Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Hedge Fund Underwrite Political Networks to Privatize K-12 Public Education | Alternet

Hedge Fund Underwrite Political Networks to Privatize K-12 Public Education | Alternet:

Hedge Fund Underwrite Political Networks to Privatize K-12 Public Education

Who says Democrats and Wall Street don't get along?



Not too long ago, school board races were quaint affairs. Even in big school districts, candidates usually only had to raise a few thousand dollars to compete.
But as the movement to marketize public education gained momentum, advocates broadened their focus from the federal level to state and local governments. There, where campaign costs were substantially lower than in federal elections, the well-funded movement could more effectively leverage its political money.
One of the starkest casualties of that strategic shift has been the American school board election. A network of education advocacy groups, heavily backed by hedge fund investors, has turned its political attention to the local level, with aspirations to stock school boards—from Indianapolis and Minneapolis to Denver and Los Angeles—with allies.
In recent years, this powerful upstart operation has had tremendous, albeit somewhat stealthy, success playing politics at the local level, by cultivating reform leaders in areas with disappointing schools and a baseline desire for change. They have looked to building a state philanthropic infrastructure that can sustain local efforts beyond one election.
The same big-money donors and organizational names pop up in news reports and campaign-finance filings, revealing the behind-the-scenes coordination across organizational, geographic, and industry lines. The origins arguably trace back to Democrats for Education Reform, a relatively obscure group founded by New York hedge funders in the mid-2000s.
The Hedge Fund Connection
The hedge fund industry and the charter movement are almost inextricably entangled. Executives see charter-school expansion as vital to the future of public education, relying on a model of competition. They see testing as essential to accountability. And they often look at teacher unions with unvarnished distaste. Several hedge fund managers have launched their own charter-school chains. You’d be hard-pressed to find a hedge fund guy who doesn’t sit on a charter-school board.
Consider Whitney Tilson. Straight out of Harvard, Tilson deferred a consulting job in Boston to become one of Teach For America’s first employees in 1989. Ten years later, he started his own hedge fund in New York. Soon after that, Teach For America founder Wendy Kopp took him on a visit to a charter school in the South Bronx. It was an electrifying experience for him. “It was so clearly different and so impactful,” Tilson says. “Such a place of joy, but also rigor.”
The school was one of two original Knowledge Is Power Program schools—better Hedge Fund Underwrite Political Networks to Privatize K-12 Public Education | Alternet:
 

Teachers union: enrollment loss to charter schools costs L.A. Unified at least $500 million | 89.3 KPCC

Teachers union: enrollment loss to charter schools costs L.A. Unified at least $500 million | 89.3 KPCC:
Teachers union: enrollment loss to charter schools costs L.A. Unified at least $500 million



Critics frequently charge charter schools with diverting funding away from traditional public schools. On Tuesday, the Los Angeles' teachers union released a report attempting to quantify exactly how much money the district has lost.
Their estimate: students choosing to enroll in charter schools instead of L.A. Unified schools cost the district $508.2 million in net revenues, according to a report commissioned by the union, United Teachers Los Angeles.
Add in other losses — from structural problems in state funding, from oversight costs not covered by fees charter schools pay, from charter-induced administrative overhead — and the report estimates charters are costing L.A. Unified more than $591.7 million.
"A half a billion dollars of costs for any item creates a fiscal crisis," said UTLA president Alex Caputo-Pearl. "The district has to lobby at the state level and change some policies and practices here at the district level to contain that."
From the dais at Tuesday's meeting of the L.A. Unified School Board, Superintendent Michelle King said district staff needed time to review the report before responding.
The California Charter Schools Association said the report was politically motivated.
"It is not a comprehensive analysis of the district’s financial challenges," said the CCSA's Sarah Angell in an e-mailed statement. "It is the latest campaign in UTLA’s relentless war on charter schools. UTLA has made no qualms about its opposition to the existence of charters – except the ones they’re able to unionize."
The report, conducted by MGT of America and commissioned by the union and the research group In The Public Interest, said more than 102,000 students' decision to enroll in charter schools as the biggest cost to L.A. Unified.
It also pointed out the L.A. Unified Charter Schools Division's $11.7 million budget exceeds the approximately $8.8 million in fees charter schools pay to the district to cover oversight costs.
The report also noted a state policy that allows school districts with declining enrollments to be funded based on their previous year's attendance — it's known as "soft landing" funding. But the district receives less "soft landing" funding if the students leaving traditional district schools for a charter school. That state policy, the report estimated, costs L.A. Unified more than Teachers union: enrollment loss to charter schools costs L.A. Unified at least $500 million | 89.3 KPCC:

