THESE LABOR AND JUSTICE LEADERS SUPPORT THE CLINTON NEO-LIBERALS AT ALL LEVELS KNOWING THEY ARE PUBLIC UNION BUSTING AND KILLING EQUAL PROTECTION EDUCATION WHICH THEIR MEMBERSHIP NEEDS THE MOST.
So, none of this is secret----we simply have no labor and justice leaders educating as to why all this is bad. Baltimore has seen this process for two decades as public schools closed by scores and scores with charter schools now replacing them just as this article below shows in Chicago. Baltimore City Hall from Schmoke to O'Malley and now Rawlings-Blake are all part of pushing this====and the connection I will describe today shows O'Malley, Obama, Exelon and Chicago all coming together to promote this K-12 education privatization.
ALL OF THE ORGANIZATIONS SUPPORTING BALTIMORE'S EDUCATION POLICY-----FROM JOHNS HOPKINS' BALTIMORE EDUCATION COALITION WITH THE NON-PROFITS BUILD AND CATHOLIC AND BLACK CHURCHES----TO THE MARYLAND ACLU AND MARYLAND ATTORNEY GENERAL'S OFFICE----ALL KNOW THIS ATTACK ON PUBLIC SCHOOLS IS ILLEGAL.
The NAACP brings out underserved children in support of all of this development policy knowing how bad the goal will be.
All we need are people engaged in politics---running and voting for labor and justice===be the leaders and we can reverse these illegal policies. We are moving to court here in Baltimore!
Exelon is the Chicago-based energy corporation that backed Obama for President and is the power behind Chicago's K-12 privatization. Obama would have worked for these corporate executives in promoting this corporate privatization while a state senator. Fast forward to Maryland and O'Malley and a merger deal that killed Maryland citizens with BGE handed to Exelon making a national corporation in control of Maryland energy and you have O'Malley getting Obama's support in national recognition for running for President. O'Malley not only gave BGE to Exelon but the Harbor Point headquarter deal was outright racketeering ---openly illegal as tax credits for no reason of $100 million ended with a deal no citizen in Baltimore wanted. All of this was illegal and can be reversed but it is the education piece that we need to address now. Exelon committed $1 million dollars to building a charter school----a 'public' charter school with this deal and it will be bringing the charter chains spoken of in this article to Baltimore.
ALL OF WHICH IS UNCONSTITUTIONAL
Baltimore City Council President Jack Young rides in a chauffeured care as he used every trick in a very dirty book to get this deal going. The goal with be to have Exelon---along with Johns Hopkins and the other global corporations being tagged to Baltimore downtown to finance the corporate charter chains in Baltimore as this economic crash privatizes all that Baltimore School Building funding to these private charter investors.
All of this is straight out of a BANANA REPUBLIC GUIDE TO CRIMINAL GOVERNING.
February 22, 2014
How the Noble charter network connected with Chicago's business elite
By Lynne Marek
Stephen J. Serio Anthony, left, is a freshman at Rowe-Clark Math & Science Academy, part of the Noble Network of Charter Schools. Ron Manderschied still remembers the day he asked Bruce Rauner for a million dollars.
It was 2006 and Mr. Manderschied was president of the Noble Network of Charter Schools. He met with Mr. Rauner, then chairman of Chicago private-equity firm GTCR LLC, in a living room-like suite at the firm's Sears Tower office. But he was nervous because he had never asked anyone for such a large sum. After an hour's discussion, Mr. Rauner agreed to the $1 million donation that would make his name the first one emblazoned on a Noble school.
In the eight years since, Noble has become far more comfortable with the language of business and has raised tens of millions of dollars from Chicago's wealthiest corporate leaders. Already the state's biggest charter network, Noble expects to teach 15 percent of Chicago public high school students by 2017.
“They have a very disciplined, very well-run high school curriculum, and they just do a really great job,” says Mr. Rauner, a candidate for governor who has made improving public education one of his core issues. “That's the reason we funded them so much—because their results were just so good.”
Mr. Rauner was drawn into the Noble fold by Allan Muchin, a founding partner of Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP, who is chairman of Noble's board. The two men joined with other donors to tap personal and professional contacts and plug Noble into a grid of high-powered, high-profile Chicago contributors.
“I know a lot of businessmen,” Mr. Muchin says. “The reception I got was surprisingly good.”
