People thinking this is fine because it is all about getting class and race out of urban areas need to WAKE UP-----these policies will be for all public schools. Below is one set of public schools in the gentrifying city center in Baltimore. All areas that are Enterprise Zones-----meaning upgrading to affluent----have a partner in Johns Hopkins. I like to call a Hopkins' banner on these schools 'gang tagging' because to have the most neo-conservative and corrupt corporation in the world capture all the public schools as their schools----is not good. Partnered means these school principals report to Johns Hopkins and installing all policies Hopkins wants. Now, you do not see the words CHARTER SCHOOL on these partnered schools but you do see GREAT SCHOOLS. Most people living in what will be an affluent area would not want charter schools----they have a voice and they want Democratic and broad-based learning for their child not the cheapest mode of educating as is happening in underserved schools. Look below to see what is an education corporation started on the West Coast that is indeed becoming a national charter system complete with its own set of education and policies. Not one word is spoken of this connection or the goals of partnering these schools with Johns Hopkins. People are simply told they are receiving 'community support' from various Hopkins' organizations like Greater Homewood Development. Great Schools are all over the nation and is the fastest growing national charter chain in the country. OH, THEY SAY----WE ARE SIMPLY AN EDUCATION NON-PROFIT HELPING TO MAKE SCHOOLS BETTER.
THIS IS WHAT GREAT SCHOOLS IN BALTIMORE IS----A JOHNS HOPKINS CHARTER SYSTEM
Margaret Brent Elementary School - Baltimore, Maryland - MD ...
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This is so sad-----people of color were the largest sector lifted by War on Poverty and equal protection funding of public schools and then Reagan/Clinton and neo-liberalism brought defunding and corruption to school funding and the public schools crumbled. The investments into these charter schools will go away as soon as they capture a market-share of public education K-12 funding. Chicago is ground zero for this mess and Baltimore is right behind it. Obama/Rahm Emanuel and Johns Hopkins----Wall Street global corporate pols. Neo-liberals working with neo-cons to dismantle our first world Democratic nation. The irony of affluent people of color buying into this corporatization of K-12 after they climbed the economic ladder from the benefits of Equal Protection and War on Poverty education programs for public schools and universities is very full-filling to Wall Street.
Below you see what the Maryland Assembly and Baltimore City Hall are trying to do to public education in Maryland. Baltimore is simply the staging platform and your pols all know this expansion is coming to all counties in Maryland.
THIS IS WHAT ALL BALTIMORE CITY POLS RUNNING AS DEMOCRATS----SERVING AS NEO-CONSERVATIVES ARE DOING AND IT WILL KILL LABOR AND JUSTICE AND PUBLIC EDUCATION.
Follow the money
Until recently, alternative schools in Chicago have been run by community organizations. But CPS has now turned to a new set of out-of-town operators to do the job—three of which are for-profit organizations. An analysis of 2015 budgets shows that these new operators plan to spend far less revenue on teachers and staff than traditional alternative schools, most of which operate under the Youth Connection Charter Schools umbrella. Youth Connections spends an average of 70 percent of their revenue on staff. School leaders say success hinges on having adults around to form strong relationships with disengaged youth.
It's OK---alternative schools for drop-outs you say. Why are children dropping out in higher numbers? They are being made to leave by the hardships of School Choice and attending school across town and/or pushed out by school administrators forced to produce academic data goals. Remember, once they break down equal protection and strong public education for all they will continue to find more categories needing to be fixed. We had the public schools that could address our at-risk and special needs right in their own communities and every school could do that because it was funded and resourced. That is what Reagan/Clinton dismantled by defunding public schools a few decades ago allowing them to crumble and American education rankings to fall to the bottom in the world. It was all just a step towards this re-organization of corporate K-career college.
Mixing profits and performance at alternative schools
March 5, 2015 By Sarah Karp
At a conference held by School Board member Deborah Quazzo’s education investment firm Global Silicon Valley Advisors, fellow board member Mahalia Hines introduced Magic Johnson and highlighted Johnson’s visit to a Chicago alternative school that bears his name.
