Archives for category: Connecticut

Ann Cronin, a retired educator in Connecticut, is outraged that Governor Dannell Malloy, who pretends to be a Democrat and was even chair of the Democratic Governors Association, has presented a tax plan to benefit his rich campaign contributors. He is a big charter supporter, because his supporters–like opiod king Jonathan Sackler–love charters. (Wouldn’t it be nice if the Sackler family were held personally responsible for the thousands of deaths caused by their deadly but profitable opioids?)

Malloy’s tax plan sounds surprisingly like Donald Trump’s. Maybe he would consider changing parties?

Cronin writes:

 

SAYING NO TO A TAX BREAK FOR THE RICH IN CONNECTICUT

Governor Malloy’s proposed budget gives a tax break to the rich.

Here’s what it is:

He advocates extending the 529 college savings plans, called CHET (Connecticut Higher Education Trust), to savings plans that can be used for K-12 education as well as college. As reported in the well-researched and comprehensive article in The CT Mirror by Jacqueline Rabe Thomas on January 16, 2018, the state currently allows parents to avoid paying state income taxes each year on up to $10,000 that they put into a college savings account. In addition, they don’t have to pay taxes on the earned income when the money is withdrawn to pay for college

 

Using 529 accounts to fund K-12 education in addition to college is part of the new Republican/Trump tax plan. States can go along with that tax plan or become decoupled from it. Governor Malloy has chosen to keep the state and federal tax plans coupled and go along with Donald Trump. The Connecticut General assembly will decide whether or not to go along with Dan Malloy.

Here’s how it will work:

According to figures compiled for The CT Mirror by the financial services company Vanguard, this is the picture for Connecticut families:

 

  1. Family A has a baby and, as soon as the baby is born, puts $200,000 into a 529 savings account for the future education of that baby. The family then withdraws $10,000 a year to pay for the child’s K-12 private school education. The family avoids paying $49,800 in federal taxes over the 13 years. At the end of the high school years, the family will have $382,000 in the account to pay for the child’s college education.

 

  1. Family B has a baby and, as soon as the baby is born, puts $66,000 into a 529 savings account for the future education of the baby. The family withdraws $10,000 a year to pay for the child’s private school K-12 education. The family avoids paying $18,200 in federal taxes over the 13 years. But the family will have no money left in the account to pay for college.

 

  1. Family C has a baby and does not have any money to deposit in a chunk to a 529 savings account at the baby’s birth but saves what it can over the following 18 years for college expenses. All savings are needed for college; there is no money available for private K-12 education. There, probably, is not enough to fully fund college education.

 

  1. Family D has a baby and has no ability to save in any way for college.

 

 

So the only people who will profit from the plan that Governor Malloy is proposing are the very wealthy, only those who qualify as Family A. Donald Trump’s tax plan and Dan Malloy’s budget proposal have no benefit for Family B, Family C, and Family D.

The gap between the haves and the have-nots widens. The rich get richer and the poor stay poor – and the middle class struggles.

And here’s the real kicker: The rest of us will pay for that tax break for the rich. The Governor’s Office of Policy and Management estimates that 529 plans for K-12 education will cost the state $39 million per year.

Here’s why the Governor’s proposal is wrong:

  1. We barely have enough money to keep the lights on in the state, yet the Governor is asking all of the citizens in Connecticut to fund this substantial tax break for its wealthiest citizens.

 

  1. There will be less money available to fund public schools, especially those in high poverty areas that depend on state funding because of the added strain on the state budget caused by the state supporting the extension of the 529 savings plans for K-12 education.

 

  1. The access to private school will not be extended to middle income families. In Connecticut, private high schools cost day students between $43,600 and $48,080 for tuition alone. Catholic high school tuition is between $14,300 and $19,800 per year. Private elementary schools cost over $40,000 per year, and Catholic elementary schools charge about $8,000 for tuition.    

