says Jeff Bryant, the director of the Education Opportunity Network.
Below you see why Maryland's governor's race was allowed to become completely rigged. Neo-liberals and neo-cons had to win to move to the general election to insure this education privatization continued in Maryland. That is why we saw 'THE 3 DEMOCRATIC CANDIDATES FOR GOVERNOR'----all Clinton neo-liberals committed to moving this K-12 privatization forward. Since this is a Republican policy Larry Hogan will as well. This is an issue for Republican voters as well as they are the loudest in hating this control of parents rights to educate children as they want. Sadly, Republican voters do not know this is all Republican think tank policy to hand schools to Wall Street. Then again, neither do Democratic voters. Know who knows the goal of these education reforms? National labor and justice leaders and they support neo-liberals every election.
In Baltimore we have the Catholic and Episcopalian Churches with the Black Churches all supporting these privatization plans knowing how it will hurt the American people.
This is why there is silence in Maryland as to these reforms. Why do labor and justice go along with the dismantling of public education? The Black church is receiving lots of education money and the opportunity to be business owners. They simply want a way to earn money. The Catholic and Episcopal Churches want religious schools supported with public money---remember the Medieval dynamic of Church being the public sector. Labor unions are being held hostage by neo-liberals threatening union rights.
That's why this will take Maryland citizens to become engaged to do the advocacy these organizations should be. Unlike what the article below says----WE CAN REVERSE THIS --- get rid of the neo-liberals and we get rid of these bad education policies.
HOLD YOUR LABOR AND JUSTICE LEADERS ACCOUNTABLE AND RUN AND VOTE FOR LABOR AND JUSTICE CANDIDATES IN ALL PRIMARY ELECTIONS.
ALL OF MARYLAND POLS ARE NEO-LIBERALS AND NEO-CONS.
Venture Capitalists Are Poised to "Disrupt" Everything About the Education Market
Monday, 29 September 2014 10:20 By Lee Fang, The Nation | Report
In his book, Finding the Next Starbucks: How to Identify and Invest in the Hot Stocks of Tomorrow, Michael Moe, describes how carefully crafted business strategies have transformed markets to create huge profits in unlikely sectors. The title relates to how Starbucks became a global corporation of almost $15 billion in revenue by capturing and streamlining the café experience. Moe, a former director at Merrill Lynch, wrote that at one point in the United States, even healthcare was an undesirable and difficult industry for investment, and that bankers once worried if profit-making in such a realm was worth their effort. In 1970, healthcare spending comprised 8 percent of GDP, yet market capitalization in healthcare stood at less than 3 percent. That shifted quickly not only as the boomer generation aged, but as a wave of privatization hit hospitals, insurers, and other segments of the healthcare system. More than thirty years later, Moe wrote, healthcare companies are among the largest in the world, and represent more than 16 percent of US capital markets. “We see the education industry today as the healthcare industry of 30 years ago,” Moe predicted.
That book came out eight years ago, before the current wave of education investing, when the prospect for growth seemed dim. Unlike in healthcare, energy and other areas of the economy that have moved from public to private hands, K-through-12 education has stubbornly remained largely out of the control of investors.
Next year, the market size of K-12 education is projected to be $788.7 billion. And currently, much of that money is spent in the public sector. “It’s really the last honeypot for Wall Street,” says Donald Cohen, the executive director of In the Public Interest, a think tank that tracks the privatization of roads, prisons, schools and other parts of the economy.
That might be changing soon as barriers to investment are rapidly fading. As Eric Hippeau, a partner with Lerer Ventures, the venture capital firm behind viral entertainment company BuzzFeed and several education start-ups, has argued, despite the opposition of “unions, public school bureaucracies, and parents,” the “education market is ripe for disruption.”
Hippeau’s vision is the growing sentiment among investors. Education technology firms secured a record $1.25 billion in investments across 378 deals in 2013, while analysts predict that number will continue to surge this year. Since 2010, Moe has led what has been billed as the premiere education investment conference, which takes place annually in Scottsdale, Arizona. The first year attracted around 370 people and 55 presenting companies. This year, that number soared to over 2,000 with over 290 presenting companies and speeches by luminaries including former Governor Jeb Bush, Magic Johnson and Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker. One of the largest start-ups, a Herndon, Virginia–based company called K12 Inc., a for-profit largely online charter chain, posted nearly $1 billion in annual revenue for its last fiscal year in August.
