Thursday, March 23, 2017

CURMUDGUCATION: MS: Paving Way for Vouchers

CURMUDGUCATION: MS: Paving Way for Vouchers:

MS: Paving Way for Vouchers

Mississippi has long been considered America's Armpit of Education.

Educational lists? You name it, they've consistently ranked near the bottom. It qualified as news when Nevada beat them for dead last in EdWeek's Quality Counts list in 2016, because that was their first step up in years(and it can be argued that they didn't so much improve as Nevada just became even worse.)


Sharing another excellent investment opportunity

They've tried any number of dumb ideas, from jumping on the bandwagon for failing third graders who don't pass the Big Standardized Test in reading, to fining schools for not observing the Pledge of Allegiance. Plus the occasional attempt to force teachers to be silent on any education related issues at all.

What they haven't tried is actually funding their school system. Mississippi ranks close to the bottom there as well, with a per pupil outlay in the $7K area. Back in 1997, the legislature attempted to address this by passing the Mississippi Adequate Education Program (because when you're working on education, "adequate" is plenty good enough). MAEP laid out a funding formula that the state then promptly ignored. The legislature has only voted four times to fund schools as the MAEP says they should-- and two of those times they took it back mid-year. Last year some folks tried to add some actual teeth to the law, and the legislature promptly buried the referendum in a flurry of bloviating baloney.

But Mississippi's educational finances were not going to be ignored. Instead, the GOP called upon EdBuild and their CEO, our old friend Rebecca Sibilia.

You may remember her as the woman who gleefully observed that bankrupcy is a great way to blow up a district, which is no problem for kids, but a great opportunity for charter operators. Arielle Dreher, who has been doing a bang-up job covering all this for the Jackson Free Press, does a nice job of recapping the EdBuild story--

EdBuild is in its infancy as a company (it started in 2014), and Sibilia came from an education-policy background, first working in the Washington, D.C., education department and then moving to the nonprofit Students First, run by Michelle Rhee. The former chancellor of Washington, D.C., public schools, Rhee was a controversial figure, after firing over 200 teachers in D.C., mainly due to poor performance, she said then.

EdBuild's board of directors includes Derrell Bradford (NYCAN), Angelia Dickens(general counsel for StudentsFirst), Michael Hassi (Exponent Partners), Josh McGee (Manhattan Institute, Arnold Foundation), Henry Moseley (CFO, Washington Convention Center), Hari Sevugan (270 Strategies, former DNC press secretary, and just helped a "national, non-profit education reform group get off the ground), and Stephanie Khunrana (Draper Richards Kaplan Foundation). EdBuild's website
CURMUDGUCATION: MS: Paving Way for Vouchers:



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