Educate All Students: Larry Miller's Blog

May 31, 2014

The Truth About St. Marcus (WELS)

Filed under: St. Marcus,Vouchers — millerlf @ 3:24 pm

St. Marcus Lutheran School, located on Milwaukee’s near north side, is once again seeking to buy property from Milwaukee Public Schools. The site is located at 921 W. Meinecke, the site of Lee Elementary school.

Last year, the St. Marcus leadership had elementary school children pounding on the building doors of the Malcolm X site, yelling “let us in.” The St. Marcus leadership and public school privatization supporters claim they have a right to public properties.

St. Marcus Lutheran School is seldom talked about by its superintendent, Henry Tyson, without the descriptor “high performing school.” But the data shows a different picture. This year’s reading results (school year 2013-2014) showed only 19% of St. Marcus students proficient in reading, a 2% decline from the previous year.

This is a school that serves less that 6% special education students with no public oversight while claiming to be a pillar of success.

St. Marcus’ marketing and political strategies are well funded to gain market share. But the heart of the debate that surrounds them continues to be the funding of private, sectarian schools with public money; vouchers.

St Marcus Lutheran School Superintendent said last year on his blog that “St Marcus is unapologetically Christian and follows the teachings of the Milwaukee-based Wisconsin Evangelical Luther Synod.”

If you go to their official monthly publication, Forward in Christ, you can witness their teachings, unrestrained and unapologetic:

On Equality of Women “In order to avoid exercising leadership over men contrary to “the order of creation,” WELS women do not vote in church meetings.”

On the Catholic Pope “We identify the Antichrist as the Papacy.”

On Evolution “It appears that American citizens don’t have the privilege of stating that the evolutionary explanation of the origin of this universe, the earth, and man is not only questionable, but also unscientific, and irrational, and just plain wrong.” The earth is only 6000 years old and “…was created with the appearance of age. On the first day everything looked older than it was.”

On Homosexuality “Scripture declares that homosexuality is a sin, which is contrary to God’s intention in creating man and woman. Sinful resistance to the revealed will of God is a factor in this sin.”

On Civil Rights “Anything goes. When the civil-rights bills were passed in the mid ’60s, their principal sponsor, Sen. Hubert Humphrey, promised in one melodramatic session that he would “physically eat” the bill he was promoting if ever anyone attempted to use his bill in order to prefer a member of one race at the expense of a member of another race. Senator Humphrey died from other causes than the food poisoning to which he’d have been subjected after the Supreme Court OK’d affirmative action.

A fortnight ago, we had the Civil Rights Restoration Act, which now extends to the federal government the right to inquire into the racial or sexual composition of a school’s basketball team if its medical school is receiving federal subsidies. And last week, Georgetown University, the oldest Jesuit College in America, capitulated on the lawsuit demanding that it make room within Georgetown for gay and lesbian student federations. Somebody, somewhere, somehow, has got to stop the civil-rights thing. It is making a joke out of one after another of our Bill of Rights.” (These comments are a reprint in Forward In Christ from William F. Buckley Jr.)

On Economic Inequality “It is egregiously impossible if you mean that the state can and should guarantee equality of education, income, or wealth. The only way that there could be equality of wealth is if the state seized all private assets and redistributed them. The only way there could be equality of income is if the state seized control of all businesses and arbitrarily set all salary levels the same, determined by some central committee. Unless you are pining to live under Stalinistic Communism, you wouldn’t favor that approach, and so I conclude that you are prepared to live with inequality of income and wealth.
But people can still envy, of course. The last presidential election season featured quite a bit of attention on Mitt Romney’s personal wealth, and that campaign was quickly followed by the “Occupy” and “99%” mini-movements that sought to arouse envy and hostility from the have-lesses against the have-mores. My personal prediction is that you ain’t seen nothing yet. The coming political season will bring back plenty of chatter about income and wealth inequality in the U.S.
Those efforts will be led by people who have given up on the belief that you can better your life by hard work, discipline, self-control, deferred gratification, and saving. They believe that everyone with wealth either stole it or cheated people to get it.” (From Pastor’s Blog, St. Marcus Pastor Mark Jeske.)

St. Marcus and the Wisconsin Evangelical Luther Synod can think and profess whatever they wish. And parents have the right to submit their children to this illiberality. But I oppose any of my tax dollars contributing to their imperious sectarianism and ignorance.

Defend Public Education!

 

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May 28, 2014

Trafficked Teachers: Neoliberalism’s Latest Labor Source

Filed under: Neo-liberalism — millerlf @ 8:09 pm

BY George Joseph May 26,2014 In These Times

 

Recruiting companies in the U.S. are attracting some of Philippines’ best teachers with one-year guest worker visas to teach in American public schools, saddling the teachers with hidden fees and furthering the Philippines’ growing teacher shortage.

 
Between 2007 and 2009, 350 Filipino teachers arrived in Louisiana, excited for the opportunity to teach math and science in public schools throughout the state. They’d been recruited through a company called Universal Placement International Inc., which professes on its website to “successfully place teachers in different schools thru out [sic] the United States.” As a lawsuit later revealed, however, their journey through the American public school system was fraught with abuse.
According to court documents, Lourdes Navarro, chief recruiter and head of Universal Placement, made applicants pay a whopping $12,550 in interview and “processing fees” before they’d even left the Philippines. But the exploitation didn’t stop there. Immediately after the teachers landed in LAX, Navarro coerced them into signing a contract paying her 10 percent of their first and second years’ salaries; she threatened those who refused with instant deportation. Even after they started at their schools, Navarro kept the teachers dependent on her by only obtaining them one-year visas before exorbitantly charging them for an annual renewal fee. She also confiscated their passports.
“We were herded into a path, a slowly constricting path,” said Ingrid Cruz, one of the teachers, during the trial, “where the moment you feel the suspicion that something is not right, you’re already way past the point of no return.” Eventually, a Los Angeles jury awarded the teachers $4.5 million.
Similar horror stories have abounded across the country for years. Starting in 2001, the private contractor Omni Consortium promised 273 Filipino teachers jobs within the Houston, Texas school district—in reality, there were only 100 spots open. Once they arrived, the teachers were crammed into groups of 10 to 15 in unfinished housing properties. Omni Consortium kept all their documents, did not allow them their own transportation, and threatened them with deportation if they complained about their unemployment status or looked for another job.
And it’s not always recruiting agencies that are at fault. According to an American Federation Teachers report, in 2009, Florida Atlantic University imported 16 Indian math and science teachers for the St. Lucie County School District. Labeling the immigrant teachers as “interns,” the district only spent $18,000 for each of their yearly salaries—well below a regular teacher’s rate. But because the district paid the wages to Florida Atlantic University, rather than the teachers themselves, the university pocketed most of the money, giving the teachers a mere $5,000 each.
Researchers estimate that anywhere from 14,000 to 20,000 teachers, imported on temporary guest worker visas, teach in American public schools nationwide. Such hiring practices are often framed as cultural exchange programs, but as Timothy Noah of the New Republic points out—in this case about Maryland’s Prince George County—“When 10 percent of a school district’s teachers are foreign migrants, that isn’t cultural exchange. It’s sweatshop labor—and a depressing indicator of how low a priority public education has become.”