Hines said the former basketball superstar was moved to tears as he listened to a young man’s story of hardship. “The Magic I know was not afraid to cry,” Hines said. “Not only did he shed tears, he offered him a full [college] scholarship and beyond.”
When Hines handed Johnson the microphone at the conference last spring, his entire speech focused on how he has made money starting businesses in urban areas, returning bigger profits than expected in each case. He didn’t mention the schools for dropouts at all until he was asked a question about his education investments.
“I am an aggressive businessman,” he said, adding later that he cared about doing good while making money. “That is who I am.”
Like Johnson, the executives who run the companies that have opened a string of new alternative schools in Chicago cast their involvement as an altruistic mission to improve the lives of low-income teens. At a community breakfast this winter at the South Side location of Ombudsman, one of the schools, CEO Mark Claypool told the crowd that the school was about giving the students hope.
“It gives students hope and dignity that life can be better,” Claypool said. “It tells them, I can transcend.”
But as Chicago quickly and dramatically expands these schools—most of which rely heavily on online curricula and appeal to students’ desire to get a diploma quickly—it’s clear that altruism is heavily mixed with profit-making savvy. CPS has invested nearly $60 million in these companies in the past two years, leading to significant profits—including profit based on buying services and materials from the schools’ own affiliated enterprises.
Making money isn’t problematic in and of itself, as one Harvard University expert points out. But the schools raise another concern, he adds: There is no way to know whether the companies will deliver results given the complex goal of educating students and ensuring their diploma has value.
This last of three stories from a Catalyst Chicago/WBEZ investigation reports on a review of financial information for the four companies that have opened 15 schools in the past two years: Camelot Schools ; Ombudsman; EdisonLearning, which owns Magic Johnson Bridgescape Academy; and Pathways in Education-Illinois, the sole non-profit operator, although its executives own for-profit companies that do business with the non- profit.
The financial information is from audits and budgets obtained from CPS by Catalyst Chicago/WBEZ through a Freedom of Information Act request.
Part 1 reported on questions regarding the quality of the new schools. Part 2 reported on the impact of alternative school expansion on the district’s graduation rate.
While the companies were willing to talk generally about their finances, several of the executives refused to talk about their profits.
Public policy, private profit
Chicago’s expansion is part of a national trend of widespread growth in private, for-profit alternative schools. The four companies that have opened schools here operate more than 100 schools in at least 30 states. Other companies are also part of the mix: More than 15 responded to the request-for-proposals issued by CPS to carry out its expansion goals.
When Camelot Schools was acquired in 2011 by Riverside Company, a private equity firm, Riverside’s managing partner noted in a press release: “Alternative and special education has significant growth.”
In the past two years, the companies have received more than $10 million to launch in Chicago, plus about $50 million in per-pupil general funding.
According to Catalyst/WBEZ’s investigation:
- Company budgets include substantial money for overhead costs and buying services or materials from affiliated companies. As a result, half or less of their funding from CPS pays for teachers and other personnel.
- As mostly online ventures, the schools operate two or even three sessions a day and can enroll more students without having to pay additional teachers. The exception is Camelot, which has an eight-hour day and less online work.
- Since the companies are privately owned, the public has little or no way to know who is investing in them—and most importantly, whether or not the companies have any connections to district or city officials.
Matt Rodriguez, the principal of the 40-year-old alternative school Pedro Albizu Campos Puerto Rican High School, says it’s hard to see how a school can make a profit given the level of support—academic and social—that students in alternative schools typically need.
Like many educators who work with dropouts and at-risk students, Rodriguez feels as though his school barely scrapes by. At the end of the year, he has no financial surplus. Sixty percent of his funding pays for teachers and other staff, enough to keep the student-teacher ratio low. A fair amount is spent on rent. Rodriguez has to rely on outside social service agencies to work with students, who often deal with a host of personal issues.