Mr. Rauner, a Republican from Winnetka, has backed a number of charter schools, including the UNO Charter School Network now dogged by questions of cronyism. But he has given the most to Noble, just over $3.5 million. He not only funded the opening of Rauner College Prep on the city's West Side in 2006 but prompted Penny Pritzker, now U.S. secretary of commerce, and the family of his late mentor, Stanley Golder, to sponsor two more schools.
One of Chicago's biggest asset managers, LSV Asset Management Co., joined the University of Illinois at Chicago to co-sponsor a Noble school that opened on the South Side in 2008, after Mr. Muchin reached out to LSV CEO Josef Lakonishok. Another school rose on the West Side in 2009 after Chicago Bulls owner Jerry Reinsdorf told his longtime friend Mr. Muchin that the Noble mission was a good fit for the team's charitable arm.
Mr. Muchin discovered Noble in 1999 through client David Weinberg, a former co-CEO of Skokie-based gasket manufacturer Fel-Pro Inc.
Mr. Weinberg had teamed with Mr. Manderschied, head of West Side social services organization Northwestern University Settlement House Association, to take a flyer on a charter idea presented to them by a Chicago public school math teacher named Michael Milkie. Mr. Manderschied says he mortgaged the association's buildings, Fel-Pro's foundation contributed $400,000 and Northern Trust Corp. kicked in $200,000 to build the network's first school in 1999 on Noble Street, next to the association's headquarters.
When Mr. Muchin began working with Noble, he urged Mr. Milkie to replicate the model. “One school may be very nice for some kids, but it's not going to have a large enough effect,” he told Mr. Milkie.
Now CEO of the Noble Network, Mr. Milkie understands how to talk to business executives. “Their dollars are a great investment in terms of return,” he says, citing low administrative costs and the “tremendous impact on students' lives.” He provides dashboards of data to document progress on everything from student testing to detentions to teacher bonuses.
Former Exelon CEO John Rowe teaches a history class at Rowe-Clark Math & Science Academy. His wife, Jeanne, mentors a group of female students each year. Photo: Stephen J. Serio
“Businesspeople like to measure things,” says retired Exelon Corp. Chairman and CEO John Rowe, who estimates he's given $4.5 million to Noble and for college scholarships to its graduates since 2007.
Liam Krehbiel, part of the wealthy family that founded Molex Inc. and founder and CEO of nonprofit A Better Chicago, joined Noble's board last year. “Noble has been really thoughtful about building strong, authentic relationships with its donors,” he says. “They really run Noble like a high-performance corporation.”
The network serves 9,000 students at 14 high schools and one middle school on the South and West sides. The student bodies are 98 percent minority and 89 percent low-income. With six additional locations planned in the next several years, Noble will teach nearly one in five Chicago public high school students who don't attend selective schools, Mr. Muchin says.
See an annotated map of the Noble Network of Charter Schools
Students at Noble schools wear uniforms and have a strict code of conduct that excludes baggy pants, gum-chewing and cellphones, among other things. If they fail a course, they must pay for summer classes to advance to the next grade. While the curriculum can vary from one school to another, the network's approach emphasizes test-taking to regularly measure progress and ensure students are prepared for standardized tests.
Over and over, Noble donors say the schools' results draw them in. Specifically: an 87 percent rate of graduation in four years, 20.5 average ACT scores, and 79 percent of its graduates enrolling in four-year colleges—all of which beat Chicago Public Schools averages.
Still, Noble is falling short on one key goal: preparing its graduates to get through college. Only 33 percent of Noble students who enter college finish within six years. That's not good enough, Mr. Milkie says.
The public charter movement started in Minnesota in 1992 as an effort to compete with regular public schools by using tax dollars to offer tuition-free alternatives to families that can't afford private schools. Typically, their faculties are not unionized, which allows them to experiment more easily with, for example, longer school days. But they've also been accused of consuming scarce tax dollars that could be used to improve struggling city school systems.
Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis, who generally opposes charters, also questions whether the much-hyped choice for parents to send their kids to charters is really a choice when CPS is closing neighborhood schools and allowing rich donors to build and market alternatives.
There are now 6,400 charter schools in 40 states and the District of Columbia, says the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools. Today, 130 of the 145 Illinois charter schools are in Chicago, with about 54,000 elementary and high school students, according to the Illinois Network of Charter Schools.