 

A manufactured problem
School districts frequently justify hiring lower-paid immigrants by pointing to teacher shortages in chronically underfunded rural and urban school districts. And it’s true: In poorer areas, classrooms are often overcrowded and understaffed. But this dearth of instructors did not come out of nowhere. Rather, it is an inevitable result of the austerity measures pushed through on a federal, state, and local level after the panic of the 2007 financial crisis.
As the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities notes, between 2008 and 2011, school districts nationwide slashed 278,000 jobs. This bleeding has not stopped: According to the Center on Education Policy, almost 84 percent of school districts in the 2011-2012 school year expected budget shortfalls, and 60 percent planned to cut staff to make up deficits.
Thus, we see a familiar pattern of neoliberal “restructuring” in American school systems: Cut public institutions to the bone, leave them to fail without adequate resources, then claim the mantle of “reform” while rebuilding the institutions with an eye towards privatization.
In many cities, newly laid-off instructors are left to languish while their former employers employ underpaid replacements to fill the gaps. For example, the Baltimore City Public Schools district has imported more than 600 Filipino teachers; meanwhile, 100 certified local teachers make up the “surplus” workforce, serving as substitutes and co-teachers when they can.
The manufactured labor scarcity narrative, used to justify the importation of guest worker teachers, provides districts with the opportunity to employ less costly, at-will employees, whose precarious legal status is often exploited. Such moves to pump up the workforce with workers—not here long enough to invest themselves in organizing or bargaining struggles—also serve to weaken shop-site solidarity and unions’ ability to mobilize on a larger scale.
The recruiting contactors’ advertisements to districts are particularly instructive in this regard, noting their recruits’ inability to qualify for benefits and pension contributions. In an extensive study, education professors Sue Books and Rian de Villiers found that recruiting firms tend to appeal to districts on the basis of cost-saving, rather than classroom quality. As one Georgia contractor, Global Teachers Research and Resources, advertises, “school systems pay an administrative fee [to GTRR] that is generally less than the cost of [teacher] benefits. Collaborating with GTRR means quality teachers with savings to the school systems.” Even more egregiously, a Houston based recruiting firm called Professional and Intellectual Resources exclaims that their “bargain-priced” Filipino teachers can “make the most out of the most minimal resources.

 

Memorizing isn’t learning
This criterion for hiring makes sense in the context of what philosopher Paulo Freire calls “the banking concept of education.” In his 1968 classic, The Pedagogy of the Oppressed, Freire critiques the pedagogical tradition of rote memorization, in which the teacher-as-narrator “leads the students to memorize … the narrated content.” Freire argues, “It turns [students] into ‘containers,’ into ‘receptacles’ to be ‘filled’ by the teacher. The more completely she fills the receptacles, the better a teacher she is.”
However, Freire’s “narrative” is no longer even in the hands of teachers, who might at least have some understanding of content relevant to students. Instead with the rise of test-based approach to education, forced through with No Child Left Behind, Race to the Top, Common Core, and numerous ramped-up state tests, nameless corporate and federal employees now tie teachers and students’ success to the production of higher test scores. Thus, today’s cutting-edge education reform movement has brought this “banking concept of education” back into vogue, demanding “objective measures” and “accountability” through constant standardized testing.
The idea that new teachers should be imported from halfway around the world for yearlong stints, knowing no background about the communities they are entering and the content relevant to them, is only justified if the teacher is reduced to an instrument of standardized information transmission. And if teachers are just such instruments, why not search the global market for the cheapest, most malleable ones possible?

As Books and de Villiers point out, many recruiters’ advertisements reflect this logic: “Only two [recruiters’] websites apprise teachers of the socio-economic, racial, ethnic, and religious diversity in many U.S. schools. Only five include useful educational links, and only three provide information about school-based mentoring.” So for corporate recruiters and their district clients, finding the right match for a school is not about teacher quality or experience, but rather cost and expendability.
The phenomenon of teacher trafficking, then, doesn’t rest entirely on recruiters’ mercenary tendencies or districts’ drive to cheapen their labor. It also rests on the larger neoliberal conception of workers. In this case, teachers become moveable parts, switched out in accordance with the iron laws of supply and demand in order to more efficiently output successful test scores, whose value comes to represent students themselves.

 

Colonialism in the classroom
The American importation of Filipino teachers, as well as educators from other countries, has consequences beyond the United States, too. According to Books and de Villiers, several recruiting agencies only seek out teachers in the Philippines because its high poverty rates and supply of quality teachers make it, as one journalist from the Baltimore Sun put it, “fertile ground for recruits.” Meanwhile, the nation has an estimated shortage of 16,000 educators and the highest student-teacher ratio in Asia at 45:1.
As one Filipino union leader told the American Federation of Teachers, “To accommodate the students, most public schools schedule two, three and sometimes even four shifts within the entire day, with 70 to 80 students packed in a room. Usually, the first class starts as early as 6:00 a.m. to accommodate the other sessions.” And as American corporate forces have exploited the Philippines for its best teachers, pushed across the world by the beck and call of the market, agents of the nonprofit world have taken it upon themselves to send American substitutes in their place.
Launched last year, Teach for the Philippines presents itself as “the solution” to this lack of quality teachers in the country. The Teach for Philippines promo video begins with black and white shots of multitudes of young Filipino schoolchildren packed into crowded classrooms, bored and on the verge of tears. A cover version of a Killers song proclaims, “When there’s nowhere else to run … If you can hold on, hold on” as the video shifts to the students’ inevitable fates: scenes of tattooed gang kids smoking, an isolated girl and even a desperate man behind bars. In the midst of this grotesquely Orientalizing imagery, text declares, “Our Country Needs Guidance,” “Our Country Needs Inspiration,” and finally “Our Country Needs Teachers.”
Teach for the Philippines, though relatively small now with 53 teachers in 10 schools, presents a disturbing vision for the future of teaching in the context of a global workforce. While the Filipino teachers imported to America are not necessarily ideal fits, given their inability to remain as long-term contributors to a school community, at least they are for the most part trained, experienced instructors. Within the Teach for the Philippines paradigm, however, Filipino students, robbed of their best instructors, are forced to study under recruits, who may lack a strong understanding of the communities they are joining and have often have never even had any actual classroom experience.
But Teach For the Philippines is just one growing arm of Teach for America’s global empire, now spanning the world sites in 33 countries and enjoying millions in support from neoliberal power players like Visa and even the World Bank. So while austerity-mode Western nations may seek to cut costs by employing no-benefits guest workers, countries such as the Philippines will be forced by the unbending logic of the market to plead for international charity—summer camp volunteers looking to “give” two years of their lives to really make a difference.
In the Pedagogy of the Oppressed, Freire argues, “It is to the reality that mediates men, and to the perception of that reality held by educators and people, that we must go to find the program content of education.” But for such a reality to be approached, teachers and communities must have the opportunity to grow together, to listen to each other, and to understand the reality that they seek to transform. By pushing teachers into a globalized pool of low-wage temp workers, teacher trafficking precludes this possibility.