Many are attempting to duplicate that success. “There’s a dramatic shift in how investors are thinking about this industry,” Fahad Hassan, an education entrepreneur with his own venture-backed start-up, told a meeting of entrepreneurs earlier this year.
The explosion of investor interest in education raises a number of questions, among them: What kind of influence will the for-profit education sector attempt to exert over education policy? And if school reform is crafted to maximize the potential for investor profit, will students benefit, as boosters claim—or will they suffer?
There’s also the question of the effect of privatization on costs. And there, the healthcare example gives reason for concern. The privatization of health services has corresponded closely with skyrocketing costs, leaving millions of Americans without access to care or deeply in debt for seeking treatment for their illnesses. While new laws, including the Affordable Care Act, have extended insurance coverage to some 10 million Americans, many remain without coverage. The United States still spends $8,745 per capita on healthcare, far above the average for all other industrialized countries.
The tantalizing prospect of tapping into the K-12 market has drummed up new level of zeal from education reformers.
A good barometer of this passion is a document distributed by Moe, who now leads a firm called GSV Capital, which invests heavily in education start-ups including Knewton Inc. and Avenues, a New York–based private school with plans to expand into a global chain. Like any sweeping manifesto, his education reform blueprint sets the stage by listing massive social upheavals—the Arab Spring, the Fall of the Berlin Wall and the Spanish Civil War—and asks, for the “Second American Revolution,” one fought to decide the fate of education policy, “Which side of history will we be on?”
The revolution GSV goes on to describe is a battle to control the fate of America’s K-12 education system. Noting that this money is still controlled by public entities, or what’s referred in the document as “the old model,” the GSV paper calls for reformers to join the “education battlefield.” (A colorful diagram depicts “unions” and “status quo” forces equipped with muskets across businesses and other “change agents” equipped with a fighter jet and a howitzer.) The GSV manifesto declares, “we believe the opportunity to build numerous multi-billion dollar education enterprises is finally real.”
This opportunity exists in part because of major policy changes under the Obama administration. States moving to adopt the federal government’s Common Core standards, which include new standardized testing requirements, have incentivized the private sector to provide solutions to schools. According to Paul Irby, a market analyst with Onvia, states striving to implement the new standards could spend upwards of $12 billion, with much of the money going to updating IT, professional development for teachers, and testing technology.
Moreover, the Obama administration’s signature “Race to the Top” program, which provides states with large cash grants in exchange for changing how students and teachers are evaluated, is being viewed as a potential cash cow for education start-ups. In a blog post, Alex Hernandez, a partner with the Charter School Growth Fund, writes that school districts are “raising more money than you can shake a stick at” and the money granted to local school systems from Race to the Top may be used on the latest tech innovations. The most recent round of Race to the Top Funding, he adds, means districts “should be unwrapping new toys for a while.”
The Department of Education under Obama has seen a flow of revolving door hires from the education investment community. In May of this year, the Senate confirmed Ted Mitchell, the chief executive of the NewSchools Venture Fund, as the Under Secretary for the US Department of Education. Prior to his government position, Mitchell, a personal investor in an array of education start-ups, forged a partnership last year with the creators of Facebook app FarmVille to create new education game products. James Shelton, the Deputy Secretary, is a longtime education investor and the former co-founder of LearnNow, a charter chain that was sold to Edison Learning, a for-profit charter management company.
In an interview with EdSurge, a trade outlet, Shelton explained that the Common Core standards will allow education companies to produce products that “can scale across many markets,” overcoming the “fragmented procurement market” that has plagued investors seeking to enter the K-12 sector. Moreover, Shelton and his team manage an education innovation budget, awarding grants to charter schools and research centers to advance the next breakthrough in education technology. Increased research and development in education innovation, Shelton wrote in testimony to Congress, will spark the next “equivalent of Google or Microsoft to lead the global learning technology market.” He added, “I want it to be a US company.”
The other transformative changes come from the state and local level as a new class of politicians, including scores of Democratic mayors and Republican legislators and state officials, have ushered in new laws in recent years to divert taxpayer funding to charter schools, which are often run as for-profit companies and are more willing to embrace tech-centric classroom solutions than their public sector counterparts. In many states, including Florida, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, and Ohio, parents may opt to apply the amount the state would normally spend on their child’s education (between roughly $5,000 to $10,000) to send their children to a charter.
