The 'Separate-but-Equal' Charter School Scam

 

While charter proponents claim that their schools are less bureaucratic, more efficient, and more effective, the evidence doesn't really back that up.

 
 

Back-to-school" sales seem to start earlier every year. These days, more than binders and backpacks are on offer. Now, public schools themselves are for sale.

In July, Muskegon Heights, Michigan became the first American city to hand its entire school district over to a charter-school operator.

 

More than 1.6 million American kids attend charter schools, which emerged in the early 1990s. Whatever their original intent, charters are fundamentally restructuring the school system by placing it in private — often for-profit — hands. They're making teachers and staff work harder and longer for less pay, usually without union benefits or protection.

 

In May, Philadelphia's schools announced a plan to close 64 schools and outsource 25 more to so-called "achievement networks" run by charter operators. The goal: that 40 percent of Philadelphia's children attend charters by 2017. Detroit's plans are similar.

Privatizing Public Schools, an OtherWords cartoon by Khalil Bendib.
Privatizing Public Schools, an OtherWords cartoon by Khalil Bendib.

Restructuring may seem the best option. Urban school districts have long struggled to serve their students. And many of us know firsthand — as former students, teachers, administrators, or parents — that many of America's public schools require radical change.

 

Charter proponents claim that their schools are less bureaucratic and more efficient, and thus save taxpayer money. Yet evidence is mounting to show that the opposite is true. When Philadelphia first announced its restructuring plans, the budget earmarked for charters stood at $38 million. By July, that figure was "rounded up" to an astonishing $139 million. Since when is a $100-million cost-overrun a sign of cost-effectiveness?

 

Moreover, charter proponents argue that competition and choice pressure all schools to perform better. This assumes that schools operate on even playing fields. However, Detroit officials followed their restructuring plans by imposing a contract on teachers that caps class sizes at more than 40 students starting in kindergarten and at a staggering 61 for sixth grade through high school. No school can possibly "compete" under such conditions.

 

Finally, consider Muskegon Heights. The city hired charter operator Mosaica Education, a for-profit company premised on earning more from contracts to run schools than it pays out in expenses. In fact, Mosaica expects to earn as much as $11 million in its Muskegon Heights deal. That's roughly the same amount as the current budget deficit that officials gave as the reason to hire this outfit in the first place. Apparently, officials weren't troubled by Mosaica's record elsewhere in Michigan — its six other charter schools performed on average at the 13th percentile, according to the state's annual ranking in 2011.

 

That none of these developments has made national headlines is mind-boggling. Perhaps this has something to do with the institutional racism that led to the Supreme Court's crucial Brown v. Board of Education ruling in 1954.

Muskegon Heights is a highly segregated African-American community adjacent to the predominantly white Muskegon. In Muskegon Heights, median household income stood at just over $26,600 in 2010, with over 30 percent of residents living below the poverty line.

 

It's primarily in minority-majority communities like this where schools are being sold off to the highest bidder, regardless of those bidders' track records.

The same story has played out in Chicago for almost a decade. The city has closed dozens of neighborhood schools and considered replacing them with charters. What's different in Chicago, though, is that the Chicago Teachers Union is leading the fight against this agenda. After several years of building strong alliances with parent and community groups, the union is challenging Democratic Mayor Rahm Emanuel's attack on public schools. In July, Emanuel blinked and agreed to reinstate 477 laid-off art, music, PE, and foreign language teachers.

 

The union is demonstrating that teachers and students share common interests. Together with their parent and community allies, Chicago's teachers and their unions are proving that they can put public schools back in the public's hands and win the funding required for the world-class education that all our children deserve.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

"I'm just trying to make a way out of no way, for my people" -Modejeska Monteith Simpkins

 

AFRICAN AMERICA IS AT WAR

THERE IS A RACE WAR ON AFRICAN AMERICA

THERE IS A RACE WAR ON AFRICAN AMERICANS

THERE IS A RACE WAR ON BLACK PEOPLE IN AMERICA

AMERICA'S RACISTS HAVE INFILTRATED AMERICAN POLICE FORCES TO WAGE A RACE WAR AGAINST BLACK PEOPLE IN AMERICA

THE BLACK RACE IS AT WAR

FIRST WORLD WAR:  THE APPROXIMATELY 6,000 YEAR WORLD WAR ON AFRICA AND THE BLACK RACE

Original Post
Originally Posted by EbonyRose:

I never in my wildest dreams imagined that charter schools would become a capitalistic enterprise and take off (multiply) like they have!!  

