Republican attack on public schools

NC charter schools: All your dollar$ are ours

Even your bake sales and booster bucks:

Senate Bill 456 would force school districts to share all local tax revenue proportionally by striking the ad valorem exception. Sponsor Sen. Jerry Tillman R-Randolph, said the bill "puts the funding back where the courts say it should be."

However, the bill also strikes the law's exceptions for "sales tax refunds, gifts and grants restricted as to use, and trust funds." That means donations, from school PTA fundraising dollars to booster revenues for bands or sports teams, would all go into the shared pot unless the school district sets up a separate account for those dollars and unless donors specify that their contribution is for that particular account.

I'm sure Conservative band boosters and other alums will somehow perceive this as "the damn government" meddling in school affairs, which later will coalesce into "the damn Democrats" did it, since they can't grasp the idea of their intrepid Republican heroes pulling stunts like this. And if/when they do see something negative about the GOP on the news, the filters kick in to defend them from "that damn Liberal media." SMFH.

Report details massive fraud and abuse of taxpayer dollars by the charter school industry

Enough to buy a shitload of public school textbooks:

The 2015 report cites $203 million, including the 2014 total plus $23 million in new cases, and $44 million in earlier cases not included in last year’s report.

It notes that these figures only represent fraud and waste in the charter sector uncovered so far, and that the total that federal, state and local governments “stand to lose” in 2015 is probably more than $1.4 billion. It says, “The vast majority of the fraud perpetrated by charter officials will go undetected because the federal government, the states, and local charter authorizers lack the oversight necessary to detect the fraud.”

The lack of oversight wasn't an oversight on the part of Republicans, they're counting on it. In the absence of that needed fraud detection, they can continue to expand the program until the private sector gains a controlling interest in public education. And some of them probably genuinely believe that fraud and abuse in the private sector is still better than efficiency and good results from government entities. Which is reason #27 why they need to be booted out of the Legislature.

More proof that charters are resegregating NC classrooms

And more embarrassing national media exposure:

The most recent cautionary tale comes from North Carolina, where professors at Duke have traced a troubling trend of resegregation since the first charters opened in 1997. They contend that North Carolina’s charter schools have become a way for white parents to secede from the public school system, as they once did to escape racial integration orders.

“They appear pretty clearly to be a way for white students to get out of more racially integrated schools,” said economics professor Helen Ladd, one of the authors of the draft report released Monday.

The sad and frustrating thing is, Republicans in the General Assembly probably think that's a legitimate desire for white parents to have, and the government should actually help them to achieve it.

The UNC Board of Goolsby?

There's apparently not enough fraud and misrepresentation on the BOG:

Sen. Bill Rabon (R-Brunswick) nominated Goolsby for the position, according to the Senate Clerk's office.

Goolsby says he wants to make sure taxpayers get their money's worth from the UNC system by cutting wasteful spending. Goolsby says people deserve a huge return on investment from the UNC system.

Bolding mine. If the taxpayers were given a choice as to who would be safeguarding their investment in higher education, I doubt very seriously they would choose somebody who misled investors and has been barred from securities trading or advising for ten years:

GOP assault on higher ed continues

When party affiliation trumps performance:

They got Tom Ross. Now, they are going after Scott Rawls.

Under the Dome noted that Rawls, President of the North Carolina Community College System, is interviewing for a job as head of a college in Northern Virginia. Regardless of what he says publicly, my guess is that he is being pushed out. Republicans are in the process of purging Democrats and Democratic appointees from all levels of government and Rawls came to power before they were in control.

Can't help but get the feeling these moves represent more than just partisan house-cleaning. If Republicans are planning to execute some massive, radical funding cuts, it's best to do so after replacing education leaders who would have been outspoken opponents of such. It's a sign of the crazy times we're living in that I hope it's just partisan hackery, and not something more devastating.

