RSS

Breaking News: @NAACP calls for national moratorium on charters

Breaking News: @NAACP calls for national moratorium on charters

Cloaking Inequity

I don’t believe that this has been reported anywhere else. Last week at the NAACP National Convention in Cincinnati, the delegates voted in a new resolution on charter schools. It’s approval as policy will not be official until the National Board meeting in the Fall of 2016. However, this is a big news story that (I suspect because of the political conventions) has not yet entered the traditional media.

Yesterday in the post How will history remember the @NAACP on charters? I discussed the 2010 and 2014 NAACP charter school resolutions. The 2016 NAACP convention voted and approved the following resolution.

Screen Shot 2016-07-28 at 9.30.50 PMScreen Shot 2016-07-28 at 9.33.57 PMScreen Shot 2016-07-28 at 9.31.04 PM

The 2016 NAACP delegates at the national convention called for a moratorium on the proliferation of privately managed charters.

So for those of you who emailed me yesterday saying that NAACP chapters in various places have gone rogue supporting charters— know that the force of the national organization is NOT on their side.

In…

View original post 84 more words

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on July 29, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

Jeff Bryant: The Selection of Tim Kaine is Bad News for “Reformers”

Diane Ravitch's blog

Jeff Bryant writes that corporate reformers are feeling nervous these days. As you know, none of their promises has come true anywhere, after 15 years of their strategies. They are uneasy about Hillary Clinton, and their fears have grown deeper since she selected Tim Kaine as her running mate.

If she had chosen Corey Booker, there would be champagne corks popping in the penthouses of reform leaders.

Instead, she picked Kaine, who sent his children to public schools in Richmond and who has never been a supporter of school choice, charters, or high-stakes testing. Nor is his wife Anne Holton, who was Secretary of Education in Virginia until her husband was picked to run for vice-president. Anne Holton’s father, Governor Holton, enrolled his children in Richmond’s public schools, and she went to desegregated schools. Her tenure in office was marked by opposition to charter schools.

He is not as…

View original post 40 more words

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on July 28, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

Nashville: Will the Charter Industrial Complex Oust the Defenders of Public Schools?

Make no mistake, what is happening in Nashville, Tennessee is taking place across the United States. In fact, it is taking place where I live in California, and it is happening everywhere.

Diane Ravitch's blog

When the charter industry decides to expand in your district or state, one thing is certain: Bitter divisiveness will follow, as the night follows the day.

The school board elections become pitched battles between friends of charters and friends of public schools. Parents fight over who goes to charter schools and over resources taken away from public schools to fund charter schools.

One of the most heated school board races this fall will take place in Nashville, where the charter industrial complex has targeted board members who support public schools. The money is pouring in from wealthy contributors to knock out Amy Frogge (a hero of this blog), Will Pinkston, and Jill Speering, all of whom have fought to keep the charter zealots from destroying public education.

The parasitic Stand On Children is handing out big bucks to candidates who prefer charter schools. Rich corporate leaders and right-wingers are funding…

View original post 74 more words

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on July 27, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

Samuel Abrams: Why Privatizing Public Schools–Whether For-Profit or Non-Profit–is a Terrible Idea

If we want to fix our schools, then we must abolish the annual testing that was mandated by No Child Left Behind, continued by Race to the Top, and is embedded in the “Every Student Succeeds Act.”

Diane Ravitch's blog

Valerie Strauss interviewed Samuel Abrams, director of the Teachers College, Columbia University, National Center for the Study of Privatization in Education, about his important new book, Education and the Commercial Mindset. The book is an in-depth, beautifully written history of the privatization movement.

Read the interview. It will make you want to read this brilliant book.

Here is one small excerpt:

Abrams: Privatization takes the form of nonprofit as well as for-profit school management, as privatization technically means outsourcing the provision of government services to independent operators, whether nonprofit or for-profit. Insufficient transparency and, thus, accountability can become problems. While nonprofit charter operators must file 990s with the IRS documenting expenses and salaries, for instance, many are less detailed in their reportage than they should be. Moreover, these charters report only indirectly, if at all, to elected school board members.

