Tag Archives: Charter Schools

Mississippi to Drown Public Schools in a Bathtub or How to use the Charter Trojan Horse to attack Public Schools

The anti-labor minions of the oligarchs say you fix education in Mississippi by making sure teachers aren’t part of the state retirement system (effectively reducing the return on their education) and that they don’t have to meet licensing requirements (two-features of the recently passed Mississippi Charter-School bill), right? Wondering how paying teachers less and removing licensing requirements help children in public education? The thing is they’re not really meant to. These two standard subversions, probably produced and spoon-fed to Mississippi’s Legislature by ALEC or Better Education for Mississippi or FreedomWorks (they’re really indistinguishable enemies of public education and truth be told would rather have the whole department abolished), reduce costs for any future privatization and more immediately increase the amounts available for payment to the “education service provider,” “governing board members” and “leadership and management team” incarnated in the Mississippi (Cherry-Picking) Charter School law. And to further entrench the power in Republican hands the law removes some rather pesky regulation. So that they and their buddies can suckle un-harassed at the government tit and funnel money back into Republican election campaigns through donors who favor less regulation the RepubliCons injected this: Charter Schools are exempt FROM REQUIREMENTS RELATING TO PUBLIC PURCHASES. How’s that for avoiding any chance of Operation Pretense-styled investigations or PEER investigations? The RepubliCons have become masters of evasion and avoidance by changing the rules so that Voodoo economics prevail. They change the laws to avoid having to do what “ordinary” people must do so that they can make fortunes while holding or running for public office like Mitt Romney with his Cayman Island bank accounts. They set the stage by simply shaping the rules to allow trillions in revenue to be kept off-shore and personal funds in Switzerland and the Cayman Islands. Funny how that less-regulation thing dovetails so nicely with the lobbyist-created loop holes to produce Midas fortunes for so few, i.e. the way the Commodities Modernization Act ultimately benefited AIG and Goldman Sachs. But what the benefit that the public got from the Collateralized debt obligations could hardly be described as a trickle. It was a trick demonstrating the true wine into sewer water magic which is the mark of Voodoo economics. The appeal is to the greed of the poor and middle class people like me who are susceptible to the notion that if the wealthy have more we all stand a chance of being wealthy like them. It’s an appeal to our greed.

You see the same Voodoo economics at work here in Mississippi where the populace has been convinced that by siphoning off a few kids (in Charter Schools) from the rest while using the same money or funding(simply subdividing the under-funded Adequate Education Funding program), everybody will be better off, Voila! Trickle-down (Voodoo Economics) applied to education.

FYI: Shanghai China (population 20 million) went the opposite direction of small select groups with “development of a more inclusive system in which all students are expected to perform at high levels; greatly raising teacher pay and upgrading teacher standards and teacher education” and their students out performed the world.

The truth is that in everything from the flag that was adopted to dis the Union after the Civil War to the Seg Academies that were formed in the wake of a court decision to the Charter School movement, there is a strong element in Mississippi which is anti-union of any stripe and would prefer separate but equal. Failing that, they can maintain their preferred stratification by operating two public education systems, one of which they control by crafting a rule which says that

“Each member of the Mississippi Charter School Authorizer Board must have demonstrated an understanding of and commitment to charter schooling as a strategy for strengthening public education.”

Of course that is a hand-crafted, cushy position for someone from Heritage, K12, or any of the other proponents of privatization. Oh, by the way the Authorizer Board gets paid government funds and there is nothing to prohibit a member of the board from going to work for the “education service provider” after leaving the board. And of course they can all contribute to RepubliCon campaigns. Here comes the Education-Industrial Complex, created and controlled by the RepubliCon Party.

The really funny thing is how they get so many poor and working class people to vote with and for them. Maybe the RepubliCons are employing a sense of inferiority among some Americans embodied in the notion that both Gordon Gekko (“Greed is good” – at least for the Oligarchs) and W.C. Fields (“You can’t cheat an honest man” – the RepubliCon deception only works on poor people and the middle class if they approve their ill-treated as deserved, as the way things ought to be in a survival of the fittest society and thus sympathize with the Romney types who never give a sucker an even break) were right.

