Jan Resseger

From Education to Social Programs, Tis the Season to Punish the Poor

Mr. Bumble, the parish beadle who oversees provisions for the poor in Charles Dickens’ Oliver Twist, complains: “We have given away… a matter of twenty quartern loaves and a cheese and a half, this very blessed afternoon, and yet them paupers are not contented…"

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School Privatization in Ohio Has Been a Disaster. Now Betsy DeVos Wants to Expand It Across the Heartland.

In late September, the U.S. Department of Education announced $253 million in grants for charter schools around the country. The money for these publicly funded, but privately run, schools will go to nine states, seventeen nonprofit charter management organizations, and eight development agencies that will help charter schools access credit to buy or renovate facilities.

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Ohio's Virtual School Scandal is a Warning to the Nation

When unscrupulous operators reap huge profits from charter schools—and then invest their profits in political contributions to the state legislators who are supposed to regulate those same charter schools—taxpayers are bound to lose.

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Pending Teachers’ Strike in Chicago Reflects Long and Convoluted Funding Crisis

The Chicago Teachers Union has voted to strike next Tuesday, October 11. The union has not had a contract for over a year, and in threatening to strike, teachers are not only expressing dissatisfaction with the contract offered by Chicago Public Schools but also with years of state funding cuts and financial mismanagement that culminated over the summer in worries that the school district faced bankruptcy. Over 90 percent of teachers participated in the vote that authorized the strike, and of those, 95.6 percent voted to strike.

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U.S. Department of Education Launches Crackdown on Ohio Charters

Charter Schools are defined by their freedom from regulation and oversight, but that freedom has been so regularly abused by unscrupulous operators that it seems the U.S. Department of Education is finally deciding to crack down, under pressure in this case from Ohio’s U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown.

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New Book Defines the Case Against KIPP and Other Charter Management Organizations

Charter schools have been with us now for two decades. Enough evidence and data have been gathered that it ought to be possible to assess their capacity for achieving what many describe as their goal: helping poor children and closing achievement gaps.  Samuel Abrams, the director of the National Center for the Study of Privatization in Education at Teachers College, Columbia University, has just published Education and the Commercial Mindset, a fascinating evaluation of the role of two strategies for privatizing schools—the Education Management Organization (for-profit EMO) and the Charter Management Organization (not-for-profit CMO).

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Startling Report Costs Out the Impact of Charters on LA's Public Schools

Earlier this month it was announced that the Los Angeles school board would be receiving an embargoed report on the cost to the school district of charter schools.  The lead up in the press made the point that this was a teachers union-sponsored report and prepared readers for what would be its likely bias.  The article in the Los Angeles Times was headlined, “Union-Commissioned Report Says Charter Schools Are Bleeding Money from Traditional Ones,” and Howard Blume the reporter to whom the report had been leaked made sure readers noticed that, “The report… is certain to be viewed with skepticism by charter supporters….”

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Latest in Detroit Schools Tragedy: Is a Resolution at Hand?

My husband’s aunt, who would be 115 years old if she were alive today, did not believe in teachers unions.  As a young woman in West Virginia she taught for several years.  She boarded in someone’s home, occupied a second floor bedroom, and ate meals with the family.  As she got older, she came to believe that teachers today are spoiled. Early in the 20th century, teaching was the occupation of young women who stopped working when they married and their husbands supported them. My husband’s aunt didn’t believe school teachers needed a living wage. Times have changed, but apparently many people fall back on unexamined habits of thought.

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Anti-Teacher Vergara Lawsuit Reversed; Campbell Brown's Group Brings New Lawsuit in MN

The second battle in the well-funded war against job protections for school teachers was won [this month] by teachers. The Washington Post’s Emma Brown  explains that a California appeals court recently overturned the Vergara lawsuit and “upheld the state’s laws regarding teacher tenure, dismissal and layoffs, handing a major victory to teachers unions.”

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Why Is Ohio Refusing to Tighten Oversight of Charter School Sponsors?

After years of delay and the waste of millions of public tax dollars awarded to poorly operated charter schools, finally early last October, the Ohio legislature passed a bill to regulate charter schools. Here is how the Cleveland Plain Dealer‘s Patrick O’Donnell described the new law’s provisions that include, “changes designed to distance the often-cozy relationships between for-profit charter school operating companies and the school boards that govern the schools.” The big charter management companies that have had “sweeps” contracts that forward over 90 percent of the schools’ operating budgets to the management company without reporting about how the money is used will now be required “to provide more information to the public about how they spend tax dollars they are paid to run the schools.”  And there is a new “White Hat” rule designed to correct the situation that arose last month when “an Ohio Supreme Court ruling… allowed prominent for-profit charter operator White Hat Management to keep desks and computers it bought for schools using tax dollars, even after the schools closed. The court let White Hat keep the property because its contract with the school allowed it.  The new provision blocks any such agreement and requires that leftover assets from closed schools, after bills are paid, go to the Ohio Department of Education to distribute to school districts.”

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