Oligarch to head (mis)education department

By Gene Clancy

Trump’s naming Betsy DeVos to be secretary of education has been touted by some so-called analysts as proof that the new administration is attempting to balance its earlier appointments of ultra-right figures with a “moderate” or less offensive “establishment” choice.

The truth is that all such statements are a smoke screen devised to hide from the general public the poisonous world of big-business politics.

Betsy DeVos is the daughter of a billionaire. She is married to a billionaire. Most recently she was the chairperson of the Michigan Republican Party. Through her career, she has been most active trying to privatize and destroy public education through charter schools and vouchers that directly support private schools.

I don’t have another drawing (I ran out of sketchbook paper and I’m internally crying because of it ((I don’t have any money to get another one)) ) or a poem (I’m out of inspiration, and that’s making me externally cry), but I have a story.

I go to a small high school that’s a charter school, and my friend -who we’ll call Nate for privacy reasons- who is a fan of you, as well as myself. We sit next to each other in biology, and talk quietly to each other during lecture since I know quite a bit about biology from background knowledge from middle school.

For some reason I had forgotten Kaecilius’s name and needed to know it. During work time I tried to ask Nate for Kaecilius’s name. The conversation went something like this:

“Do you remember the name of that guy Strange was fighting?”


“Y'know, that guy.”

“I need you to be more specific.”

Now this was the time for me to try to describe Kaecilius. The first thing that popped into my head was his eyes, and I blurted out.

“The guy with the crusty eyes.”

The guy with the crusty eyes.

Nate just stared at me for a few seconds, then said:

“I know his real name, but we’ll just call him Crusty Eyes.”

The flaky croissant has never told me the name, but with a quick Google search I know his name now.


Hey, don’t be sad, everything is going to be alright in the end.

When stuff are already bad for us, they tend to get better slowly with time.
Do your best to make that change happen. Good luck.


Its most deleterious effect: The proliferation of charter schools means underperforming children get left behind.

Profit-seeking in the banking and health care industries has victimized Americans. Now it’s beginning to happen in education, with our children as the products.

There are good reasons – powerful reasons – to stop the privatization efforts before the winner-take-all free market creates a new vehicle for inequality. At the very least we need the good sense to slow it down while we examine the evidence about charters and vouchers.

1. Charter Schools Have Not Improved Education

The recently updated CREDO study at Stanford revealed that while charters have made progress since 2009, their performance is about the same as that of public schools. The differences are, in the words of the National Education Policy Center, “so small as to be regarded, without hyperbole, as trivial.” Furthermore, the four-year improvement demonstrated by charters may have been due to the closing of schools that underperformed in the earlier study, and also by a variety of means to discourage the attendance of lower-performing students.

Ample evidence exists beyond CREDO to question the effectiveness of charter schools (although they continue to have both supporters and detractors). In Ohio, charters were deemed inferior to traditional schools in all grade/subject combinations. Texas charters had a much lower graduation rate in 2012 than traditional schools. In Louisiana, where Governor Bobby Jindal proudly announced that “we’re doing something about [failing schools],” about two-thirds of charters received a D or an F from the Louisiana State Department of Education in 2013. Furthermore, charters in New Orleans rely heavily on inexperienced teachers, and even its model charter school Sci Academy has experienced a skyrocketing suspension rate, the second highest in the city. More trouble looms for the over-chartered city in a lawsuitfiled by families of disabled students contending that equal educational access has not been provided for their children.

2. The Profit Motive Perverts the Goals of Education

Forbes notes: “The charter school movement began as a grassroots attempt to improve public education. It’s quickly becoming a backdoor for corporate profit.” A McKinsey report estimates that education can be a $1.1 trillion business in the United States. Meanwhile, state educational funding continues to be cut, and budget imbalances are worsened by the transfer of public tax money to charter schools.

Education funding continues to be cut largely because corporations aren’t paying their state taxes.

So philanthropists like Bill Gates and Eli Broad and Michael Bloomberg and Rupert Murdoch and Jeff Bezos and the Walton family, who have little educational experience among them, and who have little accountability to the public, are riding the free-market wave and promoting “education reform” with lots of standardized testing.

