Friday, November 30, 2018

The Nation’s First Major Charter School Strike Is Brewing in Chicago – Mother Jones

The Nation’s First Major Charter School Strike Is Brewing in Chicago – Mother Jones

The Nation’s First Major Charter School Strike Is Brewing in Chicago
“We’ve had less rights, less pay, and less benefits. At the end of the day, these are our schools.”


For the last five years, Martha Baumgarten has taught fifth-graders at Carlos Fuentes Elementary School, a charter school on Chicago’s North Side. She started working at the school because of its commitment to helping Latino students, but every year her classes have been overcrowded, even by city standards. This year, she has 32 students.
“That a lot of fifth-graders in one room. It’s not what’s best for kids,” Baumgarten says, noting that some of her colleagues have left for traditional public schools in the city and surrounding suburbs, where wages are higher and class sizes lower. “It’s not an environment where I can do my job as a teacher.”
Protesters take to the street in Chicago during a one-day strike in April 2016. Chicago teachers demanded demanding that lawmakers provide the funding needed for proper education and other programs. Jim Vondruska/NurPhoto/ZUMA
Carlos Fuentes Elementary is one of the 15 campuses run by Acero Schools, one of Chicago’s largest charter networks. In their latest contract negotiations, Acero teachers like Baumgarten have pushed for smaller class sizes, higher pay, more teacher diversity, and more special-education resources. If their demands aren’t met, 500 teachers, counselors, and other staffers are threatening to walk out starting December 4 in what’s being touted as the country’s first major charter school teacher strike.
“We’re ready to fight,” Baumgarten says, “until the very end.”



The first-of-its-kind work stoppage would come on the heels of massive statewide teacher walkouts in West VirginiaOklahomaArizonaColoradoKentucky, and North Carolina earlier this year—protests that Baumgarten says served as a “rallying cry” for her Acero colleagues. And since the beginning of the school year, teachers in both Los Angeles and Oaklandhave threatened to strike over ongoing contract disputes.
But what makes the potential Acero strike different is that, unlike at traditional public schools, where 70 percent of teachers are in a union, just 11 percent of charter school teachers are unionized. Across the country, 781 of Continue Reading: The Nation’s First Major Charter School Strike Is Brewing in Chicago – Mother Jones




Louisiana: The “Miracle School” That Was a Fraud | Diane Ravitch's blog

Louisiana: The “Miracle School” That Was a Fraud | Diane Ravitch's blog

Louisiana: The “Miracle School” That Was a Fraud



About five weeks ago, I read a story online about a small private school in Louisiana whose students had a 100% college entry rate and were admitted to America’s most selective colleges and universities. It was truly a miraculous school, said the story, because its students were poor black children from adverse circumstances who were all too often struggling in public schools. What was their secret sauce? I sent the story to Gary Rubinstein, who has a knack for detecting fraud, but all he could determine from the state records was that the school was tiny (only 142 students), its graduating class was tiny (class of 2015 had 5 graduates, class of 2016 had 8 graduates, class of 2017 had 13 graduates). The school did not have to supply any data about attrition or anything else. Just enrollment, class size (tiny) and graduation rate. The story implied the superiority of private schools and vouchers. It claimed that poverty and adversity didn’t matter when you did whatever this school was doing, which was not clear from the reports.
But now we know that none of its claims were true.



The New York Times published an expose.
BREAUX BRIDGE, La. — Bryson Sassau’s application would inspire any college admissions officer.
A founder of T.M. Landry College Preparatory School described him as a “bright, energetic, compassionate and genuinely well-rounded” student whose alcoholic father had beaten him and his mother and had denied them money for food and shelter. His transcript “speaks for itself,” the founder, Tracey Landry, wrote, but Mr. Sassau should also be lauded for founding a community service program, the Dry House, to help the children of abusive and alcoholic parents. He took four years of honors English, the application said, was a baseball M.V.P. and earned high honors in the “Mathematics Olympiad.”
The narrative earned Mr. Sassau acceptance to St. John’s University in New York. There was one problem: None of it was true.
“I was just a small piece in a whole fathom of lies,” Mr. Sassau said.