In its latest capital campaign, Noble has raised more than half the $50 million it's targeting for expansion. That includes $15 million last year from Glenview-based Illinois Tool Works Inc.'s foundation for the ITW David Speer Academy. Opponents say that school will divert resources from nearby Prosser High School.
To mine and mind donors, Noble relies heavily on Chief External Affairs Officer Rhonda Kochlefl, formerly CEO of Chicago-based R.R. Donnelley & Sons Co.'s business services outsourcing unit. And she has been rewarded for it.
Her 2011 compensation was second only to Mr. Milkie's, according to an IRS filing in 2012, the most recent year available. Mr. Milkie earned a salary of $195,520 and a $20,000 bonus; Ms. Kochlefl earned a $147,588 salary and $55,000 bonus. She declines to talk about her role, and Noble won't provide current compensation figures.
Noble's spending for the year ended June 30 was $91.2 million on revenue of $106.8 million, according to a financial statement on the network's website. The income included $85.7 million from Chicago Public Schools and $9.52 million from contributions and grants.
quote|Liam Krehbiel, board member,
They run Noble like a high-performance corporation. Mr. Manderschied, who stepped down from his Noble post in 2009 to start a separate elementary charter school, conceived of the naming rights option to keep donors engaged. In addition to a $1 million contribution, donors with named schools were expected to take the teachers to lunch annually and speak at the schools to inspire students, he says.
He recalls Ms. Pritzker telling students at Pritzker College Prep how her grandfather was a poor immigrant and education made a difference for her family.
While some donors like Mr. Rauner aren't a regular presence at the schools, others are very active. Mr. Rowe teaches a history class at Rowe-Clark Math & Science Academy, and his wife, Jeanne, mentors a group of female students each year, concluding with a dinner at the couple's home before graduation.
Mr. Golder's son, David, helped teach an after-school personal finance seminar for kids, and his sister mentors students. At DRW College Prep, sponsored by Don Wilson's Chicago-based DRW Trading Group Foundation, Mr. Wilson's sister Jennifer Wilson coaches long-distance running.
“It's time and attention,” Mr. Rowe says of Noble's formula. “We try to give them some extras, but what the teachers really do is work harder on the core.”
Mr. Milkie says there are no limits on Noble's expansion plans in Chicago. If Mr. Rauner is elected governor, Illinois charters are likely to gain, given his pledge to push for more of them and give them better funding.
Don't worry, I am not guilty of libel----all of this is so open and clear that everyone knows what is happening is illegal...they simply think the legal system is captured enough to keep justice from occurring.
The importance of this deal with Exelon and Baltimore Development pretending this $1 million donation to charter school building is to benefit the community ---- it will be the start of exploding expansion of this privatization tied to the timing of the economic crash by the bond market collapse. Remember, the goal of the Baltimore City School building project is to create so much bond leverage that the city will default into bankruptcy and give reason to hand newly built 'public' schools to this corporate charter chain movement from Chicago.
THESE WALL STREET CLINTON NEO-LIBERALS TIED WITH BUSH NEO-CON INSTITUTIONS LIKE JOHNS HOPKINS ARE ALL WORKING TO HAND MARYLAND AND BALTIMORE GOVERNMENT TO GLOBAL CORPORATIONS. THAT IS WHAT INSTALLING TRANS PACIFIC TRADE PACT LOOKS LIKE.
Above you saw the charter chain Noble Network of charter schools. What you don't see is the corporations and investment firms attached to this one chain for example have charter school investments all over the world. These are global corporations setting up what looks to be regional charter chains and all of it is corporate...
NO PUBLIC IN THESE GLOBAL CHARTER CHAINS.
We need to be clear----Baltimore has so much past commitment to build low-income housing and jobs that haven't been met for two decades that we can simply collect all of that public money given for this reason and rebuild entire underserved communities for the working and middle-class. The amount of money and the lies tied to Enterprise Zone requirements is openly known.
Does anyone believe that promises that handing downtown to global corporations will end well for citizens? REALLY????
Harbor Point construction could begin next month$107 million in tax increment financing approved by 11-3 vote
Construction to convert an old chemical plant site to a glittering waterfront development could begin next month after the Baltimore City Council gave final approval Monday to more than $100 million in taxpayer assistance for the controversial Harbor Point project.