The opening up of the K-12 money for privately run schools, through charter schools or through vouchers applied to private schools, with restrictions on launching charter schools increasingly relaxed in many states, has created a boom in charter businesses hoping to persuade parents to trust their children, along with their money, with them. At present, more than 4 percent of students are enrolled at the more than 6,000 charter schools in operation. Few figures exist on how many of these students are taught by for-profit operators (in most states, charter schools must be registered as nonprofits, though they may outsource their operations to proprietary companies.)
The breakneck speed at which these schools have taken off, often with little oversight, has led to scandals. Since 2013, the FBI has investigated more than five charter schools in Illinois, Indiana, Ohio and beyond on suspicion that management has misplaced or stolen funds. In Florida, a state with famously lenient rules for operating charters and among the highest concentration for-profit K through 12 schools, the Miami Herald has reported on a continuing laundry list of poorly run charters: students going weeks without textbooks, class attendance sheets faked, and children charged illegal fees for standard courses. In a growing phenomenon, one Florida for-profit company, Academica, has earned over $19 million a year by charging leasing fees to public school land already owned by its charter schools.
Does free market competition ensure accountability in education by turning bad operators into economic losers? That’s what privatizers claim, but the record so far suggests otherwise.
K12 Inc., the for-profit charter behemoth that enrolls 123,259 students, went public in 2007 with the help of Moe’s previous investment firm, and has since been a darling of Wall Street. In January of this year, students from Newark Prep Charter School, which is K12 Inc.-operated, joined executives from the company to ring in the bell of the New York Stock Stock Exchange. In Moe’s revolutionary manifesto, K12 Inc. is listed as among the businesses he considers the “special forces” that will remake the education landscape.
The rising revenues of K12 Inc. have been matched by poor performance. In the 2010-2011 school year, only 27.7 percent of K12 Inc.-operated schools met the Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) standard, far below the 52 percent average of brick and mortar public schools. An investigation in Colorado, where K12 Inc. has been ejected from several school districts, found that nearly half of online students left within a year, and when those students returned to brick and mortar schools, they were further behind academically than when they started. Similar investigations in Florida and Ohio found K12 Inc. teachers instructing classes without certification and instructing online classes of over 250 students.
In several states, K12 Inc.-operated virtual charter schools have faced a backlash because of poor performance and high drop-out rates. In July, Tennessee’s education commissioner announced the closure of the Tennessee Virtual Academy, K12 Inc.’s affiliate school, at the end of the 2014-2015 school year because of the charter’s failure to score above the state’s lowest level of academic achievement. Last month, Pennsylvania’s Agora Cyber Charter School, the largest school managed by K12 Inc., voted to consider ending its relationship with the company after revelations that the school allegedly manipulated attendance sheets and performance data in an attempt to conceal incredibly high rates of student turnover.
Still, despite wave after wave of negative press, K12 Inc. figures as a solid investment opportunity to many. Baird Equity Research, in a giddy note to investors this year about the potential growth of K12 Inc., noted, “capturing just two million (3.5%) of the addressable market yields a market opportunity of approximately $12 billion … Over the next three years, we believe that the company is capable of 7%+ organic revenue growth with modest margin expansion.” How will it achieve this growth? According to Baird, K12 Inc.’s “competency in lobbying in new states” is “another key point of differentiation.” The analyst note describes “K12’s success in working closely with state policymakers and school districts to enable the expansion of virtual schools into new states or districts” as a key asset. “The company has years of experience in successfully lobbying to get legislation passed to allow virtual schools to operate,” Baird concludes.
Indeed, K12 Inc.’s spectactular growth over the years stems largely from the extraordinary amount the company spends on lobbying, as well as on marketing and advertising, with promises in some areas that enrollment comes with a free computer. USA Today found that the company spent $21.5 million on advertising in the first eight months of 2012. The company sponsors billboards, radio advertisements, and spots on children’s cable television.
K12 Inc.’s lobbyists helped author model legislation to develop sweeping voucher laws through the American Legislative Exchange Council, a conservative group that provides state lawmakers with template legislation. Though state by state lobbying figures are difficult to come by, given the patchwork of varying laws, K12 Inc. has hired dozens of local officials to ensure that these voucher laws are quickly passed with few amendments. “We have incurred significant lobbying costs in several states,” K12 Inc. noted in a filing with the SEC.