 

George Joseph is a reporter, focusing on education and labor issues in New York City. He is also an undergraduate, concentrating in Education and Sociology, at Columbia University, where he organizes with the activist group Student Worker Solidarity. Follow him on Twitter at @georgejoseph94.

 

May 20, 2014

Here’s The Painful Truth About What It Means To Be ‘Working Poor’ In America

Filed under: Poverty — millerlf @ 7:42 am
Posted: 05/19/2014 Huffington Post
In a nation that has long operated on the principle that an “American Dream” is available to anyone willing to try hard enough, the term “working poor” may seem to have a bright side. Sure, these individuals struggle financially, but they have jobs — the first and most essential step toward lifting oneself out of poverty, right?

If only it were that simple.

According to 2012 Census data, more than 7 percent of American workers fell below the federal poverty line, making less than $11,170 for a single person and $15,130 for a couple. By some estimates, one in four private-sector jobs in the U.S. pays under $10 an hour. Last month, Senate Republicans blocked a bill that would have raised the federal minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.10 an hour, despite overwhelming public support for the measure.

And these numbers don’t say anything about the many Americans who earn well above the official poverty line and still barely stay afloat. In HuffPost’s “All Work, No Pay” series, the working poor told their own stories, painting a devastating portrait of their day-to-day struggles.

They’re a diverse range of people: single parents, couples with and without children, young women with graduate degrees, business owners, seniors and everyone in between. Their financial situations, however, show many similarities. Jobs generally provide them with the means to barely scrape by, treading paycheck-to-paycheck, earning just enough to keep from going under, swallowing their pride sometimes to take food stamps or visit food banks. Others are entirely out of work, tirelessly seeking employment and relying on other means to survive.

Through their words, we see what it’s really like to be “working poor” in America — and just how much more it looks like rock bottom than most would imagine.

Being working poor means toiling through “pure hell” for next to nothing.

Earlier this year, 55-year-old Glenn Johnson was making about $14,000 a year — or $7.93 an hour — at a Miami-area Burger King. He’d been in and out of the fast food industry for more than 30 years. Recently he watched as his employer reported a 37 percent increase in its quarterly profit, while continuing to resist a minimum wage increase that workers like Johnson have been fighting for.

Johnson described his daily routine as “pure hell.” It’s a nonstop effort to keep the store clean and the customers and his managers — most of whom are less than half his age — happy. “Sometimes, I get home and I’m so tired, I eat dinner, take a shower, lay down to watch TV, and I’m going to sleep,” he said. “Next morning comes. I’m tired, but I’m trying to make it.”

fast food employee

And yet still wishing you could work more.

While Johnson was far from enthusiastic about his work at Burger King, with no computer and few immediate prospects of another job, he still wished he could clock more hours. He said he worked about 35 hours a week, but wanted anywhere from 40 to 50, which would make it easier to pay for his $765-a-month rent, gas and any of the things he can’t currently afford. Since Johnson first told his story, his corporate-owned Burger King made him full-time and gave him a raise.

Deangelo Belk, a 21-year-old Wendy’s employee making $7.50 an hour, also knows the pain of not getting enough hours to pay for the things he wants or to help him save enough to move out of his mother’s house. He works around 10 hours a week and said that he’s regularly ignored when he asks for more time.

Because you know you’re lucky to have a job, no matter how awful it is.

Vanessa Powell, 29, works full time in a Goodwill warehouse in Seattle for $9.25 an hour. She holds a bachelor’s degree in English and a master’s in business administration. But with her fiancé out of work, she’s just grateful to have a job, even though she occasionally feels it’s “beneath” her. Even with the job, however, it’s sometimes hard for them to get enough to eat.

“I mean, yeah, it’s dirty work and often demeaning work, but at least it’s work,” she said. “Even though [my fiancé] only worked part time, it was still something. I make enough to cover rent and electric, but we share a cell phone, which is why it’s kind of hard for both of us to search for jobs.”

But finding employment can also risk the crucial aid that helps you get by.

Helen Bechtol, 23, is a mother of two and a community college student with dreams of graduating from the University of North Carolina Wilmington. To help pay for child care, she took a second job, which made her ineligible for day care assistance.

Ashley Schmidtbauer said her family is “not destitute, but we barely make it month to month.” She stays at home to raise her kids and has found there aren’t any easy alternatives. Her husband’s income alone makes the family ineligible for day care assistance. “To be honest, we make roughly $35,000 a year. Somehow, we make over $10,000 more than their limits allow,” she said. “We are the in-betweeners. Not making enough to live ‘comfortably’ — but not ‘poor’ enough to get any assistance either. We don’t expect handouts. We just want what is best for our family.”

Being working poor means knowing it can be expensive just to keep your job.

Joanne Van Vranken, 50, was laid off in 2011. After nearly two years of unemployment, she landed a temporary administrative assistant position, which requires a 60-mile round-trip commute every day. Van Vranken’s car is in desperate need of repair, but she hasn’t had the money to fix it in years. She’s worried her car will die, which could put her back in dire financial straits. “And I don’t have the money to buy a new one,” she said. “But I have to do it, because we need to pay the bills.”

