Virtual School Meanderings

January 21, 2021

Is the pandemic boosting charter school enrollment? | 8 #EdJustice wins | and more

Filed under: virtual school — Michael K. Barbour @ 9:08 am
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Always an interesting read…

 

 

Welcome to Cashing in on Kids, an email newsletter for people fed up with the privatization of America’s public schools—produced by In the Public Interest.

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Is the pandemic boosting charter school enrollment? Journalist Sarah Lahm explores whether the pandemic’s impact on public school enrollment will play into the hands of the charter school industry.

“Even if their intentions are personal rather than political, by keeping their children out of public school this year, parents with the means to do so are also fulfilling a longstanding dream of politicians on both the right and the left, where families are able to pick from a full menu of school choice options rather than simply attend their local public school.” LA Progressive

And now the rest of the news…

Kentucky moves closer to more privatization. After years of attempts to push private school tuition tax breaks, Kentucky Republican state legislators—whose supermajority grew in November—have introduced a proposal for Education Opportunity Accounts, an expanded version of scholarship tax credits. WTVQ

“Neoliberals determined to commodify more students.” Professor of education Shawgi Tell documents the state of the online charter school industry, including a list of the “top players.” Dissident Voice

Looking back at #EdJustice wins in 2020. As Trump leaves office, it’s a good time to reflect on education policy wins from 2020 that give us hope (and a way forward) in the years to come. The Schott Foundation has pulled together eight policy victories to carry with us as inspiration for the struggles ahead. Schott Foundation

Finally, an opportunity to connect…

Teacher unions and social justice. On Thursday, January 21, 2021, at 7pm ET, join Teacher Unions and Social Justice co-editors Jesse Hagopian, Michael Charney, and Bob Peterson along with contributors Michelle Gunderson and Arlene Inouye for the launch of a new Rethinking Schools book on the promise of social justice teacher unionism. Rethinking Schools

 

 

 

In the Public Interest
1305 Franklin St., Suite 501
Oakland, CA 94612
United States

January 13, 2021

Betsy DeVos hasn’t really resigned yet | Vouchers push in multiple states | and more

Filed under: virtual school — Michael K. Barbour @ 2:03 pm
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Always an interesting read.

 

 

Welcome to Cashing in on Kids, an email newsletter for people fed up with the privatization of America’s public schools—produced by In the Public Interest.

Not a subscriber? Sign up. And make sure to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

 

 

Sure, Betsy DeVos resigned. But, as Marianna Islam, director of programs and advocacy for the Schott Foundation, says, “Betsy Devos has not really left until all of her harmful policies are overturned and policies that advance racial equity are put into place.” Retweet this

And now other news…

Which federal agency has funded more charter school facilities than any other? The U.S. Department of Agriculture. At least according to Chicago-based Wert-Berater, LLC, the self-described “leading” company in facilitating the charter school industry’s lucrative real estate sector by providing “feasibility studies.” WBOC

Is the charter school industry on the skids? Journalist Jeff Bryant looks at the charter school industry’s rate, particularly in North Carolina. “Much of the rationale for the perceived need for charter schools often seems to boil down to marketing.” AlterNet

Pro-charter money goes to California governor recall effort. The right-wing charter school backer, John Kruger, has given $500,000 to an effort to recall California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D). GV Wire

Georgia lawmakers eye vouchers. Georgia state lawmakers will be taking up the issue of private school vouchers in their new session. “Proponents could limit efforts to expanding Georgia’s current special needs scholarship program benefitting students with disabilities. A similar bill passed the Senate last year but failed in the House.” AP

Texas too. A voucher bill has been introduced into the Texas legislature. “Do we really have time to rehash this?” tweeted Charles Luke of the Coalition for Public Schools. “The legislature has only voted vouchers down repeatedly for 25 years!”

