Republican attack on public schools

Esquire takes a swipe at Art Pope

And they don't pull any punches:

We have been somewhat remiss in this shebeen in our coverage of Art Pope, the A-ball Kochite who is the prime reason that the newly insane state of North Carolina has become newly insane. Governor Pat McCrory is the most conspicuous of Pope's various marionettes, which also include his pet state legislature as well as Thom Tillis, a brand-new member of the U.S. Senate. Spectacularly, McCrory appointed Pope his state budget director, which is tantamount to hiring Bernie Madoff as your Chancellor of the Exchequer. Now, though, it appears that Pope has a brand-new shiny object in his sights that he would like to break.

I consider myself somewhat gifted in the area of enhanced vocabulary, but I did have to look up the word "shebeen." Which didn't help all that much, as it is described as an "unlicensed drinking establishment" or an "after-hours speakeasy." I'm sure Greg Flynn would have known, but then he knows a lot of stuff I don't. The article also quotes our friend Bob Geary over at the Indy:

Another charter school circles the drain

And this one just might set a record for the fastest failure:

Another Charlotte Charter school is in trouble. Entrepreneur High School opened its doors August 2014 and less than a year later it could close. The state has cited the school for multiple violations. The school is more than $402,000 in debt, it doesn't meet the state enrollment standards for charter schools, and school leadership fired the school's founder and principal, Dr. Han Plotseneder.

"It's been a hot mess," NC Charter School Advisory Board member Becky Taylor said. "It's been really bad and it's embarrassing to see this situation get here this quickly."

What's missing from this story is how many taxpayer dollars got wasted in the process. I'm assuming that x number of children were enrolled for classes in the Fall, and the school received some state/local dollars per pupil as a result. Leaving that out of the story is a huge fail. If the reporter(s) asked and that information was withheld, that should be part of the story, too. If anybody reading this knows, post it in the comments, please. In the meantime, I'll grab my digging tools.

Rewriting history care of the Koch Brothers

A little more freedom for teachers to choose:

The state school board on Thursday approved a state Department of Public Instruction document expanding recommended sources for the history course beyond material from the Bill of Rights Institute. The institute gets funding from David Koch, his brother Charles Koch's foundation and a family foundation. The Kochs are major donors to tea party and libertarian groups.

The state education agency is now encouraging teachers to pull materials on America's founding principles from sources that also include the National Humanities Center, the Library of Congress and the state Bar Association.

Which they should have been encouraged to do from the start. The taxpayers should never have footed the bill for a $100,000 contract with an astro-turf organization in the first place, and if there are still any dollars flowing to this "institute" the faucet needs to be turned off.

The best of the best of 2014: Public school teachers

And when they're blogging teachers, well. It doesn't get much better than that:

In the midst of a staggering assault on public education, with their integrity, judgment, reputation, and ability under attack by everyone from corporate stooges to the US Secretary of Education, and, in many areas, with their job security under direct assault by people who don't know what the hell they're talking about, while powerful forces worked to dismantle the very institutions and ideals that they have devoted their lives to-- in the middle of all that, millions of teachers went to work and did their jobs.

When so many groups were slandering us and our own political leaders were giving us a giant middle finger, we squared our shoulders and said, "Well, dammit, I've got a job to do, and if even if I've got to go in there and do it with my bare hands in a hailstorm, I'm going to do it." And we did.

And we owe you folks a debt of gratitude that could never be adequately repaid. But what we can do, is to continue to stand with teachers here in NC, whether it's a Moral Monday gathering, e-mails or phone calls to lawmakers, or simply attending a state or local school board meeting. That's not too much to ask, and the payoff is incalculable.

Supply-sider approach to opening charter schools in NC

Build it and they might come. Or not:

Only one of the nine charters that opened in the Charlotte region this year met enrollment projections, and the total enrollment for the nine new schools was only about half of what was projected. Two others approved for 2014 openings delayed a year.

Eddie Goodall, executive director of the N.C. Public Charter Schools Association, an industry group that supports charters and advocates for them, rejected the idea that any region of the state has a charter-school surplus. “Not even close,” he said. A signal that an area may have enough charters is “when parents quit demanding them,” Goodall said, and that hasn’t happened yet.

Right, because anecdotal evidence supplied by a lobbyist is much more accurate than statistics derived from actual enrollment numbers. ;)

Taxpayer-funded mediocrity: Virtual charters get thumbs-up

Despite their questionable performance in other states:

Both schools received unanimous endorsements from an interviewing committee that included representatives from the State Board of Education, its charter school advisory board, state education staff, and an outside evaluator. Some on the panel had to think hard about approving K12, and the company was asked to respond to questions about its performance in other states.

Tennessee’s education commissioner last year threatened to close Tennessee Virtual Academy, managed by K12, unless student performance showed significant improvement. Students in the Tennessee online charter had minimal learning growth. The board of trustees for the K12 school in Pennsylvania decided not to renew its management contract with the company, though it will continue to use its curriculum.

Where are the all-of-a-sudden-interested-in-education legislators who vehemently attacked the Common Core? Where's Lieutenant Dan? Taxpayer dollars going to fund an out-of-state education program, and a poor-performing one at that? Crickets. Proving it's not about the outcomes, it's about the method of delivery. And when that method generates private-sector profits for somebody, all other sins are forgiven

Arrogant defiance earns charter school sub-contractor probation

When it should have closed them down:

Multiple media outlets reported that Charter Day School Inc. was placed on probationary status Thursday for failing to turn over salary information about employees from a private management company who work at its schools.

At issue is whether salaries of Roger Bacon Academy employees should be public or private information. Charter Day hired Roger Bacon Academy to operate the schools. Charter Day says it doesn't have the salary information on the employees, including school headmasters and assistant headmasters.

Possibly a stupid question, but I'm going to ask it anyway: How does a charter school get awarded its "charter" if they don't even have any staff to run the school(s)? If DPI granted said charters on a lick and a promise the schools would deal with staffing later, DPI might as well just hand out the charters like lollipops at the doctor's office.

The GOP's privatization of DOT costly for schools

Boom for the paving industry is a bust for struggling local education funders:

The budget bill provision mandates that the DOT outsource more of its pavement preservation work over the next four years. At least 80 percent of the department’s pavement preservation budget must be going to the private paving industry by 2018, Herron reported.

Darrell Walker, assistant superintendent of operations for the local school district, told the Journal that the district was mainly using the DOT crew to chip seal student parking lots. The average price from the DOT has been about $5.25 per square yard, he said, and he estimates that the private-sector move will cost the district about $12 per square yard.

No doubt Republicans in the General Assembly will pat themselves on the back for "saving taxpayer's money" at the state level, while ignoring the fact it's being horribly wasted at the local level, thanks to them. And they'll have all the supporting misinformation they need from idiots like this:

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