“It is a shoe-string budget,” he says.
What about results?
Yet CPS Chief of Incubation and Innovation Jack Elsey points out that the schools fill a vital need. CPS had only 4,000 seats for an estimated 60,000 dropouts, and the new companies were able to come in and start filling that gap. “We looked at the cost of serving these students now and the cost to society [later],” he says. “It is absolutely the right thing to do.”
CPS examines budgets and audits to make sure they are spending properly, Elsey says. But the real test is whether they can help students earn their diploma. “We want to see what the outcomes are,” Elsey says.
If these companies can deliver, then there’s nothing wrong with people making money from investing in them, says John D. Donahue, a leading expert on private-public partnerships and faculty chair of the Masters of Public Policy program at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government.
But Donahue is especially skeptical of for-profit companies that operate schools. In general, he says, having for-profit companies partner with government only works well if outcomes can be measured, payment can be tied closely to accountability and sufficient competition exists to keep the company from getting lazy. He notes, for example, that the for-profit model works well when selling smartphones or movie tickets.
“But when you can’t specify in clear terms what you want--either because the undertaking is complex, as education is, or because it is heterogeneous, as education is, or if you don’t know after the service has been delivered what the quality is--then it won’t work,” he says.
Donahue points out that Illinois does not have a high school exit exam that would ensure that the diploma given to students from alternative schools is meaningful. It’s also worrisome, he adds, that alternative school graduates are counted toward the graduation rate of their original high schools--creating a huge incentive for schools to ship out ‘problem’ students and giving these schools a competitive advantage that is not based on quality.
Given concerns such as these, some states, including Illinois, have barred for-profit companies from running schools. Illinois law requires charters to be non-profits and incorporated in the state of Illinois. But in setting up the new alternative schools, CPS side-stepped that requirement by designating them instead as programs that would be under contract to the office that oversees alternative schools.
That’s a direct departure from previous practice, in which the alternative school department contracted with one or two small schools for specialty populations, like students released from the juvenile detention center and the majority of alternative schools were set up as charters, most of them under the Youth Connections Charter Network.
Just a “tax status”
Ombudsman CEO Mark Claypool and Camelot CEO Todd Bock argue that being a for-profit is not much different from being a non- profit. “It is more a tax status than anything else,” says Bock.
Claypool says he can raise money more quickly as a for-profit company and says he raised “$6 or $7 million” to help build out space in Chicago so that four schools could be ready to open over the past two years. Getting loans or foundation grants to support the venture would have taken much longer, he says.
Investors expect about 10 percent return, Claypool says. He maintains that investors are not yet earning dividends at all from the schools in Chicago. Overall, Claypool says, people are not getting rich. “No one is living in an ivory tower off of these schools,” he says. He declined to disclose his own salary.
In 2014, Educational Services of America, which runs Ombudsman, reported $114 million in revenue serving students in more than 20 states. In the three schools in Chicago, Ombudsman is expecting to make about $900,000 in profit this year.
On top of profits, these companies tuck other expenses into their budgets that appear to help the bottom line more than they do students.
During the 2013-2014 school year, according to their audit, Pathways in Illinois was paid $5.1 million to operate two schools with a total of about 500 students. Altogether, the company paid its affiliates $1.8 million for a range of items, from $800,000 in management services to more than $500,000 for curricula and materials from a for-profit owned by the same people who run Pathways.
Magic Johnson Bridgescape includes $400,000 in its budget for each of its five schools (each with 200 students) for educational materials--$2,000 per student. Much of the money is spent on eCourses, which are also EdisonLearning products. Spokesman Mike Serpe said that the company also buys some other programs that students use and mentions Think Through Math, which is part of Quazzo’s investment portfolio.
In addition, EdisonLearning also pays Johnson simply to use his name. At a press conference in February with Mayor Rahm Emanuel to announce Johnson’s financial support for summer jobs for youth, Johnson said he was approached by EdisonLearning because they wanted to draw inner-city students into their schools.
