Archives for category: Propaganda

AOC asks Mark Zuckerberg: Is it okay to post ads that you know are lies?

A new movie will be released in a few days, telling the story of the D.C. voucher program.

The movie is called Miss Virginia, and the purpose of the movie is to persuade movie goers to love the idea of vouchers as a way to escape their”failing” public schools.

This is a bit reminiscent of the movie called “Won’t Back Down,” that was supposed to sell the miracle of charter schools. It had two Hollywood stars, it opened in 2,500 movie theaters, and within a month it had disappeared. Gone and forgotten. No one wanted to see it.

Mercedes Schneider doesn’t review the movie. Instead she reviews the dismal failure of the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program [sic].

She guesses that  movie won’t mention any of the abysmal evaluations of the D.C. voucher program.

Surely, Miss Virginia thought she was helping her children by encouraging Vouchers. She made the mistake of trusting the rich white men like the Koch brothers, the Waltons, and Milton Friedman.

As Schneider shows, the D.C. voucher program is regularly evaluated, and the results are not pretty.


  • There were no statistically significant impacts on either reading or mathematics achievement for students who received vouchers or used vouchers three years after applying to the program.

  • The lack of impact on student academic achievement applied to each of the study’s eight subgroups of students: (1) students attending schools in need of improvement when they applied, (2) students not attending schools in need of improvement when they applied, (3) students entering elementary grades when they applied, (4) students entering secondary grades when they applied, (5) students scoring above the median in reading at the time of application, (6) students below the median in reading at the time of application, (7) students scoring above the median in mathematics at the time of application, and (8) students below the median in mathematics at the time of application.


  • The program had no statistically significant impact on parents’ satisfaction with the school their child attended after three years.

  • The program had a statistically significant impact on students’ satisfaction with their school only for one subgroup of students (those with reading scores above the median), and no statistically significant impact for any other subgroup.


  • The program had no statistically significant impact on parents’ perceptions of safety for the school their child attended after three years.


  • The program had no statistically significant impact on parents’ involvement with their child’s education at school or at home after three years.


  • The study found that students who received a voucher on average were provided 1.7 hours less of instruction time a week in both reading and math than students who did not receive vouchers.

  • The study found that students who received a voucher had less access to programming for students with learning disabilities and for students who are English Language Learners than students who did not receive vouchers.

  • The study also found that students who received vouchers had fewer school safety measures in place at their schools than students who did not receive vouchers.


  • The study found that 62% of the schools participating in the voucher program from 2013-2016, were religiously affiliated.

  • The study found that 70% of the schools participating in the voucher program from 2013-2016 had published tuition rates above the maximum amount of the voucher. Among those schools, the average difference between the maximum voucher amount and the tuition was $13,310.


  • The study found that three years after applying to the voucher program, less than half (49%) of the students who received vouchers used them to attend a private school for the full three years.

  • The study also found that 20% of students stopped using the voucher after one year and returned to public school, and 22% of students who received vouchers did not use them at all.


Bill Phillis points out the annual paradox, reported in every poll about public schools: the public has a low opinion of American education but a very high opinion of their neighborhood public school, the one they know best. This is the result of more than thirty years of public school bashing, launched in 1983 by the Reagan-era “Nation at Risk” report. To the great frustration of the Disruption machine (“Reformers”), Americans love their public schools. That is where nearly 90% of the children are enrolled.