      

Middle-income families cannot fund a private K-12 education; it is clearly an option for only the wealthy. The total cost of a private K-12 education in Connecticut is between $260,000 and $570.000. Even an education at a local K-8 parochial school and a regional Catholic high school costs between $130,000 and $150,000. Paying for any of these schools is out of reach for middle-income families who are saving for college. So those who claims that Donald Trump’s tax plan and Governor Malloy’s proposal is extending school choice to anyone other than the incredibly affluent are not realistic. In fact, they are wrong.

 

  1. Lastly, there are questions about exclusion of students based on sexual orientation and learning disabilities in non-public schools. Some religious schools have been found to be discriminatory concerning the sexual orientation and life style of their employees.  A case about that kind of discrimination in a Connecticut school is currently in the courts. State funds should not support schools that do not meet state standards for anti-discrimination.

  

  1. Connecticut has excellent public schools. Connecticut also has a problem with poverty. State funds are best directed to address the underlying causes of poverty which inhibit the learning potential of children mired in poverty.

 

Here’s what you can do:

Call or email your state legislator (https://www.cga.ct.gov/asp/menu/cgafindleg.asp) and tell him or her to reject the Trump and Malloy proposal. Tell your state legislator to reject the extension of the 529 college savings accounts to 529 savings accounts for K-12 education. Tell your legislator that having 529 savings accounts for K-12 education is unfair, undemocratic, and fiscally irresponsible. Resist!

 

Parents in Cheshire, Connecticut, took the lead in ousting the Summit Online Learning Platform developed by the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative as part of CZI’s plan to remake American education.

The Summit Program was developed by Summit “Public Schools,” which in fact is a privately managed charter chain that pretends to be public. It describes its approach as “personalized learning,” which is a euphemism for machine learning that moves at a different pace for each student, depending on algorithms. The parents preferred human teachers to machines.

“The fast-growing online platform was built with help from Facebook engineers and designed to help students learn at their own speed. But it’s been dropped because parents in this Connecticut suburb revolted, saying there was no need to change what’s worked in a town with a prized reputation for good schools.

“The Summit Learning program, developed by a California charter school network, has signed up over 300 schools to use its blend of technology with go-at-your-own-pace personalized learning.

“Cheshire school administrators and some parents praised the program, but it faced criticism from others who said their children were spending too much time online, some content was inappropriate, and students were not getting enough direct guidance….”

“The reversal was vindication for parents who started a petition drive against the program and blasted it at public meetings.

“What was broken in the Cheshire school system, a highly successful system, that they needed to experiment with our children?” parent Heidi Wildstein said in an interview.”

The superintendent believes that the parent Revolt was caused by misinformation circulated on social media.

For many years, Karin Klein wrote editorials about education for the Los Angeles Times. She took a buyout and now writes freelance on education and other topics. With occasional diversions, the L.A. Times faithfully followed Eli Broad’s lead on education. The billionaire is living proof that being very rich qualifies you as an expert on most everything. He spends lavishly on art and medical research and has anointed himself an education expert. His foundation gives the L.A. Times $800,000 for its education coverage, which may be his way of guaranteeing he will never be exposed as a know-nothing in his hometown paper.

Now that Klein is free, she writes that miracle schools are mirages. Her case in point: Ballou High School in D.C., which claimed that all its graduates were accepted into colleges.

“It shouldn’t surprise anyone to read about another supposedly phenomenal school accomplishment that ended up being more mirage than miracle.

“The latest example comes from Washington, D.C., where in June, it was widely reported that Ballou High School, where few students tested as proficient in math or English, had nonetheless, incredibly sent all its seniors to college.

“Incredible, indeed. When NPR and the local public radio station WAMU joined forces to re-examine the Ballou miracle, they found that half of the graduates had missed at least three months of classes in a single school year. A fifth of them had been absent for more than half the school year. Teachers complained that they had been instructed to give students a grade of 50 percent on assignments they hadn’t even handed in, and that they were pressured to pass students whose work didn’t remotely merit it.