"We want to build a great project that is successful for the whole city," the developer, Michael S. Beatty, said after the vote. "It will create thousands and thousands of jobs." Officials of his firm said they hope to break ground on the project's signature skyscraper — a new regional headquarters for the energy giant Exelon — on Oct. 15.
Council members voted 11-3, with one abstention, to approve $107 million in tax-increment-financing bonds despite months of protests, objections from downtown business leaders and a late effort by community groups, activists and unions to amend the legislation.
Council members Carl Stokes, Sharon Green Middleton and Bill Henry voted against the deal. Councilwoman Mary Pat Clarke abstained, citing her husband's business relationship with Beatty.
Both Middleton and Stokes lamented what they said was a rushed process that did not fully answer questions and criticism of the subsidy. The tax increment financing is part of about $400 million in public subsidies for the project.
"The process was cut short," Middleton said, referring to a finance committee hearing that Stokes claims was "hijacked" by City Council President Bernard C. "Jack" Young. "There were questions about safety. There's a lot of questions that still need to be answered, and I didn't get those answers."
After the vote, Young denied that the subsidy had been rushed through the council. He said he listened carefully to citizens' concerns.
"This process has been vetted more than any project that has ever come before this council. We heard everybody loud and clear," he said. Young added that he supports the development "100 percent" because of the jobs it is projected to create. "If we get people working, we see less crime. We'll see families united."
In addition to Exelon, Harbor Point will be home to a Morgan Stanley facility, other office buildings, residential towers, parks, stores and a hotel, officials say.
"There's been a lot of misinformation out about Harbor Point, but the facts could not be clearer," said Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake. "It is a catalytic project. It is a smart investment that is going to create jobs and spur more development."
With tax increment financing, the bond sale proceeds are used for improvements — in this case the parks and some infrastructure — and future property taxes generated by the development are used to pay off the bonds.
Under the plan, Beatty's Harbor Point Development Group will spend $59 million of the bond money to build five small parks, $21 million on a promenade, and $10 million on a bridge extending Central Avenue. The legislation requires the developer to give $2 million of the funds to a nearby charter school, the Crossroads. About $15 million will pay for infrastructure improvements along the development's streets and piers.
The largely vacant Harbor Point site is assessed now at $10 million, but the Baltimore Development Corp. projects it will be valued at $1.8 billion for tax purposes when the development is completed years from now.
Supporters say that once fully built, the project will contribute about $20 million a year in increased property taxes to the city's budget, which could be used for schools, roads, police and other projects.
Opponents say that tax increment financing deprives the city's general fund of the increased property tax revenue. They say it's risky and amounts to corporate welfare.
Beatty said only about one-tenth of the development's funding will come from the taxpayers, and that money will be recouped through increased property taxes from the site. He said $920 million of the project's funding will come from private investors.
After criticism that the project would do nothing to benefit low-income Baltimore residents, Beatty pledged to give $3 million to the city's fund for low-income housing. City officials say it will be the largest contribution in the history of the fund, which helps developers build affordable housing. Beatty also agreed to voluntarily follow the city's new local hiring ordinance — pledging to hire 51 percent of new workers for the project from Baltimore — even though the bill does not become law until next year.
But to some in Baltimore, the debate over Harbor Point presented an existential question for the city's future: Are we going to be a city that funnels tax dollars into waterfront development? Or are we going focus on neighborhoods?
I wanted to show this article from 2010 to let people understand that what is happening in Baltimore is happening around the nation all controlled by Wall Street investment firms and all owned by the same few people. Look below and you think you are reading about the Harbor Point deal in Baltimore outlined above-----but this is the exact same deal in Connecticut and it completely designates all property to global corporate wealth.
Nothing here for Baltimore citizens whose taxes are funding all of this development for decades.
You can see why Baltimore and Maryland's elections are crony and rigged. No one wants this development but pols are kept in office by illegal actions from media, to state's attorney's office, to Maryland and Baltimore Democratic Committees controlled by Johns Hopkins and Maggie McIntosh/O'Malley political machines. We can easily fix this====it sounds overwhelming but it is really easy peasy. Since all of this is illegal----since the attack on public schools with this charter policy is unconstitutional -----it can all be voided and people sent directly to jail!
Just as with Baltimore all of these deals are heavily leveraged with bonds tying the government to these investment firms----as with subprime mortgage fraud these pols know the market will crash and send all this public wealth to these Wall Street corporations.
