Archives for category: Funding

Gene V. Glass is one of the nation’s most eminent researchers and statisticians of education. He is a professor emeritus at Arizona State University.

He writes:

Education Policy Analysis Archives is an open access (free to read) peer-reviewed journal now in its 28th year of continuous publication.

EPAA just published an article by David S. Knight (Univ. Washington) and Laurence A. Toenjes (Univ Houston) entitled “Do Charter Schools Receive Their Fair Share of Funding? School Finance Equity for Charter and Traditional Public Schools.”

The charter school industry constantly complains that states underfund them. They lobby legislatures asking for funding equal to the per pupil expenditure of the traditional public schools. No matter that they offer fewer services than their public school counterparts, or that they rake off far higher funds for administration than public schools. (I make no apologies for ignoring the legality that charter schools are also public schools, because so many of them attempt to operate like private schools by discouraging applications for some types of student and by projecting the image that they are private schools.)

Knight and Toenjes’s conclusion will not be welcomed by the charter industry: “Using detailed school finance data from Texas as a case study, we find that after accounting for differences in accounting structures and cost factors, charter schools receive significantly more state and local funding compared to traditional public schools with similar structural characteristics and student demographics. … Policy simulations demonstrate that on average, each student who transfers to a charter school increases the cost to the state by $1,500.”

The complete article can be downloaded at https://epaa.asu.edu/ojs/article/view/4438

Gene V Glass
http://gvglass.info

This interview on KPCC-NPR in Southern California by Larry Mantle was conducted a few days ago.

Mantle made it clear–at least to me–that he favors charter schools, so I was constantly asked to defend my criticism of them. I later learned that Los Angelenos know Mantle as a charter champion. One of the hypothetical questions are posed was “what would be wrong with a district that was half public schools, half charter schools?” Another time, he praised Eli Broad and wondered why I didn’t regard him as a generous philanthropist. You get the drift.

When the callers were put on the air, all of them were charter parents who challenged me.

There were no questions or comments from public school parents.

The parents who called in do not believe that charters divert funding from public schools, where most of the state’s children are. I suggested that they google Gordon Lafer’s study, “The Breaking Point,” which documents the many millions that three California districts lose to charters. I also suggested that California has been underinvesting in its schools for many years and is now below the national average.

I think every parent has the right to make the choice they think is in the best interest of their child, but I think every policymaker is responsible to improve and prioritize the public schools that enroll 85-90% of all American children.

In AIRTALK’s tweet about the show, which appeared pretty quickly on March 11, the show’s tweet says that I consider the 2010s to be “banner years” for public schools. This is ridiculous. Whoever wrote that line obviously did not read the book. The 2010s were a time of budget cuts, teacher shortages, the combined negative effects of NCLB and Race to the Top, VAM, Common Core, and worship of mandated standardized testing. It was a horrible decade for schools, with the only bright spot being the rise of the #Red4Ed movement in 2018. I am assuming that no one at AIRTALK read the book. The topic of conversation was: How dare you dare to question the need for and value of charter schools?

The show takes about 20 minutes. Listen and tell me what you think.

This decision was announced on March 11:

Metropolitan News-Enterprise

Wednesday, March 11, 2020

Court of Appeal:
Nonprofit Chartered Schools Are Not Exempt From County Property Taxes, Assessments

By a MetNews Staff Writer

The Court of Appeal for this district yesterday affirmed Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Monica Bachner’s determination that a nonprofit charter school is not impliedly exempt, under the California Constitution, from payment of property taxes and special assessments.

The plaintiffs—Los Angeles Leadership Academy, Inc., which operates schools in Lincoln Heights, and two nonprofit public benefit corporations that own the land—brought suit for refunds and declaratory relief, contending that their schools, like public schools, should not be taxed.

Justice Elizabeth Grimes of Div. Eight wrote the opinion affirming Bachner’s judgment in favor Los Angeles County Assessor Jeffrey Prang and others.

Public Schools’ Exemption

Public schools are expressly exempt, under the state Constitution, from paying taxes and, it has been held, are impliedly exempt from paying special assessments, Grimes recited.