“Students complained that they were utterly unprepared for the colleges that everyone had been so proud of them for entering. And credit recovery courses – which have been criticized as too easy – played a big role in their graduations. The NCAA rejects most of these courses for college athletes; why shouldn’t colleges have the same requirements for other students?

“More than anything else, though, the Ballou High case teaches us once again that when we place intense pressure on schools to meet certain numbers, they’ll find a way to do it – one that might not involve providing a superior education. Carrots and sticks alone don’t improve schools, certainly not in the absence of funding to reduce class sizes (and teacher workloads), or to help low-income students overcome obstacles.”

Will the L.A. Times editorial board acknowledge that intense pressure to raise test scores and graduation rates corrupts not only the measure but the process being measured?

Will someone tell Eli Broad or has he surrounded himself by yes-persons?

This is Campbell’s Law, which is inexorable.

Read more here: http://www.sacbee.com/opinion/op-ed/article190028449.html#storylink=cpy

If you read the previous post, you know that the Sackler family became fabulously wealthy by developing, manufacturing, and marketing a painkiller called OxyContin, an opioid. You also know that there is an opioid crisis in the nation that kills 50,000 people a year.

Sarah Darer Littman here explains how Jonathan Sackler has used his wealth to destroy and privatize public schools, replacing them with privately managed charter schools.

Littman, a journalist in Connecticut, write that Sackler:

“founded the charter school advocacy group ConnCan, progenitor of the nationwide group 50CAN, of which he is a director. He is on the Board of Directors of the Achievement First charter school network. Until recently, Sackler served on the board of the New Schools Venture Fund, which invests in charter schools and advocates for their expansion. He was also on the board of the pro-charter advocacy group Students for Education Reform.

“Through his personal charity, the Bouncer Foundation, Sackler donates to the abovementioned organizations, and an ecosystem of other charter school promoting entities, such as Families for Excellent Schools ($1,083,333 in 2014, $300,000 in 2015 according to the Foundation’s Form 990s) Northeast Charter School Network ($150,000 per year in 2013, 2014 and 2015) and $275,000 to Education Reform Now (2015) and $200,000 (2015) to the Partnership for Educational Justice, the group founded by Campbell Brown which uses “impact litigation” to go after teacher tenure laws. Earlier this year, the Partnership for Educational Justice joined 50CAN, which Sackler also funds ($300,000 in 2014 and 2015), giving him a leadership role in the controversial—and so far failing cause—of weakening worker protections for teachers via the courts.

“Just as Arthur Sackler founded the weekly Medical Tribune, to promote Purdue products to the medical professional who would prescribe them, Jon Sackler helps to fund the74million.org, the “nonpartisan” education news website founded by Campbell Brown. The site, which received startup funding from Betsy DeVos, decries the fact that “the education debate is dominated by misinformation and political spin,” yet is uniformly upbeat about charter schools while remarkably devoid of anything positive to say about district schools or teachers unions.”

Purdue Pharmaceuticals, the manufacturer of OxyContin, was masterful at marketing OxyContin. According to a critical GAO REPORT, IT handed out “lavish swag” for health care professionals.

The charter movement has adopted some of the same techniques.

“The description of “lavish swag” will sound familiar to anyone who has witnessed one of the no-expenses-spared charter school rallies that are a specialty of Sackler-funded organizations like Families for Excellent schools. Then there is the dizzying array of astroturf front groups all created for the purpose of demanding more charter schools. Just in Connecticut, we’ve had the Coalition for Every Child, A Better Connecticut, Fight for Fairness CT, Excel Bridgeport, and the Real Reform Now Network. All of these groups ostensibly claim to be fighting for better public schools for all children. In reality, they have been lobbying to promote charter schools, often running afoul of ethics laws in the process.

“Take Families for Excellent Schools, a “grassroots” group that claims to be about parent engagement, yet was founded by major Wall Street players. In Connecticut, the group failed to register its Coalition for Every Child as a lobbying entity and report a multimillion-dollar ad buy expenditure and the costs of a rally in New Haven.

