"A child's learning is the function more of the characteristics of his classmates than those of the teacher." James Coleman, 1972

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Michelle Rhee Takes the Expensive Corporate Welfare Charter Route

Had Fenty and Rhee looked up the road in Philadelphia, they would have learned that charterizing already has been tried and found no better and more expensive. In Philly, the City has paid more to operate 40 corporate charters while they are producing no better test scores than the publics they were intended to replace. In some cases, scores are worse. But who needs empirical evidence when you have corporate socialism on your side.

For Rhee and Fenty, however, nothing short of a public recall by voters or a citywide school strike will stand in the way of their privatization scheme, which is being directed on a nationwide scale by Gates and Broad billions. Rhee is on record as assuring Council that she will have control of the corporate welfare charters that she is now soliciting, even though there is clear evidence now that she can't keep up with her present duties, much less with the added burden of micromanaging 27 corporate welfare schools. Last week, for instance, she made excuses for deadlines missed on hiring an outside evaluation outfit for the schools and for being lax in bringing forth a budget. She is five months late on both counts, while managing to turn an expected surplus into a $100,000,000 deficit. Looks like she will need plenty more Broad-Gates bucks to keep this charade from collapsing before it can become institutionalized.

Wonder if anyone in Congress is noticing what is going on?

From WaPo
By V. Dion Haynes
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, February 26, 2008; A01

D.C. Mayor Adrian M. Fenty and Schools Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee are seeking educational management firms or universities to possibly run some or all 27 schools whose students chronically perform poorly.

At a news conference yesterday with Fenty (D), Rhee said she has entered discussions with several nonprofit businesses and universities to work with the schools in the fall, although she only disclosed one, Mastery Charter Schools of Philadelphia. The Washington Post reported in November that she had approached Mastery, and Green Dot Public Schools of Los Angeles and St. Hope Public Schools in Sacramento, about managing some failing high schools.

It would be the first time the school system employed a private firm to run a school. Outside organizations manage schools in other cities.

In an interview, Rhee said she does not consider her proposed arrangement to be privatization because she would retain authority over what an outside partner would do. The organizations could "bring in their best practices, structures, schedules, curricula and themes," she said. "Ultimately, I have control over all the schools."

Rhee offered few details about the proposal. She said she has not determined how much a private-firm partnership would cost or how many organizations would run an entire school or programs in it. The District has hired such groups as America's Choice to provide extensive programs to improve schools, said Mary Levy, a local expert on school reform. . . .

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