T.M. Landry has become a viral Cinderella story, a small school run by Michael Landry, a teacher and former salesman, and his wife, Ms. Landry, a nurse, whose predominantly black, working-class students have escaped the rural South for the nation’s most elite colleges. A video of a 16-year-old student opening his Harvard acceptance letter last year has been viewed more than eight million times. Other Landry students went on Continue reading: Louisiana: The “Miracle School” That Was a Fraud | Diane Ravitch's blog

Big Picture Learning: Priming Workforce Development for Impact Profit-Taking – Wrench in the Gears

Big Picture Learning: Priming Workforce Development for Impact Profit-Taking – Wrench in the Gears

Big Picture Learning: Priming Workforce Development for Impact Profit-Taking


This post is the second in a Q&A exchange on social impact bonds and pay for success finance with UK blogger Privatising Schools. The focus of this post is Big Picture Learning. For additional background on Big Picture in Philadelphia check out my previous post here.

Privatising Schools: Question 8

Let’s look at a specific example of a social impact bond in education. Here in the UK, as you know, we’ve had eight years of austerity, which has done great damage to public services, especially those provided by local government. But central government regularly launches new funds, targeting particular areas of social need: youth unemployment, homelessness, mental health, and so on. We’ve had the Innovation Fund, the Social Outcomes Fund and, most recently, the Life Chances Fund.
Now, the purpose of these funds – and the government is very explicit about this – is to underwrite new public-private partnerships which will find ‘innovative’ ways of financing public services. In other words, social impact bonds (see here). The Innovation Fund, which was run by the Department for Work and Pensions, served to ‘incubate’ ten SIBs.

One of the projects supported by the new Life Chances Fund will see a US charter school chain, Big Picture Learning, set up a school in Doncaster, a town in north-east England, in order to ‘test new ways of learning through a social impact bond’ (see here). The target group is students who have been excluded from mainstream schools and who would normally be in what we call ‘alternative provision’. Doncaster Council is working with a company called the Innovation Unit, which was spun out of the Department of Education back in 2006, to set up the SIB.
According to a report given to the leaders of Doncaster council:
By introducing this educational model via a SIB, […] we have the opportunity to test innovation due to the use of an outcomes contract and making funding for the services conditional on achieving results. The Social Investors (still to be identified) will pay the provider at the start, and then receive payments from the Doncaster Metropolitan Borough Council (the commissioner) based on the results achieved by the project via a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) or other appropriate mechanism.
Can you unpack this for us?

My Response:

It is interesting that the first education social impact bond in the UK is with Big Picture Learning, because I’ve been following them for several years. Big Picture started in Rhode Island in the mid 1990s and was incubated in the Annenberg Institute at Brown University. Their 990 tax form from 2001 states that among their “program service accomplishments” is to Continue reading: Big Picture Learning: Priming Workforce Development for Impact Profit-Taking – Wrench in the Gears

A Call to Modernize American Philanthropy | Schott Foundation for Public Education

A Call to Modernize American Philanthropy | Schott Foundation for Public Education

