Tuesday, September 25, 2012

A Quick Fact Check on Ed Reformer Spin

Charter School Rules for Beginners

As long as we're on a Ed Reformer roll I figured why not take a closer look at some more of the shite they roll out there hoping nobody will call them on it or check their veracity. Well we would check it it anyway if they had any...  Here's a little snippet taken from the website of BuffaloReformEd.com where our educational sharpshooters unload with a fusillade of edu-merde married with some of their wonkier policy notions that absolutely defy logic, common sense and about 7 of the 10 commandments. In this bit of insight our omniscient "reformer" narrator explains how a mayorally controlled school district is advantageous to those pesky "elected" school boards. I mean after all who wants "the people" to have any input on educational decision making when well connected political hacks are having such luck in furthering the "reformers" agenda.  This comes from a delightful page called Ed Reform Crash Course Guide. Ironic isn't it that they'd call it a crash course as they do seem to favor collision over collaboration.

Mayoral/gubernatorial control
Mayor control of public schools districts can be an effective alternative option to an ineffective school board that is not equal to the challenge of the situation. Largely, these situations are troubled, urban school districts that fail to provide their students with a quality education. Urban school districts face unique challenges because many of the students are disadvantaged, the schools are underfunded, and the teachers are ill equipped. In addition, school boards are plagued by patronage because of the election protocol that seats members onto the board: the school board elections are in alternate years to major party elections; board candidates are non-partisan; a very small percentage of voters go to the polls to elect the school board.
A mayoral takeover cleans up the board by removing the patronage jobs, and improving efficiency in money spent and uniform standards. In addition, the majority of constituents go to the polls during a mayoral election, and therefore can vote in the best interest of the students.
Examples of successful mayoral takeover are: New York City Mayor, Michael Bloomberg and Schools Chancellor, Joel Klein; Chicago Mayor, Richard Daily, and CEO of Chicago Public Schools, Arne Duncan; District of Columbia Mayor, Adrian Fenty, and Schools Chancellor Michelle Rhee; as well as the cities of Baltimore, Boston, and Philadelphia."

A school board controlled by a mayor like they have in Chicago removes patronage jobs and will improve efficiency in money spent. When Rahm Emauel appointed Billionheiress Penny Pritzker of the Hyatt Hotel fortune to his Chicago School Board do the reformers mean to tell us that he was removing patronage from the board  ? Well it's a but ironic too that Penny, even her name spells money, appears to be the beneficiary of some tax redistribution games played by Rahm Emanuel which from the look of it have diverted school funds towards building her family a nifty new Hyatt  hotel : 
--August 7, 2012.  As the city of Chicago struggles to pay its teachers and provide quality education to its students, Hyatt Hotels Corporation should not be benefiting from $5.2 million in Tax Incremental Financing (TIF) funds used to build a new hotel. TIF districts divert local property taxes away from funding education and social services to instead subsidize corporate growth. The Hyatt Place Chicago will be the centerpiece of the Harper Court commercial development project, which in total will receive $20 million from the 53rdStreet TIF District. 

Would the reformers like to explain to us again what a great idea this has been both for removing cronies from Boards of education in urban districts and for ensuring education funds are spent appropriately?  And remember folks this is only one city, we have plenty more to come not to mention the rogue's gallery of lowlifes we've been offered as role models including Rhee. Bloomie, Arne, and Klein. God help us but this alone should keep me busy for the rest of the week.  And speaking of money well spent it's been reported that a hedge fund manager  and Board member of Democrats for  Ed Reform Ravenel Boykin Curry IV and his wife coughed up a million dollars to pay for an ad to get out Rahm Emanuel's post strike message,  I imagine he had time to wipe the egg off his face before the ad ran?  Here is a little background on this group's attempts to interfere with the collective bargaining between ChicagoTeacher's and the Schools : 

Here’s what Progress Illinois had to say about Education Reform Now in June, when the group was attempting to influence the Chicago Teachers’ Union strike authorization vote”
The one outside group that has indisputably stepped into the collective bargaining fray is Education Reform Now, which is headquartered in New York and has seven state branch offices including Wisconsin, but none in Illinois.
Last week, the group placed automated calls to CPS parents that scolded CTU for holding a strike authorization vote. The vote, which started June 6 and ended June 8, resulted in almost 90 percent of CTU members putting their support behind a strike authorization – clearing a 75 percent threshold imposed by state law, and giving CTU the option to strike if negotiations break down.
In the “robo-call,” a woman identifying herself as a Local School Council member says that, “Teachers deserve a raise. But it bothers me that the union is taking a strike vote before an independent arbitrator offers a compromise.”
In response to questions about the robo-call and their involvement in contract talks, Jake Breymaier, advocacy director for the group, released a statement saying, “Education Reform Now is advocating for a solution that avoids a strike and does what is best for Chicago’s children


  1. If you have not seen this, it is worth watching...Matt Farmer, parent of children in Chicago Public Schools does a great job going after Penny Pritzker. The nerve of these "reformers" to claim mayoral takeover can be called "successful." But then again, "success" for them is getting as much of the "public" silenced and out of "public" education.


