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Why Are Our Children Dying Under For-Profit Foster Care?

This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away. 2 Tim 3:1-5 KJV

IF EVEN ONE CHILD DIES IT IS TOO MANY – BUT 86???

Adopting out for moneyI continually ask myself how much EVIL the ADULTS of this country can put upon our children. You have willy-nilly sex for self-satisfaction, not caring what the circumstances would be or take any responsibility for your actions. You use drugs as a touchy, feely, I know what I am doing thing and then you haven’t the decency to take care of the children you produce.

Then there are those on the other side commonly referred to as Corporate America or Public-Private Partnerships involving themselves in our children’s lives for nothing more than money and their corporate bottom line – looking at every aspect of their lives to make a profit!

MENTOR, America’s largest For-Profit Foster Care Firm has just been investigated by the US Senate Finance Committee. It has to have gotten pretty bad for the Feds to start paying attention.

Headed by Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), they recently released their bipartisan report dealing with the mistreatment of our countries most vulnerable children, those in foster care. Because of this report, we are once again given another bill called the Child Welfare Oversight and Accountability Act of 2017 (S.1964). Why do we need legislation to make sure that our children are well taken care of and not mistreated, even murdered?

Have some of us totally lost all common decency and human compassion? It appears so and like with so many other things, MONEY is at the head of the table.

Launched two years ago following inquiries to all 50 of our state governors and only 33 of them responding to complaints regarding the private foster care system across the country or their care of our children. Why these governors could not take care of the problem in their own states is still a mystery.

“The lack of oversight of the nation’s child welfare system, at both the state and federal level, is unacceptable. The Child Welfare Oversight and Accountability Act, which I introduced today with Ranking Member Wyden (D-Oregon), would help to ensure better government oversight and protect children in foster care in Utah and across the country.” (Sen. Orrin Hatch)

A recent bout of national media attention concerning questionable behavior by private for-profit agencies, with abuse and neglect by foster parents working for those providers, and in some instances, abuse and neglect which caused children’s deaths, led the Finance Committee to investigate this issue. As the Finance Committee has primary jurisdiction over Federal child welfare and foster care funding and policy (largely through the Social Security Act), the Committee launched an investigation in April 2015 to examine the privatization of foster care services.

mENTOROne specific private company, The MENTOR Network – one of the largest for-profit providers of foster care services in the United States – voluntarily provided data and analysis that showed that over a 10-year period, approximately 70 percent of children’s deaths were unexpected.

This is why I am opposed to any and all private companies who are allowed to take over any type of services when their bottom line is PROFIT at the expense of others.

Can you imagine this country has gone so far out of control into an “It’s all about me attitude”, that in 2015, 671,000 children in this the greatest country in the world were in out of the home Foster Care Services and basically treated like raw meat?

Information which was received from the MENTOR Network specifically reviewed incident reports about the deaths of children in the company’s care, an internal morality report, legal settlements, case notes, foster parent applications and other documents.

The Committee concluded that children who were under the legal authority and care of their individual states and who were receiving services from private, for-profit agencies and being paid for those services had been abused, neglected, denied services – some even died.

In Mentor’s case, investigations into fatalities were never investigated and followed-up on; autopsy reports were left pending for YEARS, excluded from files and the majority of the children who died were never the subject of internal investigations – even when their deaths were unexpected.

Adding insult to injury, families of these children and victims of other inadequate care had received compensation in financial settlements in the millions of dollars.

As the need for private for-profit and non-profit providers of foster care services has grown, oversight of these entities by State agencies as well as Federal oversight of the States has been, inadequate to say the very least.

This Link will take you to the letter sent from Senator Hatch to the Mentor Network.

As far back as 2004, on a dirt road in rural Maryland’s eastern shore, a 15-year-old boy was being dropped off at the Last Chance Farm where four couples lived, all related to each other and all NOT being paid or supervised by the government, but a giant corporation named the National Mentor Holdings, which over the previous three decades had turned their guardianship of foster children into a gigantic CASH COW! At any given time, they had an average of over 3,800 children and teenagers in foster homes in over 15 states around the country.

What came next for the 15-year-old was sexual abuse which continued even after he reported it to the caseworker – she felt her job with the company was more important than the welfare of the boy. It wasn’t until 2011, that the police descended on the Last Chance Farm. Extreme case? Not if you take the time to research.

CHILDRENIn Georgia, former State Senator Nancy Schaefer exposed Georgia’s “Child Protective Services” (CPS)for Child Abuse and the Human Trafficking the Foster Children flowing through their care. Link In GA at the time, CPS would receive a bonus every time they removed a child from their home. Her article “The Corrupt Business of Child Protective Services” can be found here.