Janet Weatherly, 43, has almost completed her doctoral degree but can’t find employment in her field. Instead, she’s making $11 an hour as a sales associate for a major retailer. Her job is a 45-minute drive from her house, and a significant chunk of her paycheck goes toward gas money. Weatherly’s parents put her car repairs on their credit cards. She’d like to finish her dissertation, but currently can’t afford to get her documents out of a storage unit halfway across the country, much less invest more time in her education.

job fair unemployed

Or lowering your standards for employment and often still not finding work.

Craig Gieseke is unemployed. At nearly 60, he spent 32 years in journalism, but most of the past decade he was self-employed, so he doesn’t qualify for unemployment benefits. Gieseke doesn’t want assistance. He wants a job, and he’d take pretty much any at this point. Would-be employers tell him that he is “overqualified” — a term he calls a euphemism for “too old” — or that he’d be “bored” doing the required work. “‘Bored’ is hanging around the house all day because you don’t have money to do anything else,” he said.

It means making shortsighted decisions because long-term plans seem doomed.

Linda Tirado knows what it’s like to be desperately poor. She understands firsthand the mentality that leads many people in similar situations to spend money on things like cigarettes and fast food.

“It is not worth it to me to live a bleak life devoid of small pleasures so that one day I can make a single large purchase. I will never have large pleasures to hold on to,” Tirado said. “There’s a certain pull to live what bits of life you can while there’s money in your pocket, because no matter how responsible you are, you will be broke in three days anyway. When you never have enough money, it ceases to have meaning.”

And living in constant fear of losing what little you do have in an instant.

When Alicia Payton, a 31-year-old mother of two, received a promotion at her job, she thought the increased pay would make the nearly 100-mile round-trip commute worth it. But hope quickly turned to panic when she had a car accident, doing $4,000 worth of damage to her vehicle. Unable to afford immediate repairs or a rental, Payton couldn’t get to work, which she thought would result in her firing. “I’ve worked so hard to get where I’m at, and one simple thing and I’m afraid I’m going to lose everything,” she said. Payton later learned that she had not been fired and had more time to find another way to get to work.

Karen Wall, 38, works as a teacher, cheerleading coach and weekend bartender. Yet money is tight, and all of it goes to keeping her family afloat and paying off her student loan debt. Both of her boys have special needs, so even with the multiple income sources, Wall knows she’s only one disaster away from losing it all. “If I got in a car accident, I’d be homeless,” she said. “If I get laid off from any of my jobs, my kids will end up going hungry.”

food stamps

Even if things seem manageable now, you could be just a few setbacks away from collapse.

Not so long ago, Kathleen Ann had a house, vacation time, spending money and everything else available to someone with a high-paying corporate job. Then she was discarded in a layoff, cast into a world where she could only find occasional part-time work. Ann now makes less than $20,000 a year, lives in an apartment and has been forced to accept that she is poor — a “Used-to-Have,” as she described it. “As a ‘Used-to-Have,’ I know exactly what Corporate America, lobbyists and politicians have taken away from me,” she said.

Being working poor means learning the hard way that investing in your future can actually make things tougher.

Weatherly, who has a bachelor’s degree in English and a master’s degree in public health, is still paying off her six-digit student loan debt. “Things are so bad that I can’t even afford to file for bankruptcy,” she said. “I have applied for hundreds of jobs over the past six years.”

DJ Cook, 36, a teacher who has a master’s degree and lives in a converted garage, described himself as “suffocated by student debt.” “I’ve done everything that I was told to do in order to be successful,” he said. “I’m in a lifetime of debt with no foreseeable answers.”

Carla Shutak thought buying a house with her husband, who was gainfully employed as a civil engineer, would be a wise investment. When he was laid off in 2009, they couldn’t keep up with the mortgage payments and their home was foreclosed on. “My American Dream died,” she said. “Despite doing what we were taught was right by putting 20 percent down and asking for a fixed 30-year mortgage, we were now in our 40s and starting over with nothing.”

And can put you at a disadvantage even as you’re just starting your adult life.

Monica Simon, 24, works full time at an online advertising firm, earning $23,000 a year after taxes. She’s still paying off her student loans and often relies on credit cards to cover basic costs. “Sometimes I get paid and then I have, maybe, $150 left over for the two weeks,” she said. “I just feel I’m getting way behind where I want to be for my age. I feel I’m just starting my life and I’m already miles and miles behind.”

college students debt

Even if you saved for retirement, being working poor means using up those funds long before you get there.

Van Vranken spent 16 months unemployed before landing her current temp job. During that time, she used her retirement savings to cover expenses. “I’ve decimated my 401(k),” she said. “Without a permanent job, I don’t know if I’ll be able to rebuild it. I worry I’m going to be one of those senior citizens whose only meal each day is from Meals on Wheels.”

It means facing the harsh reality that while money can’t buy happiness, it’s hard to be happy without any.

Bechtol is consumed with constant anxiety over having enough money to support her two young children. “I go to school and am only paying my parents $250 a month to live in their house and can still barely do it,” she said. “I get so overwhelmed sometimes that I think it affects my parenting, and that’s what I hate the most. I don’t need money to be happy, but I do need money to pay for the resources I need for happiness.”

And realizing that without money, it’s difficult to meet fundamental human needs.

Jason Derr, 37, who earns $10.75 an hour and supports his wife and baby, wishes he and his wife could socialize with the few friends they have. But the lack of money stops them. “We can’t afford to do anything,” he said. “I feel like we are unable to participate in humanity, that being alive has a buy-in cost.”

Similarly, Simon will spend full weekends at home without social interaction. “There will be weekends when I’ll just have to sit home because if there’s a priority between food and going out, it’s going to be food.” Powell added that she hasn’t seen her friends in “six months because I can’t afford to go out with them, and they all want to go out.”

minimum wage protest

For the working poor, basic medical care is a luxury that’s often sacrificed.

Carol Sarao, 57, a formerly successful musician who now brings in roughly $240 a week writing web content, saves money by avoiding routine medical care and hoping her health remains relatively stable. When she does get sick, she tries to fix the problem herself. “I try to research it on the Internet or I try to find a friend who has antibiotics or something,” she said. “I haven’t had any sort of exam in years. I don’t know how much longer it can go on.”

Sarao described a time she suffered an allergic reaction and desperately needed a hospital visit, but ultimately decided the financial burden wasn’t worth it. “I remember sitting outside of the emergency room and thinking, ‘If I can’t breathe, I’ll go in and get the shot. But if I can breathe, I won’t go in and I’ll save the money,'” she recalled. “I’ve had different cuts that got infected and I just used a hot compress.”