School Bus
2019 Phi Delta Kappa (PDK) 51st Annual Poll: implications for education policy in Ohio—first in a series
Grades given to public schools by the public
Most adult Americans have attended public schools. No doubt their experience in the public system and the experience of their children greatly influence the grade they give public schools.
Subsequent to the release of the flawed Nation at Risk report in 1983, many government officials have portrayed public education as a failing institution. Those politicians have spurred the creation of tax-supported, privately-operated education alternatives.
It would seem the public perception of public education would have soured given the way public schools have been attacked and the tax-supported options that have been made available. However, the grades the public have given public schools the past half century have changed very little.
In 1981, 20% graded the nation’s schools A or B. In 2019, 19% gave public schools an A or B. In 1974, 48% graded their community’s schools (not charters) A or B. In 2019, 44% gave their community’s schools A or B. In 1986, 71% of parents gave their child’s schools an A or B. In 2019, 76% gave their child’s school an A or B.
The type of district grades given to schools varied by type of district (urban, suburban, rural), race, income, etc.
Those closest to the public schools gave them the highest grade. People generally give their own schools much higher marks than the nation’s schools in general.
The remarkable take away is that in spite of 30 years of public school bashing, the perception of the American people has changed very little.
William L. Phillis | Ohio Coalition for Equity & Adequacy of School Funding ||
School Bus

Gary Rubinstein has a keen eye for teacher-bashing disguised as research.

In this post, he takes apart a new paper from Michelle Rhee’s old outfit TNTP, which blames teachers for “low expectations.”

He begins:

Before Michelle Rhee was a board member for Miracle-Gro she was the founder and CEO of StudentsFirst.  Before that, she was Chancellor of Washington D.C. schools from 2007 to 2010.  Before that, she was the CEO of The New Teacher Project.

And even though Rhee is not a public figure anymore in education, she continues to influence education policy through The New Teacher Project which has since changed its name to TNTP.  TNTP puts out slick papers that it calls research but is really propaganda disguised as research.  Their first one was called ‘The Widget Effect’ which laid out the case for replacing salary schedules with a system based on merit pay based on statistically inappropriate analysis of standardized test scores.

And over the years they have put out other papers with clever titles like ‘The Irreplaceables’, ‘Rebalancing Teacher Tenure’, and ‘Teacher Evaluation 2.0.’  These papers are often quoted by ed reform propaganda sites like The74 and Education Post.

One of their most recent papers is called ‘The Opportunity Myth.’  Its central thesis is something that reformers love to use in their teacher bashing arguments, which is that too many teachers shortchange their students by having low expectations for them.  The work they assign is not challenging enough and since students always rise to the challenge of whatever you assign to them, these teachers are negligent in their duties.

Blogger Michael Kohlhaas continues to pore through the treasure trove of leaked emails that he received concerning the charter industry in Los Angeles. There apparently are thousands of them, and he reports them as he finds interesting ones.

One thing shines through his reports: The charter industry is greedy, self-interesting, and not at all interested in education, only in growing their market share.

He recently discovered that a charter founder in Los Angeles had hired a consultant to find students for her charter school. She offered to pay him $850 for every student he enrolled. 

Apparently there is no “waiting list” for the new Ganas Academy. There are not thousands of children lined up to enroll. Kind of knocks a hole in the charter marketing plan. The charter was not able to find enough students and it will not be opening.

The school wanted to open in a community that opposed it.

The community fought back.

The community celebrated its victory over a charter that had to pay a recruiter $850 a  head to find students.

Kohlhaas writes:

Somehow, even though it makes no freaking sense whatsoever, we are continually asked by innumerable mobs of kool-aid-drunken pro-charter ideologues to believe that somehow their damnable publicly funded private schools are more efficient1 than publicly run public schools. Thus, the argument goes, we are lucky to be able to funnel public money and other valuable assets to them for their supernaturally efficient use in the pursuit of what they’re pleased to present as public goods.

But just logically, theoretically, even without reference to facts, how could this possibly be true? Like how does it make sense to pay the supreme commander of some random charter school out in Northwest Zillionaireville a significant fraction of a zillion dollars in exchange for her skilled elite commandery when we’re already paying Austin Freaking Beutner an equally significant fraction of a zillion dollars for his equally elite equally skilled commanderistic talents? How many damn commanders do we even need?…

Like for instance, this link to a contract between Sakshi Jain, supreme commander and founding heroine of the lately placed-on-hiatus GANAS Academy, and some guy named Ed, whose LinkedIn profile identifies him as an educational consultant. The purpose of the contract is to engage Ed’s services to recruit students to attend Jain’s star-crossed but nevertheless self-proclaimedly world-class private school. And what is most amazing to me is that Ed is to be paid per piece. Not a joke. Eight Hundred And Fifty Freaking Dollars per student signed up.