In 2016, an article was presented entitled “The U.S. Foster Care System:  Modern Day Slavery and Child Trafficking”. Never ever believe there isn’t a great deal of money to be made in Trafficking.

Foster care is seen as an “industry” – a business where children become a commodity that profits doctors, lawyers, judges, social workers, advocates, and other organizations, an industry that can only exist by taking other people’s children, an industry that damages the very children it purports to be helping. The trauma inflicted on children by the foster care industry is inexcusable.

Molly McGrath Tierney, the former Director of the Baltimore City Department of Social Services stated, “we’re digging a wound so deep, I don’t believe we have a way of measuring it. This dismantling of families – it has enormous consequences. Kids that grow up outside of families – they don’t master the things that can only be learned in that context, like who to trust, how to love, and how to take care of yourself, and that frankly does more damage than the abuse and neglect that brought the kid to my attention in the first place”.  LINK

Child Protective ServicesLegislators and government agencies will tell you Foster Care is “Best for the Child”, but what kind of best are you removing them to?  The dismantling of families rather than trying to heal from within is digging a wound so deep, that in most cases it can never be repaired.

Know that in many cases accepting foster care as “best for the child” is, in fact, a “financial decision” and what is best for the state and corporate America and unfortunately some of the workers within the system.

How many of America’s children are in Foster care – as of September 2016 – 437,465 of our babies had been ripped away from their families to be entrusted to an industry that only looks at their “profit line” and not the child itself. They list 320 children died in Foster Care but even 1 is far, far too many.

Someone, please tell me how these vile people live with themselves? 

In 2015, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa) demanded a response from the Obama administration to whistleblower claims that thousands of those children have been released to sponsors with criminal records that include homicide, child molestation, and human trafficking. Legal advocates for the children say many have wound up in abusive situations, where they- have been forced to work to repay debts or living expenses. Some children simply stop showing up for immigration hearings and vanish.

Do you think Grassley got one? I can’t find any notation that Obama released anything to Grassley, but according to Grassley, at least 3,400 children had been placed where the sponsors had criminal records. Does it matter if “proper screening” is taking place when they ignore the results of the reports?

Do you understand that some of these children are taken from their homes so young, that by the time they break free of this horrific lifestyle, they have no idea what their real name is, where they lived or who their family is?

Lydia Joyner at 18 had lived in 35 different homes and had 18 different social workers. Adding to the stripping of who she was, her name was changed 4 times and at 18, the doors open wide and you are thrown out into the world to survive.

Do you believe Pizzagate is made up or a figment of someone’s imagination? Human Trafficking and Pedophilia has been a major business in the entire world increasing dynamically since the 1980’s – be it for pleasure or business profit. Pictures of children are sold to the buyer to then pick the kind of child they want and in many cases, government workers and/or state offices are receiving payouts for their leads and help. In relation to foster care, in 2017 the current reimbursement to state and local government agencies for each child taken into foster care is $6K a month, yet the foster care parent receives about one 10th of that.

Because of a directive under then-President Clinton, HHS was directed to develop an internet site to “link children in foster care with adoptive families” so we will be able to window shop for children on a government website. If you don’t find anything you like there, you can surf on over to the ‘Adopt Shoppe.’ Link

Obama while president saw fit to make changes within the Dept. of HHS especially in the earmark process which rewarded programs politically – focused more on “connections” than “successful programs”. Political supporters were given “Pay-for-Success” (PFS) grants with little or no oversight.

The Green & Healthy Homes Initiative (GHHI) received a grant of $1 million to assess the feasibility of asthma-related PFS projects benefitting low-income children. Harvard Kennedy School Social Impact Bond Lab received its $1.93 million grant to provide technical assistance to ten local and state governments to build their capacity to pursue PFS projects. And there are many more. Do you think just maybe all this money would have been better spent protecting and saving the lives of our children?

What it is, is a form of using our children, especially low-income children as guinea pigs.

We have come no further than the practice between 1854 and 1929 of moving orphan children by train (Orphan Trains) across the country and even into Canada into what America was told were “worthy” families of good reputation.  LINK

Although these children then as today, were supposed to be “treated in their new homes as family members”, more often than not most of these children ended up as indentured servants. Some families were even allowed to “PRE-ORDER the children they wanted with certain traits like “blonde hair and blue eyes”. Does this bring memories to your mind?

Sad but true, studies have shown that the Orphan Train children were treated better than Foster kids of today.

Alexandria HillTake little Alexandria Hill – Mentor was also her “Foster Care Provider” and got paid well for finding a “caregiver” for her. Small, blonde, innocent 2-year-old Alexandria was brutally murdered by her foster mother on a hot July evening in Texas in 2013 by swinging her until her head crushed into the floor. Her foster mother Smalls, claimed it was an accident.

