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Sunday, August 5, 2018

Wendy Lecker: As public education stumbles, democracy falls - StamfordAdvocate

Wendy Lecker: As public education stumbles, democracy falls - StamfordAdvocate

Wendy Lecker: As public education stumbles, democracy falls

This artwork by Kevin Kreneck refers to Betsy DeVos and how she might change and influence the Department of Education. Photo: Kevin Kreneck
There is a disturbing trend in American policy where a powerful few use government to benefit themselves at the expense of the many. The most recent example is Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin’s proposal to implement a $100 billion tax cut that would primarily benefit the 0.1 percent of earners, including himself. Simultaneously, there are proposals to impose punitive work requirements on SNAP and Medicaid recipients, hurting mostly children, the elderly and the disabled.
This pattern extends to state policy. The American Federation of Teachers reports that more than half the states invested less in public education in 2016 than they did in 2008, even as most of these states enacted tax cuts during that period. The poorest districts are the hardest hit, as they cannot recoup lost state funding with local revenue.

Scholars Jamila Michener and Sally Nuamah have found that when government is unresponsive to the most underserved, e.g., erecting barriers for Medicaid recipients or closing public schools over community objections, those communities disengage from political participation. When government serves the privileged few, democracy also suffers.
U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos views her role in government as advancing the interests of the few. While accelerating privatization of public schools by expanding charters and vouchers, she has declared: “we should be funding and investing in students ... not in institutions, not in systems.” She commodifies education, likening it to Uber, cellphones and Blockbuster video. DeVos prioritizes “parents’ fundamental right to choose” over equity.

As the political theorist Benjamin Barber noted, private choice cannot be a surrogate for the public good. “(A)ggregating our private choices … yields an inegalitarian and highly segmented society in which the least advantaged are further disadvantaged.” Indeed, school choice has accelerated segregation and the diversion of funds from public schools. Charters and vouchers also often exclude the neediest, leaving public schools to serve them with fewer resources.
Barber also observed that choice is an illusion: “the real power... is in the determination of Continue reading: Wendy Lecker: As public education stumbles, democracy falls - StamfordAdvocate

Big Education Ape: Charter Schools: ALL ABOUT THE MONEY -

Charter Schools: ALL ABOUT THE MONEY

ESJ Capital Partners | Charter Schools

Aventura firm makes $45M addition to its portfolio of school properties
ESJ Capital Partners, LLC, bought four charter school campuses in Arizona, Ohio and Washington, D.C., with a total of 176,000 square feet and 3,000 students

Aventura-based ESJ Capital Partners, LLC, acquired four charter school properties for $45 million.
ESJ bought the four school properties totaling 176,000 square feet from publicly held EPR Properties, listed on the New York Stock Exchange under ticker symbol EPR.
The schools in Arizona, Ohio and Washington, D.C., serve more than 3,000 students, from kindergarten through eighth grade. The operator of the schools is Imagine Schools, a national network of charter schools.
“This acquisition is consistent with our long-term strategy in this arena,” Arnaud Sitbon, president and CEO of ESJ, said in a prepared statement.
ESJ supports the facility needs of private and charter schools through closed-end investment funds and has accumulated the facilities of 26 such schools, valued at more than $650 million.

ESJ has invested more than $100 million in the facilities of Imagine-run schools.
“The Imagine campuses that we just acquired have been open over 13 years and are thriving financially and academically, with consistent high enrollment,” Matthew Fuller, chief investment officer of ESJ, said in a prepared statement. – Mike Seemuth
ESJ Capital Partners | Charter Schools

Charter Schools

charter school | The Real Deal Miami - on @trdmiami