And not only that but every student that signs up after the contract is signed is to be attributed to Ed. Is this normal? Does anyone out there know if this is how charter schools actually get students? Like they actually pay some guy named Ed $850 per student that signs up? This, obviously, is completely incompatible with any argument whatsoever that giving public money to private charter schools is more efficient than…well, than anything….

Also she hired Ed to do PR for her infernal school and to find them some other location so they wouldn’t have to co-locate on the campus of Catskill Elementary which is why everyone hated her in the first place and why she was rapidly lapsing into outright lunacy. Which he evidently was not able to do. He was also supposed to change the anti-charter narrative and find supporters in the community, which he really failed at. I don’t know yet whether Jain paid the guy any money, but we are certainly well-rid of these fools.

The “Ganas” charter school apparently is using the word associated with Jaime Escalante and the movie “Stand and Deliver,” where he told his students they needed “ganas,” desire, motivation, grit, to succeed.

The story doesn’t end here. Kohlhaas subsequently released the document that Ed-the-recruiter sent to the charter school founder to describe his plans to recruit students at a supermarket called “El Super.”

Kohlhaas seems to have a large supply of documents and emails. Everyone interested in Los Angeles education is waiting for the next shoe to drop, with the expectation that Kohlhaas has a whole closet full of them.


DeBlasio recently boasted at the NEA candidates’ panel about his courageous resistance to the charter industry. It is true that he started his first term in office in 2014 determined to stop the charter zillionaires’ efforts to grab money and the students they wanted from the public schools.

When he did not grant Eva Moskowitz all the new charters she wanted, her backers launched a PR blitz against DeBlasio, spending $6 million on emotional appeals on TV.

Eva bused parents and students to Albany, where Governor Cuomo pledged his loyalty to the charter cause. The legislature passed a bill requiring NYC to let the charters expand at will, to give charters any public space they wanted at no cost, and to pay their rent if they couldn’t find suitable public space.

At that point, DeBlasio stopped fighting the charter industry.

Currently, the New York City Department of Education gives the charter industry its lists of students’ names and addresses for recruitment purposes.

Parents have protested this misuse of their children’s private information. This practice of releasing personally identifiable student information is illegal under state law.

Recently Chancellor Carranza pledged to end the practice. But as Leonie Haimson reported, DeBlasio reversed the decision and promised to reach his own decision. He has not made any decision and the charter industry continues to bombard public school parents with recruitment letters.

So much for those mythical long waiting lists!

Speaking of mythical waiting lists, Leonie Haimson also reported on an exciting new development at Eva Moskowitz’s Success Academy charter chain:

More recently, Moskowitz created what is described as a “full service, brand strategy, marketing, and creative division within Success Academy” called the “The Success Academy Creative Agency” according to the LinkedIn profile of its Managing Director, Meredith Levin. 

In an earlier version of her profile, Levin described this internal marketing division of Success as a  “group of over 30 creative directors, designers, copywriters, strategists, e-learning architects & project managers to develop, execute and optimize campaigns to recruit 1,000+ teachers, enroll families, donors, influencers, and cultivate community engagement.

Adolph Reed Jr. and Cornel West blast the charter school advocates who dishonestly attacked Bernie Sanders’ plan for charter accountability as racist.

This is an amazing article. Please read it in full. I am not supposed to quote more than 300 words without violating copyright law. I would love to post it all, but I can’t. You have got to open it and read it.

Reed and West write:

During the Reagan era, ultraconservative columnist James Kilpatrick, a notorious segregationist since the southern Massive Resistance campaign against the 1954 Brown decision, took up the right-wing attack on Social Security from a novel angle. He opposed the program as discriminatory against African Americans because black men were statistically less likely than whites to live long enough to receive the old-age benefits. That was likely the only time in his public life Kilpatrick expressed anything that might seem like sympathy for black Americans.

