Virtual School Meanderings

August 3, 2021

News: The for-profit charter school problem

So this item came across my desk last week and I wanted to highlight it.

The for-profit charter school problem
Photo by CDC on Unsplash – people sitting on chair inside room

The top lobbying group for the charter school industry is rushing to preserve millions in funds from the federal government that flow to charter operators that have turned their K-12 schools into profit-making enterprises, often in low-income communities of color.

The group, the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools (NAPCS), objects to a provision in the House Appropriations Committee’s proposed 2022 education budget that closes loopholes that have long been exploited by charter school operators that profit from their schools through management contracts, real estate deals, and other business arrangements. NAPCS also objects to the legislation’s proposal to cut 9 percent from the federal government’s troubled Charter Schools Program (CSP).

To continue reading, go to the original article at (plus it supports local journalism)

The article was interesting to me because it highlighted specific examples of how the charter school industry (and yes, it is an industry and not some altruistic version of public education) try to basically lie about the nature of regulation to suit their own goals.  Take this example from the article:

The Reality – The specific provision regarding for-profit charters that NAPCS objects to states, “None of the funds made available by this Act or any other Act may be awarded to a charter school that contracts with a for-profit entity to operate, oversee or manage the activities of the school.”

The Charter Industry Fiction –While the proposal from House Democrats is clearly aimed at ending federal funding of a specific type of charter school operation, NAPCS, in its petition campaign, claims that the new legislation would “cut off ALL federal funding” to any charter school that contracts with any sort of business entity, which would seem to suggest that the proposal jeopardizes federal funds to all charters, since virtually all schools, charter and public, outsource some services—such as transportation, textbooks, or grounds maintenance—to outside providers.

NAPCS’s president and CEO Nina Rees told a CNN reporter that the legislation “could impact schools that contract out for cafeteria services, special education services, or back office staff.”

There are many other examples in the article, so be sure to check it out yourself.  But this does highlight how this industry is more concerned with pilfering the public purse for the purpose of profit than they are any sort of responsibility or accountability – and definitely any concern for public education.

July 26, 2013

New Models of Education Through Enhanced Information Technology

From Thursday’s inbox on what will likely be a slow blogging day…

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Digital Schools: How Technology Can Transform EducationNearly a century ago, famed educator John Dewey said, “If we teach today’s students as we taught yesterday’s, we rob them of tomorrow.” This wisdom resonates more strongly than ever today, and that maxim underlies this insightful look at the present and future of education in the digital age. In this webinar, Darrell West will discuss key findings from his book, Digital Schools: How Technology Can Transform Education, which examines new models of education made possible by enhanced information technology, and how new approaches will make public education in the post-industrial age more relevant, efficient, and ultimately more productive. West will explain how today’s educational institutions must reinvent themselves to engage students successfully and provide them with the skills needed to compete in an increasingly global, technological, and online world. West will share the potential contributions of blogs, wikis, social media, and video games and augmented reality in K–12 and higher education.


Darrell West, director of governance studies and director of the Center for Technology Innovation, Brookings Institution

Register now for this free live webinar.

Webinar Date: Wednesday, July 31, 2 to 3 p.m. ET

Can’t attend? All Education Week webinars are archived and accessible “on demand” for up to four months after the original live-streaming date.

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Editorial Projects in Education, Inc., 6935 Arlington Road, Suite 100, Bethesda, MD 20814. EPE is the publisher of Education Week, Digital Directions, Teacher Professional Development Sourcebook,,,, and Copyright © 2013 Editorial Projects in Education.

May 20, 2012

What’s New: School Leaders; Digital Learning; Homeless Students; Teacher Survey and More

From Saturday’s inbox…

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What’s New at the Alliance

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I. Recent Events and Webinars (video available for all)

A. BRIEFING: Creating a Culture of Excellence: On April 26, the Alliance and the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP) held a briefing on Capitol Hill to discuss the role of school leaders in creating a culture of excellence that has allowed students to succeed at great levels. The event highlighted schools from the MetLife Foundation–NASSP Breakthrough Schools project, which identifies, showcases, and recognizes middle and high schools that are high achieving or dramatically improving student achievement while serving large numbers of students most at risk of dropping out.

