Republican attack on public schools

Parents rolling the dice with private schools

When misplaced faith leads to horrific outcomes:

During the school day, the teacher turned to the good book for Bible studies and sometimes, in that same classroom, molested the boy, a vulnerable 13-year-old with braces on his teeth.

Much of the case is outlined in a graphic, six-page confession that Scott penned for investigators, documenting sexual abuse that took place in school, on trips and in Scott’s home. Scott, 66, has been housed for more than a decade in prison, Adonai Christian Academy closed its doors three years ago and the boy is now 27.

I find it extremely ironic that many of the bible-thumpers that support HB2 would rise up in anger if the state government decided to require background checks or other standards to protect children attending private Christian schools. It's a case of faith vs logic; faith tells them God would not allow such things to happen, but logic says sexual predators will follow the path of least resistance. They thrive in unstructured environments, or environments where the structure pays more attention to dogma than data. Even the private schools who *do* background checks often rely on other private sector entities who themselves are not subject to government oversight. But that's okay, if they know the secret handshake proper moral rhetoric to employ. And idiots like Dan Forest perpetuate this double-standard:

Bought and paid for: Rob Bryan's support for school takeovers

When evidence doesn't sway, follow the money:

Despite Tennessee’s results, Representative Rob Bryan says he still finds the idea of an ASD appealing. He says it's a way to attract more charter schools to the state’s low-income communities.

"I would like to create an environment where they [charter management organizations] are interested in coming to North Carolina, whether it’s through an ASD or partnering," Bryan said in an interview after the meeting. "But I think if you don’t get them in here and get them started you won’t have an opportunity to see what they’re able to do."

If you peruse Rep. Bryan's 2015 4th Quarter campaign report, you'll find some very interesting things. Like a check for $7,100 from Oregon's John Bryan (part of which Rob Bryan had to refund because it was over the max), a major player in charter schools NC PolicyWatch exposed five years ago:

Charter takeover of public schools moving forward in NC

Under the seemingly harmless name Achievement School Districts:

Glazer stressed that one of the biggest challenges for ASDs in Tennessee was the fact that they are neighborhood schools. Whatever population the school served before joining the ASD was the same population it served after. Largely, parents didn’t choose the school.

“These are charters that take over neighborhood schools,” he said. “That is not the way that charter schools are meant to operate.”

Despite the rosy presentation by Malika Anderson, there appears to be some serious issues involved with the funding of these takeover projects. She claims the handful of Memphis ASDs secured $100 million in donations from the private sector, but she also says the major capital improvements to the schools will come from the same place they always do, from local school district funding. And I'm assuming the state per-pupil funding will also continue. So where does the $100 million go? These issues come up starting at about the 15:00 mark of this video:

Breaking news: Bush appointee rules in favor of GOP

The arguments of Liberals are simply not credible:

“The court finds that parental views on student-assignment policies (including any change to the socio-economic diversity policy) cannot fairly be characterized as ‘progressive’ or ‘conservative,’” Dever writes. Another argument made by plaintiffs is that the changes didn’t have the support of Wake County voters.

“Although the court acknowledges the sincerity of those who oppose the 2015 Wake County Commissioners Plan, the court rejects plaintiffs’ argument that the 2015 Wake County Board Commissioners Plan ignores the ‘will’ of the voters,” Dever writes. “The voters elected the General Assembly, and a majority of the General Assembly voted in favor of the 2015 Wake County Commissioners Plan.”

Really? Voters from all across the state represent the "will" of Wake County's voting population? This "judge" was confirmed so fast back in 2005 if you blinked you would have missed it, but we have 83 empty seats for Federal judge positions now, because undermining a black President is more important to Congressional Republicans than keeping the wheels of justice moving. Or maybe it's even simpler than that, making sure boneheads like Dever are the ones ruling on issues of voter disenfranchisement.

Charter school explosion in CharMeck projected

Future headline: "Hundreds of students in limbo after charter schools close abruptly."

Mecklenburg County’s public school enrollment is expected to grow by roughly 3,200 students next year. And for every one that chooses Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, the district expects five to pick charter schools.

Now, during the season when families choose schools and districts plan budgets, CMS is making an educated guess that the district will gain about 500 students next year while charters will add almost 2,700. For starters, that means CMS expects to pass along about $45 million in county money to the charter schools serving Mecklenburg students, compared with $37 million this year.

