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Mon Jul 7, 2014, 10:50 AM

Is the Charter Movement Imploding?

http://dianeravitch.net/2014/07/05/is-the-charter-movement-imploding/



In state after state, charter schools are proving that it is downright risky to turn public money over to deregulated corporations and unqualified individuals to run schools. The Detroit Free Press series on the scams, frauds, and corruption in many Michigan charters was an eye-opener for all those who are not part of the charter movement. The exposé of similar frauds in Florida by the League of Women Voters in Florida was enlightening to anyone other than free market ideologues. The same level of corruption–actually, even worse–exists in Ohio’s charter sector, where a small number of charter founders have become multi-millionaires, run low-performing schools, and are never held accountable.

One of the most colorful charter scandals occurred when a Cleveland charter operator was tried for funneling over $1million to his church and other businesses. The charter founder was a pastor, not an educator. His attorney said ““his client had good intentions when opening the school on East 55th Street but then got greedy when he saw easy opportunities to make money….”

The leader of California’s most celebrated charter school, with outstanding test scores, stepped down when an audit revealed that nearly $4 million had been diverted to his other businesses.

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In Chicago, the head of the city’s largest charter chain resigned after the media reported large contracts given to family members of school leaders and other conflicts of interest and misuse of public funds.

<snip>

11 replies, 2064 views

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Arrow 11 replies Author Time Post
Reply Is the Charter Movement Imploding? (Original post)
Starry Messenger Jul 2014 OP
Chan790 Jul 2014 #1
Starry Messenger Jul 2014 #4
freshwest Jul 2014 #2
HooptieWagon Jul 2014 #3
msongs Jul 2014 #5
noiretextatique Jul 2014 #6
Starry Messenger Jul 2014 #7
noiretextatique Jul 2014 #9
Enthusiast Jul 2014 #8
greatlaurel Jul 2014 #10
LWolf Jul 2014 #11

Response to Starry Messenger (Original post)

Mon Jul 7, 2014, 11:57 AM

1. As my neighbor used to say: "Ojala que!"

 

It basically means "May God grant that!" though it's usually used in a non-belief sense. (Kind of like when I stub my toe as an atheist and yell "Goddammit!"

I've lived in a lot of places over the past 10 years where charters were being utilized: Hartford, Philadelphia, NYC, DC, Baltimore, Montgomery and Anne Arundel counties in MD, Yonkers. Before that, I worked as a literacy activist for an urban literacy coalition where part of our purview had a do with family literacy and literacy education from Kindergarten through adult. My honest professional opinion is that charter schools are evil--worse than private or parochial education in so far as at-least private education is not a vampire upon the public education system stealing its resources and even in many places misappropriating their buildings. If Democrats and liberals have mis-stepped in public education, it is in not opposing charter education with every ounce of our being as what it really is...another attempt to destroy public education.

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Response to Chan790 (Reply #1)

Mon Jul 7, 2014, 12:26 PM

4. It's basically a real-estate scam masquerading as a reform movement.

http://jonathanturley.org/2013/03/16/charter-schools-and-the-profit-motive/



<snip>

Juan Gonzalez believed that he had uncovered one of the reasons why hedge fund managers, some wealthy Americans, and the executives of some Wall Street banks had become such big proponents of charter schools and had gotten involved in their development. Gonzalez said the banks and other wealthy investors had been making “windfall profits” by taking advantage of “a little-known federal tax break to finance new charter-school construction.” That little know tax break, the New Markets Tax Credit, can be so lucrative, Gonzalez said, “that a lender who uses it can almost double his money in seven years.” He added that the tax break “gives an enormous federal tax credit to banks and equity funds that invest in community projects in underserved communities, and it’s been used heavily now for the last several years for charter schools.”


Gonzalez focused his research on the city of Albany—which, he wrote, “boasts the state’s highest percentage of charter school enrollments.” He provided an explanation of how lucrative investments in building new charter schools can be:

What happens is the investors who put up the money to build charter schools get to basically or virtually double their money in seven years through a thirty-nine percent tax credit from the federal government. In addition, this is a tax credit on money that they’re lending, so they’re also collecting interest on the loans as well as getting the thirty-nine percent tax credit. They piggy-back the tax credit on other kinds of federal tax credits like historic preservation or job creation or brownfields credits.

The result is, you can put in ten million dollars and in seven years double your money. The problem is, that the charter schools end up paying in rents, the debt service on these loans and so now, a lot of the charter schools in Albany are straining paying their debt service–their rent has gone up from $170,000 to $500,000 in a year or–huge increases in their rents as they strain to pay off these loans, these construction loans. The rents are eating-up huge portions of their total cost. And, of course, the money is coming from the state.

<snip>

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Response to Starry Messenger (Original post)

Mon Jul 7, 2014, 11:58 AM

2. Not to mention the huge scandals in Florida... Wonder if they'll ever do jail time for it.

They are, like all privateers who steal from the Commons, well-paid to make mischief for any opponents who try to protect public schools and workers. Their money gives them power to threaten good legislators and to get media stories slanted their way and convince voters.

Plenty of things are done that are unethical and border on the illegal. The problem in politics is that such assaults on good people are seen as just 'politics' and not the criminal acts they would be if pulled elsewhere.

Very dangerous waters we are treading in now, they would prefer to burn down the house than stop their cash flow.

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Response to freshwest (Reply #2)

Mon Jul 7, 2014, 12:09 PM

3. Oh good god, Florida is a cess-pool of bad charters.

 

Corruption is spelled p r I v a t I z a t I o n.

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Response to Starry Messenger (Original post)

Mon Jul 7, 2014, 12:55 PM

5. race to the top is working....for charter school rip offs nt

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Response to Starry Messenger (Original post)

Mon Jul 7, 2014, 02:46 PM

6. duh...bring pigs to an endless trough

and they will devour everything.

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Response to noiretextatique (Reply #6)

Mon Jul 7, 2014, 03:25 PM

7. It seems obvious: US society seems to have trouble grasping this though.

We go through this with different industries every decade. It's all about public money being sucked up into private hands. When will people figure this out?

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Response to Starry Messenger (Reply #7)

Tue Jul 8, 2014, 02:07 PM

9. when pigs fly?

could...not...resist. but seriously, if you "believe" privatization fixes everything, you fail to see that it does not. Yet another reason why religion and politics are a bad combo.

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Response to Starry Messenger (Original post)

Tue Jul 8, 2014, 07:06 AM

8. Kicked and recommended a whole bunch!

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Response to Starry Messenger (Original post)

Tue Jul 8, 2014, 11:34 PM

10. Ohio has a huge scandal ridden charter school sector which pours $ to the GOP.

Here is a link about the Gulen schools scandals in Ohio. They received $50 million dollars of Ohio tax dollars last school year. $914 million dollars went to all charters schools in Ohio last year.

http://www.plunderbund.com/2014/07/07/abj-investigation-reveals-more-financial-testing-and-immigration-troubles-at-gulen-charters/

The national media is giving the charter school scandal a free pass.

Thanks for the post that is very interesting information.

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Response to Starry Messenger (Original post)

Wed Jul 9, 2014, 12:37 PM

11. We can only hope. nt

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