Judge calls evaluation of N.Y. teacher ‘arbitrary’ and ‘capricious’ in case against new U.S. secretary of education - The Washington Post

Judge calls evaluation of N.Y. teacher ‘arbitrary’ and ‘capricious’ in case against new U.S. secretary of education - The Washington Post:
Judge calls evaluation of N.Y. teacher ‘arbitrary’ and ‘capricious’ in case against new U.S. secretary of education


A judge has ruled that a New York teacher received an evaluation that was “arbitrary” and “capricious” as part of an assessment system that was developed when John King, the new U.S. education secretary, was the New York State education commissioner.
New York Supreme Court Judge Roger McDonough said in his decision that he could not rule beyond the individual case of fourth-grade teacher Sheri G. Lederman because the evaluation system is no longer in place, but he said she had proved that the controversial method that King developed and administered in New York had provided her with an unfair evaluation. It is thought to be the first time a judge has made such a decision in a teacher evaluation case.
Lederman, who teaches in the Great Neck public school district, filed a suit against state education officials over their controversial method of evaluating her — and, by extension, other N.Y. teachers.
As I explained in an earlier post:
The method is known as “value-added modeling,” or VAM, and it purports to be able to use student standardized test scores to determine the “value” of a teacher while factoring out every other influence on a student (including, for example, hunger, sickness, and stress). One way it works is by predicting, through a complicated computer model, how students with similar characteristics are supposed to perform on the exams, and teachers are then evaluated on how well their students measure up to the theoretical students. New York is just one of the many states where VAM is a key component of teacher assessment. Evaluation experts have warned policymakers that this method is not reliable for evaluating teachers, but VAM became popular among school reformers as a “data-driven” evaluation solution.
Lederman’s suit against state education officials — including King — challenges the rationality of the VAM model, and it alleges that the New York State Growth Measures “actually punishes excellence in education through a statistical black box which no rational educator or fact finder could see as fair, accurate or reliable.”
Here’s what happened to Lederman: In 2012-13, 68.75 percent of her New York students met or exceeded state standards in both English and math. She was labeled “effective” that year. In 2013-2014, her students’ test results were very 
Judge calls evaluation of N.Y. teacher ‘arbitrary’ and ‘capricious’ in case against new U.S. secretary of education - The Washington Post:

Education During the Great Depression


Education During the Great Depression


Some say the Great Depression started on October 29, 1929, also known as Black Tuesday. This is the day approximately 28 million shares of stock were sold and the stock market collapsed. However, the worst years of the Great Depression were yet to come; those years being 1932 and 1933.
During the Great Depression years not only did people suffer from lack of jobs, money, homes, and food, but the education of children suffered also.
Children dropped out of school to sell newspapers and shine shoes. Students were also forced to wear worn out, mended clothes and were too embarrassed to go to school.
People couldn't pay their property taxes so school districts were lacking funds. Few teachers were hired and there wasn't enough money to buy books and supplies. Students were forced to use worn textbooks which sometimes had pages missing.
Students were forced to bring their own supplies to school. Since many parents couldn't afford to buy these supplies, students dropped out.
Schools were forced to drop classes like home economics, physical education, art, and foreign languages. Just the basic courses of reading, writing, and arithmetic were taught.
By 1933 many public schools closed, leaving three million students with no school to go to.
Teachers were paid a flat fee regardless of experience or education. Many rural schoolteachers only had a high school diploma and were sixteen years old when they began teaching.
Many teachers during this time had their salaries cut or were paid in script. Some teachers received only room and board as compensation. Rural schoolteachers would live in the schoolhouse and cooked their food on a wood stove.
In the 1930s some city schools started what were called progressive classrooms. In these classrooms teachers let the students choose what subjects they wanted to learn. Teachers rarely used the standard textbooks and let the students work in small groups doing art and science projects and learning songs and dances.
Many parents were against these progressive classrooms. They wanted their children to learn the basics like reading, writing, and arithmetic.
Schools in rural areas mostly consisted of one-room schools, which meant that all the students, no matter what grade they were in, were in on classroom.
These schools had neither electricity nor running water. The school was heated with a wood stove and lanterns provided light. Water was gotten from an outdoor pump.
Students of one grade would recite their lessons while students in other grades did math problems on the blackboard in the front of the room or read their textbooks.
Many students who attended rural schools had to help with the spring planting and fall harvesting. During these seasons students went to school part-time or not at all. Many rural students quit school after eight grade to work full-time on the family farm.
President Franklin implemented his New Deal economic programs to help people get back on their feet.
The Works Progress Administration (WPA) gave money to schools to hire more teachers and buy supplies. It also enabled public schools to provide free hot lunches for students.
The WPA and PWA (Public Works Administration) built larger schools to replace the one-room schools. Separated rooms for different proved to provide a better education for the students.
The Great Depression lasted until World War Two. With the start of the war men and women were able to get jobs in factories building planes, ships, and weapons. With people working the economy recovered.
Education 1929-1941 - Historic Events for Students: The Great Depression | Encyclopedia.com http://bit.ly/27bjyEb
The Depression and Education - U.S. History in Context http://bit.ly/27bjLaz
The Great Depression: Education 1929-1941 http://bit.ly/27bjPai
Depression Era: 1930s: Education: Locally Decided | Picture This http://bit.ly/27bjWCv
How the Lack of Education During the Great Depression Affected Southern Society :: essays research papers fc http://bit.ly/27bk1pU
Going to School in Rural America during the 1930s http://bit.ly/27bk05h


