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

Thursday, February 29, 2024

Charter School Funding and that Giant Sucking Sound

 Nice piece of commentary here:

. . . . Charter schools have two primary funding sources: one from the taxpayers and the other from investments often executed with little public knowledge of intent or interest. Specifically, investments from billionaires, private foundations, and hedge fund managers reap tax advantages when they donate large sums of money to charter schools. After tax codes were changed in the early 2000s, “banks and equity funds that invest(ed) in charter schools in underserved areas took advantage of a very generous tax credit,” HuffPost reported. “According to one analyst, the credit allows them to double the money they invested in seven years.”

The real estate industry also stands to benefit by promoting charter schools and helping them buy up property, or rent, in inner city communities.

As one example indicates, the Rocky Mountain Prep charter school chain in Denver  received $4.5 million from billionaire MacKenzie Scott, ex-wife of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, in October 2022. Two months later, the KIPP charter school chain received $6 million from the same billionaire. These investments were in addition to the per pupil allocation these schools received from taxpayers in Denver.

When a child enrolls in a charter school, funds move from the public school to the charter school. Taxpayers may not be aware that their dollars are funding a structure that helps a private company or group of investors reap rewards or gain tax incentives. Moreover, the taxpayer may start to see their local neighborhood school struggling because the funds are flowing into the charter school.

Researchers have demonstrated that charter schools operate differently than their public-school counterparts. In their exhaustive study of charter schools, Kevin Welner and Wagma Mommandi describe 13 practices that many charter schools use to control their enrolment. These practices are not always regulated by state laws, and “when charter school enrollment is ‘biased’, it severely undermines our ability to compare funding, growth, or achievement.” . . . .

Saturday, February 24, 2024

Trump's GOP Turns "Christian" to Re-ignite Base

The life of Jesus and the message he preached became codified as the moral bedrock of the Christian Church: love, humility, patience, forgiveness, self-control, compassion, charity, modesty, egalitarianism, inclusion.

Now when you compare these qualities to those of the old Adderall-snorting sagging bull that showed up at the Opryland Hotel two nights ago to whine his sermon before the Christian Broadcasters Convention, it's quite easy to see Trump quite literally as the anti-Christ: hateful, narcissistic, impulsive, vengeful, irrational, uncaring, greedy, boastful, exclusionary.  But Demonic Donald's qualities were lost on the red-hatted hoodwinkers of the "Christian" airwaves, who see Trump as their free ticket to greater affluence and influence, wealth and power.

So, of course, when the blasphemous former President, now indicted on over 90 federal charges, declared with outstretched arms, as if on the cross, “I take all these arrows for you and I’m so proud to take them. . . I’m being indicted for you,” the fundamentally-fascist audience went wild.

Tuesday, February 20, 2024

High School Diversity Program in VA Safe For Now

 From the National Coalition on School Diversity:


NCSD and REEL Policy Clinic Issue Statement on SCOTUS Order in TJ Case

Washington, D.C. – February 20, 2024 – Today, the U.S. Supreme Court released an order denying a petition to take up the Coalition for TJ v. Fairfax County School Board specialized school admissions case. The decision comes after multiple deliberations following a petition for writ of certiorari filed by the Pacific Legal Foundation on behalf of the parent group challenging Virginia’s top-ranked public high school’s recently-adopted process for student placement. 

The National Coalition on School Diversity (NCSD) and Georgetown Law’s Racial Equity in Education Law and Policy Clinic (REEL Policy Clinic) commend the Supreme Court’s order given its implications for educational access, diversity, and equity. This decision to deny certiorari comes the same year Brown v. Board of Education turns 70, which at its core recognized that K-12 public education is about ensuring equitable access to high-quality education for all students. 

“Diversity in our nation’s schools is vital if we are to function as a multiracial democracy,” said Janel George, associate professor of law and director of the REEL Policy Clinic. “TJ has taken action to provide more children with access to its high-quality program, which is aligned with the goal of public education and with magnet schools historically.” 

Last May, the Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit ruled to uphold the admissions policy for the selective-enrollment high school, finding that it had not discriminated against Asian American students as the plaintiffs alleged. One month later, the Supreme Court struck down affirmative action at Harvard University and University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, ruling that such admissions policies violate the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment. 

In crafting its colorblind rationale for the college admissions decision, the Supreme Court majority ignored the well-documented continuing impacts of systemic inequality and racial segregation in our nation’s public schools. Not only do schools remain deeply segregated by race and class, but students of color are more likely to attend underfunded and high-poverty schools with less effective instruction and reduced access to advanced coursework, extracurricular activities, and standardized testing preparation.

Within two months of the Supreme Court’s decision, the writ of certiorari was filed, asking the Court to declare that TJ’s pro-diversity admissions policy – which is explicitly race-neutral – violates the Equal Protection Clause. The changes to TJ’s process for student placement included 1) elimination of a standardized test, 2) establishment of new eligibility criteria (the top 1.5% of students at each public middle school who meet minimum standards); and 3) incorporation of a “holistic review of…students whose applications demonstrate enhanced merit.”

