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Hired Guns, Scholars and the California School Policy Task Force; by Tom Ultican

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At times like this, you need a scorecard to keep track of the multitudinous organizations created by the billionaires who want to replace public schools with charter schools. Tom Ultican is one of the few people able to sort out the charter menagerie; he has become a scholar of the privatization movement. in this post, he reviews the efforts of the charter lobby to undermine the effort to reform the egregiously defective charter law in California.The Waltons, Reed Hastings, Eli Broad, Bill Gates, and assorted billionaires think they can create the illusion of popular support by spinning off more and more AstroTurf groups that have no connection to parents or teachers. Just money. Their ruse is failing. Betsy DeVos must be enjoying the charade. Congrats to Sup't Tony Thurmond for getting a reasonable set of recommendations for charter law reform from a deeply divided task force.'

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I began teaching in 1963,; Ba and BS in Education -Brooklyn College. I have the equivalent of 2 additional Master's, mainly in Literacy Studies and Graphic Design. I was the only seventh grade teacher of English from 1990 -1999 at East Side (more...)

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Other Series: View All 196 Articles in "Ending democracy: end the institution of public schools"

Other Series: View All 343 Articles in "FRAUD & Mendacity."

Other Series: View All 385 Articles in "PRIVITIZATION."

Other Series: View All 88 Articles in "UTTER CONTEMPT"

Other Series: View All 198 Articles in "War on teachers and the profession"

Other Series: View All 389 Articles in "wrecking Ball"


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Tom Ultican has been chronicling the advance of the DPE (Destroy Public Education) Movement

He wrote this post about the deliberate and heedless destruction of what was once a vibrant school district .

The city and the school district were, to begin with, victimized by white flight. Subsidized by federal housing policies, whites abandoned the city. Responding to a court order, the state poured huge sums into magnet schools in hopes of luring white students back, but it didn't work.

Then the DPE moved in, like vultures, to feast on the carcass of the remaining public schools.

Ultican describes the rapid turnover in leaders, beginning with John Covington, who was placed in Kansas City by Eli Broad. Covington closed numerous schools to make way for school choice and charters.That was a massive and costly failure.

At present, this is expensive, as he shows the Kansas City school district has only 14,216 students but spends more than double what is spent in the similar-size Springfield, Mo., district. The charter in the districts, each of them considered a "school district," has almost as many students. There are currently 20 separate local education agencies operating in what was once the Kansas City school district (each charter is its own local education agency). Twenty school districts competing for students.

It was a Bill Gates funded spin off from Indianapolis's proto-type privatizing organization The Mind Trust. The CEE-Trust mandate was to implement the portfolio theory of education reform. "In 2013, a plan to reshape Kansas City's schools was essentially run out of town." It became so bad that CEE-Trust changed its name to Education Cities.

Now the same local-national money combination is funding a new group, SmartschoolKC, with the same portfolio district agenda. The new collaboration is funded by the Kauffman Foundation, the Hall Family Foundation, and the Walton Family Foundation.

The portfolio model posits treating schools like stock holdings and trimming the failures by privatizing them or closing them. The instrument for measuring failure is the wholly inappropriate standardized test. This model inevitably leads to an ever more privatized system that strips parents and taxpayers of their democratic rights.

Objections to the portfolio model include:

It creates constant churn and disruption. The last thing students in struggling neighborhoods need is more uncertainty.

Democratically operated schools in a community are the foundation of American democracy. Promoters of the portfolio model reject the civic value of these democracy incubators.
Parents and taxpayer no longer have an elected board that they can hold accountable for school operations.

Submitted on Sunday, Jun 16, 2019 at 3:21:09 PM

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