Alexandria’s father, Joshua, sitting in the hospital waiting room anguished had an official from the State of Texas show up and the father asked what he should do. The official with his caring (NOT), replied, ” “She’s in your custody now. That’s up to you.” The parents agreed to take the little girl off life support, and Alexandria was declared dead on July 31.

DEAD – now she was given back into the custody of her parents!

How did Mentor approve this household when the husband was a known crack user with flaws in the background information, but Mentor never did a recent background check? If they’d asked for one, they would have learned that Sherill Small had been convicted in 2002 of aggravated kidnapping and robbery after she and an accomplice kidnapped a pregnant convenience store clerk in 2000. If ask, her sisters would have told Mentor about Sherill willingly.

Why was she taken from her parents?  A caseworker wrote that the parents smoked marijuana and that the mother periodically had grand mal seizures.

My question to Senator’s Hatch and Grassley – JUST WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO ABOUT THIS OTHER THAN WRITE MORE REGULATIONS OF WHICH ARE NOT FOLLOWED OR MAKE ANY DIFFERENCE?

Sorry

Child abuse 3UPDATE: As of March 15, 2018, S. 1964 is still sitting where it was put on October 16, 2017, with no other signers or supporters other than Hatch and Wyden. It was sent to the Committee on Finance the same day but has gone nowhere.

The title “Child Welfare Oversight and Accountability Act of 2017” is a JOKE and an INSULT to the Foster children of this country. The Act was a joke in itself – who were you going to have administered the “Oversight and Accountability” ACT?  The very same people who are responsible for that now and are getting paid to not do it?

Just what was the point of the 2-year study when in the end we are presented with a bill which is nothing but “gobbly goop” – job justification?

 

 

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Charter School Gravy Train and the Total Ruination of American Education by Treachery Part 2

Then comes an even warmer New York City day in August when the investors have all gathered in a tiny private club in Manhattan so eager to hear about the next “cash cow”, and education consultant Rob Lytle was happy to oblige.

Rob Lytle Parthenon GroupLytle, his suit neatly pressed to honor a king stated proudly, “Think about the upcoming rollout of the new national academic standards for public schools. If they’re as rigorous as advertised, a huge number of schools will suddenly look really bad with their students testing way behind in reading and math. And private, for-profit vendors, (Public Private Partnerships) (PPP), selling lesson plans, educational software and student assessments will be right there to provide it.”

Before we go any further, maybe we should take a look at Rob Lytle. He is employed by the Parthenon Group and is the Co-Head of the Education Practice Department along with Karen Khemka. Lytle states he has led client engagements on general strategy, performance improvement, and investment due diligence across a broad spectrum of educational organizations.

In reality, “a guy who likes to play with the big business boys and is joined by Public Private Corporations involving them in co-businesses using our children as their ‘human collateral’”. Their words, not mine.

Lytle goes on to tell them to imagine what this could mean for their “bottom-line”. IF these new standards are as rigorous as advertised, the schools are all going to look bad and they’ll need help quick. And we can be right there to provide it.”

 You start to see the entire ecosystem of investment opportunity lining up. It could get really, really big.”

 And indeed, investors of all stripes could just smell the big profit potential in public education. They could already hear the “cha-ching”!  They were like a bunch of high school boys getting ready for their first prom visualizing their evening expectations.

Never ever forget there has been a massive national and international organized plan to privatize education which has been in the process of being implemented over several decades. Billionaires such as the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Carnegie, Broad Foundation, Bush Dynasty and the Pearson Corporation among others, have infiltrated hundreds of governmental bodies including school boards, city and county councils and other sections of our local, state and federal government.

You don’t think former President Johnson pulled the original ESEA out of his hat do you? Then there’s George H.W. Bush first talk about Charter schools and volunteerism to be used toward a student gaining their diploma.

Ever since the Carnegie Foundation put out their 1934 Report on the Commission on Social Studies things regarding education have been headed down a slippery slope.

“The True Goal of School Choice by Charlotte Iserbyt is extremely telling!

The goal is to turn the education system into a for-profit center worth tens of billions of dollars while at the same time turning our kids into “worker-bees” for the factories and fields. They can spout all they want to about 21st Century College and Career Readiness and fancy acronyms like STEM, but if this were true then why in the world would our children be learning Skinnerian Outcome Based Education through the CCS and at the same time masquerading that Charter/Choice is the better road to take.

Charter, Private and Parochial schools are using the CCS – so ask yourself, what is the point of all this?

FutahHave you all forgotten we have foreign Gulen Charter schools in this country with the blessings of the U.S. State Department and they are also funded by YOUR tax dollars? What is wrong with American parents to think it is “kool” for their kids to attend an Islamic school when they are not Islamic and to allow their child to travel to Turkey for 4-5 weeks during the summer for private indoctrination?