Harbor Point developer finalizes $145 million bond sale
By Elizabeth Kim, Staff Writer Published 10:10 pm, Thursday, February 4, 2010 Stamford Connecticut
- Buildings in the first phase of Antares's South End project include a hotel, office buildings, retail space, restaurants, and two esplanades along Stamford Harbor. contributed image Harbor Point Antares
STAMFORD -- The developer of Harbor Point announced Thursday it has completed the sale of $145 million in bonds that will go toward financing infrastructure improvements within the 80-acre mixed-use project in the South End.
Developer Building and Land Technology hired Stone & Youngberg, a private investment bank, to underwrite the long-term bonds. They were marketed last month to institutional investors.
"This financing is the largest of its kind since the credit crisis began, made possible by the project's location, private and public support, and experienced development team," said Ramiro Albarran, a managing director at Stone & Youngberg.
Of the bonds, $16 million were authorized under the Recovery Zone Bond Program, a federal stimulus program providing low-cost financing to shovel-ready projects. The bonds, which are taxable and due in 2039, will receive a federal reimbursement for 45 percent of the interest. Taking the interest subsidy into account, the net interest rate of the recovery bonds will be 6.875 percent, according to Albarran.
The remaining $129 million was raised through the sale of tax-exempt special obligation revenue bonds, a class of municipal bonds. Within that category, Albarran said $113 million of the bonds had a 7.875 percent interest rate and a maturity date of 2039, while $15.9 million had a 7 percent interest rate and a maturity date of 2022.
The city, which had reserved the right to approve the interest rate carried by the bonds, had anticipated an interest rate between 6 and 9 percent.
The developer is solely responsible for paying back the bonds. As part of its agreement with the city, 50 percent of any additional tax revenue earned in the Harbor Point district will go toward making bond payments, while the remaining half will go toward the city's general fund.
In a press release, Carl Kuehner, president and CEO of Building and Land Technology, said the financing would allow the company to "increase the pace of development" and "create jobs during this difficult economy."
The plans for Harbor Point include 4,000 units of housing, 400,000 square feet of retail space, office buildings, two hotels, a school, marina and more than 11 acres of parks.
Its first retail tenant, Fairway supermarket, is expected to open an 80,000- square-foot store at the corner of Canal and Market streets in August.
The project, located within walking distance of the city's train station, is expected to comply with energy-efficient building standards. It has received a gold certification from the U.S. Green Building Council's initiative called Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design for Neighborhood Development.
In the same press release, Gov. M. Jodi Rell called Harbor Point "a shining example of responsible growth."
As you saw Hyatt's Pritzker has her up and coming charter chain and we know how good she is to labor. All of this privatization comes with teacher union busting and pushing wages to poverty----and will end with the cheapest method in instruction. Online lessons with education techs working part time-----
LET'S GO BACK TO BEING RANKED #1 IN THE WORLD IN PUBLIC EDUCATION WITH EVERYONE HIGHLY EDUCATED.
For the last few generations having to put up with the dismantling and defunding of public schools-----IT WAS NOT LIKE THAT UNTIL CORPORATE POLS STARTED THE ATTACK!
“I work extremely hard to succeed at Noble, and not a day goes by that I am ungrateful for my education. Without Noble I have no idea where I would be. I am thankful for the opportunities that I know many children around the world do not have. Education should be valued, not taken for granted." -Destiny, Noble Class of 2014 Noble was founded on many of the same entrepreneurial principles that have built successful businesses—strong leadership, meaningful use of data, and a high degree of accountability. With longer class periods, a longer school day, and a longer school year, Noble provides students with substantially more instructional time than the traditional Chicago public high school. This extra time, combined with a disciplined, consistent school culture, high expectations, and a team of dedicated teachers, results in dramatically improved academic performance.