—–Just Like the Fast-Food Industry: Profits for CEOs, Low Wages for the Servers

Our nation’s impulsive experiment with privatization is causing our schools to look more like boardrooms than classrooms. Charter administrators make a lot more money than their public school counterparts, and their numbers are rapidly increasing. Teachers, on the other hand, are paid less, and they have fewer years of experience and a higher turnover rate. The patriotic-sounding “Teach for America” charges public school districts $3,000 to $5,000 per instructor per year. Teachers don’t get that money, business owners do.

—–Good Business Strategy: Cut Employees, Use Machines to Teach

The profit motive also leads to shortcuts in the educational methods practiced on our children. Like “virtual” instruction. The video-game-named Rocketship Schools have $15/hour instructors monitoring up to 130 kids at a timeas they work on computers. In Wisconsin, half the students in virtual settings are attending schools that are not meeting performance expectations. Only one out of twelve “cyber schools” met state standards in Pennsylvania. In Los Angelespublic money goes for computers instead of needed infrastructure repair.

K12 Inc., the largest online, for-profit Educational Management Organization in the U.S., is a good example of what theCenter for Media and Democracy calls “America’s Highest Paid Government Workers” — that is, the CEOs of corporations that make billions by taking control of public services. While over 86 percent of K12′s profits came from taxpayers, and while the salaries of K12′s eight executives went from $10 million to over $21 million in one year, only 27.7 percent of K12 Inc. online schools met state standards in 2010-2011, compared to 52 percent of public schools.

It gets worse with the Common Core Standards, an unproven Gates-funded initiative that requires computers many schools don’t have. The Silicon Valley Business Journal reports that “Next year, K-12 schools across the United States will begin implementing Common Core State Standards, an education initiative that will drive schools to adopt technology in the classroom as never before…Apple, Google, Cisco and a swarm of startups are elbowing in to secure market share.” States are being hit with unexpected new costs, partly for curriculum changes, but also for technology upgrades, testing, and assessment.

—–Banker’s Ethics in the Principal’s Office

Finally, the profit motive leads to questionable ethics among school operators, if not outright fraud. After a Los Angeles charter school manager misused funds, the California Charter Schools Association insisted that charter schools areexempt from criminal laws because they are private. The same argument was used in a Chicago case. Charters employ the privatization defense to justify their generous salaries while demanding instructional space as public entities. States around the country are being attracted to the money, as, for example, in Texas and Ohio, where charter-affiliated campaign contributions have led to increased funding and licenses for charter schools.

3. Advanced Profit-Making: Higher Education

At the college level, for-profit schools eagerly clamor for low-income students and military veterans, who conveniently arrive with public money in the form of federal financial aid. For-profit colleges get up to 90 percent of their revenue from U.S. taxpayers. Less incentive remains for these schools after tuition is received, as evidenced by the fact thatmore than half of the students enrolled in for-profit colleges in 2008-9 left without a degree or diploma.

As with K-12 education, the driving need for profit directs our students to computer screens rather than to skilled human communicators. A Columbia University study found that “failure and withdrawal rates were significantly higher for online courses than for face-to-face courses.” The University of Phoenix has a 60 percent dropout rate.

The newest money-maker is the MOOC (Massively Open Online Course). Thanks to such sweeping high-tech strategies, higher ed is increasingly becoming a network of diploma processors, with up to a 90 percent dropout rate, and with the largest business operations losing the most students. For a 2012 bioelectricity class at Duke, for example, 12,725 students enrolled, 3,658 attempted a quiz, and 313 passed. Yet ‘schools’ like edX are charging universities $250,000 per course, then $50,000 for each re-offering of the course, along with a cut of any revenue generated by the course.

4. Lower-Performing Children Left Behind

The greatest perversion of educational principles is the threat to equal opportunity, a mandate that was eloquently expressed by Chief Justice Earl Warren in the 1954 Supreme Court decision on Brown vs. the Board of Education: “Education is perhaps the most important function of state and local governments…Such an opportunity…is a right which must be made available to all on equal terms.” But we’re turning away from that important message. The National Education Policy Center notes that “Charter schools…can shape their student enrollment in surprising ways,” through practices that often exclude “students with special needs, those with low test scores, English learners, or students in poverty.”

The Knowledge Is Power Program (KIPP), perhaps the most acclaimed charter organization, says it doesn’t do that. KIPP has its supporters, and it proudly displays the results of an independent study by Mathematica Policy Research, which concluded that “The average impact of KIPP on student achievement is positive, statistically significant, and educationally substantial.”