She wrote:

“We find no support in statutory or case law for plaintiffs’ implied exemption claim. Plaintiffs cannot establish that charter schools are public entities for purposes of exemption from taxation. Plaintiffs’ policy arguments to the contrary—that charter schools should be treated like public entities because monies taken for taxes and special assessments reduce monies available for educating students, and put charter schools at a competitive disadvantage with other public schools—are properly addressed to the Legislature, not to this court.”

Grimes noted that in the 2006 case of Wells v. One2One Learning Foundation, the California Supreme Court held, in an opinion by then-Justice Marvin Baxter, that while charter schools are “part of the public school system” for some purposes, they are not entitled to governmental tort immunity.

Legislative Specification

The Legislature has specified the circumstances under which chartered schools are a part of the public school system, Grimes said, pointing out:

“Notably absent is any suggestion that charters schools are to be treated like school districts for taxation purposes.”

The case is Los Angeles Leadership Academy v. Prang, B292613.

Thomas R. Freeman, A. Howard Matz, Hernan D. Vera and Fanxi Wang Bird of Marella, Boxer, Wolpert, Nessim, Drooks, Lincenberg & Rhow, represented the plaintiffs. Joel N. Klevens of Glaser Weil Fink Howard Avchen & Shapiro joined with Los Angeles Deputy County Counsels Nicole Davis Tinkham and Justin Y. Kim in arguing for the assessor.

Copyright 2020, Metropolitan News Company

The IDEA charter chain has received hundreds of millions in federal funding to expand. It has garnered a lot of attention, however, for its caviar tastes. The IDEA board approved a management proposal to lease a private jet for nearly $2 million a year, for the convenience of its executives. Not like your average school board or superintendent!

But their luxury tastes have not been curbed by the negative reaction private jet problem.

Among other big-ticket items noted in this story, here is a notable one. IDEA CEO Tom Torkelson flew to a private meeting with Betsy DeVos in Florida, in a nine-passenger jet in which he was the only passenger. DeVos has given IDEA more than $200 million from the federal Charter Schools Program. She loves IDEA.

The Texas Monitor reports:

Last October, the CEO and president of the largest charter school company in Texas took a trip to Houston. They didn’t travel the way most public-school employees would have. Instead, they traveled by private jet, their spouses and five children came along for the trip, and they got around Houston not by Uber or rent car, but in a chauffeured SUV.

That trip was just one item in an $800,000 bill that IDEA Public Schools racked up between 2017 and 2019 on private jets and other luxe travel spending. Although IDEA received $319 million from the State of Texas and $71 million in federal money in 2018, this kind of travel would be illegal for public school district and state employees in Texas. Traditional public-school supporters and charter school advocates alike say it’s the kind of spending that gives a black eye to the charter school concept.

Charter schools receive no property tax revenue, as traditional public schools do, but are funded through state and federal grants. Like other public schools, they can also raise money from private donors. IDEA says it uses some of that private money for its luxury travel.

Records show that company CEO Tom Torkelson, his wife and three children, along with IDEA President JoAnn Gama, her husband and two children, stepped off a private jet at Sugar Land Regional Airport and jumped into the chauffeured SUV. The reason for the trip, records show, was to “visit Houston school sites.”

The flight cost is not noted in the records, nor is the reason for the spouses and children coming along on the trip. The vehicle, rented from Casablanca Limousines in Houston, cost $1,800.

At about the time of the Houston trip, IDEA was preparing to lease a private jet – the same plane that the district had used on an individual trip basis since at least 2014. But board members nixed the lease after the deal became public.

In December 2019, IDEA announced the plane lease had been put aside.

In March, Torkelson proclaimed that “IDEA will not pay for private air travel” any longer.

Four days later, IDEA released the district’s transportation records to Peyton Wolcott, a Texas-based education advocate who had submitted a request for the documents in January.

She questioned the timing and the sincerity of Torkelson’s vow to end the subsidized travel.

