Delaware Gets C+ In Report On Public School Privatization

The Network for Public Education and the Schott Foundation released a report this week on how all fifty states rate on the privatization of our public education system.  They measured how charters are run, the quality of the charter schools, and how the state handles voucher schools as examples.  Delaware received a C+ in this report.  Most of that was due to the fact Delaware came in 2nd out of all states in the voucher school category with a grade of A+.  Delaware does not support any type of voucher system in our public schools.  But we got an F for the number of charter schools in the state based on how they divert funds from traditional school districts.

Who Funds Teach For America, KIPP, & Rocketship Education?

We know a lot of school districts, charter schools, and state departments of education give a ton of money to Teach For America, but who got the group going?  And who still funds them?  Let’s just say it is a lot of organizations!  Some of these foundations I had never heard of.  Keep in mind, this is the corporate Teach For America.  There might be foundations funding each state chapter.  For example, the Rodel Foundation loves giving money to the Delaware TFA!

Richard Barth is the CEO of TFA, but Wendy Kopp, Barth’s wife, runs the show.  But Barth runs the KIPP charter school chain.

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Going from here, it is amazing how many connections between Teach For America, Kipp, the Gates Foundation, the Walton Family Foundation, the NewSchools Venture Fund, the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation, the Charter School Growth Fund, and Tom Vander Ark exist.  It is important to know Vander Ark’s role in this because he is one of the biggest pushers for the death of traditional public schools through his competency-based education personalized learning career pathways earn to learn agendas.

chartermap

I’ll be doing more of these.  If any traditional school district unionized teacher isn’t very worried about their future, I would probably start doing something about it now.  Unless you want to be working as a facilitator in an online charter school in 2026.  This IS corporate education reform, but only a part of it.  It goes much deeper than that.  I’ve been telling people this for over two years now.  But sometimes pictures say a lot more than words ever can.

The Sham Behind The USAFunds Grant Racket & Governor Markell’s Announcement Today

Delaware Governor Jack Markell announced another initiative tied to grants to prevent students from taking remedial classes in college.  This whopping $250,000 grant is coming from USAFunds, a non-profit think tank that promises to “fix” education along with the other million or so companies that promise to do the same.  Funny how none of them have, despite all their big talk and reports.  What causes me to shudder is some things I found on USAFunds website.

This company is big on community colleges and associate degrees.  Which must make them very attractive to a guy like Jack Markell.  But they go a step beyond and promote “Students Futures as Investments”.  This is the ultimate goal.  Not only will companies decide what you want to be when you grow up, they will also earn part of your future earnings!  These income-share agreements would have investors fund student’s college education and in return they would get a share of your earnings.  We pretty much already have this with student loans.  USAFunds linked to a company called American Enterprise Institute (AEI) on their website.  AEI has a pdf of the “promises and challenges of Income-Share Agreements“.  While this organization likes to use pretty words and all-out statements to support their “cause”, it also talks about human beings as investments.  First we were Human Capital, now we are Human Investments.  When do we get to be just human?  Add in social impact bonds to gamble on special education outcomes in pre-schools, and this is just another step to the privatization of American education.

The funds from this nearly $250,000 grant will go to select schools that participate in the Allied Health and Technology pathway as part of Governor Markell’s big “Pathways to Prosperity” push.  Care to guess which college in Delaware specifically has an Allied Health and Technology program?  Delaware Tech.   And I’m sure any school in Delaware that offers this field as one of their career pathways is already salivating to jump onboard for this free money.  Until the grant runs out, and then they make it a part of district costs, thus elevating the huge amount we already pay for education in Delaware.

But for Governor Markell, the lame-duck quacking has ended.  All we hear now is the beck and call of corporations and Governor Markell selling our children out.  It doesn’t matter if they are conservative, liberal, or just greedy.  Markell will sell out Delaware students for any reason.  But try to get an audience with the guy about his future plans or actual plans that would improve student outcomes, and we just get more of this:

“We have too many students that have worked hard to meet the requirements of college entry and yet when their coursework begins, they find themselves in need of remediation and additional supports,” said Markell. “I’m thrilled that as a result of our partnership with USA Funds, we can now take another step toward ensuring that our students enter our colleges prepared to earn credits and make progress toward a degree on day one.”

Hey Jack, if our students are still having this problem after eight years of your education reforms, perhaps the problem isn’t the students.  Perhaps it is YOU.  If you weren’t always trying to make money for companies, maybe our students would have a chance.  Add in Common Core, and how it really doesn’t work, and we have another self-made recipe for corporate greed.  I was wrong about you running for Congress today Jack, but this just tells me you are banking on a Hillary win so you can get your greedy paws into ALL of American education.  You really have no shame…

Corporate Ed Reform “EducationNext” Releases Skewed Opt-Out Survey Results

Paul Peterson and Martin West with EducationNext released a blog post today based on a survey showing 67% of the public want federal testing requirements for students and oppose opt-out.  This is from a survey sent to 700 teachers and 3,300 members of the public.  You know what, I can send out a survey and it means nothing without knowing who your sample groups are.  I know if I put a survey up on my blog that it is going to skew towards my target audience: concerned parents and disgruntled teachers.  I would never base public policy off those numbers.

But EducationNext is led by folks like Michael Petrilli with the Thomas Fordham Institute, a long-time supporter of charter schools and high-stakes testing, so I shouldn’t be surprised.  He is also a fellow at the Hoover Institution, who is the publisher of the EducationNext blog.  So I challenge Peterson, West and Petrilli to show who this survey was sent to.

We found little public sympathy for the “opt-out” point of view.  Only 25% of the public like the idea, while 59% oppose it, the remainder taking a neutral position.  Among parents themselves, just 32% favored the opt-out approach, while 52% opposed it.  Fifty-seven percent of the teachers also reacted negatively to the idea, with only 32% lending it support.  Clearly, the public favors the Senate education bill’s approach to this issue over that of the bill that passed the House.

Clearly is a strong word, and I would want a much larger sample size to base your ideological arguments off of.  Because I really don’t believe 57% of teachers are opposed to opt-out, and aside from the ones coerced into these reformer agenda think tanks, most favor it.

Of these 700 teachers, how many were sent to local district teachers?  Since they represent the largest group of teachers, I would assume at least 75% of the surveys went to them.  But if it was sent to mostly charter school and Teach For America teachers, of course the data would lend support towards exactly what EducationNext, the Thomas Fordham Institute and the Hoover Foundation represent.  Which is the privatization of public schools and the destruction of teachers unions.  As for the 3,300 “adult members of the public”, how many are parents of traditional school district children? How many are charter school parents?  What is the statistical age representation of this survey?  Failure to release that kind of information does not lend credibility to your arguments.

This is the biggest problem in education these days, organizations like yours coming up with these reports and surveys and using the flawed data to mold legislators into your puppets to pass laws off your agendas.  The lines between public policy and lobbyists have become so convoluted that the bias towards corporate money in education has become the norm.  Enough already.  Why does anyone give Petrilli the time of day anymore?

If You Thought The First Delaware PTA Letter Sent To The House Was Great, Wait Until You See This One! Slam Dunk!

I have to say I am extremely impressed!  Delaware PTA made a very wise choice when they chose Laurie Howard to represent them with the House of Representatives on tomorrow’s House Bill 50 vote.  She tackles the very controversial issues of parent opt-out affecting federal funding and the implications of standardized testing for urban minority kids.  What she essentially did was take all the crap the DOE, Markell, Rodel, and civil rights groups have been throwing our way, put them in a blender, and made some delicious opt-out soup!

This says submission 2 of 3.  What is #3 going to say?  I can’t wait for this!