A Call to Modernize American Philanthropy

The giving practices of rich magnates and foundations still suggest a colonial mind-set, the author of a new book argues, as he offers ideas for change.
When America’s philanthropic and social sector were developed early in the 20th century, the design resembled elements of colonial social architecture: bureaucracy, competition, specialization and consolidation of power and resources, Edgar Villanueva writes in his new book, “Decolonizing Wealth: Indigenous Wisdom to Heal Divides and Restore Balance.”
Mr. Villanueva, who has held leadership positions in philanthropy, and is an enrolled member of the Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina, argues that philanthropy in the United States continues to transmit a “colonizing virus” by remaining “top-down, closed-door and expert-driven.”
“Writing this book, I started from a place of pain,” Mr. Villanueva said. “I was angry. But there’s plenty of books that criticize. What would I do differently? I felt like I had to push through to a place where I’m offering a different way of thinking.”
I sat down with Mr. Villanueva recently to discuss his book — a compassionate call for change and healing. Our conversation has been edited for length and clarity.
DAVID BORNSTEIN: What’s the main idea in “Decolonizing Wealth”?
EDGAR VILLANUEVA: Our history of colonization has been about dividing, conquering and exploiting people. The mind-set has permeated our policies and systems. It’s the idea that certain groups of people are better than others. For me, the essence of decolonizing wealth is about closing the race-wealth gap. If you are working in finance or philanthropy, and your job is to move capital, you’ve got to be aware of the history. If we care about affordable housing, health care, education, whatever, we have to apply a lens of race to understand how to be strategic about how we deploy resources. If we do not put race at the center, we’re not going to get solutions that work for all people.
D.B.: How does this critique apply to philanthropy?
E.V. There are great things that philanthropy does. But 95 percent of the money in foundations is not actually given Continue reading: A Call to Modernize American Philanthropy | Schott Foundation for Public Education

This week the New York Times profiled Schott Vice President Edgar Villanueva's new book Decolonizing Wealth and raised up his urgent call for a new direction in the philanthropic sector. As a public fund that supports funders in advancing social justice philanthropy, we at Schott are proud of Edgar and the deeply thoughtful dialogue he is sparking.

DeVos Again Protects For-Profit Colleges and Federal Loan Servicing Contractor at Expense of Vulnerable Students | janresseger

DeVos Again Protects For-Profit Colleges and Federal Loan Servicing Contractor at Expense of Vulnerable Students | janresseger

DeVos Again Protects For-Profit Colleges and Federal Loan Servicing Contractor at Expense of Vulnerable Students


Betsy DeVos once announced: “Government really sucks.”  She doesn’t like government regulation, and she prefers to free up the marketplace.  One of the best places to observe her penchant for deregulation is in higher education, where she has regularly done everything she can to protect the investors in for-profit colleges and trade schools, where she has tried to step back from protecting students with federal loans, and where she has done little to oversee the giant government contractors who process federal student loans. Over the years, the issue of government regulation of these practices has been understood as necessary because almost all the money that props up the too-often-unscrupulous, for-profit colleges comes from the government, and because millions of students who borrow in good faith end up with huge debts run up for programs that have left them unemployable.

In her 2014 book, Degrees of Inequality: How the Politics of Higher Education Sabotaged the American Dream, Cornell University professor Suzanne Mettler tells us why we should worry about DeVos’s relaxing regulation of the for-profit higher education sector:  “Defenders of for-profit universities champion them as belonging to the private sector, but in recent years as in the past, they receive nearly all of their revenues from the U.S. federal government… Notably, these institutions, with only one exception, earned between 60.8 and 85.9 percent of their total revenues in 2010 from Title IV of the Higher Education Act, meaning predominantly student loans and Pell grants. The Apollo Group, owner of the University of Phoenix, gained between 85 and 88 percent of income from these sources in each of the past three years. Most received an additional 2 to 5 percent from military educational programs, including the Post-9/11 GI Bill…  In short, the for-profit schools are almost entirely subsidized by government.” (Degrees of Inequality, p. 168)


DeVos loses one battle on “Borrowers’ Defense to Repayment”
Earlier this fall, court challenges successfully blocked Betsy DeVos’s attempt to relax Obama-era rules designed to protect student borrowers. DeVos had attempted for over a year to delay Continue reading: DeVos Again Protects For-Profit Colleges and Federal Loan Servicing Contractor at Expense of Vulnerable Students | janresseger




The Betsy DeVos Back to School To-Do List - Corporate Presidency - https://corporatepresidency.org/?p=22726

NYC Public School Parents: Yet another legal complaint vs Success for violating students' civil rights - & this time, it's clear that DOE is culpable as well

NYC Public School Parents: Yet another legal complaint vs Success for violating students' civil rights - & this time, it's clear that DOE is culpable as well

Yet another legal complaint vs Success for violating students' civil rights - & this time, it's clear that DOE is culpable as well


Advocates for Children filed a new complaint with the State Education Department about Success Academy’s failure to provide five special needs students with their mandated services and their right to a hearing before their placement is unilaterally changed, as required by state and federal law.  
This is yet one more example of many lawsuits and legal complaints against the charter network.