“Why shouldn’t IDEA’s board and executives, who enjoyed Texas taxpayers’ largesse, dig deep into their pockets and pay it back? “she said. Records show IDEA has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on private-plane travel in the past five years.

Flights by Torkelson and IDEA staffers inside Texas between 2017 and 2019 cost, on average, about $1,300 per one-way trip, with a discount for round-trip fares. For example, a private, round-trip flight taken by Torkelson in fall 2018 from McAllen to San Antonio ran $2,340. A commercial flight on United Airlines today would cost $377 for the same route. Bills for private flights can also include lodging and meals for pilots as well as other costs. See a sample invoice here.

Torkelson took a private jet to Tampa in November to meet with U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos to discuss “education philanthropy,” records show. He was the only passenger on the jet, which holds nine people.

I mean, really, do you expect such powerful people to fly economy like a public school employee?

IDEA promises that 100% of its students who graduate will enroll in a four-year college. What they don’t point out is that students are not allowed to graduate unless they have been accepted by a four-year college. And, yes, there are colleges that accept every applicant.

Nonetheless, Craig Harris of the Arizona Republic hopes that IDEA and KIPP will open in Arizona. Arizona has the most lax charter oversight in the nation. It’s the only state that allows for-profit operators of charters (many other states ban for-profit charters, but allow for-profit management, as in Michigan, where 80% of all charters are run by for-profit EMOs). It’s hard to judge whether Arizona or California has had the most charter scandals, but Arizona has had some big ones, where charter operators have made off with millions of dollars, and it was all legal.

There is the grand success of former legislator Eddie Farnsworth, who pocketed up to $30 million by turning his for-profit chain into a nonprofit chain.

Then there was Glen Way, who made millions building his charter schools.

Michael and Olga Block founded the BASIS charter chain in Arizona, whose demographics are skewed white and Asian, get very high test scores, but take home enough to buy a NYC condo for $8.4 million.

No one has accused KIPP or IDEA of fraud, so maybe Arizona needs them, that is, if you think itis a good idea to continue stripping students and resources from public schools.

Bill Phillis is a retired state official in Ohio. As founder of the Ohio Coalition for Equity and Adequacy, he follows the money. And he finds that nearly $15 billion has been diverted from public schools to charters and vouchers.

Educational opportunities lost in public school districts due to the state’s confiscation of $14,673,524,789 for the charter and voucher whims

Traditional public school students have been denied massive educational opportunities by the state’s confiscation of $14.7 billion from school districts. Much of the $14.7 billion has been wasted; hence, all students are being shortchanged.

The state’s constitutional responsibility is to secure a thorough and efficient system of common schools. Instead of fixing the system as directed by the Ohio Supreme Court, the state has frittered away $14.7 billion of school district funds.

California spends less per pupil than most states. Its schools have been underfunded for decades.

Reverse the many years of neglect and support the children by voting YES on Prop 13.

Editorial : Yes on Prop. 13

“Prop 13 is a statewide bond measure that will raise $15 bllion to use for immediate costs, to fix crumbling schools, upgrade emergency response equipment and basically make the structures our students learn in more modern and safe.

”It has nothing to do with the 1978 ballot proposition that capped property tax rates in California. It has nothing to do with the Schools and Communities First ballot proposition about tax loopholes that will be on the ballot this fall.

”Most major newspapers, including the Los Angeles Times, have backed Measure 13 noting that our school campuses aren’t exactly in the best shape. However, the usual coalition of anti-tax groups and conservative newspapers are making the argument that Californians already pay too much for education and that the measure has “sneaky” language that changes the formula for how schools receive state funding and how new housing is build near school districts.

”California currently ranks 31st in per-pupil spending compared to the rest of the states in the country. No matter what other statistics you hear about various bonds and propositions, that number is what it is: too low on the rankings.”

The House Subcommittee on Appropriations for Labor, Health, Human Services and Education opened hearings this morning, with Secretary DeVos as witness to testify about the Trump administration’s budget proposal. She. Wants to combine the funding for 29 programs and send the money to states as a block grant, to be used as they wish, she wants deep cuts in overall spending but a new $5 billion federal voucher program, which she calls “education freedom scholarships.” Charter school advocates were stunned to learn that the federal Charter Schools Program was one of the 29 that would disappear into a block grant.