Or a necessity that leads to taking risky chances.

Bernadette Feazell, 65, who makes $8 an hour at a pawn shop in Texas, takes a four-hour bus trip to a dangerous area of Mexico when she has medical needs. She contends the trips save her thousands of dollars. “I need a cavity filled,” she said. “My last Mexican filling fell out, from two years ago. I went down to Nuevo Laredo. It’s very violent.”

Feazell also buys antidepressants across the border. “I buy my Prozac over the line. I speak Spanish,” she said. “Without antidepressants, I don’t think — it would take a toll on me.”

Because not having the money to seek medical treatment doesn’t mean you don’t need medical treatment.

Beverly Hill, 60, was laid off from her full-time job more than six years ago and has been actively seeking employment ever since. She avoids routine check-ups because she can’t afford them. But the last time she visited the doctor, for what she described as excruciating abdominal pain, he found something more worrisome.

“He wasn’t so concerned about my guts as he was about an irregular heartbeat,” she said. “I was hospitalized. Two and a half days in the hospital came to over $40,000. After pleading poverty and asking to be considered a charity case, the hospital relented and lowered my bill to $12,000. I still can’t afford to pay this. I’m eking it out a little at a time.”

Being working poor means coming up with creative solutions in order to eat.

Larry Silveira, 60, who earns $9.25 an hour at his part-time retail job, was raised on a farm and learned how to can vegetables at a young age. He now uses the same strategies to maximize his family’s limited food supply. “You buy certain vegetables when they’re in season, when they’re cheap. You put them in the freezer and have them in the winter when they’re expensive,” he said. “If you find chicken breast for 99 cents a pound, buy $3 worth and put it in the freezer.”

Derr and his wife keep a “food safety box” in the pantry. “Every time we go grocery shopping, we buy a $1 item — pasta, canned veggies, etc.,” he explained. “At the end of October, we had to live off that box for two weeks.”

food pantry

And sometimes accepting you’ll just have to go hungry.

Cory Brooks, a senior at George Washington University, works more than full time in addition to her studies and barely makes enough money to eat. “My friends always ask how I stay in such good shape, how I never gained the ‘Freshman 15,'” she said. “I smile and shrug, but what I really want to tell them is that being too poor to buy food is great for keeping the weight off.”

It means sacrificing your own basic needs for those of your children.

Trisha Lovetrove, a wife and mother of two, said that despite her husband’s full-time job, some weeks she can’t afford to buy enough food for the whole family — so she’s the one who suffers. “I feed my children and my spouse, and find an excuse not to be hungry because there’s nothing left,” she said. “Those weeks suck your will to live.”

Kelly Lingo, 22, a stay-at-home mom raising her infant son with her boyfriend, who works full time for $10 an hour, described a similar struggle. “If we do have extra money, it usually goes to diapers or formula,” she said. “Feeding my son, that’s my biggest concern. As much as I don’t like to skip meals, I can do it — I can go without eating if it means feeding my son.”

Or coming to terms with the fact that you may never be able to afford parenthood at all.

At 36, Cook would like to have children someday. But his financial situation makes that seem impossible. “[I]t’s slowly starting to dawn on me that I will most likely never have children, as I would never intentionally bring another child into the world of poverty,” he said. “A house and/or a family is a laughable proposition at this point.”

For the 29-year-old Powell and her fiancé, poverty has also affected discussions about having kids. “My fiancé and I have kicked around the idea of having kids for almost as long as we’ve been together, but we don’t make enough, in all sanity, to allow a child in our care,” she said. “About eight months ago, we just stopped talking about it entirely.”

And if you have children, being working poor means worrying that their lives will ultimately be harder than yours.

Jennifer Blankenship, a 39-year-old mother of four whose family lives on her husband’s $11-an-hour job, has been able to send one daughter to college with the help of financial aid. Still, she, along with a growing number of both middle-class and poorer Americans, takes a bleak view of her children’s future.

“I think that our kids are going to have a lot harder time than we’ve had,” she said. “And that’s scary, because we’ve had a really hard time.”

These stories are part of a Huffington Post series profiling Americans who work hard and yet still struggle to make ends meet. Learn more about other individuals’ experiences here.Have a similar story you’d like to share? Email us at workingpoor@huffingtonpost.com or give us a call at (408) 508-4833, and you can record your story in your own words. Please be sure to include your name and phone number.


Getty Images

10. Taxi driver

May 17, 2014

Are we abandoning public education 60 years after historic Brown ruling?

Filed under: Civil Rights Movement Today,New Jim Crow,Vouchers — millerlf @ 4:02 pm