Success Academy officials violated civil rights laws when changing students’ special education services according to a complaint filed Thursday, resulting in some students suddenly changing classrooms and losing months of required instruction. 

The complaint, filed with the state’s education department, alleges a pattern of school officials unilaterally changing special education placements without holding meetings with parents, moving students to lower grade levels, and even ignoring hearing officers’ rulings. In some cases, students were removed from classrooms that integrate special and general education students and sent to classrooms that only serve students with disabilities.
The complaint also targets the NYC Department of Education which, as AFC notes, is responsible for ensuring that Success abides by the law when it comes to providing special needs kids with their mandated services:
As the LEA, the DOE is responsible for ensuring that all procedural safeguards for students with disabilities at charter schools are followed, including implementation of pendency orders. [meaning they cannot change placements or services to special needs kids without due process].
In one case, the complaint outlines, “the DOE stated that the decisions to change M.L.’s placement were internal school matters over which the DOE had no control” and if the Continue reading: NYC Public School Parents: Yet another legal complaint vs Success for violating students' civil rights - & this time, it's clear that DOE is culpable as well

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Faith in High Stakes Testing Fades, Even Among the Corporate School Reformers | janresseger

Faith in High Stakes Testing Fades, Even Among the Corporate School Reformers | janresseger

Faith in High Stakes Testing Fades, Even Among the Corporate School Reformers



After a recent twenty-fifth anniversary conference at the Center on Reinventing Public Education at the University of Washington, Bothell—a Gates funded education-reformer think tank, Chalkbeat‘s Matt Barnum summarized presentations by a number of speakers who demonstrate growing skepticism about the high-stakes, standardized testing regime that has dominated American public education for over a quarter of a century.
Because the Center on Reinventing Public Education is known as an advocate for portfolio school reform and corporate accountability, you might expect adherence to the dogma of test-and-punish, but, notes Barnum:  “The pervasiveness of the complaints about testing was striking, given that many education reform advocates have long championed using test scores to measure schools and teachers and then to push them to improve.”

Then at a Massachusetts Institute of Technology School Access and Quality Summit early this month, Paymon Rouhanifard presented a major policy address challenging the use of high stakes testing to rank and rate public schools.  Rouhanifard was until very recently Chris Christy’s appointed, school-reformer superintendent in Camden, New Jersey.  Formerly he was the director in New York City of Joel Klein’s Office of Portfolio Management.  Rouhanifard describes the belief system he brought with him to Camden and describes how his five-year tenure as Camden’s superintendent transformed his thinking: “Our belief was that politics and bureaucracy had inhibited the progress Camden students and families deserved to overcome the steep challenges the city was facing…  We believed it was important for the district to segue out of being a highly political monopoly operator of schools….  This is a story about an evolution of my own thinking during that five-year experience…. What I’m referring to are the math and literacy student achievement data we utilize to drive so many of the critical decisions we make… My realization a few years ago was that I rarely asked questions about what these tests actually told us.  What they didn’t tell us.  And perhaps most importantly, what were the specific behaviors they incentivized, and what were the general trade-offs when we acutely focus on how students do on state tests.”
In 2013, at the beginning of his tenure, Rouhanifard introduced a school report card that rated each school primarily by students’ standardized test scores. Two years ago Rouhanifard: Continue reading:  Faith in High Stakes Testing Fades, Even Among the Corporate School Reformers | janresseger

CURMUDGUCATION: Don't Call Me A Reformer - https://curmudgucation.blogspot.com/2018/11/who-is-reformer.html



