Bunkum Award 2015. With the Oscar celebration next week, and the Emmys and Pulitzers on the way, the National Education Policy Center announces this year’s winner of its Bunkum Award. We invite you to enjoy our 10th annual tongue-in-cheek salute to the most egregiously shoddy think tank reports. It’s not easy to laugh when data are manipulated and made to fit foregone conclusions or when the research literature is misrepresented or ignored and low-quality or dishonest “evidence” has real impact on policy and on children. As best we can tell, polar bears aren’t laughing at reports from the American Petroleum Institute. Yet “humor is one of the best ingredients of survival,” according to Aung San Suu Kyi—whose travails have been far weightier than ours. The Think Twice Think Tank Review Project arose as a response to the often-outsized policy influence of glossy, well-publicized reports that have not been vetted by peer-review.
This year’s awards announcement, available on the NEPC website, is hosted by Dr. Charter Schools Are a 'Gravy Train,' The policy framework for U.S. charter schools encourages “privatization and profiteering,” a research institute said in a report released Thursday. Charter schools are able to siphon off large quantities of public money for private gain — and only substantial changes to state policies regarding charter schools can stop this, according to the authors of the report from the National Education Policy Center (NEPC) at University of Colorado Boulder.
Many education reform advocates argue that the charter school model — under which publicly funded schools are administered by bodies other than the school board, such as private Education Management Organizations (EMOs) — promotes experimentation and newer, fresher teaching methods. But the same permissive charter regulations intended to boost innovation can also help EMOs pocket cash better spent elsewhere, the NEPC report said.
Who might profit from charter school expansion in Jeffco? Questions to consider in the Jeffco recall election | YourHub. People are often suspicious of motives behind government policy decisions when financial interests are involved. Sometimes financial interests drive policy decisions that do not benefit the public. In other situations, financial compensation is the cost of implementing policy decisions that are beneficial to the public. The Jefferson County School Board majority has been pushing hard for charter school expansion in Jeffco. There are companies that benefit only from charter school expansion in Colorado. Individuals in a few of these companies are “behind the scenes” supporters of the board majority (and their policy of charter expansion) through: Some key questions to consider are: Will charter school expansion raise achievement in Jeffco?
The Reasons for Concern There are many financial and political connections among the board majority supporters. This seems like an artificial setup for expanding charter schools: Who could benefit if this happens? Are there Political Connections? Ken Witt: Misdirection. Pam Howard is a member of the Thompson School District Board of Education. It’s a district that spans Larimer and Boulder Counties; from Estes Park to Berthoud to Loveland. Her kids went to Thompson’s public schools, with her youngest just heading off to Princeton University this August.
Howard is in the minority on the seven-person school board. That minority is a group of three women, called disparagingly by the board majority “the three moms,” she says. They have spent two years battling a board majority of conservative “reformers,” who are pushing the agenda of out-of-town billionaires, from whom they’ve received a small fortune in the form of campaign contributions, flyers and push poll operations in return. That board dynamic — “reformers” vs. No one saw it coming. Denise Montagu has sat on the Thompson board since 2011. From 2011-13, the Thompson School Board operated in good faith with each other as it always had. Kerrigan was voted into office in 2011. Kerrigan turned red. The Brazen Ways the Charter School Industry Rips You Off. Photo Credit: A stunning new report on the myriad ways public charter school operators have squandered or stolen millions of taxpayer dollars and how government education officials have failed to track or report this burgeoning privatization scandal has been released by the Center for Media and Democracy, a nationwide investigative reporting group.
“For years, no reporters or citizens could readily examine where their federal tax dollars had been spent on charters, which have a higher failure rate than [traditional] public schools and have been plagued by numerous fraud indictments of charter school operators,” said the introduction to the report, "Charter School Black Hole: CMD Special Investigation Reveals Hugh Gaps in Public Info on Taxpayer Money Spent. " The charter school industry is arguably the foremost current example of privatization in America.
How is taxpayer money being used and abused by the school privatization industry? Brought To You By Wal-Mart? How the Walton Family Foundation’s Ideological Pursuit is Damaging Charter Schooling - Cashing in on Kids. There was a sour breeze blowing through the nation’s charter schools in 2014. Twenty-five years into our nation’s experiment with independently operated, publicly funded charter schools, the news didn’t look good: In May, a new report revealed more than $100 million in fraud, waste and abuse in just 15 of the 43 states that allow charters. (A year later, the report was updated, and the figure rose to $200 million.) Some of the stories defy belief: a school in Philadelphia that was doubling as a nightclub after hours; school operators embezzling millions to pay for high-flying lifestyles; real estate developers cashing in by using public funds to leverage sweet deals on millions of dollars’ worth of property.
One after another, the stories emerged. A significant share of the blame lies at the feet of the Walton Family Foundation (WFF), the Arkansas-based philanthropic arm of the family that brought us Wal-Mart. “Charters are competitors. “Charters are competitors. Opposing Regulation. Chris Hedges: Why the United States Is Destroying Its Education System - Chris Hedges - Truthdig.
Why the United States Is Destroying Its Education System Posted on Apr 11, 2011 By Chris Hedges (Page 2) The demonizing of teachers is another public relations feint, a way for corporations to deflect attention from the theft of some $17 billion in wages, savings and earnings among American workers and a landscape where one in six workers is without employment. The speculators on Wall Street looted the U.S. Treasury. They stymied any kind of regulation. “Not only have the reformers removed poverty as a factor, they’ve removed students’ aptitude and motivation as factors,” said this teacher, who is in a teachers union. The truly educated become conscious. “It is better to be at odds with the whole world than, being one, to be at odds with myself,” Socrates said. Those who can ask the right questions are armed with the capacity to make a moral choice, to defend the good in the face of outside pressure. As Arendt pointed out, we must trust only those who have this self-awareness.