“The stockholders benefit from those students’ enrollments, but the students get stuck with a lousy education that will follow them the rest of their lives,” says Jeff Bryant, the director of the Education Opportunity Network.
Nevertheless, Moe and his cohort have pledged to grow the industry by leaps and bounds in coming years. At the last two conference he organized, there was talk of organizing a bipartisan campaign to persuade 2016 presidential candidates to sign onto a statement of principles endorsing charters and other education innovations. The pledge also called for the federal government to create new tax incentives for spending on education companies akin to a health savings account.
At the last conference in April, Moe closed on an optimistic note. “How do you balance this whole idea between making a profit and helping kids?” he asked. “The way that we think we’re going to create the greatest returns for our investors is by investing in companies that have the greatest educational impact.”
This article shows the same dynamics in Colorado-----a very neo-liberal state-----as we see in Maryland. School Boards are increasingly being made appointments and election rigging is giving us a continuous chain of neo-liberals who then appoint business/privatization school boards. O'Malley has done that in Baltimore with his tag-team corporate pol Rawlings-Blake giving us the worst of school boards all so these privatization schemes can continue.
Below you see NATION-WIDE TEACHER/STUDENT PROTESTS and the fact that the unions comes not to support these striking teachers----but to say they have nothing to do with the protest.
DID YOU KNOW THAT THERE WAS A NATIONAL DAY OF PROTEST OF EDUCATION REFORM HERE IN MARYLAND?
MUMS THE WORD WITH CAPTURED LABOR AND JUSTICE LEADERS!
Please become the leaders we need in our public justice organizations! Hmmmmmmmm....positive aspects of history like Bush/Cheney being a great success and Wall Street 'greed' and not massive corporate fraud. Eliminate the labor, womens, civil rights movements because that is negative. This is what Common Core is about. It takes us back to history being written by and for the rich. We had revolutions in Europe and America to GIVE THE PEOPLE THE VOICE IN PUBLIC POLICY AND HISTORY and neo-liberals and neo-cons work hard to take this away!
'instructional material should promote "positive aspects" of U.S. history and avoid encouraging "civil disorder, social strife or disregard of the law."
Jeffco schools superintendent threatens to discipline absent teachers
By Jesse Paul
The Denver PostPosted: 09/29/2014 05:44:11 AM MDT
GOLDEN — Jefferson County's school superintendent threatened to bring disciplinary action against dozens of teachers who called in sick or used a personal day as part of an ongoing protest that closed two high schools Monday.
"Some of our highest-need students didn't get lunch today because they weren't in school," Superintendent Dan McMinimee said.
Golden and Jefferson high schools closed Monday because of the high number of teacher absences that occurred even after principals had urged the teachers not to miss school, McMinimee said.
Lynn Setzer, a spokeswoman for Jefferson County Public Schools, said most teachers called in sick after 8 p.m. Sunday. Fifty-two of the 65 teachers at Golden called in absent, while 27 of 37 teachers were absent at Jefferson.
Teachers who missed school will have to show proof of illness, McMinimee said, adding that personal days need 24 hours' notice.
"We are going to have our building principals work with each teacher involved in this," he said.
"We will probably dock them a day's pay," McMinimee said of teachers who didn't follow the guidelines of the collective bargaining agreement. "I think it's time for this to end. Let's put an end to this."
Teachers who were absent Sept. 19, causing the district to close Standley Lake and Conifer high schools, will not be disciplined. Officials said they thought those marked a one-time event, so they decided not to consider discipline.
John Ford, president of the Jefferson County Education Association, reiterated that the union had nothing to do with organizing teacher absences and said union members would honor the contract and provide any information it must to the district.
"The board majority has the ability to put this to an end," Ford said. "They just have to start listening to the community and the students and the parents. People are frustrated."
Tammie Peters, an English teacher in Golden, was asked to speak to the media on behalf of the school's educators.
"I stand with my fellow teachers who are 'sick' of the board majority's actions," Peters said in a statement. "While we need some reforms in Jefferson County, the board majority is not providing the reforms we need or want. The board majority continues to show disrespect to the voters, the taxpayers, the teachers, the parents and the students of Jefferson County."
Peters said Jeffco teachers feel the board is treating them unfairly and using a flawed evaluation system.
"I'm very disappointed that some of our instructors have chosen not to turn up for work today," school board president Ken Witt said Monday. "It is not appropriate for adult matters to impact the education of our students."
