My Recent Piece on Charter Schools in Louisiana has been Published in the Progressive.

I was recently asked to write and submit a story to The Progressive, a national magazine with a liberal slant established in 1909 and home of the Public School Shakedown, where I am listed as a featured writer for some of my blog posts.  Charter School fraud and abuse is a concern of both Liberals and Conservatives, and I try to speak to and educate both sides whenever the opportunity arises.  I am told this magazine is read by a large number of college professors at Universities across the United States.  We could really use their help combating the lies, fraud, and abuse of charter schools and their PR firms and phoney advertising campaigns and claims of success.  I hope this piece reaches some of them.  What is happening to our K-12 systems now will be happening to our university systems next.

You can see a Table of Contents of this issue here, which includes a brief history and examples of charter schools and their dirty dealings in Louisiana. My article is called Behind the Charter School Façade. I will let you know when they post a link to this story.

The Progressive will be posting and sharing stories from the issue all month.

Here is a link to the first piece: a cartoon/video The Progressive started sharing Monday about a charter chain named Rocketship Academies that has not yet come to Louisiana but which has every intention of doing so.

For those unfamiliar with this chain, Rocketship has large teacher to student ratios, largely employs inexperienced teachers, and keeps kids in large warehouse like environments filled with colorful confining cubicles crammed with computers which they must interact with most of their days on math and ELA test preparation. Very little time is spent on history, art, science, culture or PE in Rocketship Academies.

 

This animated video by Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist Mark Fiore looks at school privatization through the eyes of little Timmy, a kindergartener who likes his public school.

Timmy gets a confusing lesson in corporate education reform, starting with the rightwing mantra: “Public schools have failed.”

“But I like my public school,” Timmy protests.

– See more at: http://www.progressive.org/news/2010/12/187929/profitship-learning#sthash.qUWIkEMd.dpuf

 

Here the video is embedded in a web story with some explanatory text:
http://www.progressive.org/news/2010/12/187929/profitship-learning

 

In my piece I will cover charter chains we sadly already do have in Louisiana and some of their misdeeds right in our backyards. I have numerous stories not included in this issue I will be rolling out this month (I had way more information than they could possibly print in a single story.)

However, there is no need to wait until the Progressive releases this content for free! You can purchase a digital or digital + print subscription for 10 or 14 dollars a year as I have done. This will give you access to all of the latest stories and content, fresh off the presses, and will go toward supporting more great investigative reporting of charter schools and school reformers.

 

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More On John White’s Spring 2015 PARCC Fraud

Mercedes, myself and a few others discussed the implications of these no bid micro-contracts this morning. I don’t expect the majority of BESE that unwaveringly supports John White and all his fraud and malfeasance to reign him in over contracting for a test the approve of anyway. I would hope that Kristy Nichols would take a look at this situation however. Over the summer Nichols and DOA reduced John White’s contracting authority from 20,000 to 2,000 on July 12th to prevent John White from circumventing state procurement laws and procedures for contracting services. If anyone is going to put a halt to this obvious subversion of the Governor’s will and the spirit of the State’s contracting laws it will have to be DOA, Nichols and Jindal. I would contact those folks and let them know what you think about White’s latest scheme and ask them to intervene.

deutsch29

When it comes to Louisiana’s supposed “PARCC test,” we are flying solo– and by the seat of Louisiana Superintendent John White’s pants.

Not at all an encouraging thought.

Louisiana is not included among the ten states plus DC scheduled to administer the legitimate, Peason-developed PARCC common assessments in Spring 2015. (Read here, and here, and also here for the evidence.)

White has been downplaying this fact before an oblivious media and a stunned Louisiana public– administrators, teachers, and parents alike who have been subtly misled by White to believe that Louisiana is somehow connected to the 2014-15 PARCC common assessments.

It just is not so.

Yet White knows he must concoct some arrangement to test Louisiana students and convince all involved that his 2014-15 testing product is “PARCC-like” in order to keep the “PARCC” ruse alive so that he can try to really get Louisiana into legitimate PARCC in 2015-16. To carry this off…

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I’m back. Did you miss me?

Hi guys!

I’m back from an outstanding cruise I did not warn you all I was taking for fear of being robbed whilst being out of town. Sorry about that, but I tried to keep my time away to a minimum and I had this planned for around 11 months.  I gave this to my wife as a Valentine’s Day present and since I attended I campaign event on our anniversary this year I really needed to make sure I followed through well on my pseudo-apology tour.

Fellas: I learned no matter how many times your wife tells you it’s okay to go to somewhere on your anniversary, even if you took her out the night before and bought her jewelry, it’s never okay. It’s a test and you are eternally doomed to failure if you believe her words and not your history together.  (If you catch yourself thinking, “wow, I never thought she would go for that!”  Chances are she didn’t and those clipped sentences and terse demeanor are your last warning before things go topsy-turvey –  so make sure whatever it is your are doing is worth the silent treatment and cold doghouse dinners you will be getting for a while.)