“What they needed was a guy like myself to come in to more or less brand it,” he to Catalyst/WBEZ. When asked how much he makes per school, he replied, “That is all you need to know.”
Obama and Clinton neo-liberals sell the idea of dismantling US public and Democratic education by spinning the truth. Apprenticeships will help the low-income students! They also love to use Germany as an example for this. Well, yes Germany does have a well-funded apprenticeship program but it also has free higher education to universities for all. So, parents and students have a true choice in career path to the trades or university degree programs.
Obama is completely defunding higher education funding for university for low/middle-income and sending it to these job training programs......he is removing the career choice and making Wall Street the 'decider' as to how your child is tracked through pre-K - career college. Maretplace Money on National Public Radio loves to repeat the statistic------almost all public school students are now low-income.
THAT'S BECAUSE FAMILIES IN THE US WERE ROBBED OF THEIR WEALTH AND IT HAS YET TO BE RECOVERED---THEY ARE NOT NEAR OR IN POVERTY----THEY SIMPLY ARE WAITING FOR RULE OF LAW TO BE REINSTATED.
Don't vote Republican to escape this----all of these policies were written by Republican think tanks decades ago to get rid of public education.
Below you see most of Europe pays for all higher education as well as trade apprenticeships. Finland has the top ranking in the world for student scores and that is because Finland adopted the public education system America had before the Reagan/Clinton reforms.
Top 5 Countries Where You Can Study for Free in 2015
Last updated: 12 Jan 2015 |
If you fail to qualify for fully-funded university scholarships, consider enrolling in universities that are tuition free or universities offering tuition fee scholarships. Countries like Finland, Austria, Norway, Germany, and Sweden offer different types of tuition free schemes for international students. scholars4dev.com has compiled information and provided links to tuition-free Colleges and Universities in these countries.
Tuition Free Universities in Finland »According to studyinfinland.fi:
There are currently no tuition fees charged in Finland, regardless of the level of studies and the nationality of the student. Remember that even when there are no tuition fees, you still need to plan your finances – you are expected to independently cover all your everyday living expenses during your studies in Finland.
At the moment, scholarships are mainly available only for Doctoral level studies and research.
Cost of Studying in Finland: Estimated living expenses of a single student in Finland average around 500-800 Euros per month.
See the list of all Finnish institutions of higher education
See the list of Scholarships in Finland
Tuition Free Universities in Austria »According to studyinaustria.at
If you are an non-EU/EEA student, federal/public universities in Austria only charge about 363.36 or 726.72 Euros per semester for tuition fees plus 17.50 Euros for the Student Union membership fee and .50 Euros insurance fee per semester. If you are a citizen of a least developed country, you may be exempted to pay tuition fees at public universities in Austria and only need to pay the Student Union membership fee and insurance.
Cost of Studying in Austria: The cost of living for students in Austria is approximately 800 Euros per month which covers accommodation, food, and personal expenses.
See the list of Higher Education Institutions in Austria
Tuition Free Universities in Norway »According to Studyinnorway.no:
Norwegian state universities and university colleges as a rule do not charge tuition fees to all students including international students. This applies to all levels, including undergraduate studies, Masters programmes and Ph.D. programmes. Note that some state universities and university colleges may have tuition fees for a few specialized programmes which are typically at the Masters level. Students will also need to pay a semester fee of NOK 300-600 each semester.
Most private institutions have tuition fees for all their programmes and courses. But the fees are usually significantly lower than those of comparable studies in most other countries. Also, foreign students don’t pay higher tuition fees than Norwegian students.
Cost of Studying in Norway: You should take into consideration that living expenses in Norway are higher than in many other countries. Living expenses would amount to NOK 90,000-100,000 per year.