  2. Karen, That is a great video. Matt Farmer really covered everything! thanks for the link. He's almost as wonderful as Sean :)

    It keeps getting harder to believe that Superintendents ...the "leaders", haven't stood up together for the teachers, and the programs that the kids should have.
    We need a well funded public school system designed by educators, not politicians and corporations.
    We don't need charter schools staffed by folks with five weeks traning, and we don't need superintendents trained for 10 week-ends and two weeks in two summer sessions. We need the real supers to stand up!

    I really love the "non-profit" classification tagged onto "public" that the charters use. It means that the schools end the year with no profit... but the management organization that runs it can make all the profit it can squeeze out of the taxpayers.

    Funny math was used last week in the News, "Buffalo schools cost the most in the Milky Way...they spend $26,000 per student... They added up all the costs, then divided by the number of students attending the Buffalo schools and got an average 26,000 dollars . BUT they didn't use any of the students in the charter schools, but Buffalo pays for each one of them out of the school budget. When all the numbers are not used in the "average" ...you don't get an average. You get a distortion of facts. They are good at creating "facts" like that.

    Sean, keep up your valuable work! sleep sometime I notice the hour of the posts :)

  3. Karen that Matt Farmer video is amazing. Thanks for sharing it. Peg, you are awesome as always thanks for the support.

  4. Dear Anonymous Troll,
    I so admire your compassion for the "single mother in Buffalo", the one without the bare necessities. Now, allow me to guess a bit about you and how often you interact with that single mom and her children. Here goes: You went to a private school and are surrounded by those who also went to private schools? You volunteered a few hours in a school as part of your "service work" or somesuch? You work at a "non-profit" and you do not work with children or anyone else in poverty? You have very little real-world experience? Your goal at this point in life is to write "policy" for practitioners to follow with zeal and fidelity?
    No need to respond. I don't really care.
    Please keep posting here, though. Your insight, while not exactly thought provoking, is entertaining to those of us who work in schools. Love the James Baldwin quote! It can used with equal force on either side of the EdDeform argument.

  5. Yeah anonymouse, I get your sentiments but as a commenter in the Buffalo News I had to use my name. As a blogger I choose to use my name and all of my "data" is laying out there for all to see including chickenshit snipers who think I owe them space in here. Au contraire. When I sent a comment to BuffaloReformEd they shelved it and reported it as a "private comment." Anyone who thinks they have the right to attack me is totally correct and the price of doing so is leaving their name along with their comments. Again this is so typical of the mentality that believes anyone who goes into education must be a sucker so they are also obliged to stand still and take it from anyone who wants a free shot. You want to pontificate, start a blog it's very easy, and if you need help with those pesky apostrophes, the plural of kid is spelled "kids" not like this "kid's". that connotes possession. E.B. White's Elements of Style is a very helpful book for adults who have a lot of feelings but don't know how to write in English. Adieu troll.

  6. I hear you, Sean. Just thought it would be a fun exercise to draw the anonymous troll out for a short while. I was thinking that if the troll was NOT a private school, non-profit eduwonk, the alternative might be a suburban, "afraid" of the city know-it all with a Fox News PhD, the kind you can get in the privacy of your own home while sitting in a recliner.
    Sigh. Now, I'll never know. Maybe it's better this way.

    On a brighter note, your readers might be interested to hear that BuffaloReformEd is sponsoring a free screening of the poorly reviewed movie, "Won't Back Down". Delightfully described on BuffaloREformEd's website as an "inspiring new education reform movie," They are offering free tickets to those who register on their website. They will be hosting a panel discussion with all the local EdDeform experts.
    Maybe this is where I should go to engage with trolls? Anyone reading can check the BuffaloReformEd website for all of the gory details of this local EdDeform Lollapalooza.

  7. Any day now the State will ask the school districts for their enrollment numbers. Those are the numbers that will determine the amount of state money that will be sent to the school of enrollment for this school year.

    Soon after this data is reported, watch the charters start to get rid of students whom they determine to be "poor test takers" or behavior problems...or ELL and Special Needs kids.

    The Charter schools still get to keep the money that was "attatched" to that student, but they won't have to provide any services. In many cases no new student will take the place that opened up.

    The "receiving school" will not get the money, but they will get the test scores . There are a lot of "rules" in the student handbooks given to parents when they enroll their children in the corporate charter schools. It doesn't take much to qualify for
    "doesn't fit in here"...
    Pretty sad for the parents and kids who had high hopes, but were unaware of the "corporate game plan" to keep the bottom line "up".

    Dr. King knows all about this..his rules for students at Roxbury Prep take up a dozen or more pages in the handbook. He was picked for his present job because of his expertise in the Charter School Corporations.
    What a sorry bunch ...