RepubliCon Motto: If we kill it, they will come.

Huffington Post contributor Matthew Lynch, Ed.D, recently welcomed the Charter School Bill passed by the Mississippi Senate as a aid to public schools citing a report which gave Mississippi “F when it comes to building and support capacity.” Of course this remedy, which allows privitization of part of the education system switchs attention away from the program already in place (The Mississippi Adequate Education Program has been underfunded a total of about $980 million since the 2007-08 school year.) The working logic is don’t fund the existing program, complain about failure and produce an entirely new plan that just happens to involve, wait for it, wait for it, privitization, that RepubliCon panecea.

Mr. Lynch lauds the supposed competition the Charter Schools are to bring to the Public Schools. Here again the disinginuity is in the false frame which services the hidden agenda of the RepubliCon party, refuge of the Dixicrats. The deck is stacked in such a way that public education will be further denegrated to make the case for increased privitization. Charter Schools according to the celebrated bill can max-out with 20% fewer children with “economic or academic disadvantages and special ed needs” than public schools have. In essence they are being allowed to cherry-pick who they will serve. This is just the latest attack of the forces which opposed Governor William Winter and fled from the public schools after Alexander v. Holmes County Board of Education.

So when Mr. Lynch complains about the teacher to pupil ratio and lack of student achievement someone should tell him that there are methods not involving Charter Schools that Mississippi could have employed if the will for improving public schools was pervasive.
“•Most top-performing countries have a school year that exceeds 200 days, and the school day in many countries begins at 7:30 a.m. and ends at 5:00 p.m.
•In contrast, Mississippi has a 180-day school year – students in top-performing countries get at least an extra month of schooling per year in which to master competencies.”

“Mississippi is the only state in the South that does not provide state-funded preschool, which many say could help reduce the achievement gap.”

“•The top-performing countries teach fewer concepts but teach them much more deeply
•Mississippi is moving to the Common Core State Standards which is based on international benchmarks”

“•In top-performing countries, getting into a teacher education program is like getting into medical school – these countries accept only 10% or less of applicants into teacher education programs – their most brilliant citizens are teaching their children
•Teacher education programs in top-performing countries are extremely rigorous; teacher candidates major in the subjects they will teach and have additional coursework in pedagogy (learning how to teach)
•Teachers are valued and compensated as high-priority professionals – their salaries are on par with physicians, engineers, and attorneys
•In contrast, Mississippi has been willing to lower standards for teacher certification in order to avoid paying teachers a competitive salary; consequently, we are failing to attract enough of our best and brightest into the field of education, and schools of education often have the lowest average ACT scores on a university campus.”

Funneling money to private entities may be an answer but public education has been, can be, and should be the method employed to educate Mississippi children.

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My problems with the “10 Reasons Mississippi needs Charter Schools”

Huffington Post writer Matthew Lynch recently provided cover for a privatization Trojan horse in the form of praise for the Charter school bill passed by Mississippi Senate Republicans. In typical Teabagger fashion he supports a solution that ignores context (“Even in predominantly black school districts, whites controlled many of the administrative positions and held a majority on the school board. In many cases this led to a gradual decline in the financial health of the district as white administrators reduced the tax base necessary to support the district. At the same time many white public school administrators, school board members and teachers were removing their children from primarily black schools and placing them in private schools for white children. Not only were they placing their children in private schools, many public administrators and board members were actually serving in some capacity of leadership in the formation and oversight of the new private school system.”) and a neo-interposition strategy (Mississippi House Bill Would Create Modern-day Sovereignty Commission), a continuing effort to restore a natural southern order (approximating as closely as possible a pre-Alexander v. Holmes-County-Board-of-Education South.)