But funding for the Mathematica study was provided by Atlantic Philanthropies, the same organization that provided $10-25 million in funding to KIPP.

According to a 2011 study by Western Michigan University, KIPP schools enrolled a lower percentage of students with disabilities (5.9%) than their local school districts (12.1%), enrolled a lower percentage of students classified as English Language Learners (11.5%) than their local school districts (19.2%), and experienced substantially higher levels of attrition than their local school districts. For charters in general, the CREDO study found that fewer special education students and fewer English language learners are served than in traditional public schools. And charter schools serve fewer disabled students. According to a Center on Education Policy report, 98 percent of disabled students are educated in public schools, while only 1% are educated in private schools.

In New York City, special-needs students and English-language learners are enrolled at a much lower rate in charter schools than in public schools; and Over the Counter students – those not participating in the choice process – are disproportionately assigned to high schools with higher percentages of low-performing students. Special education students also leave charters at a much higher rate than special education students in traditional New York public schools. In Nashville, low-performing students are leaving KIPP Academy and other charters just in time for their test scoresto be transferred to the public schools. And Milwaukee’s voucher program, which has been praised as a model of privatization success, has had up to a 75 percent attrition rate.

Equal Access to Education?

It’s been 60 years since Chief Justice Warren declared education “a right which must be made available to all on equal terms.” Belief in the American Dream means that anyone can move up the ladder. But today only 4 percent of those raised in the bottom quintile make it all the way to the top as adults. Two-thirds of those raised in the bottom of the wealth ladder remain on the bottom two rungs.

Compared to other developed countries, equal education has been a low priority in America, with less spending on poor children than rich ones, and with repeated cutbacks in state funding. But there’s no market-based reform where children are involved. Education can’t be reduced to a lottery, or a testing app, or a business plan. Equal opportunity in education ensures that every child is encouraged and challenged and nurtured from the earliest age, as we expect for our own children.

(article by Paul Bucheit, illustration by Rackjite)
Why the Racist History of the Charter School Movement Is Never Discussed

The now-popular idea of offering public education dollars to private entrepreneurs has historical roots in white resistance to school desegregation after Brown v. Board of Education (1954). The desired outcome was few or, better yet, no black students in white schools.

Two years before a federal court set a final desegregation deadline for fall 1959, local newspaper publisher J. Barrye Wall shared white county leaders’ strategy of resistance with Congressman Watkins Abbitt: “We are working [on] a scheme in which we will abandon public schools, sell the buildings to our corporation, reopen as privately operated schools with tuition grants from [Virginia] and P.E. county as the basic financial program,” he wrote. “Those wishing to go to integrated schools can take their tuition grants and operate their own schools. To hell with ‘em.”

Meanwhile, in less blatant attempts to avoid desegregation, states and localities also enacted “freedom of choice” plans that typically allowed white students to transfer out of desegregated schools, but forced black students to clear numerous administrative hurdles and, not infrequently, withstand harassment from teachers and students if they entered formerly all-white schools. When some segregationists began to acknowledge that separate black and white schools were no longer viable legally, they sought other means to eliminate “undesirables.”

Attorney David Mays, who advised high-ranking Virginia politicians on school strategy, reasoned, “Negroes could be let in [to white schools] and then chased out by setting high academic standards they could not maintain, by hazing if necessary, by economic pressures in some cases, etc. This should leave few Negroes in the white schools. The federal courts can easily force Negroes into our white schools, but they can’t possibly administer them and listen to the merits of thousands of bellyaches.”

for those who still somehow defend charter schools, here’s another brilliant reason why they’re not only no good but also oppressive. the same racist shit that happened then is happening now.
Newark high school students walk out to protest new charter-friendly plan

NEWARK, NJ. – Holding bullhorns and signs – some with the word “liar” in bold letters above the silhouettes of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and state-appointed Newark Superintendent Cami Anderson – hundreds of middle and high school students walked out of schools and into the streets of this economically struggling city on Thursday, demanding that the city administration reverse course on a plan that could lead to some schools closing or downsizing, teachers being let go and charter schools moving into public buildings.

“They said (the plan) will make Newark schools better,” said Jose Leonard, a 16-year-old at Arts High School.  “They’ve been saying that for 20 years and we haven’t seen anything. It’s like they don’t care about the students.”