A decade or so later, many advocates of the welfare “reform” that ended the federal government’s 60-year commitment to provide income support for the indigent similarly couched their efforts in feigned concern to help poor black people break a supposedly distinctive “cycle of poverty.” Similar disingenuous tears have accompanied the federal government’s retreat since the 1990s from direct provision of affordable housing for the poor. Thus, a racist premise that there’s a special sort of black poverty became a way to spin cutting public benefits for poor people as a supposedly anti-racist, anti-poverty strategy.

Now, despite abundant evidence to the contrary, the charter-school industry and its advocates also make such claims, asserting that charters offer unique opportunities for poor African-American children. On those grounds, for example, The Washington Post recently attacked the Bernie Sanders campaign’s Thurgood Marshall Plan for Public Education, which, among other features, supports the NAACP’s call for a “moratorium on public funds for charter school expansion until a national audit has been conducted to determine the impact of charter growth in each state.” In a May 27 masthead editorial, the Post described charterization as a civil-rights issue, claiming that charter schools can remedy the “most enduring—and unforgivable—civil rights offense in our country today [which] is the consigning of so many poor, often minority children to failing schools.” To justify that claim, the editorial cites research indicating that black students in charter schools “gained an additional 59 days of learning in math and 44 days in reading per year compared with traditional school counterparts.”

Reed and West demonstrate that multiple studies show that charter schools do not outperform public schools, and they are more segregated than public schools.

They write:

As is a common occurrence in the privatization of public functions, lack of effective public oversight has provided the charter-school industry great opportunities for fraud and corruption. A 2019 national study by the Network for Public Education concluded among its findings that “Hundreds of millions of federal taxpayer dollars have been awarded to charter schools that never opened or opened and then shut down. Only a few months before the Washington Post editorial attacking Senator Sanders’s support for the NAACP’s call for a moratorium on charters, the newspaper published an investigative article exploring the nightmarish uncertainty that sudden closure of fly-by-night charter schools can inflict upon students and their parents…

The charter industry is about profiting off education. In addition to the officially for-profit companies involved, even many charter nonprofits are structured in ways that enable people and businesses to make money off them. Charter operators and affiliated entities have used public funds to obtain and privately own valuable urban real estate.

Moreover, administrative overhead for charter schools is often more than twice that of district schools, and charter executive salaries far exceed those of district administrators. A 2017 report found that in post-Katrina New Orleans, long touted as the Shangri-la of charterization, administrative spending per pupil had increased by 66 percent, while instructional spending had declined by 10 percent.

Bad as the out-and-out fraudsters and get-rich-quick schemers are, the most dangerous and destructive elements in the charter-school industry are the billionaire “philanthropists” like Bill Gates, Walmart’s Walton family, and Eli Broad, the hedge-fund operators, corporate chains, and their minions in think tanks and on op-ed pages, who, out of ideological and commercial motives, have for some time been plotting the privatization of public schools and the destruction of public education as anything more than an underfunded holding pen for the least profitable students….

Of course, teachers’ unions are the charter industry’s bête noire for a more old-school reason as well: There is no place for them in the business model. Charter-school teachers are paid less than teachers at traditional public schools, are less experienced, less likely to be certified, less satisfied with their jobs, have higher rates of turnover, and most important, are much more likely to be at-will employees who can be dismissed without cause. The charter-school industry has been able to impose these clearly less-desirable working conditions on teachers partly through taking advantage of young, idealistic people funneled from outfits like Teach For America. And the long campaign stigmatizing public-school teachers, as well as other public workers, and their unions as the equivalent of lazy welfare queens has enabled propagation of a narrative projecting the image of fresh-faced, energetic young elite-college graduates as more effective and desirable than experienced teachers…

Simply put, charter advocates’ sanctimonious bluster about charterization as a civil-rights issue is deeply disingenuous, and the attacks on Bernie Sanders as racist for joining the NAACP in opposing it are repugnant.