See the list of Universities and Colleges in Norway
See also the list of Scholarships in Norway for International Students
Tuition Free Universities in Germany »As of October 2014, all Universities in Germany will not charge any tuition fees for undergraduate studies for all students including international students. In some Federal States, Universities will charge a semester contribution (about 50 euros) and/or administration fees (about 50 euros). This tuition fee structure can change in the future, you should check this page for updated information on tuition fees in different federal states in Germany.
Unlike undergraduate studies, most Master’s or PhD studies in Germany are fee-based. The costs for postgraduate studies are in addition to the enrollment and confirmation fees.
Cost of Studying in Germany: On average, German students spend about 500-800 Euros for accommodation, transport, food, and miscellaneous expenses.
See the list of German Universities and Colleges.
Also see the list of Scholarships in Germany for International Students
Tuition Free Universities in Sweden »According to studyinsweden.se:
Tuition fees apply for students who are not citizens of an EU/EEA/Nordic country or Switzerland. The fees apply only to Bachelor’s and Master’s programmes and courses, while PhD programmes are tuition-free. Other fees such as student union fee (SEK 50-350 per semester) and insurance may apply.
A significant number of Universities offer full and partial scholarships in the form of tuition waivers for international students.
Find the list of Universities in Sweden that offers scholarships/tuition waivers
See the list of Scholarships in Sweden for International Students
Online Tuition-Free Universities »There are now a number of Universities offering online degrees/courses for free. The first such University is University of the People which is a tuition-free, non-profit, online academic institution dedicated to opening access to higher education globally. University of the People offers online Associate and Bachelor’s Degree in Management and Computer Science.
This was followed by an initiative of MIT and Harvard called edX which is a learning platform that gives students from any country the opportunity to take free online courses offered by three premier Universities in the US – Harvard, MIT, and UC Berkeley and about 50+ Universities and institutions. Following this trend, Coursera was introduced which is an online learning platform that partners with the top universities in the world to offer online courses in many fields of study for anyone to take, for free.
See the list of Universities offering free online courses
As you see citizens across the nation are fighting all of these privatization platforms being built by Clinton neo-liberals and Bush neo-cons. All major cities like Chicago, Seattle, and LA have strong movements of labor and justice leaders sending politicians packing for supporting this mess.
In Baltimore there are no labor and justice leaders, only people captured by Johns Hopkins and its personal privatization scheme. We need all citizens in Baltimore to shout out against this and we need all citizens of Maryland paying attention to what is happening in Baltimore. This will end badly for all American citizens!
Charter schools face fiercest fights in the suburbs
Gary Stern, email@example.com 2:20 p.m. EST December 1, 2014
Growing charter school debate ignores that most are in New York City, other urban centers.
The future of charter schools has become one of New York's most combative educational debates in years, with big-name officials racing to declare their commitment to these tax-funded schools without rules.
But lost in the discussion is that charters are still a big-city phenomenon in New York. Today, 197 of the state's 248 charter schools are in New York City and another 33 are in Buffalo, Rochester and Albany.
Throughout the state's nearly 700 other school districts, there are only 18, including one each in Yonkers and Mount Vernon. Several groups have sought and failed to open charter schools in the Lower Hudson Valley in recent years, most recently in Peekskill and Mount Vernon, thanks to furious community opposition or the state's denial of their applications.
"It's like pledging a fraternity and not getting in," said the Rev. Collie Nathan Edwers, a well-known Mount Vernon pastor whose recent application to open a K-4 charter school in the city was not supported by the state Education Department. "Don't tell me there isn't a need in Mount Vernon. The test scores in the school system are awful. The state is sending out mixed messages."
Thirty-nine new charters are already approved to open next year, and 35 of them will be in New York City.
When it comes to the future of charters, key officials have been sending out a clear, if not confrontational, message: More charters will force traditional public schools — at least in big cities — to get their acts together.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who has received donations from hedge fund managers who support charters, has pledged to break the public school "monopoly" by increasing the number of charters. State Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos, R-Nassau County, and Board of Regents Chancellor Merryl Tisch each pledged this month to fight for more charters.