New Hampshire takes the money. New Hampshire’s governor and executive council have accepted controversial funding for the expansion of charter schools in the state. In Depth NH

Following the money. Pennsylvania’s online charter schools have used federal COVID-19 relief funds to purchase technology and cleaning supplies and send Target gift cards and phones to families. The Times-Tribune

And the good news…

Local Indiana council supports charter school ban. Indiana’s Gary City Council has unanimously backed a resolution calling for a moratorium on new charter schools in support of state legislation being introduced by a local lawmaker. Chicago Tribune

Pennsylvania school district speaks out. School district officials in Pennsylvania’s Schuylkill County have spoken out on charter school funding. “Recently the United States Department of Education awarded a five-year $30 million grant to Pennsylvania Brick and Mortar Charter Schools to increase their academic success. All the while, many Pennsylvania Public Schools are cutting programs in order to continue to pay for charter school costs, some even becoming financially distressed due to this burden.” Skook News

 

 

 

In the Public Interest
1305 Franklin St., Suite 501
Oakland, CA 94612
United States

January 7, 2021

The school ebook swindle | How to fix the DeVos wreckage | and more

Filed under: virtual school — Michael K. Barbour @ 12:04 pm
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Always an important read.

Welcome to Cashing in on Kids, a newsletter for people fed up with the privatization of America’s public schools—produced by In the Public Interest.

Not a subscriber? Sign up. And make sure to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

How billion-dollar book companies are ripping off public schools. “By locking school districts into contracts that turn them into captive consumers, corporate tech providers are draining public education budgets that don’t have a penny to spare.” The New Republic

How to fix the DeVos wreckage. A sweeping editorial from the New York Times offers ideas on how the Biden administration can begin to fix the wreckage Betsy DeVos left behind. The New York Times

Capital and Main’s Larry Buhl also weighs in with “Five Ways Joe Biden Can ‘De-DeVos’ U.S. Education.” Capital & Main

Florida charter school terminated after “systematic dysfunction.” A Florida state appeals court has affirmed a county decision to terminate the charter contract of a Tampa-area charter school. “The school opened in 2018 but was returned to the district after an investigation showed widespread evidence of ‘systematic dysfunction,’ including unpaid bills and teachers not receiving paychecks.” 10 Tampa Bay

“A ‘pause’ is need in charter school expansion.” Rhode Island State Rep. Gregg Amore (D-East Providence) is calling for a pause on more charter schools, after the state’s K-12 Council approved three new schools and permitted the expansion of three more. The Providence Journal

Who is Miguel Cardona? The Network for Public Education has some thoughts on Biden’s selection of Miguel Cardona for Secretary of Education:

“He is neither for nor against charter schools, even though Connecticut experienced some of the worst charter scandals in the nation (think the Jumoke charter chain), is the home base of the Sackler-funded ConnCAN (which morphed into 50CAN, to spread the privatization movement nationally), and is the home base of Achievement First, one of the premier no-excuses charter chain, known in the past for harsh discipline. Network for Public Education

 

In the Public Interest
1305 Franklin St., Suite 501
Oakland, CA 94612
United States

December 16, 2020

Good news to round out the dumpster fire that was 2020

Filed under: virtual school — Michael K. Barbour @ 8:06 am
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Always some interesting items in this newsletter from a California-based organization.

Welcome to Cashing in on Kids, a newsletter for people fed up with the privatization of America’s public schools—produced by In the Public Interest.

Not a subscriber? Sign up. And make sure to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Charter schools are enabling white flight from public education. A publicly-funded charter school in Utah’s most racially diverse city is all white. “That’s the question,” said Brooke Anderson, a data specialist from the surrounding school district. “How do you start a charter school in West Valley City and enroll no students of color?” KJZZ

Gobs of federal charter school money headed to New Hampshire. As Education Secretary Betsy DeVos heads out the door, a wave of federal charter school expansion money is on the way to New Hampshire. Concord Monitor

The charter school that ate Oklahoma. Two members of the Oklahoma Statewide Virtual Charter School Board have been blocked from any action affecting the controversial online charter school chain Epic Charter Schools because of conflicts of interest with the school’s co-founders. The Oklahoman

Meanwhile, a former member of the charter board has accused Gov. Kevin Stitt (R) of trying to stitch up a private settlement between Epic and the board. KFOR

And now the good news…

Making the 2020 “bearable.” Have you picked up Potential Grizzlies: Making the Nonsense Bearable, National Education Policy Center director Kevin Welner’s new book satirizing education policy? It’s title refers to remarks made by soon-to-be-former Education Secretary Betsy DeVos during her 2017 confirmation hearing, where she tried to explain her stance concerning arming educators by referring to a Wyoming elementary school, saying: “I think probably there, I would imagine that there’s probably a gun in the school to protect from potential grizzlies.” Buy it here.