“In Massachusetts, Families for Excellent Schools-Advocacy (FESA) recently had to cough up more than $425,000 to the Massachusetts general fund as part of a legal settlement with the Office of Campaign and Political Finance, the largest civil forfeiture in the agency’s 44-year history. Massachusetts officials concluded that FESA violated the campaign finance law by receiving contributions from individuals and then contributing those funds to the Great Schools Massachusetts Ballot Question Committee, which sought to lift the cap on the number of charter schools in the state, in a manner intended to disguise the true source of the money. As part of the settlement, the group was ordered to reveal the names of its secret donors. Jonathan Sackler was one of them.”

Why does Jonathan Sackler hate public schools?

Wendy Lecker is a civil rights lawyer who specializes in education and writes frequent newspaper columns.

In this article, she shows how some districts and states are strengthening the profession while others–notably Connecticut– are contributing to a teacher shortage.

She writes:

“A serious teacher shortage is plaguing school districts across the country. The Learning Policy Institute (“LPI”) recently found that in addition to teachers leaving the profession, enrollment in teacher preparation programs has dropped 35 percent.

“It is no wonder. Over the past decade, teachers have been subjected to a barrage of unproven mandates “that hamper learning. They are judged by evaluation systems, based on student test scores, that experts and courts across this country have rejected as arbitrary and invalid. And, as one former teacher and current Colorado state senator remarked, “Teachers are constantly being bashed … It’s not the same job it used to be.”

“Connecticut is no exception to the teacher shortage, nor to its causes. Teachers have undergone a revolving door of evidence-free mandates, invalid evaluations and vilification from our governor who infamously declared that all teachers have to do for four years is “show up” to get tenure. Every year, hundreds of positions go unfilled in Connecticut classrooms.

“LPI issued a report in 2016 on the causes of the teacher shortage, based on a review of an extensive body of research. Of particular note for Connecticut is the finding that inadequate preparation is a major factor in teacher attrition.

“Alternatively certified teachers have markedly higher turnover rates than traditionally certified teachers, with the largest disparities in high-minority schools. Teachers with comprehensive preparation were 21/2 times less likely to leave than those with weak preparation. Accordingly, LPI recommends providing scholarships and loan forgiveness for strong teacher preparation programs, and robust induction programs.

“Some districts are making strides in identifying and addressing the root causes of teacher shortages.

“In Niagara Falls, New York, for example, the district embarked on a multipronged effort to cultivate teachers, particularly teachers of color. The district provides a scholarship for a graduate of its high school entering the teaching program at Niagara University. It also received an endowment at Niagara University for paraprofessionals who want to be trained as teachers; and provides financial assistance, reduced workloads and other supports to ensure success.

“Niagara Falls public schools provide high school seniors with the opportunity to shadow teachers as an internship. Twelfth-grade teachers partner with Niagara University to ensure that students will not incur the expense of remedial education once they matriculate. They have also partnered with the local community college to establish academies such as the physical education academy. The superintendent reaches out to local African-American churches to request contact with graduates who have left the area in order to entice them to return. However, the superintendent does not favor lowering certification standards or weakening preparation. Those avenues would not only devalue the profession but also would harm the needy children in his district.

“As featured in my previous column, Long Beach, California, also partners with its local university to train teachers, who student teach in the district’s schools. The high-poverty district has a 92-percent retention rate and credits its partnership with the university for protecting it against teacher shortages.

“Connecticut had promising programs for growing teachers. Last year, Bridgeport initiated a comprehensive minority recruitment program for paraprofessionals to become teachers. Hartford, Waterbury and CREC had similar programs. Just as this program was to expand, the state pulled the funding. The State Department of Education (“SDE”) had a successful program, Teaching Opportunities for Paraprofessionals, however its funding was eliminated in 2002.

“Connecticut also has high quality, university-based teacher preparation programs, which have made efforts to identify and address specific shortage areas and minority recruitment.