Witt said the district worked "diligently" during the weekend to prepare for and prevent mass teacher absences, adding that he was upset that teachers from Jefferson High School, where students are lagging in some subjects, caused their school to close.
"It wasn't until this morning that there were enough sick call-ins to force us to close the schools," Witt said.
Despite the unrest, as Oct. 1 — the official student count day — approaches, state officials said Monday that absences should not affect the district's funding of $7,021 per student. Extensions and rules in the count allow for students present five days before and five days after Oct. 1 to be included in the funding determination.
The district also can show evidence of attendance outside the 10-day window.
"All is not lost if they are not there on Oct. 1," said Janelle Asmus, a spokeswoman for the Colorado Department of Education.
Despite canceled classes, students at both closed high schools showed up to support their teachers and protest the school board.
Rachel Hilbrecht, a senior at Golden High School, said she's been out protesting at 6:30 a.m. and during her lunch breaks every school day since last Monday.
"Instead of seeing it as a day off school, we decided it would be better to come out here and voice our opinion to the public," Hilbrecht said.
Angelica Dole, a sophomore at Jefferson High School, said the students were 100 percent behind their teachers.
"This is our own time. This was all students. No teachers are here," Dole said. "Look around."
Monday's closure comes after a series of student walk-outs and protests last week at most of the county's high schools.
While teachers have been voicing discontentment for months, a proposed committee that was going to review the AP U.S. history curriculum provided the catalyst for the protests. As initially proposed by board member Julie Williams, instructional material should promote "positive aspects" of U.S. history and avoid encouraging "civil disorder, social strife or disregard of the law."
The board tabled the idea for the panel, and significant cuts and changes have been proposed. The committee proposal was not supposed to be on the agenda of this Thursday's school board meeting, but on Monday a discussion of the proposal was added in response to the student protests.
It takes corporate non-profits to generate the data showing the success of corporate education privatization-----this is what ACY -----a national corporate non-profit does across the country and is tied to this education reform.
Who We Are
Who We Are Why does Advocates for Children and Youth Exist?
What Do We Do? We improve the lives and experiences of Maryland’s children through policy change and program improvement.
What Do We Provide? We provide advocacy and impact data as well as personalized stories to help tell the story of Maryland’s children in a simple way. This information is often used by state agencies, legislators and our fellow advocates.
Advocacy Data: We research and recommend best practices to inform or further our work as we champion a course of action or support a point of view.
Impact Data: We collect and publish statistics on more than 60 indicators of child well-being as part of our work as a KidsCount® affiliate.
Recommendations: We offer sound ideas to agencies, policy makers and our community based on extensive research, in-depth analysis and proven programs in order to better the lives of Maryland’s children.
Stories: We compile and share personalized stories so that we can continually connect with those that we serve.
Why Are We Every Child’s Ally?
• We protect the rights of children in all aspects of health, justice, education and welfare—improving the social sphere for each of Maryland’s children
• We champion the need for a better world for each child and watching out for them when no one else does—it is all about building positive childhood experiences for generations to come
HERE IS THE DATA PROVIDED THAT SHOWS BALTIMORE'S EDUCATION POLICIES ARE WORKING! SURPRISE!
There has been so much media attention to growing problems in achievement, discipline, access and fairness, and where the money is going......fraud and corruption in Baltimore. We have outside research data telling us Baltimore is failing in all avenues of education policy and yet----
HERE IS ACY-----THE JOHNS HOPKINS CORPORATE NON-PROFIT TASKED WITH SUPPLYING DATA THAT ALL IS THE EDUCATION POLICY IT PUSHES IN BALTIMORE IS PEACHY!
The Director is from Hopkins, Mary Pat Clarke is a Hopkins pol and this is why there is silence in Baltimore when people are shouting all over the nation.
I will provide the research and data that tells this different story tomorrow. This is the problem for Maryland----we have no reliable data sources because we have no public sector. This is why as well we have no education organizations shouting that this is very bad policy and why teachers and administrators in Baltimore are silenced-----the schools are filled with Hopkins private education non-profits. We have all data provided by Johns Hopkins who is writing all the policy! Just a quick example is the systematic push by schools to keep low performing students out of school on the day of testing to boost school achievement scores. Simply changing what constitutes an institution that qualifies to graduate high school students gives you higher graduation rates.
