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Author Archives: Lloyd Lofthouse

About Lloyd Lofthouse

Lloyd Lofthouse earned a BA in journalism after fighting in Vietnam as a U. S. Marine. He then taught English and journalism in the public schools by day (for thirty years) and for a time worked as a maitre d' in a multimillion-dollar nightclub by night. Later, he earned a MFA in writing. He lives near San Francisco.

Michael Kohlhass: How “Nonprofit” Charter Schools Make a Profit

Discover the SCAM: how faux non-profit, publicly funded private sector charter schools make a profit while claiming to be a non-profit.

Diane Ravitch's blog

There are many ways in which nonprofit charters make a profit. Most involve complex real estate transactions and such things as “triple net leases” which are hard for the public to understand. Such deals often involve a charter operator owning or leasing the real estate and renting it to the charter school at exorbitant rates, with the public footing the bill.

Michael Kohlhaas has discovered another ingenious way that allegedly nonprofit charter operators extract money from their operations. 

He describes the case of a charter operator in Los Angeles who sold his “receivables” soon after getting his charter.

Kohlhaas writes:

The idea is very simple. A charter school has guaranteed future income in the form of payments from the state. They sell those payments to a finance company at a discount.

The finance company also charges a transaction fee. So for instance, if a charter has enrollment worth $1,000,000 they…

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Posted by on December 14, 2019 in Uncategorized

 

Network for Public Education Releases Explosive New Report on Federal Charter Schools Program

Where has all that taxpayer money gone?

Diane Ravitch's blog

Last spring, the Network for Public Education published a report on waste, fraud, and abuse in the federal Charter Schools Program. The report, called Asleep At the Wheel, documented the Department of Education’s failure to monitor the veracity or feasibility of applications for the program or to follow up on what happened to the money spent to launch new charter schools. It found that nearly $1 billion of federal dollars had been wasted on charters that either never opened or closed soon after opening.

Today, NPE released a new report that delves into what happened with federal money from the Charter Schools Program in the states. The findings were even more concerning than last spring’s report.
The new report is called Still Asleep At the Wheel.

An excerpt:

This report, Still Asleep at the Wheel: How the Federal Charter Schools Program Results in a Pileup of Fraud and…

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Posted by on December 10, 2019 in Uncategorized

 

Valerie Strauss on New NPE Report

I have an idea. Force Betsy DeVos to refund from her own bank accounts all the taxpayers’ money that vanished into Charter Schools that closed or never opened.

Diane Ravitch's blog

Valerie Strauss reviews “Still Asleep at the Wheel” here.

She begins:

“More than 35 percent of charter schools funded by the federal Charter School Program (CSP) between 2006 and 2014 either never opened or were shut down, costing taxpayers more than half a billion dollars, according to a new report from an advocacy group that reviewed records of nearly 5,000 schools.

“The state with the most charter schools that never opened was Michigan, home to Education Secretary Betsy DeVos.

“The report, titled “Still Asleep at the Wheel,” said that 537 “ghost schools” never opened but received a total of more than $45.5 million in federal start-up funding. That was more than 11 percent of all the schools that received funding from CSP, which began giving grants in 1995.

”In Michigan, where the billionaire DeVos has been instrumental over several decades in creating a charter school sector, 72 charters that received…

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Posted by on December 10, 2019 in Uncategorized

 

Thomas Armstrong: What If Einstein Ran Our Schools?

Two paths diverged in a wood and the billionaires, politicians, and technocrats took the wrong one and ignored the path Eignsten took.

Diane Ravitch's blog

Thomas Armstrong recently wrote a provocative book with the same title as this essay. I invited him to write a post for this blog, and he did. His point of view stands in sharp contrast to the current policy environment of testing, data, competition, and punishment for teachers, principals, students, and schools that don’t hit test score benchmarks.

He writes:

The National Assessment of Educational Progress (the ‘’nation’s report card’’), recently released reading and math test scores for fourth- and sixth-graders and the results have been less than stellar. Showing declines in reading and little progress in math, these results are bound to stimulate calls for new education reforms.  However, we should keep in mind the historical context in U.S. efforts to raise achievement levels in our schools.  This campaign for school reform dates as far back as 1983, when the then U.S. Secretary of Education, Terrel Bell, wrote his…

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Posted by on December 9, 2019 in Uncategorized

 

Superintendents to Public: Get Your Facts Right!

Diane Ravitch's blog

The National Superintendents Roundtable has a message for the public: be fair when judging our public schools. Schools today are far better than they were 40 or 50 years ago, by all conventional measures. what they might have added was that schools made steady progress until about 2007 or so, when No Child Left Behind took hold, then things were made worse by Race to the Top and Common Core. The proliferation of choice has flattened the progress made from 1970 to 2007.

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Posted by on December 1, 2019 in Uncategorized

 

Shawgi Tell: Charters Open and Close Like Day Lilies

Diane Ravitch's blog

Shawgi Tell is a professor of education at Nazareth College in New York.

He points out that “More than 765 Charter Schools Have Closed in Three Years.”

This is what Disrupters refer to as “high-quality seats.” Here today, gone tomorrow.

Currently, about 3.2 million students are enrolled in roughly 7,000 privately-operated charter schools across the country. This represents less than 7% of all students and 7% of all schools in the country.

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, more than 765 charter schools closed between 2014-15 and 2016-2017, leaving thousands of families stressed, abandoned, dislocated,and angry. This figure represents more than one out of ten charter schools in the country by today’s numbers. The real closure figure is likely higher. To be sure, more than 3,000 charter schools have closed in under three decades.

The top three reasons privately-operated charter schools close are financial malfeasance…

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Posted by on November 14, 2019 in Uncategorized

 

William Mathis: What to Do with a Dead Horse? Beat It Even Harder.

Poverty prevents learning and all the high stakes, rank-and-punish tests in the world will not change that FACT!

Diane Ravitch's blog

William Mathis, a member of the Vermont Board of Education and managing director of the National Education Policy Center, reviews reactions to the dismal scores on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP).

The people who inflicted high-stakes testing insist that more and more and more testing is needed. More of the same policies that have already failed will surely work if we keep doing the same things for another generation or two.

The main perpetrator of the claim that we must “stay the (failing) course” is Arne Duncan, of course.

Mathis writes:

The latest round of flagellation of dead horse flesh has been provoked by the release of the National Assessment of Educational Progress scores. After 20 years of overall progress, many of the scores went down. While all groups improved over the long haul, the gaps between white and other racial groups varied over time but generally remained…

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Posted by on November 9, 2019 in Uncategorized