Rep. Rosa DeLauro opened the hearing with this statement.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

February 27, 2020

CONTACT:

Will Serio: 202-225-3661

Chairwoman DeLauro Opening Remarks for House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Hearing with Secretary DeVos on the President’s Fiscal Year 2021 Budget Request

(As prepared for delivery)

Good morning, Secretary Devos. Welcome to the Subcommittee. It is our second budget hearing of the year. It is your fourth budget hearing with us. Today, we are examining the President’s Department of Education budget request for fiscal year 2021.

As I was reviewing the budget materials, Madame Secretary, this much was clear to me. You are seeking to privatize public education. But, I believe that is the wrong direction for our students and our country. Instead, we need to be moving towards expanding public policies like early childhood education that we know help students to succeed. We see this in other countries around the globe. They are not shrinking public support; they are expanding it.

I will get more into the consequences of the cuts that you are proposing. But, I want to start by examining your privatization philosophy, the false premise on which it is built, and the research it ignores.

Contrary to your claims, the nation’s public education system, which 90 percent of our children attend, has witnessed significant progress for all groups of students over the last 30 years. Average mathematics scores on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) have improved for 4th graders (by 13 percent) and 8th graders (by 7 percent). While overall reading improvements have been more modest, Black 4th graders’ scores improved by 6 percent and 8th graders’ by 3 percent. Hispanic 4th graders’ scores improved by 6 percent and 8th graders’ by 5 percent.

There is more to do to address the disparities in achievement. We know we face significant challenges in assisting the kids that come into our system in education districts where they experience poverty and exposure to violence, often resulting in trauma. But, the solution is not less resources, nor is it more privatization.

In fact, the administration’s own data has shown how privatization has let down students. The Trump administration evaluated the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program and found that vouchers had a statistically significant negative impact on the mathematics achievement of impacted students. In other words, more vouchers, lower math achievement. That is not a lone data point, either. Previous multi-sector studies using NAEP data have found that no student achievement scores for children in private schools were higher than those of children in public schools by any statistically significant degree.

So, your push to privatize public education is based on false premise that is not supported by data.

Its consequences would be to undermine the education of students in nearly every state, particularly for vulnerable students in high-need regions, including rural parts of our country.

• You would end career and college readiness for 560,000 low-income, middle school students across 45 states by eliminating the highly competitive grant program known as GEAR UP (-$365 million).

• You would endanger academic tutoring, personal counseling, and other programs for 800,000 students in sixth grade by slashing TRIO programs by $140 million. TRIO serves low-income, first-generation students and students with disabilities, helping them graduate from college.

• You would endanger education access for children experiencing homelessness by eliminating the Education for Homeless Children and Youth program (-$102 million). This funding is desperately needed. In the 2016-2017 school year, more than 1.3 million enrolled children had experienced homelessness at some point in the past 3 years, an increase of 7 percent from 2014-2015.

• You would endanger youth literacy as well as potentially increase class size and undermine efforts to support diverse teachers by eliminating the main program — Supporting Effective Instruction State Grants which we increased for the first time in many years (-$2.1 billion).

• You would potentially put higher education out of the financial grasp of students by flat funding the Pell Grant ($6,345). 40 percent of undergraduate students or 7 million students rely on Pell Grants to afford higher education. But while Pell covered 79 percent of the average costs of tuition, fees, room, and board at a four-year public institution in 1975, it covers only 29 percent today. Our students cannot afford for us to stand pat like this.

• And, finally, your budget would risk exacerbating the financial challenges of under-resourced rural districts by converting rural formula grants into the block grant. These districts already struggle with lower student populations and higher transportation costs and your move to undermine their funding in this way is unacceptable.

With all of this, let me say, it is not going to happen.

I am supportive of the recognition of I-D-E-A State grants ($100 million proposed increase) and career and technical education, ($680 million proposed increase) for CTE State grants. Although I am disappointed that Adult Education State Grants are left with level funding. I plan to ask you that about later.