It starts with culture. Because success is the only option for our students, we operate on culture of high expectations - for academics, for behavior, and for our students' futures. We know that college is crucial for future success, so everything we do is to prepare our students for that next step. Academic rigor is the norm and discipline and accountability are a part of daily life for students. We believe that by 'sweating the small stuff' and pushing our students to reach their full potential, we are building the skills, knowledge, and behaviors needed to be successful in college and in life. Great Adults = Great Outcomes We know the biggest predictor of our students' academic success is the quality of the adults in the building. That's why we work tirelessly to recruit, hire, and support the best educators in the country. And we know they work tirelessly to ensure that every student has the resources they need to be successful. We give our teachers the freedom to innovate in the classroom, access to transparent data so they can analyze their performance, and we compensate our teachers and school leaders for results. This is why our schools rank as the top performing high schools in Chicago on ACT scores and academic gains. Data-Driven Improvement If we care about it, we need to be able to measure it. From community service hours, attendance, and behavior to academic growth, number of college applications submitted, and amount of scholarships awarded, data drives everything we do and it's crucial to our continuous improvement. Noble has created a sophisticated dashboard of information that updates every four hours so we can track students' progress and identify any red flags, in real time. Achievements & Results
We are college bound. Noble’s College Program exposes our students to higher education options and guides them through the collegiate application process. Through college trips, college fairs, summer college immersion programs and a required year-long College Writing course, Noble demystifies the college experience and shapes students’ beliefs and confidence about higher education. Our commitment to students’ success extends through college. Alumni Coordinators at each campus provide academic and financial aid advising and workshops, mentoring, networking and counseling for alumni as they adjust to college life.
The American people need to get in front of this information and education process and not learn about things after the fact. That is why media is captured in cities like Baltimore. You can see lots of activism in Chicago and in Baltimore----no one knows what is coming. This is not a Republican/Democrat issue because global corporate/Wall Street control of schools is something Republican voters who love the US Constitution and control of their schools hate as well. Republican leaders are killing their constituents as much as Clinton neo-liberals.
Please know these issues----know what is happening around the nation and how it comes to your neck of the woods. Rahm Emmanuel and Obama are no more Democrats then the man on the moon. Notice that Illinois Governor Quinn lost just as Maryland's Anthony Brown for the same reasons-----they were raging Wall Street pols killing the Democratic base so Republican governors will now do what these Clinton neo-liberals set the stage to move forward----making these 'public' charter structures private.
Unmasking the Chicago charter scam As education justice activists protest Rahm Emanuel's latest school privatization bonanza, Kevin Moore and Rachel Cohen cut through the pro-charter school myths.
January 22, 2014 Socialist Worker
Chicagoans rally against new charter schools ahead of a Board of Education vote (Ervin Lopez)
CHICAGOANS ARE joining together in a growing battle to stem the proliferation of charter schools.
Less than a year after his devastating closure of 50 schools last spring, Mayor Rahm Emanuel and the millionaires on his handpicked Chicago Public Schools (CPS) board are preparing to give their stamp of approval for 31 new charter schools to open over the next two years.
On Tuesday, January 21, members of the Chicago Teachers Union led parents, students and community activists in an overnight vigil outside the board's headquarters downtown, contending with arctic temperatures to keep up an overnight presence before a board vote on the charters scheduled for the next morning.
The protesters drew on a series of public forums held across the city to discuss why charters threaten the stability of and sap resources from a strong system of neighborhood public schools.
On January 14, nearly 200 people, including teachers, students, parents and other members of the community, braved another typically frigid night to come out to a meeting opposing charter school expansion. The forum, held in the Brighton Park neighborhood on the Southwest Side, was hosted by Raise Your Hand, an organization of parents against school "reform."
The panelists ranged from education researchers to high school students. They shared revealing information and firsthand experiences that highlighted the inequalities and corruption in Chicago charter schools.
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ONE OF the biggest misconceptions about charters is that the funds to run them come from private sources. While charters do receive donations and some private grants, 75 percent of their total funding comes from public resources.
To take one example, the United Neighborhood Organization (UNO), which operates 16 charter schools in Chicago and the surrounding area, has received $280 million in public funds in the past five years. In 2009, UNO received a $98 million grant from the state of Illinois that is believed to be the largest public subsidy for a charter school operator in the country.
In addition, one-third of charters operate under an arrangement where they pay $1 in rent for the use of public school buildings. Charters also receive city resources in the form of "in-kind services." These handouts for charters are especially insulting when CPS is once again project a nearly $1 billion budget shortfall--despite slashing $100 million from traditional school budgets last year and claiming that the mass school closings were necessary in part because of lack of funding.
One of the school board's leading excuses for closing neighborhood schools is low enrollment. Yet charters have been receiving increased funding despite declining enrollment. Neighborhood schools and magnets have experienced declining budgets with less of a decline in enrollment--or even a growing number of students.
