Friday, March 3, 2017

KY Bill to Kill Public Education Not Dead Yet

You're not fooling anybody, Johnny boy; the minute defenders of public education relax their vigilance for a second, you'll shove that sucker down our throats.

A charter school bill backed by Gov. Matt Bevin could be in trouble in the 2017 General Assembly.
“I want to pass a version that’s best for our kids and if that means continuing to work on it in the interim, then that’s certainly a possibility at this time,” state Rep. John Carney R-Campbellsville, sponsor of House Bill 520 and chairman of the House Education Committee, said Wednesday.

“We could put something out and pass a charter bill but my goal, and I think all of our goals, is to pass what’s best for our students. Let’s don’t rush that. It would be nice to get it done. We’re still hopeful we can get it done by the end of the session, but obviously the clock’s ticking and I’m not going to rush to pass a bill that I don’t think that helps kids,” Carney told the Herald-Leader. “If we have to work on it over the interim that’s certainly a possibility.”

“There’s still some other things that we’re trying to work on,” Carney said Wednesday afternoon. He said he was working on language regarding the financing of public charter schools.


Jason Bailey, executive director of the Kentucky Center for Economic Policy, said charter schools could “divert resources from already underfunded public schools.”
That's the whole point.  Charter schools are nothing but a vacuum sucking tax dollars away from public schools and pouring it into the pockets of corporations and freakazoids.

OK, class. Because Johnny Carney and his greedy friends are hiding the facts, let's review:

When Betsy DeVos, your new Secretary of Education, forced charters on Detroit, those struggling schools went from struggling to catastrophic.
By 2015, a federal review of a grant application for Michigan charter schools found an “unreasonably high” number of charters among the worst-performing 5 percent of public schools statewide. The number of charters on the list had doubled from 2010 to 2014.

“People here had so much confidence in choice and choice alone to close the achievement gap,” said Amber Arellano, the executive director of the Education Trust Midwest, which advocates higher academic standards. “Instead, we’re replicating failure.”
And of course they're cheating and abusing students of color and poverty, because denying good education to poor and minority children is another major charter goal. 

Hope you’re ready for some edu-outrage this morning, because the good folks at investigative journalism nonprofit ProPublica have published a damning look at how some school districts have found an ingenious way to raise test scores and graduation rates at their top schools: All they have to do is nudge the academically weakest students out of the good schools into private charter schools where they can be warehoused until they drop out. The “good” schools win awards for excellence, the charters turn a healthy profit for the companies that plop the low achievers down in front of computers all day, and everyone’s happy, except maybe the low-achieving students who, instead of getting extra help and a second chance for academic success, get shunted off to a dead-end school where they’re allowed to quietly fail. It’s OK! Those losers would have just dragged everyone else down anyway!

To illustrate how this nationwide problem plays out, the ProPublica report looks closely at two high schools in the Orlando, Florida, school system: the high-achieving Olympia High School, which “offers more than two dozen Advanced Placement courses, even more afterschool clubs, and an array of sports from bowling to water polo,” and Sunshine High School, a for-profit charter located in a strip mall, just a couple doors down from a liquor store. Olympia High wins awards, attracts scholarships, and got listed in US News and World Report’s top 1,000 high schools. Sunshine High has its students sit at computers for four hours a day, and they’re lucky to ever see any live teaching. Big surprise: More than 85 percent of Sunshine High’s students are black or Hispanic. You know, disposable kids. ProPublica explains the sick symbiotic relationship between the prize-winning public school and the charter dumping ground:
Sunshine takes in cast-offs from Olympia and other Orlando high schools in a mutually beneficial arrangement. Olympia keeps its graduation rate above 90 percent — and its rating an “A” under Florida’s all-important grading system for schools — partly by shipping its worst achievers to Sunshine. Sunshine collects enough school district money to cover costs and pay its management firm, Accelerated Learning Solutions (ALS), a more than $1.5 million-a-year “management fee,” 2015 financial records show – more than what the school spends on instruction.
But students lose out, a ProPublica investigation found. Once enrolled at Sunshine, hundreds of them exit quickly with no degree and limited prospects. The departures expose a practice in which officials in the nation’s tenth largest school district have for years quietly funneled thousands of disadvantaged students — some say against their wishes — into alternative charter schools that allow them to disappear without counting as dropouts.
There is one thing and one thing only that improves public education for children of poverty: Money.  Lots and lots and lots of money.  Money to eliminate poverty. Money to build new schools.  Money to hire outstanding teachers and get class sizes down to 20. Money invested in schools, not corporate profits and freakazoid indoctrination.

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