 

Im not sure if that is sarcasm or not.    After spending years of attacking "all things Government" (while ignoring real issues with the US Government) people are seeing what happens when everything necessary for society to function is turned into a market based 'fee for service'.  While every group that starts a charter school isn't necessarily  a greedy capitalist, you cannot escape the reality of what charter schools are and the larger context within which they function. 


Big business use the Government to get bigger (market share, profitability, etc) while the Governments ability to function is reduced (via cuts in tax receipts).  

When the Government fails guess who's left standing?

 

 

So can the so called Charter School figure out what to do with these cheap tablets or are we going to sit back and let them do mind control games with information control?

 

This technology provides options for bypassing any White controlled educational system.  But what will we do?

 

Xum

No, MC .... that wasn't meant to be the least bit sarcastic!!  As I usually do, I said  (exactly) what I meant and meant what I said!!  (Although you never believe that! )

 

At the first mention of "charter schools" (several years ago), I was HIGHLY opposed to the thought of them .... mostly because I didn't understand the concept - nor did I trust it.  All I knew is that White people were in favor of it ... which meant it probably wasn't a good thing (for us)!!  

 

I held FIRMLY to the thought that our public schools and school system could be FIXED in order to benefit our children who were being left behind.  But ... as the years went by, and that didn't happen for our children, I started to listen, learn and investigate the idea of the "charter school" system to find out what it was really all about.

 

In my initial introductions, I read about two all-Black charter schools that were started on the East Coast that took "at risk" kids (through a lottery) and were developing them into soon-to-be high school graduates who were excelling at their school work ... and breaking down all the stereotypes that are attached to our kids - that they can't learn, that they're from too bad an atmosphere to be successful, that they don't strive for excellence, etc.

 

And since these schools were just taking off and hadn't been around long enough to fully produce the results they were aiming for ... it was still an "unknown" as to just how successfully it would work!!

 

Next ... I heard of an all-Black, all-boys' school opening (in Harlem, I think!) ... and I REALLY ..... REALLY liked that idea!!  Then, slowly, you began to hear about more and more charter schools opening up here and there .. and more and Black people starting to be in favor of them for their children's sake ... and, so, the idea of it being a "positive" thing started to grow on me.

 

Now, perhaps, naively, I was only looking at it from an educational perspective ... where these types of schools ... in certain areas and in certain circumstances COULD BE beneficial - especially to our children - and provide a successful alternative to public education!!!

 

But the thought never occurred to me that White people would take the idea of turning it into a multi-million dollar, corporatized, (wholly/mostly) for-profit-only, cookie-cutter, private enterprise .... that was NOT focused on the educational development of children ... but merely another way to bilk governments (state, local and federal) out of taxpayer (OUR) money!! 

 

It just didn't occur to me that way.  But perhaps that's just the downfall of being an optimist.

Originally Posted by EbonyRose:
In my initial introductions, I read about two all-Black charter schools that were started on the East Coast that took "at risk" kids (through a lottery) and were developing them into soon-to-be high school graduates who were excelling at their school work ... and breaking down all the stereotypes that are attached to our kids - that they can't learn, that they're from too bad an atmosphere to be successful, that they don't strive for excellence, etc.

 

And since these schools were just taking off and hadn't been around long enough to fully produce the results they were aiming for ... it was still an "unknown" as to just how successfully it would work!!

You should read this about "at risk" kids.

 

http://firstmonday.org/htbin/c...article/view/500/421

 

The public school system could have made a National Recommended Reading List decades before we had cheap computers.  Black women believe in SCHOOLING too much.  The purpose of any educational is largely to indoctrinate the children to propagate the culture.  So of course in this country we are supposed to be at the bottom of the culture.

 

These computers provide an option to bypass what palefaces call EDUCATION.  So when are we going to do it?


BLACK MAN'S BURDEN  BY MACK REYNOLDS

http://www.magick7.com/1/Moonl...ories/2/608/3626.htm

 

Xum

Now, perhaps, naively, I was only looking at it from an educational perspective ... where these types of schools ... in certain areas and in certain circumstances COULD BE beneficial - especially to our children - and provide a successful alternative to public education!!!

 

But the thought never occurred to me that White people would take the idea of turning it into a multi-million dollar, corporatized, (wholly/mostly) for-profit-only, cookie-cutter, private enterprise .... that was NOT focused on the educational development of children ... but merely another way to bilk governments (state, local and federal) out of taxpayer (OUR) money!! 

 

It just didn't occur to me that way.  But perhaps that's just the downfall of being an optimist.