“Rather than build on these successful efforts, SDE and the State Board of Education seek to weaken teaching. Last year, they approved an unproven fly-by-night outfit called Relay to provide alternative certification.”

“Now, they intend to lower teacher certification requirements. One idea they are considering is abandoning the requirement that bilingual teachers have content certification, as if English Language Learners do not deserve a teacher who knows the subject she teaches.”

By the way, the North Carolina legislature killed the funding for its highly successful Teaching Fellows Program–which produced career teachers– and transferred the funding to Teach for America, which hires itinerant teachers from out of state.

Wendy Lecker is a civil rights lawyer who writes frequently about education issues.

In this article, published in the Stamford (Ct.) Advocate, Lecker describes the imposed reforms that breed resentment and failure, not better education.

Corporate reform has been a disaster. Its day of reckoning cannot be indefinitely postponed. The corporate reformers fail and fail and fail, and continue to push their failed ideas.

Connecticut is a state that experienced major corruption in the charter industry. It is also a state with excellent public schools. Why not use the depth of knowledge and experience to help the neediest districts instead of parceling students out to private management?

Lecker writes:

The State Board of Education’s recent rubber-stamping of Capital Prep Harbor charter school’s expansion in Bridgeport is yet another example of a common theme in education reform: trampling community will. Capital Prep, which opened in 2015 over the objection the Bridgeport’s Board of education and community members, does not reflect the community. The school serves no English Language Learners, though 15 percent of Bridgeport’s students are ELL. The school has a 37 percent out-of-school suspension rate, over twice the rate in Bridgeport’s public schools.

Bridgeport’s Board of Education unanimously opposed the school’s expansion. Bridgeport already must pay several million dollars annually to charters. As the superintendent testified, the expansion will drain an additional $200,000 from Bridgeport’s budget; money it cannot afford. Last year, owing to decreased state funding, Bridgeport had to fill a $16 million budget gap. The state board ignored Bridgeport’s needs.

As recent education reform failures demonstrate, robbing local districts of decision-making power over education policies is a recipe for disaster. By contrast, reforms that emanate from the school districts themselves have shown success.

The ultimate in top-down reform for struggling districts is state takeover. Two much-hyped state takeovers occurred in Tennessee — the Achievement School District (“ASD”), and Detroit — the Educational Achievement Authority (“EAA”). After years of consistent failure, both recently closed, returning control of schools to the districts.

ASD and EAA employed reform’s “greatest hits.” Outside managers were hired to run the districts. Charter schools proliferated. They used ill-trained Teach for America recruits.

EAA also employed “student-centered” “personalized” computer-based learning, which caused 10,000 struggling students to fall further behind academically.

Both “reform districts” were plagued with high teacher turnover, a major factor in their failures, and rampant financial mismanagement.

State takeover made things worse for students in the ASD and EAA. In 2015, only one fourth-grader in Detroit’s EAA passed the state math test. After years of EAA control, only three of the 15 EAA schools moved off the list of the lowest 5 percent in the state. In Tennessee, the results were similar, with the ASD’s charter schools performing the worst.

She continues:

At the same time, officials ignore the slow and steady progress made by districts that engage in home-grown educational improvement. Long Beach, California, and Union City, New Jersey, are good examples. Both districts are diverse and majority economically disadvantaged. Yet both have been able to sustain improvement by focusing on the unique needs and strengths of their communities…

In contrast to failed state takeovers, that leave children and communities behind in their wake, district-led improvement methods have staying power precisely because they use the needs of their children and communities as their starting point. It is a shame that Connecticut officials ignore our own local, well-informed voices.

Ann Cronin, a retired teacher of English in Connecticut, writes about what charters were supposed to be and how they have failed to fulfill their original promise. Nowhere have they been more disappointing than in Connecticut, where the harsh “no excuses” model prevails. The charters in the Nutmeg State have won generous state funding, thanks to the campaign contributions to Democratic Governor Malloy by hedge fund managers and the OxyContin billionaire Sackler Family.