An advocate for children would not embrace these practices-----they would out them.
More children are living in high-poverty neighborhoods because the the massive closing of schools in Baltimore's underserved communities. ACY supports these gentrification policies. Mary Pat Clarke is the chair of Baltimore City Hall education committee and she is head of ACY----When you have the same city counsel people voting the privatization policy in place heading corporate non-profits attached to schools----you get positive data. You will not hear this organization shouting as teachers, parents, and students are by the millions across the nation. WHY IS THAT?
Think of the article above with Denver teachers protesting policy that only 'positive information is taught in schools'.
KIDS COUNT Data Book Reveals Improvements in Health, Education Child Well-Being Indicators
State Policy Changes Have Resulted in Positive Changes for Children, but More are Living in High-Poverty Neighborhoods
BALTIMORE — Demographic, social and economic changes combined with major policy developments have affected the lives of Maryland’s lower-income children in both positive and negative ways since 1990, according to the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s 25th edition of its annual KIDS COUNT Data Book.
The new Data Book uses 16 child well-being indicators across four areas – Economic Well-Being, Education, Health and Family and Community. In Maryland, health and education indicators show steady improvement. Approximately 1.3 million children or 96 percent were insured in 2012—a one percent improvement over 2008. More children are also attending Pre-K with 73,000 children or 50 percent getting additional support to help them succeed.
“These indicators are encouraging and confirm that our work is appropriately focused,” said Al Passarella, research director for Advocates for Children and Youth. “We have made a concerted effort to reach vulnerable youth populations to advise them, direct service providers and their caregivers about healthcare coverage and we have worked with fellow advocates to ensure that Pre-K is a priority.”
However, Passarella said there is more work to be done as there are some worrisome trends.
There was an increase in the number of households who have to spend more than 30 percent of their income on housing. In 2012, 500,000 children lived in such households which represented a 6 percent increase over 2005. The number of children living in poverty was183,000 which represents a 27 percent increase since 2005. The rate of children growing up in financial stressed households has also increased, with 35 percent or 502,000 children living in a neighborhood where households that spend 30 percent or more on their income housing expenses.
“These statistics show that we can never rest easy when it comes to improving outcomes for Maryland’s children,” said Passarella. “Based on these indicators, Maryland ranks 12th in the nation; however, when you examine the data in detail our children still need some of the basics that we sometimes take for granted.”
The new Data Book examines the more recent national trends between 2005 and 2012 which hold true for Maryland as well:
• Children continue to progress in the areas of education and health. All four education indicators covering milestones such as preschool attendance and high school graduation showed steady improvements. Child health also improved across all four indicators, and more children have access to health insurance coverage than before the recession. There were also drops in child and teen mortality and teen substance abuse. The percent of low-birth weight babies declined slightly.
• Economic progress still lags, even after the end of the recession. Three of the four economic well-being indicators were worse than the mid-decade years, which is not surprising given the severity of the economic crisis over the past six years. However, the majority of the indicators in this area improved slightly at the national level since the 2013 Data Book, indicating modest but hopeful signs of recovery.
• Mixed picture on Family and Community indicators. The teen birth rate is at a historic low. There was a small drop in the percent of children living in families where the household head lacks a high school diploma. However, there was an increase in the percent of children living in single-parent families and more children living in high-poverty areas.
The KIDS COUNT Data Book features the latest data on child well-being for every state, the District of Columbia and the nation. This information is available in the KIDS COUNT Data Center, which also contains the most recent national, state and local data on hundreds of measures of child well-being. Data Center users can create rankings, maps and graphs for use in publications and on websites, and view real-time information on mobile devices.
I am not against private or religious schools-----I am not against private charters. I am against all of the above getting ever larger portions of public education money with the goal of privatizing public education I also strongly support separation of church and state. IT IS VERY IMPORTANT TO KEEP SEPARATION OF CHURCH AND STATE IN PLACE.
As global corporations provide greater wealth inequity we are seeing our public sector disappear and the church step in. For those conservatives who support church as public sector READ THE HISTORY OF MEDIEVAL EUROPE---IT DOESN'T END WELL FOR THE MASSES!
Why is Maryland spending millions in public funds for private school books, computers?
By Valerie Strauss April 3, 2013 Washington Post
There’s an interesting item in the 2014 supplemental budget that Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) has submitted: a request for $500,000 in “additional funds for non-public school textbooks.”