 

 

 

 

 

This is actually why I asked at first.  It wasn't to be condescending in the least.  I support Black institutions of just about every form.  From childcare/homeschooling to Black research universities.  Capitalism and white supremacy are closely related.  One need not be "white" to to get caught up in the crazy and devastating effects of capitalism any more than one need be white to suffer from the effect of white supremacist thinking.  

The "market ideology" has been so normalized that people see it as the only way to construct or approach solving any problems.  Not noticing that its almost NEVER a means to solve anything.  It AT BEST provides a cooping mechanism for the people while the problem continues.  

I have no shortage of complains about the U.S. Government and its policies toward Black people worldwide.  However, I do see that this government (as well as others) are nothing more than adjuncts for corporate (capitalist) interest.  There's no shortage of books, writings and research detailing this from many perspectives.

Originally Posted by Muhammad Cipher:

The "market ideology" has been so normalized that people see it as the only way to construct or approach solving any problems.  Not noticing that its almost NEVER a means to solve anything.  It AT BEST provides a cooping mechanism for the people while the problem continues.  

 

 

I agree with you, MC.  However .... my thoughts about this are that .... while, yes, companies have "normalized" this nation's current "market ideology" for their own financial benefit in the eyes of "the people" ... their deceit can't be solely blamed on their (the company's) greed!!

 

Unfortunately, apathy and ignorance help perpetuate the current unfairness of the capitalist system ... and too many people know nothing about what is being done to them ... how or why it happens ... let alone realize that they actually can do something about it.

 

I don't ascribe to the thought that "This is the way things are and there's nothing that can be done about it."  There's ALWAYS something that can be done about something .... if the will exists to make that change.  If there is anything that the "Occupy" movement did right it was to bring attention to the wealth and financial disparity between the "haves" and the "have nots."  But, unfortunately that's about ALL they did ... was to inform.

 

They had NO plan .... NO will ... and produced NO active concept as to actually DO something about the problem.  So the end result is no more than that more Americans now know they are being bent over by the capitalist construct that is our economic system.  But too many more don't know, don't care, and/or are too focused on other things (like reality TV  ) to mount a proper objection to it!!

 

Furthermore, I don't feel like "capitalism" in and of itself is necessarily a bad thing!!  Properly regulated (and proper oversight over that regulation) COULD make capitalism work for everyone!!  Yes, the basic concept behind it is that a company could, should and will make as much money as it possibly can to maximize success!!

 

But ... the more important and operative words in that statement are NOT the "make as much money as possible" part .... as most people conceive it to be.  No, the MOST important part of it is ".... AS IT CAN"  .... with the emphasis being on regulated limits as to how companies can perform.

 

NO corporation is going to NOT do business with/in the U.S. ... no matter what terms are imposed on it!!  They DO and WILL adjust to whatever changes they are FORCED to accept ... because of the end game of "making as much money as possible"!!!

 

One such piece of evidence of that is the (discreet) change of direction of Big oil and gas companies!!  Knowing that when President Obama is re-elected he has every intention of passing his "clean energy bill" in his second term, millions - if not billions - of dollars are now going into research, development and in some cases, the actual formation of green/clean air techniques that these companies will GLADLY switch over to ... if and when it becomes the edict that they do so!!

 

Another is the current change in where the medical profession profits are now going ever since the President's health care reform bill is kicking in!!  While there's still a disgusting amount of profits being made within the industry, it is no longer insurers who are reaping revenue rewards most ... but, the "hospital systems" as conglomerate providers of the actual health care itself!!! 

 

And now insurance companies are scrambling to find a way to merge their services with hospital/clinics to restore what's being ciphered from their coffers!

 

When ... or I should make that IF ... the American public EVER decide to pay attention to what's happening in government, the economy, and every other major factor of life that involves them ... CHANGE (for the better) can and will happen.

 

But .... you can't solely blame these companies for taking, taking, taking .... when the people they're taking from are steadily, and through ignorance, willingly giving, giving, giving it to them!!  I believe a "happy (capitalism) medium" can be reached ... once we, as a people, recognized that there is a need for it.

Charter schools have been hijacked by corporate interests and the right, whose plan it was all along to fund the private schools that cropped up all over America, especially in the south, after integration had been made law, which also serves as backdoor way to de-fund public education and privatize education in America. 

Originally Posted by Shango67:

The backlash against charter schools is fueled by the pro-union-political-education-complex; a movement that has nothing to do with educating children and more to do with keeping adults employed. 

ROFL

 

I bet that is true on both side.  It is about MONEY and to hell with education.  But it makes good propaganda for the charter school cause.

