Friday, June 29, 2018

Trump May "Love" The Poorly Educated, Most Republicans Want To Create Lots And Lots Of Them


The Koch network, wrote Annie Linskey for the Boston Globe a few months ago, "has pledged to devote around $400 million toward politics and policy in the midterms to hold the GOP majorities in both chambers. That’s 60 percent more than the network spent in 2014, when Republicans picked up nine seats in the Senate and 13 seats in the House of Representatives."
A major focus for the Koch network-- known formally as the Seminar Network-- is state legislation, with an aim to remake the nation’s education system via referendums and new state laws. The Kochs are particularly enthusiastic about education savings accounts: a mechanism that upends traditional K-12 education by, in some cases, giving parents lump sums they can use to pay private schools or even online institutions to educate their children.

A top priority for 2018 is in Arizona, where a measure allowing education savings accounts for all students goes on the ballot in November. Arizona Governor Doug Ducey pushed the idea and attended the weekend seminar to chat with donors about it.

Success in Arizona would have “a ripple effect” felt across the country, explained Jorge Lima, executive director of the LIBRE Initiative, the Kochs’ Hispanic outreach arm that has been playing an increasing role with the network’s education measures in states.

A similar bill is moving through the New Hampshire Legislature and is supported by Americans for Prosperity.

These efforts are the latest in a roiling education debate and face headwinds. Last month a school board in Colorado voted, 6 to 0, to end a private voucher program, which teachers unions hope is a sign that voters are showing skepticism for such policies.

“If you rip off the branding and the spin, this is all about destabilizing public schools and defunding them,” said Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation for Teachers, which is the country’s second-largest teachers union. “You’re seeing more radical ideas here.”

Weingarten has clashed with the Kochs before. “They will do anything they can and spend any amount of money they and their allies have to maintain their power and their wealth,” she said.
But it isn't just the Koch network and Betsy DeVos who are out to replace public education with charter schools. There are plenty of Democrats on that bus as well, even so-called "liberals" like Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Andrew Cuomo (D-NY). Lobbyist and ex-Governor Howard Dean, still an icon to some on the left: "I do believe charter schools are the future, especially for the inner cities...Charter schools in this country are being started by young kids who probably voted for Barack Obama...The charter school movement is transforming inner-city education. It is getting kids through high school with diplomas that never would have had a chance even five years ago."

Diane Ravitch is a historian of American education at NYU who wrote an OpEd for the Washington Post a few days ago, Charter schools damage public education. I'd trust her more than the Koch brothers... or Howard Dean-- unless you want to make the GOP's dream come true of a population of "the uneducated." Ravitch is not a fan... and she explains why.
In 1988, teachers union leader Albert Shanker had an idea: What if teachers were allowed to create a school within a school, where they could develop innovative ways to teach dropouts and unmotivated students? The teachers would get the permission of their colleagues and the local school board to open their school, which would be an R&D lab for the regular public school. These experimental schools, he said, would be called “charter schools.”

Five years later, in 1993, Shanker publicly renounced his proposal. The idea had been adopted by businesses seeking profits, he said, and would be used, like vouchers, to privatize public schools and destroy teachers unions. He wrote that “vouchers, charter schools, for-profit management schemes are all quick fixes that won’t fix anything.”

Shanker died in 1997, too soon to see his dire prediction come true. Today, there are more than 7,000 charter schools with about 3 million students (total enrollment in public schools is 50 million). About 90 percent  of charter schools are nonunion. Charters are more segregated than public schools, prompting the Civil Rights Project at UCLA in 2010 to call charter schools “a major political success” but “a civil rights failure.” They compete with public schools instead of collaborating. Charter proponents claim that the schools are progressive, but schools that are segregated and nonunion do not deserve that mantle.

The charter universe includes corporate chains that operate hundreds of schools in different states. The largest is KIPP, with 209 schools. The-second-largest has 167 schools and is affiliated with Turkish preacher Fethullah Gulen. About one of every six charters operates for profit; in Michigan, 80 percent are run by for-profit corporations. Nationally, nearly 40 percent of charter schools are run by for-profit businesses known as Educational Management Organizations.

The largest online charter chain, K12 Inc., was founded with the help of former junk-bond king Michael Milken and is listed on the New York Stock Exchange. The biggest single virtual charter was the Ohio-based Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow, which collected $1 billion from Ohio taxpayers from 2000 until its bankruptcy earlier this year. The charter’s 20 percent graduation rate was the lowest in the nation.