Detroit's Educational Catastrophe - The Atlantic

The Bills That Want to Solve Detroit's School Crisis - The Atlantic:

Detroit's Educational Catastrophe

Two radically different bills aim overhaul the city’s beleaguered school system. Will the legislation do more harm than good?

One of Detroit's many vacant school buildingsCarlos Osorio / AP
Three months into her son’s first pass at third grade, Arlyssa Heard had a breakdown. Judah was bright, but had begun calling himself stupid. The chaos of Detroit’s precarious education landscape had forced him to switch schools every few months, leaving him further and further behind.

There was no central system to transfer Judah’s records when he moved, and according to Heard the school where he started the 2014-15 academic year had a single teacher assigned to 44 third-graders. Heard was virtually alone in trying to deal with the fact that her boy, then 8, could write only the first two letters of his name.

Heard says she was one of the parents Detroit Public Schools turned to when it needed a strong family showing at a rally or community members to serve on a task force. She was running for the Detroit School Board. But when she needed help, she had nowhere to turn.

“Here I was this advocate for education, and I couldn’t find a place for my son,” she says. “I was crying in the principal’s office and I said, ‘I don’t know what to do.’ The principal said, ‘I don’t either.’”

The scope of the problems plaguing Detroit schools—both traditional district schools and charters—is almost unfathomable. According to the most recent National Assessment of Educational Progress, only 4 percent of Detroit’s eighth-grade students can read and perform math at grade level, the lowest rate among the nation’s big cities. Schools aren’t located where families need them, and campuses often open and close with no coordination or notice. Over the last six years, most schools in the city have either opened or closed—or both. In one neighborhood in the city’s southwest quadrant, home to a large Latino population and a number of industrial zones, a dozen schools opened or closed in the span of 18 months. And when a parent shows up to find a child’s classroom abandoned, good luck finding a new one. There are more than 200 schools with roughly 50 different enrollment processes and almost no standard for performance.

Now, Detroit Public Schools are so far in the red it might not be able to pay teachers through the end of the school year, and two bills are moving through the Michigan legislature aimed at preventing a financial catastrophe. The version passed by the House of Representatives in the early hours of May 5 includes $500 million in debt relief for the district, which would remain under state control. The bill would also impose restrictions on teachers’ ability to bargain contracts and outlaw the strikes over crumbling buildings, among other provisions. Meanwhile, in March the state Senate passed a bill favored by Detroit lawmakers that would return control of the schools to the local, elected school board and create a Detroit Education Commission with the authority to make decisions on things like school closures and minimum acceptable outcomes for charter schools. A conference committee will now attempt to reconcile the radically different bills.
Heard was part of the group that drafted the recommendations on which the Senate bill is based. As the political process unfolded, she’s become a citizen lobbyist, driving parents to the Capitol to explain to lawmakers why they should The Bills That Want to Solve Detroit's School Crisis - The Atlantic:


Charter Schools: The Next Nationwide Scandal

Charter Schools: The Next Nationwide Scandal:

Charter Schools: The Next Nationwide Scandal

As public school districts across the U.S. increasingly struggle with diminishing funds and a less-than-stellar reputation for quality education, charter schools have become a more popular option for parents — especially those in poorer urban areas where traditional private schools are not an affordable option. Charter school organizations, while generally structured as nonprofits, said they could do more with fewer resources and improve students’ academic performance.
But while they seek public funds, the evidence suggests that some of these school operators are less than transparent about how they want to spend these funds, while others have balked at disclosing how students within their schools are performing in the classroom.
One such charter school operator is KIPP, which manages 183 charter schools enrolling 70,000 students from coast to coast. According to the Center for Media and Democracy, in recent years KIPP informed the Department of Education (DOE) that some information about its revenues and classroom performance is “proprietary,” even though the company has applied for millions in grants paid for by federal taxpayers. In fact, one grant application contained redacted information related to the amount of money KIPP received from private foundations.
Meanwhile, financial statements submitted to the DOE reveal that, while receiving over $61 million in private grants in 2013, KIPP spent:
  • Over $400,000 on advertising and almost $5 million on travel expenses, including $1.2 million at Walt Disney World.
  • Almost $14 million on compensation, including over $1.2 million on nine executives, plus another $2 million on retirement packages.
  • $1.2 million to an analytics consultant in an attempt to rebuff any DOE concerns over academic performance and drop-out rates.
2011 university study also found that KIPP schools’ performance was not necessarily better than their competing schools in public education districts, and in fact, on the metrics were sometimes even worse. Many schools were found to have a higher attrition rate. And that one leading KIPP selling point, the retention of African American male students, was often a struggle — 40 percent of African American boys from the sixth to eighth grades left KIPP schools.
Other investigations found similar problems with other charter school systems across the U.S. In New Orleans, where public schools transformed into virtually an all-charter system after Hurricane Katrina, the city’s experiment has brought at best dubious results when it comes to attrition, graduation rates and the number of school suspensions. As the emphasis over the past decade focused more closely on student testing, “difficult to teach” kids have fallen through the cracks and critics say too many students are simply abandoned by the revamped school system.
And in Ohio, Politico reported that the Buckeye State’s struggles with charter schools could have damaged Gov. John Kasich’s political prospects if he had miraculously become the Republican presidential nominee. While applying for federal charter school grants, the state’s charter school director reportedly neglected to include failing grades in key charter schools’ performance analyses. The state received $71 million in federal funds. Some state leaders questioned the value of the awards given charter schools’ declining reputation in the state. The number of poorly performing schools increased from nine to Charter Schools: The Next Nationwide Scandal:
 Charter schools, KIPP, transparency, Department of Education, John Kasich

Civil rights groups call for end to school violence ads - NY Daily News

Civil rights groups call for end to school violence ads - NY Daily News:

EXCLUSIVE: Civil rights groups call on pro-charter school organization to end ad campaign on public school violence

NYC PAPERS OUT. Social media use restricted to low res file max 184 x 128 pixels and 72 dpi

“They offer no solutions and are simply politicizing a real issue in order to push their agenda of harsh discipline practices,” Billy Easton said.


More than a dozen progressive education and civil rights groups signed onto a letter calling for a pro-charter school organization to end its ad campaign on public school violence, the Daily News has learned.
The groups, including the union-backed Alliance for Quality Education, accuse Families for Excellent Schools’ “Safe Schools Now” TV and digital media campaign of fear-mongering at the expense of students. The letter also accuses the hedge fund-backed group of promoting disciplinary policies that disproportionately affect black and Hispanic students.
“Your organization’s mission is steeped in the language of civil rights and equality, but your campaign is steeped in messaging and rhetoric that feels intended to undermine a struggle for racial justice,” says the letter sent Monday.
Families for Excellent Schools representatives say they rolled out the splashy campaign to highlight legitimate problems and press the city to take action. CEO Jeremiah Kittredge said victims of violent incidents in city schools are mostly black and Hispanic kids — and the group won’t back down.
“As long as the city deprives these students of their right to safe schools, we will continue to fight alongside parents and children,” Kittredge said.
Families for Excellent Schools also organized a class-action suit in March with families who allege violent conditions in city schools deprived them of their right to a sound basic education.
But Alliance for Quality Education Executive Director Billy Easton said all Kittredge’s group is doing is preying on people’s fear to make the public schools look bad.
“They offer no solutions and are simply politicizing a real issue in order to push their agenda of harsh discipline practices,” Easton said.
Families for Excellent Schools has published several reports showing violent and disruptive incidents have worsened in public schools in recent years, but other stats show schools are actually getting safer.
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Civil rights groups call for end to school violence ads - NY Daily News:

The debate over student off-campus speech and First Amendment protection

The debate over student off-campus speech and First Amendment protection:

The debate over student off-campus speech and First Amendment protection



A recent federal court ruling about a public-school student punished for a Facebook post about a bomb threat may have some bigger First Amendment implications, says a judge who wrote the decision.
school_LockersIn the case of R.L. v. Central York School District, Judge John E. Jones III said last week that the York School District’s punishment of the student with a 23-day suspension didn’t violate his First Amendment rights, as his parents claimed. But Jones, echoing some other federal court judges, believed broader issues involved with this case and similar cases needed definition from federal appeals courts and the Supreme Court.
Jones issued his ruling on May 3 for the federal court in the Middle District of Pennsylvania.
“How school administrators must balance students’ First Amendment rights with their duty to protect and foster a safe learning environment is a tension of principles the circuit courts, as well as the Supreme Court, are actively negotiating and developing,” Jones wrote.
In one example, where R.L.’s parents argued that the school’s handbook overstated its ability to regulate student speech under the Supreme Court’s Tinker decision, Jones sided with the parents, but he also said schools needed input from the higher courts on their off-campus speech policies.
“We must observe that schools need clear guidance from the Third Circuit or the Supreme Court as to whether and when they can regulate off-campus speech. Once a clearer rule is pronounced, schools would be well advised to revise their disciplinary policies to clearly outline when off-campus student speech or conduct can be regulated by the school,” Jones wrote.
In this specific case, a bomb-threat letter was discovered at the school in October 2013. School was later dismissed, and while at home, the student made the Facebook post which he later said as intended as a joke, which read, “Plot twist, bomb isn’t found and goes off tomorrow.”
The student later returned to school to get his belongings, which included a mobile device he used to delete the Facebook post. By that time, local police had noticed the post and consulted with the school. School officials then spoke with the student and his father at a football game that night, and told the student he faced a suspension. A disciplinary board later set the suspension at 23 days, and the parents sued on behalf on their son.
The parents claimed their son had his First and 14th Amendment rights violated, since there wasn’t a higher court precedent that allowed schools to punish students for off-campus speech that didn’t cause a substantial disruption at school.
The 1969 Supreme Court decision in Tinker v. Des Moines held that schools could restrict student speech when it threatens a substantial disruption to the school environment or invades the rights of others.
Judge Jones said the location where the student made the Facebook post didn’t matter in this specific case. “Schools should be able to discipline students on account of off-campus speech they reasonably believe could cause disruption in the form of danger or violence, or fear of danger or violence, in schools. Such a rule would also account for the modern reality of the Internet and The debate over student off-campus speech and First Amendment protection:

How Many Schools Should Be Eligible to Provide Free Lunch Under the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act? - The Atlantic

How Many Schools Should Be Eligible to Provide Free Lunch Under the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act? - The Atlantic:

When All Kids Eat for Free

Congress is considering a rule change to the school-nutrition law that would bar thousands of schools from offering complimentary lunch to all students.



 Much has been made recently of Detroit’s resurgence and growth. In January, President Obama made a swing through the Motor City, touting “something special happening in Detroit.” Yet the comeback has not been evenly felt across the city. The Michigan League for Public Policy’s 2016 Kids Count Data Profilerevealed a major fault line earlier this year. From 2006 to 2014, child poverty in Detroit increased by 29 percent, to about 94,000 children or well more than half (57 percent) of the city’s population under the age of 18.* The unavoidable conclusion: Many of Detroit’s youngest residents remain mired in hardship and hunger.

During the school day, the job of filling children’s empty stomachs rests with Betti J. Wiggins, the executive director of Detroit Public Schools office of school nutrition. The district enrolls about 46,000 students, and advertises free breakfast and lunch for every child—not just those who qualify and apply for the benefit. Wiggins credits a little-known provision in the federal child-nutrition bill for boosting participation and feeding more of Detroit’s students at school. But those nutritional benefits are now at risk, as Congress moves to reauthorize the 2010 Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act. A proposed rule change to the Community Eligibility Provision (CEP)—widely praised by budget experts and school officials—would effectively leave thousands of impoverished Detroit students, who now eat breakfast and lunch at school, unfed.
The rationale for the program is fairly straightforward. CEP, now in its second year of nationwide availability, allows high-poverty schools to offer free breakfast and lunch to all students at no cost, instead of collecting individual applications for free or reduced-price meals for students who qualify based on family income. Whether a school is eligible for the provision is based on data illustrating how many children are food insecure, whether they live in households that receive food stamps, live in foster care, are homeless, or other criteria that identify them as part of a food-vulnerable group. Under the program, a school district, group of schools, or single school with 40 percent or more “identified students”—those who automatically qualify for free school meals because they fall within the prior special classification—is eligible to adopt community eligibility. The House bill would raise the eligibility threshold to 60 percent, forcing thousands of high-poverty schools nationally to rollback school meals.