These changes aimed to acknowledge and help address the diminished educational opportunities, often correlated with a student’s race and socioeconomic background, due to long-standing and persistent systemic inequality. Following the murder of George Floyd and racial reckoning of 2020, the changes to TJ’s admissions policy can be seen as an attempt to provide a fairer chance for all students to access what is consistently ranked among the top ten best public high schools in the nation, according to U.S. News & World Report. 

While the plaintiffs alleged that the 2020 changes to TJ’s process for student placement were designed to reduce the proportion of Asian American students at the school, Asian American students still made up the majority of students admitted under the new policy. Of the students who received offers to attend TJ, 54.36% were Asian, 22.36% white, 11.27% Latino, and 7.9% Black. The first freshmen class included more low-income students, Black and Latino students, English-language learners, and girls than prior classes. Moreover, for the first time in over a decade, all 28 middle schools in Fairfax County sent students to TJ.

Although no formal explanation for the denial is given, Justice Alito wrote a dissenting opinion, joined by Justice Thomas, which focuses mostly on challenging the Fourth Circuit’s reasoning that there was insufficient “disparate impact” to violate the Equal Protection Clause.

“The fact that only two justices dissented from the denial of Cert is a good sign,” said Philip Tegeler, a legal advisor with NCSD. “It means that, at least for now, a significant majority of the court is unwilling to overturn the 2007 precedent that local school districts have the power, and the tools, to promote school diversity without selecting students on the basis of their race.” 

Given this reality, NCSD and the REEL Policy Clinic express appreciation for the Supreme Court’s denial of the appeal. We will continue to fight and strengthen our collective efforts to promote equal educational opportunity in our nation’s public schools and help ensure every young person has a fair shot at achieving their full potential.  

For media inquiries, please contact: Jenna Tomasello (jtomasello@prrac.org)

Founded in 2009, the National Coalition on School Diversity (NCSD) is a cross-sector network of 50+ national civil rights organizations, university-based research centers, and state and local coalitions working to expand support for school integration. NCSD supports its members in designing, enacting, implementing, and uplifting PK-12 public school integration policies and practices so we may build cross-race/class relationships, share power and resources, and co-create new realities.

The Racial Equity in Education Law and Policy Clinic (REEL Policy Clinic) centers its work on the intersections of education law, racial equity, and legislative advocacy. Student attorneys explore the origins of racial inequities in education and the role of law in entrenching or eliminating them. This work includes addressing issues that disproportionately impact the educational experiences and outcomes of students of color, including discriminatory school discipline practices, school segregation, resource inequities, and more.

Sunday, February 11, 2024

Biden 'very clear and very focused'


If you prefer another take by a reporter who's been interviewing Biden for the past 35 years, check this out.

Thirty Lies in a Single Speech

 T____ held a rally in Harrisburg, PA on February 9.  Here is a compilation of his lies that he uttered during that single "speech." These were posted by the Dems at Xitter.

Friday, February 09, 2024

When Biden Gets a Headline, It's for T____'s Benefit

For a month or so after Biden's swearing in 2021, media coverage sort of resembled something we might have called normal back before the Psychotic Age, which was ushered in by the smelly, treasonous scab that the corporate media is now growing and grooming for his return to finish the democracy demolition he started, and damn near completed between 2016 and 2021. But soon Biden World real news and the old normal saw ratings drop, as people stopped hovering over their TVs and newspapers as they had done during the previous four years to see if the Republic would survive another day.  People started to go outside again to get some fresh air.

But on cue, the Insane Clown and his team of interdisciplinary fascists swung into action to give media ratings a boost, producing new conspiracies, new lies, new abominations, to restore the ratings and and to reclaim the headlines for the T____ cancer.

And so the media coverage is starting to look a whole lot like early 1980, when another fascist was marshaling the dark forces of neo-Nazis, John Birchers, Klansmen, fascist fundamentalists, and racists everywhere in America to steam toward the November election of that year.  

And so Biden coverage is looking a lot like Carter coverage, with reporters scurrying to breathlessly document any embarrassment, any gaff, any sign of humility or decency that can be presented as weakness.  And T____ coverage echoes the spin that reporters gave to Reagan, as they chose to ignored then the autocratic and racist undergirdings and implications of the New Right of that era--which look progressive in comparison to the full flowering of a malevolent political madness that has efficiently replaced the Republicans with the T____ Party.

Too, media ownership then seems labor friendly compared to today's takeover of media by billionaires intent to become trillionaires and to show their rockets are bigger, all the while not giving a rat's ass about the preservation of a democratic republic.  

For real facts to be shared, for sound opinion grounded in reason and democratic values to be heard, and for the threat to the country and the world to be understood, then citizens, bloggers, social media influencers, educators, all freedom lovers everywhere must join together to convey one unalterable truth: Joe Biden is a preferable choice to the deadly alternative, regardless of whatever handicap or deficiency that may be imagined, reported on, and trumpeted by all of the media moguls' hired hands that can be assembled.