Charter schools pave the way for vouchers. More than half of states now have some form of public subsidy for religious and private schools. Voucher schools are not bound by civil rights laws and may exclude students based on religion, disabilities and LGBT status.

Charters are publicly funded but privately managed. They call themselves public schools, but a federal court ruling in 2010 declared they are “not state actors.” The National Labor Relations Board ruled in 2016 that charters are private corporations, not public schools. As private corporations, they are not subject to the same laws as public schools.

The anti-union Walton Family Foundation  is the biggest private financier of charters. The foundation in 2016 unveiled a plan to spend $200 million annually over five years for charter schools, and the organization claims credit for opening one of every four charters in the nation.
by Chip Proser

The Waltons and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, using both public and private funds, are pouring hundreds of millions annually into what amounts to a joint effort to privatize public education. The federal government spends $400 million annually on charter schools; a congressional budget proposal seeks to increase that amount for fiscal 2019.

On average, charters do not get better academic results than public schools, according to the National Education Policy Center, except for those that have high attrition rates and that control their demographics to favor high-scoring groups. The lowest-scoring urban district in the nation is Detroit, where more than half the children are enrolled in charters. The highest-ranked charters in the nation are the BASIS charters in Arizona, where 83 percent of students are either Asian or white, double the proportion of these students in the state.

Charter schools drain resources and the students they want from public schools. When students leave for charters, the public schools must fire teachers, reduce offerings and increase class sizes. Some districts, such as Oakland’s, teeter on the edge of financial ruin because public funds have been diverted to charters.

In 2016, the NAACP called for a moratorium on new charter schools until charters are held to the same accountability standards as public schools, until “public funds are not diverted to charter schools at the expense of the public school system” and until charter schools “cease expelling students that public schools have a duty to educate.”

American education seems to be evolving into a dual school system, one operated under democratic control (overseen by a board that was either elected by the people or appointed by an elected official) , the other under private control. One is required to find a place for every student who shows up, no matter that student’s academic skills, language or disability. The privately managed charter sector can limit its enrollment, exclude students it doesn’t want and accept no new students after a certain grade level. Charters can even close school for the day to take students to a political rally for the school management’s financial benefit. That is not fair competition, and it is not healthy for democracy.
Uneducated, unschooled people aren't capable-- aren't meant to be capable-- of understanding someone like, say, philosopher, historian and cognitive scientist Noam Chomsky. I doubt someone who still backs Trump, after all we've seen since 2015, could possibly understand what "existential" means and how Chomsky is using it below. But it's important, very important, that they do, that every American does... and fast.
Climate change and nuclear war. These are really existential threats. And what’s happening now is just astonishing. If media were functioning seriously, every day the lead headline would be this amazing fact-- that in the entire world, every country is trying or committed to doing at least something. One country-- one!-- the most powerful country in history-- is committed to trying to destroy the climate. Not just pulling out of the efforts of others, but maximizing the use of the most destructive means.

There’s been nothing like this in history. It’s kind of an outrageous statement, but it happens to be true, that the Republican Party is the most dangerous organization in human history. Nobody, not even the Nazis, was dedicated to destroying the possibility of organized human life. It’s just missing from the media. In fact, if you read, say, the sensible business press, the Financial Times, BusinessWeek, any of them, when they talk about fossil fuel production, the articles are all just about the prospect for profit. Is the U.S. moving to number one and what are the gains? Not that it’s going to wipe out organized human life. Maybe that’s a footnote somewhere. It’s pretty astonishing.

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At 9:11 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Trump May "Love" The Poorly Educated, Most Republicans Want To Create Lots And Lots Of Them"

DWT, pray tell us what has the "good" party done differently in this regard.

At 9:52 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Americans have been getting dumbed down since James Watt was allowed to roam about America during the Reagan years denigrating education and teachers without any opposition or response. Those kids corrupted by Watt are now the MAGA crowd. They are now creating the next generation of stupid MAGAts, which the corporatist SCOTUS will need to defend them against any retribution from We the People.

At 2:24 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

TY, 9:11. To whit, the democraps are, if anything, MORE enthusiastic about charter dumbfucktard factories than even the Nazis.

The Nazis want public money out of "education" AND they want religion in.
The democraps only want public money to be used to profit from creating the next generation of dumbfucktards.

Both parties, btw, benefit from the 130 million horde of dumbfucktards. They split them about down the middle.
If the ones slightly more to the left were even a skosh smarter than their pet ferrets, there would be no more democrap party benefiting from those votes. The democrap party knows and relies upon this.

DWT ain't figger'd it out yit.


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