Wiggins said the program allows districts like hers to feed more hungry kids. “In income-insecure households, the first item to be reduced is food, in both quantity and quality,” she said. Since CEP, Detroit has experienced an average daily participation increase of 22 percent across the district. She anticipates that with the higher eligibility limit almost 8,000 fewer breakfasts and about 9,300 fewer lunches would be served to students each day. This represents a projected 40 percent drop in eligible high-school students who will abandon school meals, Wiggins said, because of the “consequential identification” of being a free-lunch student. Additionally, CEP reduces administrative costs associated with processing school meals applications. Wiggins said the cost of printing, How Many Schools Should Be Eligible to Provide Free Lunch Under the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act? - The Atlantic:

Union-commissioned report says charter schools are bleeding money from traditional ones - LA Times

Union-commissioned report says charter schools are bleeding money from traditional ones - LA Times:
Union-commissioned report says charter schools are bleeding money from traditional ones

A teachers union-funded report on charter schools concludes that these largely nonunion campuses are costing traditional schools in the Los Angeles Unified School District millions of dollars in tax money.
The report, which is certain to be viewed with skepticism by charter supporters, focused on direct and indirect costs related to enrollment, oversight, services to disabled students and other activities on which the district spends money.
L.A. Unified has the most charters — 221 — and the highest number of charter students — more than 100,000 — of any school system in the nation. Charter students make up about 16% of the district's total enrollment.
The union gave The Times the study in advance of its scheduled presentation at Tuesday's Board of Education meeting, with the stipulation that the report not be distributed to outside parties.


The study calculates that services to charters encroach on tax money the district intended to use for traditional schools, adding up to at least $18.1 million a year and growing.
The biggest financial problem for the district, however, is that money follows students and a huge number of students have enrolled in charters instead of traditional district schools. With more education tax dollars going directly to charters, the result is a decline of more than $500 million a year — about 7% — in the district's core budget, the researchers say.
The effects of this drop are difficult to quantify because fewer students in traditional schools also means a reduced need for teachers and other personnel.
But even with reduced staffing, the district faces a net loss of about $4,957 per student, the study says. That amount accounts for fixed costs, such as maintaining buildings.
Whatever the exact amount, the district has less money to spend with the flexibility its leaders would prefer or to offset legacy costs that include aging school buildings and retiree health benefits.
“The findings in the report paint a picture of a system that prioritizes the growth opportunities for charter school operators,” according to a separate policy brief co-written by the union.
Charter supporters take a different view, seeing the district as the fundamental problem and charters as an important solution.
“Like all businesses, the district has to compete for its customers,” said Eric Hanushek, a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University.
“The growth of charters is putting pressure on the district. The district can't do what it did in the past and come out ahead,” added Hanushek, who hadn't seen the report. “They can try to compete for the students or sell off the buildings. But the point is: Charters look attractive to parents, which means that the district is not attractive.”
Prompted in part by concern about the district's judgment in how it spends money, a group of philanthropists and foundations has bet big on charters in Los Angeles, subsidizing their growth over the last two decades. Last year, local philanthropist Eli Broad spearheaded a proposal to more than double the number of charters over the next eight years, hoping to reel in half of district students.
About six months ago, a group formed to develop Broad's vision for new, high-quality schools.
Meanwhile, both the district and employee unions have been trying to develop counter-strategies. From the district, the push is to increase enrollment, to compete with charters more aggressively and possibly to limit their growth. Until now, the union has been most visible at the bully pulpit, speaking at gatherings and leading demonstrations.
The new report is from Florida company MGT of America. It builds on the work of an earlier, independent district advisory panel, which concluded that charter growth is one of several factors threatening the solvency of L.A. Unified.
This latest analysis was reviewed by pro-labor Washington group In the Public Interest, which prepared the separate policy brief with the union.
“Unmitigated charter school growth limits educational opportunities for the more than 542,000 students who continue to attend schools run by the district, and … further Union-commissioned report says charter schools are bleeding money from traditional ones - LA Times:



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