The students say they’re fed up with what they see as an intentional defunding of Newark’s traditional public schools in favor of charter schools – which are run by nonprofit organizations or private companies using taxpayer dollars.

Continue reading


In New Orleans, there are no more neighborhood schools. Instead, parents must choose — a charter school, private school, or one of six remaining traditional public schools. This fall, more than 9 in 10 New Orleans students will attend charters.

Parents apply through an open admissions lottery. They request their top choices, and then a computer makes assignments.

The district set aside one day in July for last-minute enrollment. It expected about 300 parents. More than 2,000 showed up in the next few days, and eventually almost 7,000 students would be assigned to new school seats.

The End Of Neighborhood Schools

Photo credit: Edmund D. Fountain for NPR
School Closings: The New Apartheid

Once again, it’s time to play “Spot the Pattern!" Can you find the pattern that emerges from these reformy stories from around the country? [all emphases mine]


In what would be the largest public school closing in US history, Chicago officials are proposing to shutter 61 schools, 9 percent of the 681 schools citywide. 


A factor deeply embedded in the debate over the closings is race: The majority of students in CPS are either black or Hispanic, and the Sun-Times reports that most of the schools targeted for closure are located on the far South and West sides of the city, which have been plagued by street violence. City homicides surpassed 500 last year, a four-year high; most were shooting deaths located in areas known for marginalized schools. 

Washington D.C.:

When the city shuttered 23 schools in 2008, students from the closed schools were more than twice as likely to enroll in a charter school as students from other schools. This time, 2,600 students are to be displaced, and Catania asked Henderson to explain how she would ensure that they wouldn’t leave the system. “You’re absolutely right in that many charter schools, because of their proficiency rates, offer, at least on the surface, a better opportunity,” Henderson said. “We’re going to have to work really hard.” Henderson said she would submit a transition plan to the council by Feb. 15. The hearing was Henderson’s first appearance before the Education Committee, constituted this month to bring new focus to oversight of city schools. Education had been handled since 2007 by the council’s Committee of the Whole, a forum in which other issues often overshadowed the subject. “We have been missing in action for six years,” Catania said. A key committee priority will be helping establish a comprehensive plan for the coexistence of charter and public schools, he said. While council members focused on avoiding future school closures, activists announced Wednesday that they plan to challenge in court the latest round of closings. They say the closures disproportionately affect African American children and students with disabilities.Black students make up 72 percent of the school system’s total enrollment but account for 93 percent of the students affected by the closures, said Mary Levy, a longtime school system watchdog.

New Jersey:

New Jersey Classifications This first figure shows the demographic composition of schools by their classification. Perhaps the most astounding feature of this graph is that priority schools are nearly 100% black and Hispanic, while reward schools have very low levels of low income, black or Hispanic students.

External image


My office is analyzing Superintendent William Hite’s proposal to close 37 district-run schools, which will ultimately displace thousands of students, and which could have devastating repercussions for many neighborhoods. In a prior review of vacant school facilities, my office found that schools that were closed and remained vacant for many years had become havens for illegal and dangerous activity. In the most egregious case, a vacant school was ravaged by a four-alarm fire that put its neighbors and the city’s firefighters at risk.

The imminent school closures will affect 15,000 students who are disproportionately concentrated in some of Philadelphia’s poorest neighborhoods. In a district that is 55 percent black, nearly 80 percent of the affected students are African American

More Chicago:

CHICAGO –The Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis said the following at a news conference regarding proposed school closings: “We are standing here today in the beautiful Mahaila Jackson elementary school in our city’s Auburn-Gresham neighborhood. This school was named for one of the greatest gospel singers in our nation’s history, a woman who sang at Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s funeral, a woman who was instrumental in our Civil Rights struggle. Unfortunately, we are gathered here today not to talk about this pioneer or even about how this school does an outstanding job of providing a great learning community for some of our special needs students. We are standing here because this school, along with scores of others, has been targeted for closure by Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s Chicago Public School district…. “Closing 50 of our neighborhood schools is outrageous and no society that claims to care anything about its children can sit back and allow this to happen to them. There is no way people of conscious will stand by and allow these people to shut down nearly a third of our school district without putting up a fight. Most of these campuses are in the Black community. Since 2001 88% of students impacted by CPS School Actions are African-American. And this is by design.