What is this all about?
It turns out that there is something called the Maryland NonPublic Student Textbook Program, which, since 2001, has provided public funds for textbooks, computers and other resources that are loaned to qualified private schools. The $500,000 request is on top of more than $5 million already allocated to the program. During the O’Malley’s administration, the funding has risen at least $1 million already.
The Maryland Catholic Conference is a big supporter of the program, and even offered talking points to supporters for Lobby Night 2013, which complains, er, points out that other states, such as New York, spend a lot more money on nonpublic school services such as this. Lobby Night was aimed at members of the Maryland Senate Budget & Taxation House Appropriations and House Appropriations committees.
In fact, Mary Ellen Russell, executive director of the Maryland Catholic Conference, was quoted by MarylandReporter.com as saying that Maryland “provides significantly less to support private education” than some other states; she cited the following figures: Pennsylvania, about $300 million annually; New York, $180 million, New Jersey, about $150 million.
Here’s the Maryland program’s official mission, taken from a Maryland State Department of Education document, which you can find here:
The purpose of the program is to provide funding for the purchase of textbooks, computer hardware and computer software for loan to students in eligible nonpublic schools, with a maximum distribution of $60 per eligible nonpublic school student for participating schools except at schools where at least 20 percent of the students are eligible for the free and reduced price meals program, the distribution will be $90 per student.
Raquel Guillory, director of communications for O’Malley, said the program started under a different governor more than a decade ago, and that the funding for it does not come from tax revenues but instead from the Maryland Cigarette Restitution Fund, which was created from the 1998 Master Tobacco Settlement Agreement with the tobacco industry.
But according to the Web site of the Cigarette Restitution Fund:
The goal of the CRF Program is to implement strategies to reduce the burden of tobacco related disease in Maryland, with a specific emphasis on tobacco use prevention and cessation and cancer prevention, early detection, and treatment. As a result of the CRF Program, Maryland has created focused tobacco-use prevention and cessation programs, cancer prevention, education, and screening programs, cancer research programs, and a strong statewide network of cancer and tobacco local community health coalitions.
Where exactly textbooks and computers for private non-religious and religious schools fits in is unclear.
When asked if O’Malley was asking for more money for the program at the request of the Catholic Church, Guillory said only that O’Malley was not the first governor to provide money for the program. The state Department of Education provided a list of more than 300 schools who received help through the program for fiscal year 2013, the vast majority religious, with most of those Catholic.
Under Maryland law, the allocated money does not go directly to private schools. Rather, eligible nonpublic schools must submit requisition requests to the state Education Department and the agency orders and pays for the books and computers.
The textbooks must be non-religious. Eligible schools must “hold a certificate of approval or be registered with the State Board of Education, through MSDE’s Division of Certification and Accreditation” and “not charge more tuition than the statewide average per pupil expenditure by local school systems, according to this state document about the program. Eligible schools must also comply with Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
The New Jersey Nonpublic School Textbook Law works differently from the Maryland law:
The New Jersey Nonpublic School Textbook Law requires the board of education in each public school district in New Jersey with state funds to purchase and loan textbooks, upon individual request to all students attending a nonpublic school located in the public school district. The students are
enrolled full-time in grades kindergarten through twelve in a nonpublic school in New Jersey which complies with compulsory school attendance requirements
and with the requirements of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
California once had such a program but it was stopped and efforts to revive it were rejected — back in 1982. Californians decided to spend public money on public schools.
Baltimore's reformers mirror what happened in Philadelphia. Philly's moved forward faster because its Republican governor did not have to pretend to be helping Philly's schools.
Remember, the No Child Left Behind unfunded mandate was simply installed to allow Obama to push Race to the Top designed to close public schools and replace them with charters. Bush never funded NCLB because there was never any intent to improve public schools, only to use this law to privatize public schools. This is the neo-liberal/neo-con tag team.
How to Destroy a Public-School System In Philadelphia, education reformers got everything they wanted. Look where the city’s schools are now.
Daniel Denvir September 24, 2014 | This article appeared in the October 13, 2014 edition of The Nation.
This article was reported in partnership with the Investigative Fund at the Nation Institute, with support from the Puffin Foundation.
The older woman wore gloves as she stooped to pick up trash outside Steel Elementary School, tucked into a quiet block of black working-class homes in Philadelphia’s Nicetown section. Apparently, the volunteer had made an impromptu decision to stop by and tidy the place up on her way to wherever she was going.