If prior performance is any decent gauge of future performance, that equates to around $15 million in taxpayer dollars that will end up being spent with nothing in return. Let's hope that formula changes for the better, and soon.

GOP union-busting on steroids

There's more than one way to skin a teacher's association:

The notice, sent today, came in response to a Dec. 1 letter by Sen. Ralph Hise which questioned whether the North Carolina Association of Educators was eligible for the due deduction service. NCAE had declined to cooperate with a state auditor's report earlier in 2015.

The teacher's group has tangled with lawmakers since Republicans took control of the General Assembly in 2011. It has been critical of the GOP-lead legislature's funding for schools and backed Democratic candidates for office. In 2012, lawmakers returned the favor by holding an unprecedented midnight session to override Gov. Bev Perdue's veto of a bill that would have stopped the state from collecting NCAE dues. The group went to court and won, keeping the right over lawmakers' objections.

Divide and conquer, that's all this is about. Tear down NCAE, and you tear down the ability of teachers to collectively bargain, stand up for each other in numbers large enough to matter, and a whole host of other supportive activities. Bullies hate solidarity, because it neuters them. Which is just one more reason they shouldn't be "governing" our state.

Forest uses right-wing talk radio to whine about charter schools report

Wants less evidence, more anecdotal cheerleading:

“Is there an actual anti-charter bias in the Department of Public Instruction?” Kaliner asked. Forest didn’t answer directly, but said “they” see charter schools as competition. DPI and the state Board of Education oversee North Carolina’s school districts and 158 charter schools, which are run by independent nonprofit boards.

He says delaying the report, which state lawmakers required by Jan. 15, allows more time for it to be reviewed by the Board of Education and the Charter School Advisory Board. In addition, Forest said said there should be an opportunity for “charter schools themselves to be able to read it and look at it and go, ‘Wait a minute. This isn’t painting our picture.’ There’s a lot of great positive things going on with charter schools in the state. Let’s tell that story, too.”

Apparently Forest doesn't know the difference between art and science. If the numbers don't "paint the picture" you want to see, then you need to institute policies that change those numbers. And two of the main policy drivers keeping charters from being diverse are their refusal to provide transportation and free- or reduced-lunches. The sad thing is, I have a feeling charter school proponents view that as a selling point; keeping out the riff-raff. And Republican leaders, including Forest, likely see it the same way. The problem with institutional bias is, you can't hide it when the numbers come rolling in.

Dan Forest wants more happy talk in charter schools report

Because form over substance is so important in the education formula:

The State Board of Education is expected to vote Thursday on several charter school issues, including whether to give newer charter schools more chances to remain open if they are struggling to meet performance standards.

The board could also hear more about the annual charter schools report, which is due to the legislature on Jan. 15. Lt. Gov. Dan Forest advised the board to take more time to review the report and possibly make changes, saying he thought the statistics provided in the report were "negative" and "did not have a lot of positive things to say."

Statistics are what they are. That's why we go to the trouble to collect them, because they are untainted by ideology or preconceived notions. If you don't like the story they tell, change the factors that drove them, not the data itself. And one of the biggest factors driving those negative statistics is the mismanagement of resources, something a former Pope Puppet has positioned himself to take advantage of:

The newest attack on public schools: Achievement School Districts

A special invitation for failure:

An evaluation of those Tennessee schools Vanderbilt University researchers published in December said results were inconsistent and performance, measured by test scores, was about the same as other low-performing schools. The schools are in different cities but are all part of an Achievement School District run by a single superintendent.

But state Rep. Rob Bryan, a Charlotte Republican, who worked this year to get an Achievement School District established in North Carolina, said he was encouraged by information published by the Tennessee district itself that showed high student growth in schools that were in the program for more than a year.

Yeah, nevermind what Vanderbilt says, let's focus on how the privately-managed district describes itself. Those who have been following the school privatization issue are well aware of Rob Bryan's preference for faulty research that supports his views on gutting public schools, but what we really need are a few Legislators to face off with him in the next session to stop this movement. And somebody needs to state the obvious: Republicans frequently bash DPI, because trying to run school districts from a couple hundred miles away is "foolish and counterproductive." But that's exactly what this Achievement School District boondoggle is all about: Putting schools from various cities under one (private-sector) umbrella. The wheels on this snake-oil wagon need to be knocked off the axle before it's too late.

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