South Carolina:

The throngs of residents who showed up for a series of Charleston County School District neighborhood meetings on school closures were predominantly black. • The five schools that will close enroll nearly 1,600 students, 72 percent of whom are black.• Fewer than 75 white students attend the five schools that will be closed.


Those complaints asserted "the district’s Nov. 26, 2012 decision to close Red Cedar Elementary in 2014 will have a discriminatory, adverse impact on non-white minority students,” Bradshaw said. The two complaints were consolidated into one. The East Lansing school board voted on Nov. 26, 2012 to shutter Red Cedar Elementarywhich is home to the East Lansing’s most diverse student population, as part of a larger district overhaul. The decision came after the district’s voters rejected a bond proposal that would have repurposed the school at 1110 Narcissus Drive as school office space, and after years of debate over the district’s future and months of public outcry against closing the school.


A lawsuit filed today seeking to keep open three Brevard schools slotted for closure claims that the matter is an issue of civil rights. Closing Gardendale and South Lake elementary schools and Clearlake Middle School woulddisproportionally affect low-income minority students, it says – while keeping a school in a more affluent area open. 


The lawsuit alleges that the school district originally considered criteria that would balance free-and-reduced lunch rates between schools and ethnic diversity – criteria that was excluded when the school board voted on closures. It also says that Sea Park Elementary in Satellite Beach met more criteria for closure, but will not be shuttered. About 18 percent of students at the school are minority, according to data

 from the Florida Department of Education. “When they are making changes to something as crucial as a school, you cannot ignore facts and figures and you cannot run away from the hard questions being asked,” Elahi said. “When we looked at the numbers ourselves, it didn’t make sense.” More than 40 percent of students at Gardendale Elementary and Clearlake Middle are minority, as are about 60 percent of South Lake students.


The US Department of Education is investigating a complaint that the Boston school system’s plan to close or merge more than a dozen schools to save money discriminates against black and Latino students and their parents. 

The complaint was brought Jan. 25 by the Black Educators’ Alliance of Massachusetts and the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law of the Boston Bar Association, alleging a significant disparity in the races of students who would be affected by the school district’s plan. The School Committee approved the plan in December as a way to help plug a $63 million budget gap. 

“Historically, disproportionate numbers of school closings have occurred in the predominantly black neighborhoods of the city,’’ said Nora Toney, president of the Black Educators’ Alliance. “The school closings have had a profound impact on our students, families, and community, creating constant disruption, instability, and uncertainty, while failing to provide the quality schools promised by the district.’’ 

The complaint asks federal authorities to investigate what options the school district had, other than closing schools. In a Feb. 15 letter, the US Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights told the alliance that, although it was not making judgment at the time, it would look into the matter. 

According to the complaint, 46 percent of the students who will be affected by the school closures are black, 44 percent are Latino, and 5 percent are white. In contrast, black students make up 36 percent of the school population, Latinos 41 percent, and white students 13 percent

Also, the complaint alleges, the school closings affect a disproportionate number of students in low-income neighborhoods such as Roxbury, Dorchester, and Mattapan, compared with neighborhoods serving higher percentages of white students, such as West Roxbury, Roslindale, and Brighton.

More New Jersey:

The NJ Department of Education (NJDOE) under Acting Commissioner Christopher Cerf is gearing up to intervene in 75 predominately Black and Latino “Priority” Schools, action that could lead to massive school closings within three years. The schools targeted by NJDOE for closure are in very poor neighborhoods across the state and have served these communities for decades. The NJDOE plan for “aggressive intervention” and potential school closures is the centerpiece of a new “accountability” initiative launched by the Christie Administration after obtaining a U.S. Department of Education waiver from certain provisions of the federal No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) in 2011. The waiver allows NJDOE to use test scores and graduation rates to create three new classifications of schools: “Priority,” “Focus” and “Reward.”     Priority Schools are targeted for immediate intervention by the NJDOE, including replacing principals, reassigning teachers and restructuring curriculum. If these schools do not “improve” quickly – or within two years – the NJDOE can order the school closed or converted into a charter school. Focus Schools face similar interventions, but have more time to improve. Reward Schools receive bonus funding, including federal Title 1 funds that can be shifted from other high poverty schools. In early April, NJDOE released the list of schools in the new classifications. An ELC analysis of the list shows:

  • 75 schools are classified as Priority Schools based on low scores on state standardized tests; 97% of the students attending these schools are Black and Latino, 81% are poor, and 7% are English language learners. 
  • 183 schools are classified as Focus Schools based on low graduation rates or large gaps on state tests; 72% of the students in these schools are black and Hispanic, 63% are poor, and 10% are English language learners.
  • 112 schools are classified as Reward Schools based on high achievement or high levels of growth on state tests; 20% of the students in these schools are black and Hispanic, 15% are poor, and 2% are English language learners.
Priority Schools – those potentially targeted for closing – are almost all Black and Latino, very poor, with many students who do not speak English as a first language. The student mobility rate in Priority Schools is a staggering 24%. These schools are located in some of the poorest communities in the state. 

So the plan is consistent no matter where it is implemented: close neighborhood schools in poor and minority communities, then move the children into one of two “options”:

  1. A crowded public school away from the neighborhood that will likely be under-resourced, under-staffed, and disconnected from the multiple communities it now serves - and may well be targeted for closure in the future.
  2. A charter school that can close at any moment, impose its own rules for suspensions and expulsions, accept only as many students as it wants, “counsel out” students who aren’t “educable” by its standards, is held to different laws, imposes adehumanizing atmosphere, and involves parents in its governance only as much as it cares to.

Mind you, this isn’t happening in the leafy suburbs. No, this plan is applicable only to 

other people’s children - you know what I mean? (wink, wink)

The poor children of color who either opt to stay or are forced to stay in the real public education system are now being herded into crowded, underfunded, segregated, and distant schools. It’s the new American apartheid; I don’t think P.W. Botha could have come up with a better plan…
New Orleans to be home to nation’s first all-charter school district

As the fight over charter schools continues across the country, the Big Easy is taking a unique approach — New Orleans will begin the next school year with America’s first all-charter school district.

In September, Louisiana’s Recovery School District (RSD) will close the last of its public schools that have not been turned into charters, leaving it a 100 percent charter school district.

There are charter schools — which receive public funding but are privately operated — in every major city, but no city has a higher percentage than New Orleans. Eighty-four of the city’s 89 schools operated by the RSD are already chartered, and 40,196 of New Orleans’ 44,614 students are enrolled in a charter school.

Continue reading

Top charter schools can often boast of sending virtually all of their graduates to college, even when the majority of their students are low-income or are the first members of their families to pursue post-high school educations.

As it turns out, many of those students don’t earn a degree.

Some of the best charter school networks — places like the Knowledge Is Power Program (KIPP) or Harlem Children’s Zone — are working to change that. They are not only helping their graduates get into college, but are also counseling them once they are on university campuses. The idea is to boost the number of graduates who earn bachelor’s degrees.

Beyond College-Ready: Top Charter Schools Support Graduates In College

Photo credit: Courtesy of Harlem Children’s Zone
Caption: Students from a Harlem Children’s Zone school visit Hunter College in New York. 

LA Indigenous School May Lose Its Charter Due to Arizona-Style Politics

Years ago, an elder told me that the Indigenous cultures of Abya Yala, CemAnahuac or Pachamama – the ancient cultures of this continent – do not need to be revived, because they never died. Instead, the elder said, it is we who have been severed or disconnected from those cultures.

The culture, the languages, the songs and the stories are all there – rather than revive them, we just need to access them. And equally important, we also need to create and contribute to our own cultures.

I think about that now because of two monumental educational struggles taking place in Arizona and California, both of which have been instrumental in reconnecting our communities to ancestral and living Indigenous knowledges. In both cases, the schools and programs in question continue to be under daily siege. In Tucson, the highly successful Raza Studies program has been dismantled whereas in Los Angeles, the charter for Anahuacalmecac is on the verge of being revoked.

Read more at Truthout

For more information on Anahuacalmecac, visit their website:

Sign Petition

The report’s authors note that, “where there is little oversight, and lots of public dollars available, there are incentives for ethically challenged charter operators to charge for services that were never provided.” They cite the example of the Cato School of Reason Charter School in California, which, despite its libertarian name, collected millions of tax dollars by registering students who actually attended private schools in the area.
This whole strategy of school reform is having devastating results. … Neighborhood schools, especially those in African American and Latino communities, are being closed rapidly and without recourse. … Worthwhile charter schools such as ACE Leadership High School in Albuquerque, which actively recruits drop-outs and struggling students, are likely to fall under the club, because they may not produce the rapid test score gains this burn and churn reform strategy demands.