Common Core Creator Slammed Reading Teachers for Having a Research Gap—How Ironic

Common Core Creator Slammed Reading Teachers for Having a Research Gap—How Ironic

Common Core Creator Slammed Reading Teachers for Having a Research Gap—How Ironic



Teachers have enough difficulties. Sometimes you find an article so full of hubris and irony it cannot be ignored.
Several weeks ago, I criticized a series of reports about reading by journalist Emily Hanford. Hanford claimed teachers didn’t understand reading instruction and that their education schools failed to teach them what they should know.
I made the case that these reports involved poor arguments. The author cited the flawed National Reading Panel report and the National Council on Teacher Quality a think tank meant to discredit teachers.


It seemed like the underlying goal was to pit parents against teachers.
That’s not to say that there isn’t a discussion to be had about reading instruction in public schools, only that Hanford’s articles were promoting corporate reform, however nuanced.
I overlooked an Ed. Week article by Susan Pimental, an architect of Common Core English language arts. Pimental praises Hanford’s articles. She criticizes teachers Continue reading: Common Core Creator Slammed Reading Teachers for Having a Research Gap—How Ironic

CURMUDGUCATION: Trump, Apple, but No Teacher

CURMUDGUCATION: Trump, Apple, but No Teacher

Trump, Apple, but No Teacher


Ivanka Trump, Czarina of Shiny Things, traveled to an Idaho school and took Tm Cook, Big Boss Apple, along with her, to contemplate the glossy beauty of post-teacher education.

The Idaho Statesman covered her visit in severe detail (including coverage of an omelet she ate before leaving). The visit was intended to be quick and quiet, with only the Statesman and an ABC crew allowed to witness. And only to witness-- no questions allowed. Some word got out and an assortment of supporters and protesters were waiting outside the school.


One more rich self-appointed ed expert
Inside, students awaited with... well, what the Statesman described were not exactly technomarvels. They spelled out "welcome" on some ipads, and were "making a movie" of the visitors. The tour lasted an hour, featuring the various uses of the ipads that Apple gave the school three years ago.

Trump dropped the usual line about some states and schools being "laboratories of innovation." No, wait-- that was the usual line for the Obama administration. Huh. But the real kicker was Cook's observation about one of the classrooms:

Cook gestured around the classroom: “You notice in this classroom there is no teacher, there is a mentor. It makes the learning process for students very different because in a classroom where there is a mentor, people can move at different rates. This is life. We all learn things at different rates.”

Instead of a teacher standing before the entire class and lecturing, the students at Wilder hold the classroom in their hands and complete the work at their own pace.

It's an ed reformster techno-twofer-- pushing the Personalized [sic] Mass Customized Learning  Continue reading: 
CURMUDGUCATION: Trump, Apple, but No Teacher




Where Do Teachers Get the Most Respect? - NEA Today

Where Do Teachers Get the Most Respect? - NEA Today

Where Do Teachers Get the Most Respect?

teacher respect
How educators are respected in relation to other professions can be a key marker in determining their overall status in an individual country. In China and Malaysia, the teaching profession is often placed on par with doctors. In Finland, the public aligns teaching with social work. Other countries rank teaching alongside librarians. These are just some of the findings in the 2018 Global Teacher Status Index, a worldwide survey of the general public and educators in 35 countries on the status of the teaching profession around the world.
How teachers were viewed relative to other occupations is one of four indicators the index uses to measure overall respect for the profession. The survey also looked at what teachers should be paid and whether parents encourage their children to enter the profession.
The researchers said 2018 data show a clear positive relationship between teacher status/respect and student achievement as measured by the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) scores.
China and Malaysia have the highest score in the 2018 index, 100 and 93 respectively. Taiwan – the only other country that places teachers on the same level as doctors – is third.  Russia and Indonesia round out the top five. At the bottom of the rankings are Argentina (23.6), Ghana (18.9), Italy (13.6), Israel (6.6) and Brazil (1).
Most countries surveyed recorded an increase in teacher respect for 2018 over the previous year, including the United States. The U.S. score was 39, which placed it 16th overall.
Doctor was the highest status profession in the survey. Other occupations included nurse, librarian; local government manager; social worker; website designer; policeman; engineer; lawyer; accountant; and, management consultant.
(Source: Global Teacher Status Index 2018)
Most countries placed teaching on the same level as a social worker. The U.S. equated the role of teachers to that of librarians, although the educators in the Continue reading: Where Do Teachers Get the Most Respect? - NEA Today

