Republican attack on public schools

Dan Forest wields unprecedented influence over new ASDs

Expanding his twisted little empire:

A selection advisory committee appointed by Lt. Gov. Dan Forest has been interviewing candidates and is expected to make a recommendation to the State Board of Education by next week. The state board will have the final say in who is hired.

Charter supporters throw temper tantrum over low approval numbers

And engage in a little name calling between tears:

Today, Alan Hawkes, a Greensboro charter leader who sits on the state’s Charter School Advisory Board (CSAB), is still hot. That’s because five schools tapped for opening by Hawkes’ board, which makes recommendations on charter applicants to the state board, were overwhelmingly voted down by the State Board of Education (SBE). Board members cited typos, weak applications and publicly questioned whether some schools’ academic plans were ready for prime time despite the CSAB’s support. Typically, state board members heed the counsel of the CSAB, but not this month.

“Don’t get me started about public charter school no-nothings (sic) on the NC State Board of Education,” Hawkes wrote in an email to Policy Watch this week. “The temerity and ignorance of those soulless SOB’s (sic) presuming to know better than the NC Charter School Advisory Board with its diversity of knowledge and experience in this area. If there is anyone who knows the good, the bad and the ugly about public school choice, it’s members of our NC CSAB.”

The plural form is "sons of bitches," so I'm thinking it should be "S'sOB"? Still doesn't look right...Anyway, if the people who are supposedly going to teach our children can neither write well nor proofread, maybe they should take up another hobby, like ATV riding without a helmet? Using a chainsaw to cut the wrong side of the limb they're sitting on? Something along those lines.

Charter pirates to be led by Dan Forest

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What could possibly go wrong?

Regardless of the warnings, the N.C. legislature mandated the State Board of Education to start the process that will seize five of the state’s lowest performing public schools and put their management under a newly-formed Achievement School District.

The Achievement Schools superintendent, who will be picked by a committee headed and selected by the lieutenant governor, will have a $400,000 start-up budget, significant authority and autonomy in choosing the five schools and designating the specific school operators – though the state board must ultimately approve the choices.

So, Lieutenant Dan gets to select the committee he will then lead, and they will select the Superintendent. Why even have a committee? If somebody disagrees with Forest, won't he be able to simply "select" their replacement? For all their talk about "government accountability," Republicans have a habit of doing the exact opposite.

When charter schools go horribly wrong

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They can leave your child struggling to catch up:

In spring 2014 with about a month left in the school year, StudentFirst was in debt by more than $600,000 and shut its doors, giving only a week’s notice. Rochelle scrambled to get her children into a public magnet school operated by the Charlotte-Mecklenburg school district.

A few weeks later at the new school, her eldest son, CJ, a third-grader, failed the end-of-year reading test—and Rochelle fully realized that StudentFirst’s shortcomings were not just financial, but academic as well. “It became clear that CJ had learned virtually nothing. He fell behind in all subject areas. He went to summer school after that to begin catching up.”

The education pirates: K-12 in deep trouble over California online charters

Purloining public education dollars, by hook or by crook:

A chain of 13 “nonprofit” online charter schools in California must pay the state attorney general an $8.5 million settlement for false advertising, misleading parents and inadequate instruction. An investigation by the San Jose Mercury News is credited with bringing many concerns about underperformance, misrepresentation of enrollment, and other issues to public view in a comprehensive way.

But, starting from the beginning, is the network really nonprofit as state law requires? California Virtual Academies (CAVA) is, according to an investigation, controlled by the for-profit, Virginia-based K12 Inc., which operates in 37 states and reported $651.4 million in revenue for the nine months ending in March of this year.

This is not a "stunning" revelation, it's more of the same evidence that's been piling up for the last 4-5 years. But that hasn't stopped the privatizers in Raleigh from moving forward with these fraudsters:

Achievement School District bill heads to McCrory

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State-sponsored piracy of public schools:

The House passed the Senate version of a bill Wednesday to create a five-school Achievement School District pilot program for schools that have shown consistently poor growth and performance.

A State Board of Education-appointed superintendent could choose charter companies with proven success to run the schools. The companies would have hiring and firing powers and would be exempt from oversight and evaluations from local school boards.

There are numerous faulty assumptions built into this bill, not the least of which is the idea that removing a critical oversight mechanism (local school boards) will somehow encourage performance. And considering these boards are comprised of locally-elected officials, it actually takes away parental control. But in the minds of Republicans, ideology trumps logic every time.

GOP attack on teachers crosses the line

Your First Amendment rights mean nothing to the tyrants:

The majority of the crimes listed in the bill make perfect sense if the goal is – as it should be – to keep our students safe.

But the inclusion of Article 36A, which includes the act of remaining “at the scene of ... disorderly conduct by an assemblage of three or more persons, following a command to disperse,” departs from that sincere desire to protect our children. It means that individuals who have been arrested for protesting the lack of textbooks and toilet paper in North Carolina schools could be denied teaching careers, and those already teaching could potentially have their licenses revoked due to such an arrest.

Again, the stifling of school teachers is a signature trait of authoritarian/totalitarian regimes, and the fact Republicans would so casually include something like this in Legislation proves they simply do not grasp the basic concepts of democracy.

Senate wants tens of millions more for private school vouchers

The exsanguination of public school funding increases:

In their version of the budget, Senate Republicans have a plan to grow a large reserve fund for the Opportunity Scholarship Program. The scholarships, or vouchers, are given to low-income parents so they can pay to send their children to private rather than public schools.

Senators plan to increase the amount of money set aside by $10 million annually, enough to accommodate 2,000 additional students each year. By 2028, the state would be setting aside $145 million. But advocates and critics are divided on whether there’s demand for such an expansion.

Even if the demand was there, and it isn't, funneling these levels of taxpayer dollars into private schools is a mistake. And spending public revenues on religious institutions increases that mistake tenfold. We (through our elected state and local governments) have no way to monitor or regulate how those dollars are spent, what quality of education is received, or whether these children are even safe from potential predators in their midst. And this anecdotal account does not impress me one iota:

Privatization of public school facilities under "leasing" contracts

Janet Cowell cuts loose on General Assembly plotters:

Most consequentially, this legislation allows state student and teacher funding (the average daily membership) and all other state education funding to be used for school facilities, in this case to pay private developers. North Carolina has a long history of supporting state funding for teachers and education staff and county funding for school buildings. This bill would blur that division and could result in the layoff of school personnel to pay private companies.

It would allow sales taxes to go to a private, for-profit company. Specifically, the bill would permit a local unit to refund a private for profit business entity for expenses incurred in operating the building from local sales or use taxes. Sales and use taxes are an important source of local government revenue. This bill assigns away these revenues to the private entity.

This fits a broader pattern Republicans in the Legislature have developed over the last 5 years or so, in which they steadily erode the powers of local governments while also shifting costs down to them. In this case, the GOP is nudging local governments to allow private entities to actually own newly-constructed public schools, and force the local government to pay rent. It's a classic privatization scheme, but this time it's not a parking lot, it's our children's development that is being leveraged. And it's as easy as adding the two words "or other" to the statute in question:

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