The inequalities between neighborhood public schools and charters aren't just about funding. One of the panelists at the January 14 forum, a student, described the demoralizing disciplinary policies imposed by charters. She said that she suspended because she helped pull a friend out of a fight--despite the fact that she had maintained a 4.0 grade point average. She told the meeting audience about the effect of the suspension on her morale.
Another student said that teachers at Nobel charters are required to dole out frequent "demerits," including for poor performance on assignments in classes stacked against individualized instruction. Demerits add up to detentions, for which students are fined $5 in fees!
Another lie that charter school opponents are unmasking is the claim that charters perform better than neighborhood schools. In reality, according to researchers on the forum panel, 80 percent of charter students showed no improvement or a worse performance in reading, compared to students in traditional public schools. For math, the figure was 63 percent.
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ONE OF the other little-discussed byproducts of the drive to open charters is a surge in corruption.
On the hot seat right now is UNO, which is being investigated by the Securities and Exchange Commission and the state of Illinois for giving millions of dollars from state grants to construction contractors owned by relatives of top UNO executives or the charter's close political allies.
UNO was begun in the mid-1980s as a community organization, but it has ridden the charter school wave, thanks to its close ties to the mayor's office and other political leaders. Its charter network has posed as a project for uplifting the Latino community, but its schools disproportionately deny bilingual and Spanish language instruction, according to researchers.
UNO CEO Juan Rangel, who was a co-chair of Emanuel's 2011 campaign for mayor, resigned in disgrace late last year in the face of the spreading scandal.
Now, the corrupt politicking surrounding other charter operators is beginning to come to light. The Chicago Sun-Times recently reported that two of Emanuel's close allies could be the landlords for proposed charter schools run by Concept Schools and Be the Change Charter Schools, collecting rent from money provided by tapayers.
Rev. Charles Jenkins--who was on Emanuel's transition team after his 2011 victory, gave the invocation at the mayor's swearing-in ceremony and was appointed to the City Colleges of Chicago board--is pastor of a church that owns the South Side building where one of the charters would open. Real estate broker Paul Levy, who vacations with Emanuel and helped pick out the mayor's North Side home, controls the other planned charter site.
People like Emanuel and his old friend Bruce Rauner, a venture capitalist and now a declared candidate for the Republican nomination for governor, like to preach the virtues of charter schools--but they aren't interested in sending their own kids to a charter.
Emanuel's three children attend the prestigious University of Chicago Lab School, a private school. As for Rauner, when his daughter failed to qualify for the top-rated Walter Payton High College Prep, a public selective enrollment high school, he called then-CPS CEO Arne Duncan--now Barack Obama's education secretary--to have the rejected admission overturned, which it was. To show his appreciation, Rauner had his family foundation give a $250,000 donation to Payton endowment fund.
One issue that didn't come up at the January 14 forum was how the charter school drive affects teachers. Most charters are non-union--they rely on recruiting newer teachers who are paid less than experienced teachers and have a high turnover rate, which, of course, affects the students.
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THE SAME HAS HAPPENED IN BALTIMORE------
SINCE 1997, 135 neighborhood public schools have been closed in Chicago--and 122 charter schools have opened.
Charter schools have to be approved by the CPS board. But charters rejected at this level can appeal to the Illinois State Charter School Commission, which can overrule the city. Such was the case when CPS denied a proposal for two charters ran by Concept Schools Inc. The state agency not only overruled the board, but ordered CPS to give the new schools 33 percent more funding per student than what other charters receive.
Illinois House Speaker Mike Madigan, a Democrat, is a supporter of Concept Schools, and also a backer of the $98 million grant for UNO.
Despite the many issues with charter schools--lack of transparency and oversight, overstated claims of admissions demand, disciplinary systems that not only demoralize students but act as a revenue stream, and much more--Rahm Emanuel wants to open 31 more charters in the next two years. Despite the determined protest outside CPS headquarters, the mayor is almost certain to get his way when his handpicked board votes.
This market-based school "reform" is not about choice, as many charter school proponents claim, but about money-making schemes for politicians and the politically connected. Any time an organization running a school has the word incorporated at the end of its name, nothing good will come of it.