 

Educators could have created a National Recommended Reading List for kids decades before we had cheap computers.  But when do you ever hear them suggest a book with long term valuable knowledge?  Do such books exist?

 

How about this:

 

The Tyranny of Words (1938) by Stuart Chase
http://pdfcast.org/pdf/tyranny-of-words
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M9H1StY1nU8

 

That is from 1938, before I was born.  But I read a book that Stuart Chase suggests when I was in my 20s.  He says it was a hard book to understand and that is what I found.  But I didn't encounter this until 2010.

 

Kids that want to learn shouldn't have to try to find books on their own but most teachers act like you can't learn anything without THEM.  Whether it is public or charter makes no difference.

 

Xum

Originally Posted by Shango67:

 

That was a very good article!! 

 

While some will say that it was (obviously) slanted to be in favor of the charter school system .... the bottom line for me is RESULTS!!  If these schools are producing the kind of academic excellence - especially for OUR children - and especially in math and science - (where I believe the future job market for the better, more higher-paying jobs is heading) - that the FACTS and statistics show that public schools (in pretty much every state/city/county in the country - and especially for OUR children !) aren't even getting CLOSE to producing .... then I'm ALL FOR IT!! 

 

Too many PUBLIC schools are failing our children .... right now!!!  Today!!  And school just started.    They say "If it ain't broke, don't fix it!"  But where is the saying about the fact that it IS broke ... and needs to be FIXED immediately??? 

Originally Posted by Yemaya:

I'm tired of these NY schools. For many, many reasons. But I don't think that there isn't any reason that we can't take over school districts in our neighborhoods.

 

 

The only reason I can think of is that it would take a UNIFIED effort on the part of the parents to demand a better educational experience for their children.  Even if it was just at the neighborhood or individual school district level.

 

And, unfortunately, as a people,  we're just not there yet. 

Originally Posted by Yemaya:

I'm tired of these NY schools. For many, many reasons. But I don't think that there isn't any reason that we can't take over school districts in our neighborhoods.

I am all for community control of schools and school districts. However, Black people gave away the prospect of controlling how their children are educated when the masses of our people turned to integration as a liberating ideology. With that said, until FREEDOM SCHOOLS make a come back, the charter environment is a much better place to be if you are an educator who believes in children first. I chose to lead a charter school because I have more control over how children are educated and I am not at the mercy of a 200 page teacher union contract that tells me what teachers will not do. 

Originally Posted by Yemaya:

And let's not forget about black homeschoolers.

Not against homeschooling, just not sure the masses are in the position to prepare our children to reach the mastery needed to be power brokers in today's  global economy. This is not to say that our people are not smart, intelligent, or intellectually gifted.... we are. However, I deeply believe that today's mothers and fathers, who in many cases themselves are victims of poor performing school systems, do not have the background knowledge needed to move children academically - especially, but not limited to, math and science. 

Letter I wrote to my teachers and staff. It is the first of many this year that I will write as part of my weekly announcements. I share this with you because the motivation I have to do this job, was once compromised when I had the unfortunate task of working in a public school where teachers abused sick time, stole supplies earmarked for kids, refused to unpack boxes of new text books because doing so was a violation of the union contract, reported late to school, stood in front of kids wearing flip-flops, tattered jeans, tee-shirts and halter tops, carried on inappropriate relationships with children, used inappropriate language around children, fell asleep in class, did not study the curriculum, did not differentiate instruction, did not know their scholars, did not study classroom or school culture data - if they collected data at all, did not attend professional development and when they did show up - showed a level of disconnect and discontent unbecoming of a professional, did not do recess or lunch duty, showed movies to children regardless of content - and preferred to have kids watch television instead of delivering engaging instruction... and more - all while the school was a miserable failure. However, more alarming was the fact that teachers knew, regardless of whether or not the school was opened or closed and regardless of how children performed on the state exam...they were going to get PAID and if they had tenure, they would get PAID for LIFE. In NYC, and I suspect around the country based upon our standing in education around the world, mediocrity in education is the norm because the profession is suffering from the lack of accountability, leadership, ethics, and ownership. 

 

_________

 

At 7:15 tomorrow morning a new chapter of the Success story will open.  With the creation of Harlem Central (and Harlem West and Harlem 1) Middle School, we are building a monument to possibility.  A place that defies the expectations of race and poverty and social class.  An institution built not to merely serve those who rely on it, but rather to celebrate and honor them by giving each the space to fulfill the vastness of their very real potential.  For too long this country, and the world for that matter, has been content to draw a bright distinction between those who have and those who do not have access to resources, riches and education.  While building this school alone will not undo centuries of barbarism and socially and politically engineered inequality, we are free to stick a big old finger in the eye of the status quo that relegates people to their station in life from the moment they are born.