From Valerie Strauss’s Blog at Washington Post Updated: May 16

By Barbara Miner
In Milwaukee, one of the country’s most segregated metropolitan regions, the May 17 anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education will be particularly bitter. Like other urban areas, this city has long ignored Brown’s proclamation 60 years ago that “separate educational facilities are inherently unequal.” We live comfortably with rampant school segregation. But Milwaukee, where more students receive vouchers than in any U.S. city, has taken the abandonment of Brown to a new level. We are abandoning the very institution of public education.
I am often involved in national discussions on education reform. When I tell people I’m from Milwaukee, I frequently notice a vague look in their eye as they try to remember something about Milwaukee beyond beer, bratwurst and reruns of “Happy Days.” If they follow policy debates they might say, “Don’t you have that school choice movement?” And I cringe, because I refuse to use the term “school choice.”
As a woman, I understand the power and importance of choice. In education, used appropriately, choice can help ensure that public schools are sensitive to the varying needs of students, families and communities. But that is not how the term “school choice” is used today.
In the 1960s, the term “state’s rights” became code for opposing Brown and federal civil rights legislation. Today, “school choice” has to many people become code for initiatives that funnel public dollars into private voucher schools or privately run charters. It is code for reforms based on individual decisions by consumers and entrepreneurs rather than the collective, democratic decisions of a community.
In Milwaukee, it is code that rationalizes three separate and unequal systems, all funded by taxpayers: private voucher schools, public schools and charter schools, which operate in a grey market between public and private.
Interestingly, the first use of vouchers post-Brown was by whites hoping to escape desegregation. For five years, until federal courts intervened, officials closed the public schools in Prince Edward County, Virginia, rather than comply with orders to desegregate. White parents took advantage of vouchers to attend a private, whites-only academy.
In 1990, with proponents arguing for more “choices” for African-American students, Milwaukee became home to a voucher program under which public tax dollars pay the tuition at private schools. Today, some 25,000 students in Milwaukee receive such vouchers, most of them to attend religious schools.
But here’s the catch. Even if every single student attending a given school is paying tuition with a publicly funded voucher, the school is still defined as private. Voucher schools are thus able to circumvent any number of democratic safeguards, from adhering to open meetings and records requirements, to providing needed levels of special education services, to respecting constitutional rights of due process and freedom of speech.
Today, Milwaukee arguably has more educational choices than any other major city. In addition to vouchers we have “open enrollment” across districts. We have district charters, schools chartered by the city, schools chartered by the local university. We have union and non-union charters, community-based charters, virtual charters, and national “McFranchise” charter chains.
When it comes to curricular choices, we have Montessori schools, art specialty schools, Waldorf schools, language immersion schools, schools that focus on science, schools that teach creationism. We seem to have it all.
What we don’t have is progress in fulfilling the constitutional guarantee of equal educational opportunity. In recent results from the National Assessment of Educational Progress— sometimes dubbed the nation’s report card—the achievement gap between black and white students in Wisconsin was the widest among states in the nation in every test category. (Roughly three-quarters of the state’s African Americans live in Milwaukee.)
Equally disturbing, a new report by the Annie E. Casey Foundation cites Wisconsin as the worst state in the country in protecting equal opportunity for African-American children. The study is based on 12 key indicators, from birth weight, to children living in poverty, to educational achievement.
Which brings me back to Brown.
In laying the groundwork for its unanimous decision against segregated public schools, the Court noted that “education is perhaps the most important function of state and local governments.” The justices went on to recognize “the importance of education to our democratic society,” calling education “the very foundation of good citizenship.”
Milwaukee, perhaps more than any other city, forces the question: If education is such an essential governmental function, why are we abandoning our public schools?
In Wisconsin, there is deep concern about our democratic structures, in particular attacks on the right to vote. In 2011, the Republican-dominated state legislature passed one of the strictest Voter ID bills in the country, with the issue still before state and federal courts. This spring, the legislature drastically curtailed early voting.
But undermining the right to vote is not the only way to weaken our democracy. Another way? Remove entire institutions, such as public education, from meaningful public oversight.
On this 60th anniversary of Brown, it’s essential to go beyond well-deserved concern about the separate and unequal realities shaping our public schools. We must also reaffirm our commitment to public schools as an essential democratic institution—of the people, by the people, and for the people.

 

Lisa Kaiser Blog on Sheldon Lubar’s Comments on Takeover of MPS

Filed under: MPS Governance Debate — millerlf @ 3:53 pm

Sheldon Lubar’s Next Target: MPS

By Lisa Kaiser Friday, May 16, 2014

Last night, in a discussion devoted to Milwaukee County government “reforms,” conservative gazillionaire Sheldon Lubar casually dropped a bomb: His next target is the Milwaukee Public Schools.

Responding to a question about whether he or fellow panelists Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele or state Rep. Joe Sanfelippo would be involved in taking away the authority of the board of MPS, Lubar said, “That’s a very good question. It’s very provocative. And on my agenda, that’s the next thing.”

The crowd gasped as Lubar passed the microphone to Sanfelippo.

Later, Lubar clarified his plans when responding to a question about charter schools.

“The origin of these schools was to give the parents of children an option if they felt their public school was not performing, that they could go to another school that wasn’t being subjected to the rules of the administration largely driven by the teachers union,” Lubar said. “I’ve always been a believer in parochial schools. I’ve been a believer in private schools and I do believe in charter schools. I think that the school board and the means of electing them needs to be changed.”

In response, some in the crowd booed, while others clapped.

In 2009, Lubar infamously announced that he wanted to radically overhaul Milwaukee County government back when Scott Walker was county executive. You know, just blow up a level of government.

Later, with the election of his lapdog Abele as county executive and tea party Republican Sanfelippo as state legislator, conservative lawmakers passed Act 14, which gutted the power of the Milwaukee County Board of Supervisors and enhanced Abele’s power to a staggering extent. If last night’s performance indicates anything, it also crowned Lubar as the most powerful puppet master.

I’ll have more on this event in next week’s Shepherd.

May 16, 2014

Sheldon Lubar says MPS Board is Next for Governance Changes

Filed under: MPS Governance Debate,Privatization — millerlf @ 11:31 am

On Thursday May 15, at the annual meeting of the Friends of UWM Libraries, County Executive Chris Abele, Rep. Joe Sanfelippo and Sheldon Lubar presented.

It was a love-fest among the three speakers as they criticized the County Board – until they started reading questions submitted anonymously from the audience.

One question asked: “Are you involved, or will you soon be involved in plans to take away the authority of the Board of the Milwaukee Public Schools?”

Lubar answered: “That’s a provocative question. Yes. MPS is next on my agenda.”

Another asked: “Do you trust managers of hedge funds and private equity to create schools that are better for kids than a board that’s elected by the community?”

Lubar answered that there should be options for parents of children who have been failed by the public schools. He said the rules of the administration are largely driven by the teachers union. He said he believes in private, parochial education. He hadn’t mentioned schools in his presentation, but he apparently decided at this moment that as long as he was speaking candidly, he’d do so about the schools.

Abele added that it’s less important how decisions are made. Whatever is working is what should be done. (???)

 
Sheldon Lubar is the founder and Chairman of Lubar & Co.
He is a director of several public companies, including Crosstex Energy, Star Gas, Approach Resources, and Hallador Energy as well as other private companies. Previously, he served as Chairman of Christiana Companies, Inc., chairman of C2 Inc. and a director of MassMutual Life Insurance Co., U.S. Bancorp, MGIC Investment Corp., Ameritech Corporation, Weatherford International, Grant Prideco and other public companies.