Ladies: we will probably promptly forget this advice for your birthday, my birthday, father’s day, mother’s day and some anniversary we met but we will ask you first and want to believe you are telling us the truth.  You can make this easier on both of us by just telling us “no.”  We probably shouldn’t have asked, but we really wanted to do whatever it was and want to believe you will tell us the truth.

Oh well, I doubt I’ve improved Martian – Venusian relations much, but I tried.

On the plus side, I may have had an impact on a local election.  Rickeem Jackson of the non-resident running for local elective office Rickeem Jacksons, who has never paid taxes or voted in an election prior to the one he was running for public office in, (I’m assuming he actually showed up and voted for himself – which might be a stretch.) has been defeated at the polls by an educator and pastor that actually lived in Jefferson parish, paid taxes and voted in elections.  Go figure!

http://ballotpedia.org/Rickeem_Jackson

I was planning on writing a piece on how ridiculous elections have become to have allowed someone so eminently unqualified to get elected based on his personal appearance and war chest, but I was pleasantly surprised.  This victory has flipped the Jefferson Parish school board away from the education Reformers.  Jefferson is/was LDOE’s biggest ally in the school reform movement.  They were given little oversight and wide latitude in how they operated.  Now that the Reformer superintendent has announced he is leaving, so this will mean the new superintendent will be selected by this new board.  I expect some hidden stories to be revealed that might explain Jefferson’s oft touted meteoric-rise in scores came to pass.  It appears the public does not buy the narrative education reformers are selling with hundreds of thousands of corporate and out-of-state of dollars.  The newspapers are reporting on thousands spent by Teacher’s Unions, they have been lax in their reporting of out of state billionaire’s and corporate funded Teflon child advocacy groups like the often sanctioned Stand For Children – which is run by former LDOE staffer Rayne Martin  I received this info from one of my regular sources. (Another source confirmed that Rayne Martin did run at least one Stand radio spot for Rickeem. It would not surprise me if this was not properly reported.)

We found some info about our old friend Rayne Martin’s Stand for Children outfit, and its support for Chamber of Commerce favorite Mark Jacobs.

·         Jim Walton and Michael Bloomberg contributed to the Stand for Children LA IEC in late October. Bloomberg gave $125,000 on October 20. Walton gave $25,000 on Oct. 17.

·         The biggest expenditure was $37,000 a few days after those contributions to Buisson Creative for a TV ad for the Jefferson Parish school board. Mark Jacobs, but not Rickeem Jackson.

·         We can track the spending a little further. The commercials ran on:

o   WWL  (~$15,000)<https://stations.fcc.gov/collect/files/74192/Political%20File/2014/Non-Candidate%20Issue%20Ads/Stand%20For%20Children%20La%20IEC/Stand%20for%20Children%20La.%2010-29-11-4-14%20%2814150520861707%29.pdf.>

o   WDSU (~$13,000)<https://stations.fcc.gov/collect/files/71357/Political%20File/2014/Non-Candidate%20Issue%20Ads/Stand%20for%20Children%20Amended%20October%2029-November%204%20%2814146084489527%29.pdf>

o   Not sure where the other $9,000 or so was spent. Probably on another station.

Also of interest, Stand for Children has been dinged recently (ahem, seriously reprimanded by government bodies) for campaign finance violations. Stand for Children, in its zeal to support pro-Common Core candidates, illegally attack Core opponents, failing to properly report its independent expenditures. http://www.dailyjournal.net/view/story/e7f9b1df42d14f10adb8ba67d0d3a633/OK–Education-Ethics-Violation/. I’ve also attached the file (3 files because it loaded one page at a time) with the actual settlement agreement so we have a primary source.. By the way, Stand for Children spent nearly $365,000 in Oklahoma and lost. Earlier this year in Oklahoma, Stand for Children was caught delivering a pro-Common Core petition with fake signatures:<http://www.news9.com/story/25071850/fake-signatures-found-on-okla-common-core-petition>.

Back in Louisiana, Stand for Children modified its WDSU request. At first, it had Stand for Children in the  “Candidate” line. One day later, that was whited out and Stand for Children was put in the “Committee” line with its address added. Also, the amended filing fills in a box that had been left blank: “Spot makes reference to vote for six Jefferson Parish candidates up for election primary on 11/4 because they are for children’s education.” This may have been a correction of an oversight, or it may have been an attempt to tighten up or cover up once they knew they were going to get hit with an ethics violation in another state.

So, Mark Jacobs is being supported by out-of-state billionaires funneled through the independent expenditure committee of Stand for Children, an organization that violated campaign finance laws in Oklahoma.