Your Voice: Top Four Reasons to Recall Jeffco School Board Majority | YourHub. There are four major reasons to vote to recall Ken Witt, Julie Williams, and John Newkirk. For the sake of our children and their educational futures we must restore local control, transparency, fiscal responsibility, and respect for parents, educators, and the community. #4 Restore Local Control Local control exists for a reason. Locally elected school board members are expected to know and understand their communities and to have the best interests of our children at heart. A school district with a great reputation for achievement, for respecting and collaborating with teachers, parents, and the community helps to ensure families want to live in Jefferson County and that great teachers want to teach here, which helps our local economy thrive. Unfortunately, when Ken Witt, Julie Williams, and John Newkirk were elected to serve on our school board in November 2013, they appear to have come with a political agenda they did not campaign on.
Three simple questions: Proof of a Political Agenda. M.truthdig. Your Voice: How to dismantle a school district in 10 steps | YourHub. In 2009, a group of politicians, wealthy businessmen, and a subset of our current Board of Education members met and decided that Douglas County School District (DCSD) would ‘Reinvent Education’. This was decided despite the fact that DCSD was a high-performing, destination district. This was decided without community, parent, or DCSD staff input. This was a business deal. Shortly thereafter, Board of Education members were elected using large campaign contributions from a few individuals who reside outside Douglas County.
Following that election, the new Board of Education (BOE): As a result of these changes, Douglas County School District is no longer the highest performing district in the Denver metro area and is rapidly losing its reputation as a destination district. We still have good schools, but they are not as strong as they used to be. There are three pro-public education candidates running for school board in the upcoming mail-in ballot election.
Koch brothers/charter school nightmare: “White kids get to go to a school with a Montessori approach while children of color get eye control” “We know we need to do something about students who are not achieving in our schools.” That anxious appeal – along with its many variations – has become the refrain now firmly embedded in speeches and opinion columns about American public education. Yes! Do something. About those kids. Only this time, the anxious appeal is coming from Jai Sanders, an African-American parent in Nashville, Tennessee, who has a stake in the matter: The something about to be done is aimed squarely at him and his children. Sanders, pausing briefly before assembling a bagel with lox and cream cheese, explains, “But what we’re currently doing is throwing solutions at the wall to see what sticks, without any research or any consultation with the people who are affected the most.”
His tone of voice doesn’t carry a trace of the anger or resentment that could be inferred from what he just said. Yet now Sanders finds himself and his family swept into a raging Music City controversy. We’ve Made Your School a “Priority” Taxpayers paid for charter school property, but they don’t own it. Taxpayers paid for the furniture, computers and other equipment that students used at 10 Ohio charter schools. But the public doesn’t own the things it paid for, according to the state Supreme Court. The court ruled in a split decision Tuesday that the assets are instead the property of White Hat Management, the for-profit company that once managed the 10 schools. If the schools want their chairs and desks, they’ll have to buy them back, paying for them a second time with taxpayer dollars. That might seem incredible, but that’s what the schools agreed to in their contracts with White Hat, and the contracts have to be honored, ruled Justice Judith Ann Lanzinger, writing for the majority.
“The schools were represented by their own legal counsel, and they agreed to provisions in the contracts,” Lanzinger wrote. [Read the court’s opinion] In the Ohio case, the nonprofit boards responsible for the 10 schools signed contracts with for-profit White Hat and its subsidiaries in 2005. Brought To You By Wal-Mart? How the Walton Family Foundation’s Ideological Pursuit is Damaging Charter Schooling - Cashing in on Kids. JeffCo School Board Watch | Part 2 Public Education Nation – (Astro Turf) Charter Schools and Authentic Reform. Last weekend, the Network for Public Education (NPE) held a Public Education Nation conference at the Brooklyn New School in Brooklyn, NY. JeffCo School Board Watch sent two of its members to the forum. Yesterday they reported on High Stakes Testing and ‘Failing’ Schools. Today, they continue their report, now covering ‘astro turf’ charter schools and authentic reform. “Astroturfing is the practice of masking the sponsors of a message or organization (e.g. political, advertising, religious or public relations) to make it appear as though it originates from and is supported by grassroots participant(s).
It is a practice intended to give the statements or organizations more credibility by withholding information about the source’s financial connection.” – Wikipedia The afternoon sessions of this event focused on charter schools and the privatization of schools across the country. The district now has over 40 school boards, covering 107 schools. Of course, some increases are expected. Parents Fight Conservative Zealots and Charter School Advocates For Control of Their Kids' Education. It's Tuesday evening, and people have come to church — but not for religion. What's bringing people to Green Mountain United Methodist Church in the heart of Lakewood, Colorado, is a meeting modestly titled "Church and society: Stand up for students.
" In a cramped, wood-paneled room on the second floor, two dozen attendees rise, one after another, to introduce themselves and say why they are here. "I'm concerned," say a few. "Scary," "outrageous," say others. A neatly dressed elderly man speaks up: "When you've been given a lot for the education of your own children, it's important that the children after yours get that same level of education, or better.
I don't believe we're doing that. " "I have two children in school," a younger woman says. The last woman to introduce herself, wearing a T-shirt declaring she is a "Jeffco Rebel," starts a stack of handouts circulating around the room. This is Jefferson County, Colorado. A Conflict About Curriculum "What else is all of this about? " COMPLETE COLORADO 2015©- COLORADO'S COMPLETE NEWS SOURCE. COMPLETE COLORADO 2015©- COLORADO'S COMPLETE NEWS SOURCE. Privatizing Public Education, Higher Ed Policy, and Teachers - ALEC Exposed.