We have lived through more than two decades of shaming schools with low test scores, blaming and shaming their teachers and principals for scores that are primarily the result of poverty, poor housing, poor health, poor nutrition.

One reader asserted that excellent schools attract wealthy families.

He was corrected by Steve Nelson, who wrote First Do No Harm: Progressive Education in a Time of Existential Risk.

When I read anything he writes, I find myself nodding vigorously in agreement.

He wrote here that excellent communities create excellent schools, not the other way around.

“You still misstate the cause and effect by writing, “When a neighborhood has excellent schools.” The schools are not excellent. The neighborhood is “excellent.”

“It is, to be sure, a subtle point, but in my book I refer to my own public high school. It was “rated” among America’s best. Graduates went to college at high rates and won prizes of all kinds. The orchestra was considered among the 2 or 3 best in the country. But the teachers and classes were dull and uninspired. The orchestra was good because the kids were privileged and studied at the Cleveland Institute of Music. The parents were either affluent or in higher education or medicine or both.

“The community did not have excellent schools. The schools had an excellent community.

“The schools in the adjacent, poverty-riddled neighborhood were just as good in terms of dedicated teachers and curriculum. The community? Not so lucky.”

Many schools closed because of low test scores were excellent schools filled with dedicated teachers. They were serving the neediest kids and were punished for it.

Lynn Davenport is a parent activist in Texas. She wrote the following post to alert her fellow Texans about the invasion of Kitamba Consultants, who bring with them the so-called “portfolio model” of privatization.


She writes:

The LA teacher strike thwarted a concealed plot to use Kitamba consultants to reinvent LAUSD with a portfolio model of privatization. Kitamba has a contract with TEA right now for these districts, including RISD:


I just got a 228 page public information request from the Texas Education Agency and Region 13 service center in Austin for their MOU with Kitamba.

Texas is spending big bucks on the same Kitamba consultants exposed in the LAUSD strikes against philanthropist/private equity reformer and Supt Austin Beutner:
“Created by the consulting firm Kitamba, the documents lay out an aggressive timeline for assigning schools to 32 support networks, giving principals more power, and cutting the central office by fall 2019.

The January strike appears to have derailed the plans. A spokesperson for Los Angeles Unified declined to comment.

During the January strike, United Teachers of Los Angeles criticized what it described as the district’s portfolio plan and its partnership with Kitamba. (A spokesperson at the time said Los Angeles Unified is not pursuing a portfolio approach.) Kitamba won a $765,000 contract for its work, paid by a slate of outside donors, including the Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation.

Details of Kitamba’s contract and scope of work were reported in February by the Los Angeles Times after school board member Scott Schmerelson criticized Beutner for not disclosing contracts with consultants, including Kitamba, or the work they had done for the district.”

Rajeev Bajaj is a Broadie:


I researched all of this during my System of Great Schools LinkedIn article in December, I just didn’t see the magnitude of the Kitamba contract at the time:


Please read my SGS Takeover article again:


Blogger Bekah McNeel found that, “In 2017 the Laura and John Arnold Foundation gave a two-year $85,000 grant to the TEA through Education Service Center Region XIII “to support the Texas Education Agency’s System of Great Schools Network, a program for districts interested in the portfolio model of school governance.”

Interesting that Dallas mayoral candidate Lynn McBee’s org was mentioned:



We need to stop this with the help of Texas AFT, parents, and trustees who see the harm of the portfolio model. We also need to loop in the California union to get their advice. I would like to hire Brett Shipp Media to help expose this. If we don’t stop it, our neighborhood schools, teachers, and elected boards will be eliminated in favor of a charter-like model of “autonomy”.



As Oakland teachers were striking, the rightwing propaganda machine hired a private plane to spread lies about Keith Brown, the union president. During the teachers’ demonstration, the plane flew over them trailing a banner saying that Brown is paid $350,000 a year. Lie. He makes a teacher’s salary. Maybe the Koch machine confused him with a charter school leader.