Bullying, Suicide, and Murder | The Merrow Report

Bullying, Suicide, and Murder | The Merrow Report
Bullying, Suicide, and Murder

Last week in this space I connected the dots between bullying and the suicides and attempted suicides by children and adolescents, pointing out the close correlation between them. This week, I want to surface an equally grim reality: school shootings are also closely correlated with bullying.
Fortunately, there are a number of simple steps that we can take to reduce bullying and, by extension, suicides, suicide attempts, and school shootings.
Let’s cut to the chase: Girls who are bullied beyond their breaking point are most likely to try to kill themselves, not others.  All too often they succeed. 
By contrast, boys who reach the breaking point are far more likely to try to kill others.  All too often, they are successful.
Girls rarely use guns.  Boys usually do.  And guns almost always function they way they are supposed to, meaning that people die.  And, sadly, guns are readily available in modern America.  (About 70% of school shooters got their weapons at home or from relatives, according to ABC News.)
“The modern era of school shootings” (an awful phrase) began on April 20, 1999 in Littleton, Colorado, when two white male teenagers who had been bullied excessively shot up their high school, Columbine High, killing 13 people and wounding at least 20 others before they turned their guns on themselves.  The ensuing 19+ years have seen close to 300 school shootings  including Sandy Hook in Newtown, Connecticut and Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, two that you no doubt remember.  By the way, at least 65 of the shooters Continue reading: Bullying, Suicide, and Murder | The Merrow Report

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

ACLU appeals use of public tax dollars for private schools

ACLU appeals use of public tax dollars for private schools

ACLU appeals public tax dollars for private schools



The American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan, public education leaders and parent groups filed an appeal Tuesday asking the Michigan Supreme Court to rule the use of public tax dollars to fund private schools unconstitutional.
Dan Korobkin, ACLU of Michigan's deputy legal director, said the state constitution clearly prohibits the use of public funds to fund private schools. State lawmakers must not be allowed to use public school dollars to fund private interests, he said.
"Our constitution could not be clearer on this issue: Public money should only be spent on public schools,” Korobkin said.
The ACLU of Michigan and others sued in March 2017 to prevent the state from diverting $5 million to private schools to reimburse them for complying with health and safety laws.
Court of Claims Judge Cynthia Diane Stephens issued a preliminary injunction against the payments in July 2017, and issued a ruling declaring them unconstitutional in April 2018, ACLU officials said.
But last month, a divided Court of Appeals panel ruled Michigan lawmakers can provide public funding to private schools to cover the “actual costs” of mandates that do not directly support student education.
In a 2-1 decision, judges William Murphy and Anica Letica ruled state funding to reimburse private schools for complying with health and safety laws is not inherently unconstitutional despite a ban on public aid for private education.
The funding must be “incidental” to teaching and providing educational services, cannot support a “primary” function critical to the school's existence and must not involve or result in “excessive religious entanglement,” they said in devising a new three-part test.
Any state law concerning student health, safety or welfare is “almost by definition” incidental to teaching, the judges said.
Public school advocates sued the state in 2017 after the Republican-led Legislature Continue reading: ACLU appeals use of public tax dollars for private schools


DeVos: Teachers union has a ‘stranglehold’ on many federal, state politicians | TheHill

DeVos: Teachers union has a ‘stranglehold’ on many federal, state politicians | TheHill

DeVos: Teachers union has a ‘stranglehold’ on many federal, state politicians


Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos on Tuesday ripped teachers unions across the country, saying they have a “stranglehold” over many federal and state officials and are resistant to “changes that need to happen.”
“The teachers union has a stranglehold on many of the politicians in this country, both at the federal level and at the state-level, and they are very resistant to the kind of changes that need to happen,” DeVos said in an appearance on Fox Business Network. “They are very protective of what they know, and there are protective, really protective of adult jobs and not really focused on what is right for individual students.”
DeVos has regularly clashed with national and state teachers unions over her comments criticizing the nation’s public education system and her platform to expand school choice, particularly by increasing the number of privately run charter schools, vouchers and similar programs that use public money for private education.

