a sturdy coalition of urban Democrats and rural Republicans.

Writing for ReformAustin, Jovanka Palacios explains here what Governor Abbott does not understand about rural schools.

Gov. Greg Abbott believes that touring rural areas where Republican members of the Texas House or Senate are against vouchers is enough to get them and their constituents on board with the “school choice” idea. But he seems to be overlooking one small detail: “rural public schools are the lifeblood of their communities.”

Keith Bryant, Superintendent of Schools in Lubbock-Cooper ISD, illustrates the effect of a voucher program in rural public schools best:

“They are unifiers, gathering places, and information providers. Many times they are the largest employers in their communities, and, often, school events are the largest draw of visitors to their towns. Disruptions to funding for rural schools are disruptions to the fabric of life in rural communities.”

In a state where the money follows the child, students dropping out of public schools would inevitably affect – an already scarce – budget. Those who oppose a “school choice” program argue that the Legislature should focus on increasing public school education funding, instead of diverting those dollars into a system that holds no accountability.

School funding isn’t that complex, Bryant told RA News, who explains school funding as a pie that everyone in public schools in Texas is sharing.

“Every public school in Texas is sharing this pie. If someone takes a slice out of the pie to fund vouchers for private schools or homeschooling, there is less pie remaining for Texas public schools.”

Open up the link at the Network for Public Education blog, where you will see the article as well as a link to the original.

Consider subscribing to the Network for Public Education blog, which is able to cover many more stories about education across the nation than I do. The blog is curated by the wonderful Peter Greene, who has an eye for great stories.

Steve Dyer is a veteran analyst of Ohio education issues, as a former legislator and think tank budget expert. He writes here about the latest expansion of Ohio’s failed voucher program. When an independent evaluation of the Ohio voucher program was previously carried out, it concluded that kids who leave public school to use a voucher lose ground academically. The evaluation was sponsored by the Fordham Institute. Do not be fooled by the misleading summary written by Fordham staff.

In this post, he shows where the money is coming from and where it’s going:

Now that the Ohio Legislative Service Commission has officially costed out the so-called “Backpack Bill”, we know for certain that this bill has nothing to do with “rescuing” kids from “failed” public schools. It’s all about publicly subsidizing the adults who can already afford to send their kids to private school.

The LSC analysis proves definitively that the bill would instantly provide public funding to about 90,000 Ohio students who do not currently receive it. It would be through vouchers, education savings accounts, homeschoolers (including those being taught Nazi ideology) and other various devices all adding up to an additional $1.13 billion. All while the legislature is talking about massive tax cuts and continues to short-change the needs of the 90% of students in Ohio’s public schools.

These are not students who are leaving public schools. These are students who are already in private schools, whose parents can already afford private schools and who attend schools that are not audited by the state to ensure they are actually educating a single student we’re paying them to educate.

Sounds like a great idea to me! I mean, Ohio’s never had an issue with privately run schools billing the state for millions of dollars to educate kids they never actually had, right? Oh yeah, except for the ECOT scandal that was about 40% bigger than the biggest public bribery case ever brought in the state.

It would be one thing if Ohio’s private schools were doing an awesome job. However, we know that about 90% of the time, kids in Ohio’s public schools test better than students attending private schools in the same cities. We also know that the students taking vouchers are significantly more white than the communities they are from.

At this point on the post, Dyer adds the data from different counties.

This Universal Voucher bill would put an additional $1.13 billion into a program that would provide taxpayer subsidies to adults who send their kids to unaccountable schools that perform markedly worse than Ohio’s public schools all while further segregating our kids and communities by race.

Open the link to finish the post and see the data.