 

May 12, 2014

Rocketship program is a model for inequality in education opportunity

Filed under: Charter Schools,Rocketship — millerlf @ 3:47 pm

By Gordon Lafer May 10, 2014 Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Sixty years ago this month, the U.S. Supreme Court handed down its landmark decision in the case of Brown vs. the Board of Education of Topeka, Kan. The ruling rejected the concept of separate schools for students of different races and demanded true equal opportunity in education for all students, regardless of race, ethnicity or income.
Since then, Milwaukee and many other cities have searched for ways to achieve that goal. Along the way, we have learned a few things about what works and what doesn’t.
Twenty-five years ago, for example, Milwaukee was told that education vouchers — public funds that could be used for students to attend private schools — would close the gaps in education achievement. Last year, the Wisconsin Policy Research Institute, a corporate-funded think tank that had promoted vouchers, issued a report admitting that they didn’t work. Then the report insisted that we should trust the newest idea on the corporate agenda: privately run charter schools that replace teachers with computers.
This model is embodied in Milwaukee by the Rocketship chain of schools, and it is part of a corporate education agenda that is being pushed across the country. The Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce is promoting Rocketship schools here, and MMAC President Tim Sheehy sits on the Rocketship board of directors.
Rocketship relies on inexperienced teachers, almost one-third of whom quit last year. It saves money by having students as young as kindergarten spend one-quarter of their day in front of a computer screen with no licensed teacher present. It offers no library or librarians, no music classes, no guidance counselors and no foreign languages.
In short, it’s a model that no suburban parents would accept for their own children — and indeed Rocketship is only being promoted as an option for children who live in poor cities. Hardly what the Supreme Court had in mind.
After 25 years of so-called reform efforts, Milwaukeeans have seen through the smoke and mirrors: The WPRI report on vouchers acknowledged that the public doesn’t support the Rocketship model.
Parents know that smaller classes mean more individual attention for every student, which is why Wisconsin created the Student Achievement Guarantee in Education (SAGE) program in 1995. SAGE provides funding for low-income schools to limit class sizes in the early grades, but the funding hasn’t kept pace with inflation or need. Instead of looking to replace teachers with computers, lawmakers should adjust SAGE funding so every eligible school could limit class sizes.
Students need more personal attention from experienced teachers. They also need the kind of opportunities that are found at Wisconsin’s 10 highest-rated elementary schools: a broad curriculum including music classes, libraries and librarians, foreign languages, experienced teaching staff, small student-teacher ratios and support services such as guidance counselors or school psychologists. Good luck finding these things at a Rocketship school.
Milwaukee parents don’t just deserve a choice; they deserve high-quality choices. If the model being proposed for poor kids in Milwaukee is considered unacceptable by privileged parents in the suburbs, it can’t be the solution.
Gordon Lafer is an associate professor at the University of Oregon’s Labor Education and Research Center and a research associate of the Economic Policy Institute in Washington, D.C. He formerly served as senior policy adviser for the U.S. House of Representatives’ Committee on Education and Labor.

Read more from Journal Sentinel: http://www.jsonline.com/news/opinion/rocketship-program-is-a-model-for-inequality-in-education-opportunity-b99264970z1-258710511.html#ixzz31XIOwuvO

 

Sixty years after Brown decision, a new Jim Crow doctrine is rising

By James Hall and Barbara Miner May 10, 2014 Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

 
It is time to fulfill the promise of Brown vs. Board of Education — the most important Supreme Court decision of the 20th century.
Sixty years ago, on May 17, 1954, the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously ruled that “separate educational facilities are inherently unequal.” Equally important, the court’s decision overturned the Jim Crow doctrine of “separate but equal” that had upheld segregation in all aspects of life, from jobs to buses to drinking fountains.
“The movement for African-American civil rights began long before the Brown decision and continues long after,” the Smithsonian National Museum of American History notes. “Still, the defeat of the separate-but-equal legal doctrine undercut one of the major pillars of white supremacy in America.”
Jim Crow took aim at the gains of African-Americans after slavery. Today, this country is witnessing a “New Jim Crow” that attempts to undermine the gains of the civil rights movement. This New Jim Crow fosters both racial and economic inequities.
Segregated schools and housing are the norm. Voting rights are under attack. Mass incarceration is destroying families and communities. Deadly “stand your ground” and “castle doctrine” laws are proliferating. Deportations and anti-immigrant prejudice are on the rise.
Milwaukee, unfortunately, has become a poster child for the New Jim Crow. Consider:
■Black-white residential segregation in greater Milwaukee is the worst in the country.
■Greater Milwaukee’s residential segregation based on poverty is the worst in the country.
■Wisconsin is last among all the states in protecting the well-being of African-American children, based on 12 key indicators ranging from birth weight to family poverty to teen pregnancy to high school students graduating on time. (Most of the state’s African-Americans live in Milwaukee.)
■Wisconsin locks up a higher percentage of African-American men than any other state — in a country that incarcerates more people than any other nation.
■The achievement gap between African-American and white students, based on what is known as “the nation’s report card,” is the worst in Wisconsin in every test category.
■The disparity gap in African-American and white employment among women in Milwaukee is the widest in the country. For men, is it the widest among the top 40 metropolitan areas.
That’s the bad news. The good news is that a growing number of people throughout the Milwaukee region want to do something. Two indications:
First, on May 17, the Schools and Communities United coalition is holding events to honor public education and to underscore the inherent links between strong public schools, healthy communities and a vibrant democracy. (Its forthcoming publication, “Fulfill the Promise,” has details on the issues outlined here.)
The coalition includes community, education, civic, student, labor and religious organizations — from the NAACP to Milwaukee Inner-City Congregations Allied for Hope, Centro Hispano Milwaukee, Voces de la Frontera and the Milwaukee Teachers’ Education Association.
Second, an initiative known as “Greater Together” is launching a summer-long media campaign focused on dismantling segregation and promoting social justice throughout greater Milwaukee. This unprecedented campaign is a unique collaboration between the creative and activist communities.
America’s journey of democracy always has been a work in progress. This is the challenge of the 21st century. Will we build a multicultural democracy, or will we build ever-more sophisticated structures that divide white from non-white, rich from poor, city from suburb, Democrat from Republican?
Predictions are that by next fall, for the first time, most of the children in our public schools will be non-white. By 2050, the majority of the U.S. population is expected to be non-white.
America has a chance, once again, to prove to the world that we are a beacon of hope and inspiration. We have a chance to build a multicultural democracy. But it is not a foregone conclusion.
Which brings us back to Brown.
In the decision on segregation in the public schools, the court noted that “education is perhaps the most important function of state and local governments.” The justices went on to recognize “the importance of education to our democratic society,” calling education “the very foundation of good citizenship.”
Milwaukee, unfortunately, is not just a poster child for the New Jim Crow. It also is a poster child for school privatization— in particular the school voucher movement, under which public tax dollars pay the tuition at private schools.
Milwaukee, perhaps more than any other city, forces the question: If public education is a bedrock of democracy and an essential governmental function, why are we privatizing our public schools?
May 17 provides a chance for a new beginning throughout the Milwaukee region — to learn from the past to build a better future. The time has come to work together to dismantle segregation, rebuild our public schools and ensure equal opportunity for all.
As the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. said 50 years ago when he visited Milwaukee: “The time is always ripe to do right.”
James Hall is president of the Milwaukee chapter of the NAACP. Barbara Miner is a writer and photographer. Both have been involved with Schools and Communities United and the Greater Together initiative.