Cronin thanks the NAACP for speaking truth to power.

She writes:

“An English teacher friend of mine was a finalist for Connecticut Teacher of the Year in the mid 90’s. As one of the culminating steps in the selection process, the four finalists were assigned a topic little was known about at the time. They were instructed to research it and present their findings to an audience.

“The topic was charter schools.There were no charter schools in Connecticut at the time. My friend concluded that the worth of charter schools would depend on the answers to two questions:

“1) Will the innovations created at charter schools inform and improve the public schools that the vast majority of children and adolescents in the U.S. attend?

“2) Will charter schools be held accountable to address student needs as traditional public schools are required to do?

“Fast forward to 2017: We now have had charter schools in Connecticut for 21 years. The answers to my friend’s two questions came from the NAACP.”

The answer to number 1: NO.

The answer to number 2: Not yet.

Ann Cronin taught English for many years in Connecticut, which has one of the most successful state school systems in the nation. However, Connecticut has several districts where people live in dire poverty. Under the administration of Governor Dannel Malloy, the answer to the children in these poor and under-resourced districts is privately managed charter schools– contractor schools. Malloy, needless to say, relies on hedge fund managers for campaign funding, and he is putty in their hands.

Cronin writes here that “Something is Rotten in the State of Connecticut.”

The State Board of Education just approved additional seats for Steve Perry’s Capitol Prep Harbor School, a charter school that drains resources from the Bridgeport public schools. Perry is the self-styled celebrity who once referred to teachers’ union members as “cockroaches” and on another occasion threatened a physical confrontation with critics.

Cronin writes:

“On July 19, 2017, the unelected, governor-appointed Connecticut State Board of Education approved 504 additional seats in state charter schools for next year, with 154 of those seats going to Capital Preparatory Harbor School in Bridgeport.

“GO FIGURE:

“Connecticut is in a budget crisis with every expense being monitored, yet new charter school seats, which cost the state $11,000 each, are being initiated. The cost will be more than $5.5 million.

“PLUS

“The new seats will cost the beleaguered and impoverished Bridgeport Public Schools money it cannot afford and will strip them of much needed resources. The Bridgeport Board of Education unanimously voted against the expansion plan because the cost of adding grades to Capital Prep Harbor School requires the Bridgeport Public Schools to pay additional costs for transportation and other services at an additional location.

“PLUS

“The expansion plan for Capital Prep Harbor School, approved by the State Board of Education in 2014, called for three grades to be added in 2017-2018, but Capital Prep Harbor School requested and was granted the expansion to six new grades, which increased the costs of services from Bridgeport Public Schools from $200,000 to $400,000 for 2017-2018.

“PLUS

“Capital Prep Harbor School does not serve the population of Bridgeport equitably. Based on the make-up of the community, nearly half of the students at Capital Prep Harbor should be Hispanic, but only 1/5 are, and Capital Prep Harbor has zero students who have English as their second language although there are ample children in Bridgeport who have English as their second language.

“PLUS

“Capital Prep Harbor School was approved by the State Board of Education in April 2014 as a school with its stated mission to serve the “diverse communities of Bridgeport and surrounding communities”. Capital Prep Harbor School has failed to implement that mission because of its small percentage of Hispanic students and its total lack of students with English as their second language.”

50CAN is a corporate reform organization that originated in Connecticut as ConnCAN. It was led by the billionaire Jonathan Sackler. Sackler owns Purdue Pharmaceuticals, which created the drug OxyContin, which is a highly addictive painkiller. The drug financing the expansion of charter schools made the Sackler family very wealthy (at last count, a net worth of $14 billion), but it is also implicated in the nation’s opioid crisis.

ConnCAN went national as 50CAN. (I learned from reading Elizabeth Young Bruelh’s book “Childism” that CAN is an acronym in the psychiatric literature that stands for “child abuse and neglect.”