With more charter schools popping up in Chicago and elsewhere, traditional public schools pay the price. City and state politicians are ensuring that more public funds go to charter schools, while neighborhood schools deal with drastic budget cuts.
The big question is what can be done to stop the expansion of charter schools in Chicago. Speakers at the January 14 forum stressed that you can't blame parents for wanting to send their child to a charter school that, on the surface anyway, has all the bells and whistles that public funds can provide. But, they stressed, it's what goes on behind school doors that matters.
Information is power. Forums like the Raise Your Hand meeting are offering an excellent place to get vital statistics and firsthand accounts, especially from students, that tell the truth about charters. And they are building solidarity among teachers, students and parents, and the community, which can be the basis for taking a stand against the charter school invasion.
When you see a Democratic outlet shouting against Koch Brothers and ALEC that does not tell you Obama and Clinton and especially these education privatization reforms are ALEC ------they are Clinton neo-liberal outlets trying to hide that they are as bad as Republicans. Stop allowing neo-liberals to control the people's Democratic Party----below you see some of the most important issues for K-12 education privatization and we are going to court to reverse this. Don't wait until they install all of these charters pretending to be public and then say---SURPRISE---THEY ARE PRIVATE!
GET RID OF CORPORATE POLS --THEY ARE NOT DEMOCRATS FOR GOODNESS SAKE!
We do not want public education to major in teaching our children LYING, CHEATING, AND STEALING.
ALEC clears path for for-profit charter companies to cash in after school closures
Posted March 23, 2014
by Félix Pérez
Memphis, Tenn., is no stranger to school closures. The Shelby County School District closed four schools in 2012 and 2013 each. And the district, despite a wave of parent- and clergy-led protests and a petition that generated 6,000 signatures, voted last month to close nine schools and combine two others.
Take Action › Sign the petition to tell ALEC to stop cashing in on kids. Click here ›
At a recent school board meeting, the Rev. Dwight Ray Montgomery said, “If Dr. King were here today, he’d be standing where I’m standing today, unafraid.”
In Newark, N.J., parents and educators are organized and speaking out against a proposal by the state-appointed superintendent to close or consolidate more than a dozen schools.
Last week, special education teacher Marie Blistan, testifying before the state Legislature’s Joint Committee on Public Schools, called the plan “misguided, top-down and illegal.”
The proposal “poses a threat to the very notion of universal public education designed to serve every school-age child in New Jersey,” said Blistan, vice president of the New Jersey Education Association.
Whether in Memphis, Newark, Philadelphia, Washington, DC, or Chicago, communities hit by school closures bemoan the loss of a longstanding neighborhood asset. Residents say school board members and local elected officials give short shrift to displaced students, many of whom have to walk long distances through dangerous neighborhoods to reach their new schools, some of which have poor records on academics, discipline and safety.
In Chicago, where some 100 schools have been closed since 2001 and 88 percent of the affected students were black, students commute to their new schools through gang areas using “safe passage” routes designated by the police department.
Aside from the less-than-anticipated savings realized by school districts and the likelihood that many students are moved to academically underperforming schools, critics of school closures take issue with the influx of out-of-state for-profit charter school companies that benefit financially from distressed communities and siphon money from underfunded public schools. In many instances, these for-profit schools are not accountable to parents or school boards, have mixed records of academic success, and are exempted from many of the standards and requirements with which public schools must comply.
NJ special education teacher Marie Blistan testifies against Newark plan
The preferential status given to for-profit charter schools can be traced in large measure to the American Legislative Exchange Network (ALEC). ALEC, a corporate bill mill in which politicians let corporations vote on what bills to pass behind closed doors, with no public input, has promulgated several model bills in recent years that carve out special status for-profit charter school corporations at the expense of neighborhood public schools. Examples include:
- The Virtual Public Schools Act
- The Special Needs Scholarship Program Act
- The Innovation Schools and School Districts Act
- Next Generation Charter Schools Act
- Parent Trigger Act
- Education Accountability Act
There is growing concern among some states that for-profit charter school companies have a fundamental conflict of interest: Are they more concerned about their stockholders or the education of children? New Mexico, New York, Rhode Island and Tennessee have banned them from operating schools.
Meanwhile, school closures continue to disrupt communities. “When you close a school, you’re disinvesting in that population,” said Jitu Brown, an organizer with the Kenwood Oakland Community Organization in Chicago.