State law caps the number of future charters at 157. But, come January, the Legislature will debate blowing up the cap.
"As the suburbs become more diverse, people may seek charters if they feel certain students' needs are not being met," said Priscilla Wohlstetter, distinguished research professor at Teachers College, Columbia University in New York City. "Right now there is incredible tension between charters and district-run schools."
Who gets the money?
Charter schools are public schools. They are funded with tax dollars that follow students from their home school districts to a charter. But charters operate by their own rules, often with longer hours and no unions.
When the charter movement started in Minneapolis in 1991 (New York opened its first in 1999), they were supposed to serve as laboratories for innovation that would inspire other schools. But charters are now seen primarily as competition for, or at least an alternative to, their neighbors.
"Every year, we take in kids who are three or four years behind their grade level," said Eduardo LaGuerre, chairman of the decade-old Charter School of Educational Excellence in Yonkers, which had almost 600 applications for 81 kindergarten spots this year. "We have to acclimate them to a culture of respect and steady focus. It's hard if they've been in classrooms with minimal structure."
About 2 million U.S. students attend over 6,000 charters. Charter school expansion has become a ferocious political issue as wealthy activists like the Walton family, Bill Gates and Michael Bloomberg promote them as superior to unionized schools.
In New York, Democrats are divided over Cuomo's brazen support for charters. The debate has focused on New York City because of the high-profile growth of chains like Success Academy.
Today, 23 percent of Albany students, 14 percent of Buffalo students and 9 percent of New York City students attend charter schools.
A pro-charter group that has been vocal in New York City, Families for Excellent Schools, released a report this month blasting poor test results in Yonkers schools and possibly setting the stage to call for charters in more areas of the state.
New Yonkers schools Superintendent Michael Yazurlo resisted the notion that Yonkers needs more charters.
"My assumption is that the governor and Tisch and others are looking for the privatization of public schools," he said. "They'll let corporations run the schools. But it won't work."
In New York, charter schools receive five-year licenses, which have to be renewed, from either the state Education Department or SUNY.
When charter schools are proposed in small communities, things can get ugly.
No district wants to lose the tax dollars that follow students to a charter — about two-thirds of its "per-pupil" cost. Charters tend to be proposed in needier communities with poor test scores and limited resources. They are also seen as a sign of dissatisfaction with the school system.
"Putting in a charter makes it look like there is something wrong," said Greg Richmond, president of the National Association of Charter School Authorizers. "People who want to start one don't realize that it's a battle."
A Peekskill group just failed for the second time to get state approval for a charter school at the site of a former Catholic school. Hundreds of opponents went to a public hearing to hammer the proposal as unoriginal, a drain on resources and a disguised attempt to support the Catholic parish.
"What they are offering is a separation from the majority," parent Branwen McDonald said.
The lead applicant, Audrey Warn, said it was healthy for the community to discuss the state of the schools and a possible alternative.
"I think the school district is filled with great people trying to do a hard job," she said. "The charter method, as competition, would make the schools better."
Earlier proposals met similar fates. In 2010, a proposal for an arts-oriented charter in White Plains for students from across Westchester County met fierce opposition from educators, parents and union leaders. The state rejected the plans after key players pulled out.
"It was like being fed into a meat grinder," said Seth Davis, a Rye lawyer and organizer. "There was no attempt to understand what we were doing."
Another group tried to organize a countywide charter school with an environmental focus, first in Ossining and then Yonkers. The project died in 2011 after facing opposition in both communities.
"I do think we need change and options," said Marc Rosner, a Hastings High School teacher who was an organizer. "But sometimes you have a group of teachers and parents who are protective of what they have. I get that, too."
The Peekskill and Mount Vernon applicants may try again. In divided East Ramapo, a charter school project stalled in 2012 because of internal dissension. A new group plans to apply to create a K-8 school.
"We've been going door to door," said Sandra Oates, an organizer. "Parents need an option."