You have also once again requested an increase for student loan servicing. We included new reforms in the fiscal year 2020 bill to help us conduct more oversight and ensure borrowers are getting the help they need. Many of these ideas stemmed from an oversight hearing that this Subcommittee held last year. To be direct, I will need to see how the Department implements the new requirements as I review your request for next year.

And, with regard to Charter Schools, there is a place for them. They have a role in the education system. However, we have moved in the direction of creating a parallel education system. Concerns remain around issues of accountability and transparency, which to this point they have not been forthcoming. As I have said again and again, I believe Charter Schools ought to be held to the same rigor. And, where they fail, we need to know about it.

To close, Madame Secretary, you are clearly seeking to privatize public education. I hope that I have been clear that we are not going to do that. Because doing so ignores the research indicating the gains we have made, ignores the many areas private education shortchanges students, ignores the very reason the federal government has needed to be involved in education as so powerfully indicated with Brown vs. Board of Education, and ignores the spirit and values of this country. No, instead, we need to be expanding public policies that boost education attainment, not restricting or reducing them.

So, I look forward to our discussion today. Now, let me turn to my colleague, the Ranking Member from Oklahoma Tom Cole. Mr. Cole?

###

delauro.house.gov

Tomorrow February 27, Betsy DeVos defends her budget before the House Appropriations sub-committee led by Rosa DeLauro. This year, DeVos took the funding for the Charter Schools Program out of her budget and put it in a block grant.

Our job is to make sure that the nearly half billion dollars to start up new charter schools is not restored. Nearly one billion dollars of waste on charter schools that never open, or open and close, is enough.

Call the following committee members now. The hearing begins tomorrow at 10:00 am.

Lucille Roybal-Allard–(202) 225-1766
Rosa DeLauro–(202) 225-3661
Barbara Lee–(202) 225-2661
Mark Pocan–(202) 225-2906
Katherine Clark–(202) 225-2836
Lois Frankel–(202) 225-9890
Cheri Bustos–(202) 225-5905
Bonnie Watson-Coleman–(202) 225-5801

Keep your message simple:

My name is (your name). I am calling Representative X to ask that the Charter Schools Program funding not be restored. The Charter Schools Program has wasted nearly a billion dollars that could have gone to our neediest students. The Charter Schools Program should not be funded. The federal government should leave the funding for new charter schools to the state.

If the phone is not answered, or you call after hours, leave a message.

Then send an email to your representative.

Click here.

https://actionnetwork.org/letters/emergency-de-vos-budget-hearing-tomorrow-tell-congress-no-funding-for-the-charter-schools-program-give-the-funds-to-the-neediest-students-instead/

On Super Tuesday, we will find out whether the huge cash spent by Mike Bloomberg is enough to win any primaries. Current national polls show him number two, behind Senator Sanders. There is no reason for him to be polling high other than the many millions he has lavished on advertising and staff, outspending all the other candidates combined. The best we can say for Bloomberg is that he is not propelled forward by billionaire cash. He is one of the richest men in the world and he doesn’t need any contributions from others.

As mayor, Bloomberg tried to run the public schools like a business. He showered favor on the charter sector, because he believed that private management was superior to public management, even though he had total control of the schools. He is the quintessential corporate reformer, focused on data (testing) and the bottom line. Schools with high scores were good, schools with low scores were closed, regardless of the challenges they faced.

In this article, Jake Jacobs writes about what he experienced as an art teacher in New York City during Bloomberg’s mayoralty, which lasted 12 years, despite the City Charter’s term limit of two four-year terms.

He writes:

Read the whole article. It is very instructive.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact:

Tessa Benavides

tbenavides@ryht.org

(210) 445-3965

First-of-its-kind Poll Reveals Texans Trust Teachers, and Have Concerns About School Testing and Funding

AUSTIN, TX (February 20, 2020) The Raise Your Hand Texas Foundation has released a first-of-its kind statewide poll about Texans’ attitudes toward public education. Notable findings include Texans appreciate teachers, but have concerns about testing and the lack of funding for schools. The poll found that 77 percent of Texans express trust and confidence in their teachers, much higher than the 61 percent of Americans polled on the same question.