Charters and the resegregation of NC students

The dark side of parental choice:

One reason is that as charters have grown, they haven’t met the needs of low-income and special needs populations. By law they are expected to serve minority populations, but they are not required, like traditional schools, to offer transportation and subsidized meals. In practicality, that’s a deterrent to non-white families. “There is no doubt that the charter school system in this state is contributing to racial segregation,” Ladd says.

She said white parents, in picking out charter schools, are concerned as much about minority enrollment – they prefer less than 20 percent – as about quality. Satisfaction surveys and re-enrollment trends, she said, show higher satisfaction with charters among white families than minorities.

And I'm sure more than a few of them would prefer zero percent, whether they would admit to it or not. And their children, more than any of their peers, would benefit from engaging in a diverse school population. It's the best (only?) way to break the cycle of generational prejudice. An observation which I'm sure would have the Puppets grasping for their smelling salts:

GOP siphons more money away from low-income schools

In support of their unwise privatization efforts:

The White House on Friday issued a report that said a House Republican plan to revise the Elementary and Secondary Education Act would reduce North Carolina’s federal Title I money for disadvantaged students by an estimated $17 million in 2016 and $220 million over the next five years.

Currently Title I funds are concentrated in schools with large numbers of poor students. The House bill would allow this grant money to follow each low-income child to the traditional or charter public school of the parent’s choice.

The emergence of this legislation during a time when many new charter schools are failing due to fiscal mismanagement is no coincidence. The people behind the curtain in this movement are well aware their "efficiency" leaves something to be desired, so they've been scheming to find various flows of public monies to tap into. And in case you were wondering, yes, this is an ALEC initiative:

The crossroads of poverty and poor student performance

A concerned teacher speaks out:

The strong correlation between poverty and academic achievement has been noted for decades. Nutrition, stress, lack of health-care and housing stability all play a role in brain development and student learning. This is not disputed, yet as educators, we largely ignore poverty and instead focus on how to better teach our students. No amount of revised lesson plans or new curriculum will remove the impact of poverty on student learning.

Taking a stand against low wage poverty is a stand for education. I want to be clear: there is nothing intrinsically wrong with the academic abilities of poor children. In fact, when you remove the stresses created by poverty, academic achievement goes up. There is something wrong with a society and economic system that allows so many of our children to live in poverty.

And one of the biggest problems we have to overcome is ingrained prejudice bolstered by a healthy dose of narcissistic navel-gazing. I got into a very unsettling argument with a handful of normally progressive friends and family recently over the living wage issue. The concerns raised by these folks centered around fairness: "Is it fair to the people who have labored to obtain a college degree or professional certification, only to have someone who didn't even graduate high school come along and get paid $15 per hour?" The argument pretty much fizzled out when I explained how they (as taxpayers) were actually paying part of the wages the employers refused to, via food stamps and other public assistance a $7.25 per hour worker was qualified for. But that didn't address the deeper social schism that caused those feelings of unfairness, a schism that is a direct result of decades of Meritocratic thinking. We're programmed to believe we compete with each other, but, in fact, we are competing with the 1%. And losing.

Against all better judgment, virtual charters coming to NC

And Wall Street investors are throwing a party:

Today’s anticipated vote of approval will be a significant change of the state board, which fought an attempt in the courts from the N.C. Virtual Academy to open up a virtual school three years ago.

If approved, the N.C. Virtual Academy (to be run by K12, Inc., NYSE:LRN) and N.C. Connections Academy (to be run by Connections Academy, owned by education giant Pearson, NYSE:PSO) will be able to enroll up to 1,500 students each from across the state, and send millions in public education dollars to schools run by private education companies.

Why "throw money" at NC's public schools, which graduate 80+% of their students, when you can piss away millions to out-of-state companies that often only achieve a 10% graduation rate? Because "Freedom." But the working poor better not get any ideas about taking part, because the GOP's irresponsibility is all-encompassing:

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:

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