Yet there are far greater issues with outsourcing school management…

View original post 310 more words

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on July 20, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

Jane Mayer: The Confessions of Trump’s Ghostwriter

Is Donald Trump a sociopath or a psychopath — there is only one answer from these two choices? There is no third choice that says none of the above.

Diane Ravitch's blog

Jane Mayer of The New Yorker magazine interviewed writer Tony Schwartz at his home about his experiences as Donald Trump’s ghostwriter for “The Art of the Deal.”

It is one of the most enlightening articles you will read about Trump.

Last June, as dusk fell outside Tony Schwartz’s sprawling house, on a leafy back road in Riverdale, New York, he pulled out his laptop and caught up with the day’s big news: Donald J. Trump had declared his candidacy for President. As Schwartz watched a video of the speech, he began to feel personally implicated.

Trump, facing a crowd that had gathered in the lobby of Trump Tower, on Fifth Avenue, laid out his qualifications, saying, “We need a leader that wrote ‘The Art of the Deal.’ ” If that was so, Schwartz thought, then he, not Trump, should be running. Schwartz dashed off a tweet: “Many thanks Donald Trump…

View original post 678 more words

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on July 19, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

If you are a public or private sector worker with a future promised pension, is that pension safe?

Public pensions are allegedly guaranteed by each state and/or the federal government. After all, doesn’t it say so in many if not all state constitutions? That’s why public employees count on the fact that when they retire after working 20, 30, 40, or more years, they will receive the pensions they were promised.

A friend of mine who is still teaching attended a State Teachers Retirement System (STRS) Seminar in Irvine, California recently and asked if teacher’s pensions were safe. My friend was told that the California Constitution guarantees the State of California’s obligations towards the Teachers’ Retirement System. (My friend’s name will go unmentioned in this post because of the fact that in public education today no job is safe for teachers if you say the wrong thing in public.)

My friend thought, “What (the STRS representative) does not realize is if the money is not there, then the money is not there.  The State’s Constitution can be amended.  Also, if there is enough political pressure from voters, school boards, etc. then the State would definitely reduce the funding levels for STRS.”

In an e-mail my friend listed several examples of promised retiree benefits that have already been broken in both the private and public sector.

> Bethlehem Steel- declared bankruptcy in 2001, which affected the pensions of 120,000 retirees and their dependents.  – Your Incredible Vanishing Pension

What happened? Bethlehem Steel transferred its pension obligations to the U.S. Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC).  The PBGC did not cover the retirees promised health-care coverage in retirement.  When PBGC took over, the 30-years-and-out agreement was scrapped, and workers got the standard U.S. worker’s deal.  Some workers were planning to retire at 60, but they had to work until 62 to get their retirement under PBGC.  Also, PBGC only took over $3.7 billion even though the fund should have been funded at $4.3 billion.  Hence, retirees saw their pension reduced.

What happened? Pension checks will shrink by 6.7% or 4.5% for 12,000 Detroit retirees.  Two different sources contradict each other (6.7% vs. 4.5%).  Almost 11,000 retirees and current employees will have to repay $212 million in excess interest that they received when they received bonuses in some years for their annuity.  “U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Steven Rhodes ruled that Detroit’s pensions could be cut even though the state constitution prohibits reducing retirement benefits.”  Plus, cost of living adjustments were eliminated.

  • Stockton Bankruptcy (“Judge Christopher Klein conducted a hearing on the City’s proposed Plan of Adjustment, as amended (also known as the “Exit Plan”) on May 12-14, 2014. . . The City shared that the Plan of Adjustment would go effective by end of day-Feb. 25, 2015”) (“Chapter 9 Bankruptcy”).

What happened? “As part of the city’s bankruptcy plan, all retiree medical benefits—part of a program costing $544 million—have been eliminated. … Under the plan of adjustment, remaining pension benefits for new city employees will be lowered while individual employee contributions will rise.  However, the CalPERS pension benefit for retirees remained untouched during the bankruptcy, but Stockton might not be able to continue to fund the CalPERS pension benefits at their current levels.

What happened? Even though Vallejo did not cut CalPERS benefits to its retirees, the retirees’ benefits could still be in trouble.  “Moody’s recently warned that Vallejo’s pension obligations could force it to file for bankruptcy protection a second time. … Ballooning pension costs, which will hit more than $14 million this year, a nearly 40% increase from two years ago.”