“This is a community school,” boasts Steel School Advisory Council president Kendra Brooks, a parent of two Steel students, standing next to banners proclaiming We Are Family and We Love Our School. “We have generations and generations of families who have been through Steel School. We have teachers who have been here eighteen, twenty-eight years. So we’ve built a community.”
The school’s tenor—what educators call “climate”—seems positive. Inside, first-grade students are engaged in a reading exercise, while third graders prepare to paint cutouts of butterflies after learning about their life cycle. But the end-of-year calm belies a bruising conflict.
In April, parents and teachers launched a high-profile fight to block a takeover of Steel by a charter-school network after the district, citing the school’s low test scores, declared it in need of an overhaul. Brooks believes that her school—which, like others, has reeled under the budget cuts implemented by Pennsylvania’s Republican governor, Tom Corbett—had been set up to fail. Last spring, apart from the principal and a secretary, she says, Steel had “a teacher for each class” and almost “nothing extra.”
The designation of neighborhood schools as “failing” under the federal No Child Left Behind Act, passed in the early years of the George W. Bush administration, has enabled the rapid growth in Philadelphia of networks like Mastery Charter Schools, which had been tapped to take over Steel. Founded in 2001 with 100 ninth graders, Mastery now educates its own district-within-a-district of nearly 10,000 students in fifteen schools and boasts high test scores and a culture of determined optimism. Ten of these schools are “turnarounds”—in recent years dubbed “Renaissance schools”—that were taken over from the district. Charter-school advocates cite Mastery as a golden model of “no excuses” education within a local charter sector that often suffers from mixed test scores and financial corruption. “Give me the opportunity to break myths and assumptions that folks will have about poor communities that turn out to be completely false,” says Mastery CEO Scott Gordon. He likes to say that the district is a “house on fire” and that poor children are trapped inside. Many parents and students love Mastery, crediting its turnarounds with calming chaotic hallways, improving learning and directing children’s attention toward college.
But Mastery has its critics, who accuse the network of practicing rote teach-to-the-test instruction and burning through young teachers. Even Michael Masch, the school district’s former chief financial officer and a progressive fan of Mastery’s work, makes a point of noting that the charter network engages in prodigious outside fundraising. Mastery is “not doing more with less,” Masch says. “They’re doing more with more.”
In fact, the basic structure of school financing in Philadelphia is rigged to benefit these privately managed companies. Public-school money follows students when they move to charter schools, but the public schools’ costs do not fall by the same amount. For example, if 100 students leave a district-run school at a cost of $8,596 per head (the district’s per-pupil expenditure minus certain administrative costs), that school’s cost for paying teachers, staff and building expenses doesn’t actually decline by that amount. It has been estimated that partly because of these costs, each student who enrolls in a charter school costs the district as much as $7,000.
There are outright subsidies too, including a loophole that provides charters with an extra “double-dip” pension payment. Charters also appear to game the state’s special-education payment system to secure a larger share of district funds. In 2013, according to the Philadelphia Public School Notebook, city charters obtained nearly $100 million more than they spent on special education.
At Steel, Parents United for Public Education, the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers and Concerned Neighbors of Nicetown organized to block the Mastery takeover, as allegations circulated that the district would provide the charter with an additional $2 million in annual funding. Gordon disputes this figure and says that Mastery invests just $1.5 million of its own privately raised dollars in turnaround schools—and then only for the first year.
Steel parents voted 121–55 to oppose the Mastery takeover, while the School Advisory Council, in a decision rife with allegations of misconduct on both sides, narrowly backed it by a vote of 9 to 8. Mastery withdrew. Weeks later, the parents and advisory council at another school slated for takeover—in this case, by the Puerto Rican–led ASPIRA network--voted overwhelmingly in opposition.
These votes were among the few successful coordinated efforts by parents and teachers to block charter expansion in Philadelphia. They constituted a pivotal moment in a struggle involving Corbett, well-funded education reformers bent on privatizing public schools, a battered teachers union, and students and parents attempting to navigate a school system in which fiscal crisis has become the only constant.
Gordon, Brooks notes, “said his job was ‘to help poor people.’ Well, no one asked for your help…. Every couple years, they come up with a new philosophy about what’s best—instead of funding the schools.”