The poll was released during a press conference this morning. There is footage from today’s press conference available in both English and Spanish for any future use:https://www.raiseyourhandtexas.org/2020-poll-resources/.

Names of those participating in the press conference:

  • English
    • Dr. Shari Albright, President, Raise Your Hand Texas
    • Gary Langer, President, Langer Research Associates
  • Spanish
    • Max Rombardo, Research Associate, Raise Your Hand Texas

The Foundation modeled the poll after the longstanding national PDK Poll of the Public’s Attitudes Toward the Public Schools. Langer Research Associates, PDK’s polling firm and the producer of the weekly Washington Post–ABC News poll, conducted the research.

View our comprehensive digital media kit here: https://www.raiseyourhandtexas.org/2020-poll-resources/. It includes b-roll and photos for media use, as well as downloadable copies of the full poll report and toplines.

———————————————————

First-of-its-kind Poll Reveals Texans Trust Teachers, and Have Concerns About School Testing and Funding

 

– Inaugural “PDK of Texas” poll highlights statewide perceptions

on key public education topics –

 

AUSTIN, TX (February 18, 2020) — A new statewide poll on Texans’ attitudes toward public education found they appreciate teachers, but have concerns about testing and the lack of funding for schools.

 

The poll, commissioned by the non-profit Raise Your Hand Texas Foundation, found that 77 percent of Texans express trust and confidence in their teachers, much higher than the 61 percent of Americans polled on the same question.

 

The Foundation modeled the poll after the longstanding nationalPDK Poll of the Public’s Attitudes Toward the Public Schools. Langer Research Associates, PDK’s polling firm and the producer of the weekly Washington Post-ABC News poll, conducted the research.

 

“We’re pleased to be the first organization in the country to commit to an annual statewide poll about public education issues,” Foundation President Shari Albright said. “The work of PDK is the most respected in the field, providing insight into the perceptions and trends in Americans’ attitudes toward public education. We thought it important to provide this service to Texans on an annual basis, both to understand the challenges and help find ways to improve our public schools.”

 

“Kudos to Raise Your Hand Texas for conducting this poll,”  said Dr. Joshua Starr, Chief Executive Officer of PDK International. “Like most Americans, Texans want more funding for schools, support their teachers, have concerns about testing, and want more attention paid to student social-emotional competencies. And, while there are some different perspectives based on income, geography, and race, there’s no doubt that Texans, like most Americans, support their local schools and want to see an increased investment in them.”

 

Other major findings show that, while teachers are important to school quality, Texans believe they are undervalued. The poll also found:

 

  • 93 percent of Texans say teacher quality is extremely or very important in overall school quality
  • 71 percent see teachers as undervalued in society
  • 70 percent say teacher pay is too low
  • 60 percent are not confident that state standardized tests effectively measure how well a student is learning
  • 59 percent believe their community’s public schools have too little money

 

When rating public schools as a whole, the more closely connected respondents are to a school, the higher they rate it, a trend reflected in the national research. The poll found 68 percent of Texas parents would give their oldest child’s campus an A or B grade. Overall, 48 percent of Texas gave the schools in their community an A or B grade, higher than the 44 percent of Americans who give their community’s schools the same high marks.

 

“This poll reflects positive sentiment toward our public schools,” Albright said. “The challenge is in ensuring schools have the resources they need to educate every child, starting with a well-trained teacher in every classroom and a strong leader on every campus. We must also ensure students and schools are assessed fairly. Though we still have work to do, I am confident Texas is moving in the right direction.”

 

# # #

ABOUT THE RAISE YOUR HAND TEXAS FOUNDATION

The Raise Your Hand Texas Foundation develops and strengthens school leaders and teachers, engages families in the educational experience, and advances classroom learning with innovative instructional practices to benefit all students. For more information, visit RYHTFoundation.org.