 

In drafting my ideas for the middle school we will invent tomorrow I was drawn to one of the best courses I ever took in college that had a deep impact on the person I am today.  The course was political philosophy and the philosopher studied was John Rawls who many of you may be familiar with in your rich educational journeys.  While vastly oversimplified, the central conceit of his work is that before we are born we have absolutely no idea the circumstances we will find ourselves in.  From being born into royalty or fame to being born with a terminal disease that will confine your short life to suffering and pain, the fullness of that possibility is truly staggering and open to us all.  Rawls calls this unknown the veil of ignorance that we all operate under before entering the world.  His final conclusion is that morality dictates that before we leave the equality that lies on the other side of the veil we must decide how to deal with the inherent inequalities in the world and to ensure fairness as our guiding principle.  His belief is that anyone who is born with an advantage is fortunate, but while he/she may enjoy the fruits of that advantage, they must also work to see that the actions they take our geared to benefit the larger population who was not as fortunate at birth.  This means that the moral choice in life is the choice to accept your advantage on the condition that you will use your advantage to the benefit of others. That is precisely what you will begin to do tomorrow.  You will use your station in life as a platform to lift others up and bring them to a new place of opportunity, freedom, wisdom and hope.  It is what gives meaning to life in my view.  

 

What makes our mission even more striking to me is the degree to which we are exposing the myth that these advantages are permanent, fixed and available to only a select few who we hope will bestow their good fortune on those who were not so lucky.  By allowing students to see the power of their ideas and their capabilities, we show them and the world that change is possible and limitations are lies.  Success Academies takes the approach that we cannot wait for the world to figure out how to deal with inequality – we will remove it ourselves and show to everyone that we can all be more if given a chance.  

 

So here we sit – a dweller on the threshold of some serious shit.  We need to get it right.  We need to give scholars structure where they have little, we must give them knowledge where they lack it, we must show them peace in the face of anger and, above all, we must be honest with them when the world will not. Teach well today – believe in yourself and in your mission.  Be an authority, set your expectations and demand that they be met.  Teach with passion, tell them how amazing the world is and how in awe of it they should be.  Be kind and compassionate when they fall, because they will.  Model your best self at all times and own it when you fall short of the mark.

 

Now is the time.  The waiting is over and the chance to make something great, important and inspiring is here.  Let's go to work.

Interesting.

 

Im not, and don't claim any deep familiarity with the NYC public school system.  However, the problems that exist with public education do share some commonalities across the country.  I'll be honest, I am a bit cautious and suspicious of the lines of reasoning that places teachers unions as the or even a primary obstacle  in lieu of the entire design and interactive functioning of the educational system.  This isn't directed at Shango (or anyone) in particular, I note this because I've run into this reasoning in both academic and corporate circles as a primer for introducing a distinctive model as a way encouraging/forcing increased productivity. 

 

Coping mechanisms, no matter how well designed, do not solve problems.  They are methods of coexisting with problems.  When that method fails, the original problem remains and is compounded by the now dis-functioning coping mechanism.

 

This from a person who supports Black homeschooling, Independent Black schools and the like.

 

Cultivation of knowledge to better develop and serve the community is a VERY different objective than acquiring knowledge to gain competitive advantage in a "Global Market". 

 

The first is attainable and sustainable.  The second is an illusion that serves to justify and reproduce the existing social dynamic.  

Originally Posted by Muhammad Cipher:

 

 

This from a person who supports Black homeschooling, Independent Black schools and the like.

 

Cultivation of knowledge to better develop and serve the community is a VERY different objective than acquiring knowledge to gain competitive advantage in a "Global Market". 

 

The first is attainable and sustainable.  The second is an illusion that serves to justify and reproduce the existing social dynamic.  

I fully agree, Muhammed. Thank your for pointing out that distinction. My choice of words were poor. I believe education in our community should be for the purpose of service and not as a component of advancing capitalism. I do believe, however, that our children should also be educated to be power brokers aimed at dismantling the existing social dynamic /  behavior modality of white supremacy. In other words, I am for Africans being empowered, with power, throughout the diaspora. 

Originally Posted by Shango67:

I believe education in our community should be for the purpose of service and not as a component of advancing capitalism. I do believe, however, that our children should also be educated to be power brokers aimed at dismantling the existing social dynamic /  behavior modality of white supremacy. In other words, I am for Africans being empowered, with power, throughout the diaspora. 

 

AMEN to THAT!!! 

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