B. WEBINAR: Building a Grad Nation: The Alliance held a webinar on April 25 that featured an in-depth discussion on the data and research presented in a new report, Building a Grad Nation. Webinar participants included report authors Robert Balfanz of the Everyone Graduates Center and John Bridgeland of Civic Enterprises, who discussed which states and parts of the country are making the most progress in increasing high school graduation rates and reducing dropout factories and how states and districts can increase the number of students who graduate from high school prepared for college and a career. Alliance Vice President of Federal Advocacy Phillip Lovell offered federal recommendations and moderated the discussion.

C. WEBINAR: The MetLife Survey of the American Teacher: On April 24, the Alliance held a webinar on the new MetLife Survey of the American Teacher: Teachers, Parents, and the Economy, the first large-scale national survey to reflect fully the effects of the economy on the teaching profession. Panelists discussed the findings and the data points for policymakers and education leaders to note as they work to turn negative trends into positive ones.

D. WEBINAR: Digital Learning: Student Voices Heard: The Alliance held a webinar on April 23 featuring Julie Evans, president and chief executive officer of Project Tomorrow, and students who have participated in—and benefitted from—a variety of learning experiences that were enhanced by the innovative use of digital technology.

II. Publications

A. FACT SHEET: Falling Through the Gaps: Homeless Children and Youth: In each state, between 41 percent and 91 percent of the homeless students identified by the U.S. Department of Education (ED) are not considered homeless by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Nationwide, as many as 715,238 homeless students fall into a bureaucratic gap between HUD and ED. This is because ED, HUD, and other federal agencies have different definitions of homelessness, which creates a barrier to serving vulnerable homeless children/youth and their families. This Alliance fact sheet outlines the differences and explains how the U.S. Congress can close this gap between federal agencies by passing the Homeless Children and Youth Act (H.R. 32). It also includes a state-by-state chart of the percentage of students who are considered homeless by ED but not by HUD.

III. Media Highlights

April 13, 2012
New formula makes graduation rates lower (Commerce News Today)
Using a new formula, graduation rates for area schools dropped in revised figures released by the Georgia Department of Education on Tuesday … “It’s important that it gets out that these drops aren’t the result of a state doing worse. Now we have an accurate picture,” said Tara N. Tucci, senior research and policy associate at the Washington-based advocacy group Alliance for Excellent Education, in a statement.

April 15, 2012
How secondary school principals can master the Common Core (eSchool News)
As states move toward implementing the Common Core State Standards, school principals must ensure they are fully equipped to help classroom teachers incorporate the standards as effectively as possible … Forty-six states and Washington, D.C., have adopted the Common Core standards, and 90 percent of U.S. students are covered by the standards, said Bob Wise, president of the Alliance for Excellent Education (AEE), during an AEE webinar that examined how principals can ensure that students will be ready to master the new college- and career-ready standards and can demonstrate this mastery on the new 2014 state assessments.

April 16, 2012
Go for the grad-rate dividend (Star Tribune (MN))
Minnesota is tied with North Dakota for the third-highest high school graduation rate in the country in the latest stats compiled by the Alliance for Excellent Education, dating from 2008–09.

April 24, 2012
Weighing In on CTE Blueprint (Homeroom (U.S. Department of Education))
“This administration believes that career and technical education is central to rebuilding our economy and securing a brighter future for our nation,” said Brenda Dann-Messier, assistant secretary for vocational and adult education, at last week’s release of the Obama administration’s blueprint for transforming career and technical education … Bob Wise, president of the Alliance for Excellent Education: “If the nation is to prepare all students for college and a career, career and technical education must be an essential part of the education reform process and a key component of the nation’s education system. The Obama administration’s blueprint is an important step in that direction.”

May 2, 2012
Homeless Students Can’t Access Some Federal Aid (KUT Radio(TX))
How homeless should you be to qualify as homeless? … Phillip Lovell is with Alliance for Excellent Education. He advocates for at-risk middle and high school students.

May 4, 2012
Starting From Scratch with ESEA (Education Week)
If you had $23 billion a year dedicated to improving low-income children’s education and addressing a wide variety of other congressionally negotiated purposes, what would you do? … The Alliance for Excellent Education, a Washington-based group devoted to high school reform, cites evidence from Johns Hopkins University that finds that approximately 13 percent, or 2,000, of the nation’s public high schools account for 50 percent of our country’s dropouts.