Laura Chapman did some research and this is what she learned:

“According to Media Matters.org, 50CAN stands for the 50 State Campaign for Achievement Now. 50CAN is a network of state-level organizations pushing for pro-voucher and free-market education policies across the country. It has affiliates in Maryland, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Rhode Island, and “fellowships “in California, Georgia, Indiana, Louisiana, and Wisconsin.

“The 2016 policy goals focused on passing state legislation in affiliate states to spur the rapid expansion of charter schools and to reduce state oversight of these schools.

“50CAN “partners” with many conservative and rightwing organizations that want to control school policy. Among these partners are the Commonwealth Foundation (a member of the State Policy Network) which, according to Politico includes these “associate members”: ALEC, David Koch’s Americans for Prosperity Foundation, FreedomWorks, Grover Norquist’s Americans for Tax Reform, the Cato Institute and The Heritage Foundation. Add the Thomas B. Fordham Institute (see Wikipedia and board of directors); and Policy Innovators in Education Network (PIE) active in 34 states promoting market-based education.

“Each state in 50CAN has strategic partners and interlocking directorates among members. This inbreeding is planned and extensive. It is masked by the ambiguous language of “strategic partnerships” for policies and for advocacy, a relationship of “affiliate status,” and for “campaigns” (lobbying initiatives) with right wing organizations and projects. 50CAN state affiliates know how to find and to co-opt groups that should be defending public education. Go to jonathanpelto,com for a chilling report from early this year about the activities of ConnCAN.

“Here is another example. PIE (Policy Innovators in Education Network) is a sprawling network of deep-pocket and dark money power-brokers promoting market-based education in 34 states and Washington, DC. Members can be found here: http://pie-network.org/pie-network-members/

“Who finances PIE? Foundations set up by billionaires who have no respect for public education and othe institutions with democratic governance. PIE is funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Walton Family Foundation, Bloomberg Philanthropies, Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation, Joyce Foundation, Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation, New Venture Fund, and McKnight Foundation.

“In March, 50CAN and Michelle Rhee”s StudentsFirst announced that they would merge and begin operating under the 50CAN name nationally, although state chapters of StudentsFirst will, for the most part, retain their “brands.”

“All of that is a a fraction of what’s going on, and with tax breaks for the “non-profits” who are working together for a “collective impact.”

https://www.mediamatters.org/research/2016/04/27/here-are-corporations-and-right-wing-funders-backing-education-reform-movement/210054#50can

My addendum: the PIE Network was launched by the Thomas B. Fordham Institute.

Here are the U.S. News rankings of the “best” high schools in America. Allegedly. Apparently no one bothered to look at attritionrates.

Amistad Academy is identified as the “best” high school in the state. No one noticed that 75% of its students disappeared between 6th and 12th grade. Hmmm.

After reading Gary Rubinstein’s post this morning about KIPP and the U.S. News’ rankings, a reader sent this data about Amistad Academy:

 

https://www.publicschoolreview.com/connecticut/amistad-academy/900024-school-district/high

Notice anything about their enrollment trends?

of Students in Pre-Kindergarten: – –

of Students in Kindergarten: 92 92

of Students in 1st Grade: 93 93

of Students in 2nd Grade: 90 90

of Students in 3rd Grade: 90 90

of Students in 4th Grade: 79 79

of Students in 5th Grade: 102 102

of Students in 6th Grade: 102 102

of Students in 7th Grade: 81 81

of Students in 8th Grade: 79 79

of Students in 9th Grade: 59 59

of Students in 10th Grade: 57 57

of Students in 11th Grade: 34 34

of Students in 12th Grade: 26 26

of Ungraded Students:

And here are their scores –

Click to access hss_ct_pub2015.pdf

Hey! Why did the 102 students in sixth grade dwindle to only 26 in senior year? Where did they go?

Obviously, the folks who do the rankings at U.S. News don’t screen for high attrition rates–like losing 75% of your students.