What happened? San Bernardino failed to pay CalPERS’s contribution during the first two years of its bankruptcy.  This failure ended up in court.  What has emerged is “ … residents and businesses [will have] to pay an additional property parcel tax increase to fund $16 million in skipped payments, and interest payments of $602,580 a month for another two-year period”.  San Bernardino just decided to turn over its fire department to the county; essentially, San Bernardino just dumped future CalPERS pension contributions since it would have been required to pay 10% annual increases.  “The City of San Bernardino has voted to become the first participant to dump CalPERS after the state’s pension plan shocked participants by announcing contribution rates would rise by 61% over the next five years.”

Conclusion

What this means is that no matter what a state or federal Contusion or law says about a guaranteed promise, there is no guarantee for any pensions, because what happened with Bethlehem Steel, a private sector company, and public sector unions in Detroit, Stockton, Vallejo and San Bernardino for has set a legal trend for other corporations and/or municipalities to dump their pension obligations, which could spell major trouble for retirees who were counting on them in their old age. Support of the Elderly Before the Depression: Individual and Collective Arrangements by Carolyn L. Weaver reminds that “Before the Great Depression, the care of the poor of all ages was a responsibility assumed primarily by the private sector, generally through the extended family, friends and neighbors, and organized private charity.’ There were no federal programs (other than veterans programs) to assist the poor, whether young or old, disabled or unemployed. The role of the government in preventing poverty through the provision of pensions and insurance was even more limited.”

Words for Thought

Did you know that in 1900, 40 percent of Americans lived in poverty? Imagine the burden when a family that was already living in poverty and didn’t have the money to pay for medical care had no choice but to do their best to support their aging parents and/or grandparents and/or children and/or friends and neighbors when there wasn’t enough money to provide shelter or food for even themselves? Maybe that’s why Denmark, Iceland, Switzerland, Norway and Finland are the world’s happiest countries, because they all support strong social safety net programs, the majority feels a moral duty to have them, so no one suffers when friends and family can’t afford to help with food, shelter and medical care. Imagine what it must feel like not to have to worry about your next meal or being tossed out of your home because you can’t pay rent, the property tax, or the mortgage payment.

If you want to know the single most powerful force in the United States that is working hard and spending hundreds of millions of their own dollars to destroy the Social Safety net that supports most Americans in their old age, look no further than ALEC, an organization supported by David and Charles Koch and their so-called libertarian billionaire boys club. To learn more, I recommend Bill Moyers & Company’s The Kochs Are Ghostwriting America’s Story.

What do you want – a collective effort to support each other (for instance, through Social Security, food stamps, unemployment, Medicare and traditional pension plans) or an environment where everyone is responsible to take care of themselves with no collective support and if you can’t do it, just die quickly or miserably?

__________________________________

Lloyd Lofthouse is a former U.S. Marine and disabled Vietnam Veteran, with a BA in journalism and an MFA in writing, who taught in the public schools for thirty years (1975 – 2005).

Crazy is Normal FREE Promotion July 2016

Where to Buy

To follow this Blog via E-mail see upper right-hand column and click on “Sign me up!”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tags: , , , , , ,

A Teacher in LAUSD Explains the Affair Rafe Esquith

A rare look inside the underbelly of autocratic, often fraudulent, child abusing corporate public education reform.

Diane Ravitch's blog

A 20-year veteran of the Los Angeles public school district, who is also NBCT, explains the Rafe Esquith situation here. The writer has the nom de plume of Geronimo. I know who he is; I have met him. But I am not telling.


ON RAFE ESQUITH’S SUIT AGAINST LAUSD

Education has been on trial for a long time in Los Angeles.

We have seen it in many forms, most notably in how business interests in education trump pedagogical interests on many fronts…corporate technology, standardized testing, Charter Schools and billionaire influence on public policy.

The Los Angeles Unified School District is misnamed. It is not a “unified” entity. It can be divided in two using hoary Edu-Marxism (apologies, but I beg your indulgence!). There is the 1% at the top of the District apparatus (or apparatchiks) who control and set policy and then there are the actual educators who are supposed…

View original post 1,892 more words

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on July 16, 2016 in Uncategorized

 
 
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 16,967 other followers