May 7, 2012
Byrd M.S. wins national awards (Henrico Citizen (VA))
Byrd Middle School recently was recognized nationally as the winner of two 21st century contests … A video created by the school’s librarians and HCPS-TV, which documented the school’s participation in the first-ever national Digital Learning Day Feb. 1, was selected as the best middle school impact video submission in the nation by the Alliance for Excellent Education, which organized the day.

May 9, 2012
Remediation: Higher ed’s expensive ‘bridge to nowhere’ costs taxpayers $100 million a year (M Live (MI))
More than a third of incoming college students in Michigan take high school-level classes on campus—essentially repeating material they should have learned before they got their diplomas … An analysis conducted by the Alliance for Excellent Education, a Washington, DC-based advocacy group, estimated that remedial classes costs $3.6 billion a year nationally, with the cost in Michigan alone estimated at $114 million.

May 13, 2012
Lowering U.S. dropout rate could help boost economy (Clarion-Ledger (MS))
Six thousand young people will never realize their dreams or their potential because they dropped out of school today … A study by the Alliance for Excellent Education found that our economy would grow by $309 billion if every student graduated from high school.

May 14, 2012
US High School Puts Minority Students on Career Path (Voice of America)
An educational study in the United States by the Alliance for Excellent Education says about 7,000 American students drop out of high school every school day.

IV. “High School Soup” Highlights (Alliance blog)

April 16, 2012
What Happens on Commencement Day Can Make a Big Difference on Tax Day
Bob Wise, President
As Tax Day approaches, I’d like to take you away from frantically trying to fill out your IRS Form 1040 and its accompanying tax forms for just a minute to talk about how dropouts are making our country’s return smaller than it could be.

April 16, 2012
Integrating Digital Learning Through Professional Learning Communities
Guest Post: Vanessa Jones, Instructional Support Technology Specialist, Austin Independent Schools (TX)
As an educator, I have made it my priority to collaborate, communicate and share ideas with other educators, both within and outside my district. To help facilitate this continuous learning process, I belong to several professional learning communities (PLCs) where I, along with other educators, share ideas, resources, and experiences and learn from one another. This has been especially beneficial as I work to integrate digital learning into my practice and to support other teachers as they explore and implement digital learning. Being a part of a PLC has helped me reach beyond my district and has given me insight into various implementations and learning processes that allow me to promote twenty-first century skills and implement twenty-first-century skills in an educational setting in several areas of my work.

April 17, 2012
New Guide on Development of Assessments for the Common Core State Standards
Maria Ferguson, Vice President of Policy
The K–12 Center at ETS released this month an updated guide on the assessments for the common core state standards. Coming Together to Raise Achievement is a very useful guide that provides a range of information and insights into the work being done by the five federally funded State Assessment Consortia.

April 18, 2012
Alliance Senior Fellow Robert Rothman Highlights Common Core Standards in Educational Leadership
In an article for Educational Leadership, Alliance for Excellent Education Senior Fellow Robert Rothman offers his thoughts on what separates the common core state standards from those previously developed by various states throughout the country.

April 18, 2012
Webinar: The Principal’s role in the Common Core State Standards
On Thursday, April 12, the Alliance for Excellent Education hosted a webinar for principals who want to learn more about the common core state standards and their role in its implementation at the secondary school level. Currently, forty-six states plus the District of Columbia have adopted common core state standards as the next iteration of their states’ English language arts (ELA) and math standards (Minnesota has adopted the ELA standards only).

May 4, 2012
Creating a Culture of Excellence: the Role of School Leaders
Bill DeBaun, Policy and Advocacy Assistant
On April 26, the Alliance for Excellent Education and the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP) held a Capitol Hill briefing showcasing the MetLife Foundation–NASSP’s Breakthrough Schools project, which recognizes middle and high schools that are high achieving or dramatically improving student achievement while serving large numbers of students most at risk of dropping out.

May 4, 2012
Standards, Teachers, and Curriculum
Robert Rothman, Senior Fellow
Bill Schmidt, a distinguished professor of education at Michigan State University and a lead researcher on the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS), has examined the common core state standards in mathematics and gave them high marks. He and his colleague Richard Huang found that the standards are consistent with those of high-performing nations, and that high standards are in fact associated with high performance in mathematics. That’s good news for the standards.

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