“The schools we need now are community schools.” Jane Quinn, former director of the Children’s Aid National Center for Community Schools: “Implemented correctly, the community-school strategy can help public schools fulfill the multifaceted role we expect them to play in the lives of America’s children and families.” The Hechinger Report

Is this new kind of public school coming to your neighborhood? It should be. Charter schools. Private school vouchers. The portfolio model. So-called “school choice” has become all the rage in the education world in recent years. But there’s a new kid on the block. One that shows much more promise when you actually look at the data. In the Public Interest’s Jeremy Mohler explains community schools. In the Public Interest

Why public education is as important than ever. Journalist Jeff Bryant interviews Derek Black, law professor and author of Schoolhouse Burning, on why public education is fundamental to American democracy and the nation’s founding principles. The Progressive

 

In the Public Interest
1305 Franklin St., Suite 501
Oakland, CA 94612
United States

December 12, 2020

Is this new kind of public school coming to your neighborhood? It should be.

Filed under: virtual school — Michael K. Barbour @ 5:34 pm
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Another California-based think tank newsletter.

Welcome back to our weekly newsletter for people who want government to work for all of us. Not a subscriber? Sign up here.

Your support makes our work possible. If you have spare change lying around, please donate. We’d deeply appreciate it.

Is this new kind of public school coming to your neighborhood? It should be.

Charter schools. Private school vouchers. The portfolio model. So-called “school choice” has become all the rage in the education world in recent years.

Even though it rarely actually improves education. Even though charter schools and vouchers drain funding from public school districts. Even though increasing “school choice” is especially harmful to low-income families and communities of color.

But there’s a new kid on the block. One that shows much more promise when you actually look at the data.

Community schools are public schools that partner with local communities to create the conditions students—and communities—need to thrive.

That means connecting schools with services provided by nonprofits and other public agencies, like mental health care. That means after-hours learning for students and parents, like culinary arts. Most importantly, that means more parent and teacher involvement in the school’s decision-making process.

The community school model isn’t new, per se. In a 1902 speech to the National Education Association, psychologist and education reformer John Dewey outlined a comprehensive approach that brought community resources in partnership with schools. Now, some 8,000 American public schools identify as community schools.

But research is revealing really how successful community schools can be as more and more open. Not only can they improve student educational outcomes, but community schools can also reduce racial and economic achievement gaps.

Just before COVID-19 hit, a four-year Rand Corp. study found that 113 community schools in New York City had improved attendance, increased graduation rates, and saw more students passing courses and advancing grades on time.

And what about during the pandemic? When New York City’s Fannie Lou Hamer Freedom High School closed back in March, staff mobilized to distribute Chromebooks to students and distribute daily breakfast and lunch to up to 500 families. They also offered virtual mental health support and helped families with housing and immigration issues.

Community schools in Cincinnati, Ohio, have migrated support online, including teletherapy, telemedicine, legal services, and early childhood education.

“Our schools were made for this,” said Curtiss Sarikey, chief of staff at the Oakland Unified School District, which became the nation’s first full-service community school district back in 2011.

All children deserve a great education. That means public education must be treated like a public good, not a market commodity. Unlike charter schools and vouchers, community schools make good on that promise.

Is anyone talking about community schools in your neck of the woods? Should they be?

 
Stay in touch,

Jeremy Mohler
Communications Director
In the Public Interest

In the Public Interest
1305 Franklin St., Suite 501
Oakland, CA 94612
United States
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