Read more from Journal Sentinel: http://www.jsonline.com/news/opinion/sixty-years-after-brown-decision-a-new-jim-crow-doctrine-is-rising-b99265155z1-258710061.html#ixzz31XIEzdIj

 

MPS Graduation Rates

Filed under: MPS — millerlf @ 3:38 pm

MPS graduation rates are improving

By Gregory Thornton May 10, 2014 Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

MPS graduation rates are increasing; it just takes some students longer.

In just a few weeks, thousands of students will begin graduating from Milwaukee Public Schools. It begins with a trickle in late May with three graduations — Reagan College Preparatory, Rufus King International and Community high schools — and picks up steam in early June with a cascading number of graduations that end on June 15, when students graduate from Grandview, one of our partnership schools.

A new report released by the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction Thursday detailed Wisconsin’s graduation rate. It contained some interesting information for MPS. While our four-year graduation rate remains relatively flat over four years at 61%, the percentage of students graduating in five years and six years is significantly higher, and it’s rising. The five-year graduation rate climbs to 71%, and the rate increases to 74% for students who graduate in six years.

This hopeful news indicates more students are staying in school to graduate instead of dropping out. While as a community we might like students to graduate in the traditional four-year timeframe, what’s important is that more students are committed to completing high school.

Increasing the number of students who graduate from MPS isn’t something that’s just happened. Over the past four years, we’ve been working hard to increase supports to students and to develop curriculum that keeps students engaged in the classroom.

Academically, we took major steps in recent years to help improve student outcomes. We created a Comprehensive Literacy Plan and a Comprehensive Mathematics and Science Plan that replaced the multiple plans that previously existed to teach these subjects. That step made sure there are consistent curricula in these critical, core areas of instruction. Most important, students don’t risk falling behind if they moved from one school to another because all students are learning the same material. This has allowed students who were struggling to stay on track — and in school.

We know core subjects are only part of a well-rounded education that engages students. We’ve increased the number of art, music and physical education teachers in MPS. Building on an effort that began in the 2011-’12 school year, we have added 142 art, music and physical education teaching positions to our schools.

Keeping students in school not only relies on enhancing academic offerings; it requires creating a collective attitude for success. The Department of Career and College Readiness is coordinating efforts that prepare students for success after graduation, and that starts with making sure supports are there to help students graduate, no matter how long it takes.

We’re revised our school counseling services, offering support for students in grades three through 12 and a kindergarten through second-grade career awareness module to help our youngest students focus early on what it takes to graduate and reach their career goals. Academic and Career Plans are being developed for all students in grades six through 12 to help them develop a plan for success.

Our TEAM UP College Access Centers marked an important milestone with 10,000 visits in just three years. It’s not only high school students taking advantage of this program that helps demystify college preparation; elementary and middle students and their families also visit the centers.

Once students enter high school, we’ve expanded programs to keep them on track. We’re increased support for students transitioning from eighth to ninth grade, a critical time when some students who fall behind never catch up. Students who do fall behind have the option of academic counseling, school-based recovery programs to recover failed credits; and online learning with face-to-face support.

We want every one of our students to start in MPS, stay in MPS and succeed in MPS. We are committed to using every effort we can to help every student graduate, whether it takes four years or longer. As long as our students are committed to pursuing a high school diploma, as a community, we need to be committed to helping them obtain it.

Gregory Thornton is the outgoing Milwaukee Public Schools superintendent.

Read more from Journal Sentinel: http://www.jsonline.com/news/opinion/mps-graduation-rates-are-improving-b99265949z1-258707521.html#ixzz31XGyQjww
Follow us: @JournalSentinel on Twitter

REPORT: Fraudulent Charter Schools Responsible for $100M in Taxpayer Losses Across 15 States

Filed under: Charter Schools — millerlf @ 3:33 pm

 

A new study from Integrity in Education claims “fraudulent charter operators in 15 states are responsible for losing, misusing or wasting over $100 million in taxpayer money.” The report — “Charter School Vulnerabilities to Waste, Fraud And Abuse” — was a combined effort of the Center for Popular Democracy and Integrity in Education, and echoes the findings of the Inspector General of the U.S. Department of Education.
Charter school operators have seized on a wild west moment due to a lack of regulation and standards. They have abused the trust of parents by misusing funds that could be going towards improved facilities and curriculums, the report says.
Sabrina Joy Stevens, the Executive Director of Integrity in Education, visited Bill Moyers to discuss the topic:
“Our report shows that over $100 million has been lost to fraud and abuse in the charter industry, because there is virtually no proactive oversight system in place to thwart unscrupulous or incompetent charter operators before they cheat the public.”
The report breaks down fraud and mismanagement into the following six categories:
• Charter operators using public funds illegally — outright embezzlement
• Using tax dollars to illegally support other, non-educational businesses
• Mismanagement that put children in potential danger
• Charters illegally taking public dollars for services they didn’t provide
• Charter operators inflating their enrollment numbers to boost revenues
• General mismanagement of public funds
Several examples of unscrupulous charter school operation are provided wherein available funds are used for personal gain. Most notably are the stories of an Ohio-based charter school operator who created unsafe conditions for the children who attended the institutions:
Many of the cases involved charter schools neglecting to ensure a safe environment for their students. For example, Ohio’s State Superintendent of Public Instruction, Dr. Richard A. Ross, was forced to shut down two charter schools, The Talented Tenth Leadership Academy for Boys Charter School and The Talented Tenth Leadership Academy for Girls Charter School, because, according to Ross, “They did not ensure the safety of the students, they did not adequately feed the students, they did not accurately track the students and they were not educating the students well. It is unacceptable and intolerable that a sponsor and school would do such a poor job. It is an educational travesty.”
Diane Ravitch is an outspoken opponent of school privatization — or, “education reform” as it’s spun. She spoke with Moyers about the failures of charter schools and decried the privatization of the public school system that has occurred since her reign as Assistant Secretary of Education under President George W. Bush.
For the full report go to:
http://www.scribd.com/doc/221993993/Charter-School-Vulnerabilities-to-Waste-Fraud-Abuse

 

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