The charter school lie: Market-based education gambles with our children

I have always been suspicious of charter schools. Here’s why: The idea of giving parents a choice of where their kids go to school is good. The idea of schools coming up with unique ways to attract students is good. But the way we’ve executed it is really, really bad. The main problem here is that people want a “silver bullet” that will fix public education without increasing taxpayer funding for education. That bullet doesn’t exist. The schools that are failing are failing because they are wildly underfunded and understaffed. Closing the school down and starting five new schools with just as little funding and no oversight isn’t going to fix the problem.

We need to fund our public schools better. I went to public schools my entire life, K-college graduation. My parents lived in a wealthy area where the schools spent nearly double per student than the national average amount. I got a world-class education, despite teacher’s unions and tenure and all the other supposed ills of the modern public school system. I had small class sizes. I had special classes for gifted students. I had gym class and music and art and foreign language and I still had time to learn to read and write and do math. And I, along with most of the people I graduated high school with, am a well-educated and productive member of society.

Oh, by the way, I’m from Chicago. Rahm Emanuel closed tons of public schools and replaced them with charter schools. All the schools I went to are still up and running, because - surprise! - the well-funded public schools are doing just fine. In my graduating class of more than 1,000 people, only two didn’t go on to a four-year college.

It wasn’t some magic formula or alternative curriculum or any of the other things charter schools promise. The taxpayers funded our education, and they’re getting a return on their investment. Now, poor students are the victims of these horribly managed charter ventures while rich kids continue to go to their well-funded public schools. Charter schools are increasing the class divide, not closing it.
Louisiana School Revokes Harsh Pregnancy Policy | Mother Jones

A Louisiana public charter school drew criticism this week for requiring female students "suspected" of being pregnant to take pregnancy tests—and expelling students who tested positive. But a national outcry has led the school to scrap the rule, according to school offiials.

Dehli claims that “just a handful” of female students had been affected by the policy since it was instated in 2006. But when students return to school next week, it will no longer be in effect.

Previously: ThinkProgress: Louisiana School Forces Students to Take Pregnancy Tests, Kicks Out Girls Who Refuse Or Test Positive  

h/t: Kate Sheppard at Mother Jones

Whitman Wilcox V attended kindergarten through second grade at a neighborhood public school in the Lower Ninth Ward. He had just started the third grade when Hurricane Katrina hit in August 2005. His family was forced to evacuate; he wound up at a Catholic school in Houston.

Back in New Orleans the next fall, he switched to a brand-new charter school, KIPP Believe, for fifth through 8th grade; started high school at another charter school, Sci Academy; then was homeschooled for a year.

Now, he’s beginning his senior year of high school. This time at St. Augustine, an all-boys Catholic school famed throughout the region for its marching band.

Five schools in nine years. A generation of children who’ve lived through the storm and recovery have traced educational odysseys like this one.

Q&A: One Student’s Educational Saga In New Orleans

Photo credit: Edmund D. Fountain for NPR
Union-commissioned report says charter schools are bleeding money from traditional ones
A teachers union-funded report on charter schools concludes that these largely nonunion campuses are costing traditional schools in the Los Angeles Unified School District millions of dollars in tax money.The report, which is certain to be viewed with skepticism by charter supporters, focused on direct and indirect costs related to enrollment, oversight, services to disabled students and other activities on which the district spends money.
By Los Angeles Times

This article contains a response quote from a gross rich person saying bullshit like this:

“Like all businesses, the district has to compete for its customers,”  said Eric Hanushek, a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University.

“The growth of charters is putting pressure on the district. The district can’t do what it did in the past and come out ahead,” added Hanushek, who hadn’t seen the report. “They can try to compete for the students or sell off the buildings. But the point is: Charters look attractive to parents, which means that the district is not attractive.”

Public school students aren’t “customers” of a “business”, they are people receiving some access to a basic right to education.

Public education is a right and these charters exclude and cause underfundering for disabled students-who have a legal and moral right to equal education access.

This fucking rich dude who admits he literally did not read the report at issue, is using bullshit “free market” crap to excuse denying equal education to disabled students and other marginalized student.

Those “buildings” are schools and students, including disabled students, have a right to them.