“One of the most fundamental things again is focusing on individual children and knowing that all students are different, they learn differently. I have four children, they were all very different, very different learners. We have to allow for more kinds of schools, more kinds of educational experiences, and to do that we need to empower more families to make those decisions on behalf of their students,” DeVos said before targeting the teachers unions for “protecting the status quo.”
“We have a lot of forces that are protecting what is and what is known, a lot of forces protecting the status quo. We need to combat those, break them, and again empower and allow parents to make decisions on behalf of their individual children because they know their children best,” she added.
Before being nominated to Trump’s Cabinet, DeVos was a prominent advocate for school choice in Michigan.
Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, slammed DeVos over her latest comments Tuesday.

“Betsy DeVos is showing her true colors. We are fighting for the safe and welcoming public schools that kids deserve, healthcare protections so people aren’t one pre-existing condition away from bankruptcy, affordable college without life-burdening student debt, and decent wages. Since she is against all of that, Betsy is attacking the unions that create a voice for teachers to advocate on these issues. As secretary of education, it is her sworn duty to help kids and their communities reach their full potential. Comments like these do the opposite, and she knows it," Weingarten said Continue reading: DeVos: Teachers union has a ‘stranglehold’ on many federal, state politicians | TheHill

How Betsy DeVos Does the Koch Brothers’ Bidding | OurFuture.org by People's Action

How Betsy DeVos Does the Koch Brothers’ Bidding | OurFuture.org by People's Action

How Betsy DeVos Does the Koch Brothers’ Bidding


While the serial outrages of the Trump administration continue to make headlines, the more mundane activities of his cabinet officials and their underlings often fly under the radar.
Take U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, for instance, whose nomination drew a history-making opposition and set off an avalanche of ridicule in social media and late-night comedy, but who now operates largely out of public view, behind a security screen that is projected to cost the taxpayers nearly $8 million over the next year.
What’s largely been overlooked behind all the lurid headlines and endless insults are all the ways in which officials like DeVos are quietly at work continuing to use our tax money to advance a deeply troubling agenda.
Now that Congress is poised to turn from Red to Blue, DeVos’s activities – such as rolling back regulation of for-profit colleges, stalling the forgiveness of student loans and rewriting rules for the treatment of campus sexual assault – are getting increased scrutiny from House Democrats.

Doing the Koch Brothers’ Bidding

In a recent low-profile appearance, DeVos and her high-priced security detail paid a friendly visit to Koch Industries in Wichita, Kansas without telling local officials, the media, or any other public outlet. The purpose of her stopover was to meet with a select group of representatives of Youth Entrepreneurs, a Wichita-based non-profit group founded by Charles and Liz Koch.
Youth Entrepreneurs, according to an investigative report by the Huffington Post, provides high school curriculum designed to inculcate students in the blessings of unfettered capitalism and libertarian ideology. Among the teachings included in the program’s lesson plans and classroom materials are that “the minimum wage hurts workers and slows economic growth. Low taxes and less regulation allow people to prosper. Public assistance harms the poor. Government, in short, is the enemy of liberty.
“Charles Koch had a hands-on role in the design of the high school curriculum,” the reporter reveals, based on leaked emails from a Google group left open to the public. “The goal … was to turn young people into ‘liberty-advancing agents’ before they went to college, where they Continue reading: How Betsy DeVos Does the Koch Brothers’ Bidding | OurFuture.org by People's Action