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Thu Jul 17, 2014, 12:48 AM

Gravy train charter schools and the EB-5 visa.

As TeacherKen at Daily Kos pointed out last year....all you have to do is follow the money.

Just follow the money

Our democracy is being sold off, one piece at a time.

The idea of local control of public functions is disappearing.

And remember that the restrictions imposed upon government agencies with respect to rights protected in the Bill of Rights and elsewhere do not necessarily apply to corporate entities. No pubic school could fine a parent for a child's behavior, nor expel a child without due process, but charters are known to do both, often with regularity.

Perhaps it is hard for people to understand how much the profit motive is driving the expansion of charters - which I might note is only one part of the corporate attempts to control the hundreds of billions in tax revenue intended to fund PUBLIC education. The traditional media organizations have done a horrible job in covering this aspect of what is happening in American public education.

Also last year there was an important article at Forbes on how the EB-5 visas are now involving charter school investment.

Charter School Gravy Train Runs Express To Fat City

It’s not only wealthy Americans making a killing on charter schools. So are foreigners, under a program critics call “green card via red carpet.”

“Wealthy individuals from as far away as China, Nigeria, Russia and Australia are spending tens of millions of dollars to build classrooms, libraries, basketball courts and science labs for American charter schools,” says a 2012 Reuters report.

The formal name of the program is EB-5, and it’s not only for charter schools. Foreigners who pony up $1 million in a wide variety of development projects — or as little as $500,000 in “targeted employment areas” — are entitled to buy immigration visas for themselves and family members.

“In the past two decades,” Reuters reports, “much of the investment has gone into commercial real estate projects, like luxury hotels, ski resorts and even gas stations. Lately, however, enterprising brokers have seen a golden opportunity to match cash-starved charter schools with cash-flush foreigners in investment deals that benefit both.”

I am bringing this gravy train thought down to what is going on in Florida. The Chinese are very involved in this here, except we can't know the charter schools in which they are investing. They like their privacy, you know.

From 2012

Chinese investing 90 million in FL charter schools by next year. Remain anonymous.

Chinese funding Florida charter schools

Chinese investors are taking advantage of the EB-5 investment visa program, the so-called "green card via red carpet," by putting millions into Florida's charter schools and an aquaculture farm in Central Florida.

Under the EB-5 program, through investments of at least $1 million — or $500,000 for "targeted employment areas" — foreign nationals are able to obtain legal residency in the US so long as the money they invest will help secure or create at least 10 full-time jobs.

A group of Chinese investors have put $30 million into the state's charter school program to date and are looking to invest three times that amount in the next year, Ilona Vega Jaramillo, director of international business development for Enterprise Florida, the state's economic development arm, said in a US-China roundtable discussion last week.

She would not name any of the investors, citing confidentiality.

Just in case you were wondering how successful Florida charter schools have been...take a look at this list of charter schools that have closed here.

I have not counted them, but I hear there are 250 on the list...dating from 1998 until this summer.

Crossposted in General Discussion.

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