Has everyone lost their minds?

Parents and school administrators all over the country think it makes them special to be associated with the International Baccalaurate program. Never mind the school district don’t care they are spending millions upon millions of dollars on this program with no superior results. Most parents are not even aware their tax dollars are being used to pay for the program nor do they care. And they certainly are not looking at what the program is subtlety teaching them. Try looking up GAIA for their Science.

The U.S. State Department also has allowed the UN/UNESCO proprietary curriculums to be implemented in our schools and there is even less control of these programs in the Charter schools.

There are also criminal elements of which have been allowed and encouraged politicians to personally benefit from using their public positions to profit from their votes and actions. http://youtu.be/JAeRbh1KVkg

Lytle states the K-12 market is tantalizingly huge! He states:

“According to the NCES the U.S. spends more than $591B a year to educate kids from ages five through 18. The entire education sector, including college and mid-career training represents nearly 11% of the U.S. gross domestic product, more than the energy or technology sectors.

Traditionally, public education has been a tough market for private firms to break into – fraught with politics, tangled in bureaucracy and fragmented into tens of thousands of individual schools and school districts from coast to coast.

Now investors are signaling optimism that the “golden calf” has arrived. They’re pouring private equity and venture capital into scores of companies that aim to profit by taking over broad swaths of public education.”

WOW! ‘If I were a rich man, yubby, dibby, dibby, dibby, dum’!

The very simple fact is the education system did NOT even begin to fail until the Federal government got their hands on the education of our children. They touch nothing they don’t ruin. Public education is not broken. It is not failing or declining – it is the curriculum, standards and object of controlling our children’s lives that has failed and the “reformers” looking to manage everything for their share of the “pot”.

Might I add it is these intrusive market-based “reformers” that have allied themselves with those who have long sought to destroy public education who are the monsters here.

All this has caused exactly what you would expect. With the transfer of public funds to private management companies/groups, and the creation of thousands of deregulated, unsupervised, and unaccountable charter schools it has opened the public coffers to profiteering, fraud, scandals and exploitation by large and small entrepreneurs. All with the encouragement of almost ALL elected legislators.

A conference at the NY University Club billed as a how-to on “private equity investing in for-profit education companies”, drew a full house of over 100 attendees.

You can be sure your children are headed for real problems when your state passes legislation to cover every “nook and cranny” of the public-private dealings in your state – especially if they are given carte blanche as they were in Florida.

Do you for one minute think these corporations care about your child’s success or failure in education or anything else for that matter?

In the venture capital world, transactions in the K-12 education sector soared to a record $389M in 2013, up from a mere $13M in 2005.

Do you realize that is a 3,000% increase in 6 years on the backs of YOUR children? This figure is expected to reach over $788B by next year.

And what do you get from the business world if you fight back? A nasty letter from the CEO of ExxonMobil to the governor of your state threatening to take their business elsewhere!

The rise and growth of the for-profit education industry has some really hard hitters on their side. They seek out different ways to sell products to schools and school districts, selling a variety of programs to match the Common Core Standards, even writing lucrative deals for charter school properties, data mining and investing in various Charter School Management Companies.

The goal for them:  an education revolution in which public schools outsource to private vendors such critical tasks as teaching math, educating disabled students, even writing report cards, said Michael Moe, of GSV Capital, a Silicon Valley type investment firm from Chicago which invests heavily in education start-ups including Knewton Inc. and Avenues, a New York–based private for-profit school with plans to expand into a global chain. (Tuition for the 2014-2015 year is $43,400 plus another $2,200 for snacks, athletic uniforms, and lap tops, etc.) Before and after school programs and transportation are optional). There is no doubt that you can make a lot of money in the business of education.

I know this article is about Charter schools, but it is also about the $$ flowing around our children like a cold cloud. I hit pay dirt today. If you have followed my postings these past few years you know I name names and two of my favorite names are Jeb Bush and Chris Whittle. And this will end back up in Charter schools.

Chris Whittle, Chairman and CEO of Avenues, is best known for his founding of the Edison Charter Schools in 1992 (now Edison Learning).  Now I know where a good share of his funding came from.

Whittle who presents himself as a “mild-mannered” genial man with his bow-ties and cardigan sweaters, is in fact a troublemaker who has had the reputation of getting himself swallowed up by hornet’s nests since his first business venture right after college. I’m going to stick to the one regarding Edison Charter Schools – also one of the first Charter school failures.

In 1989, Whittle Communication tanked and problems were uncovered having to do with the company’s accounting (they hadn’t paid state taxes dues) and Whittle was described by auditors as grandiose, profligate and self-deluded. The assets were split up, liquidated and their massive headquarters sold.

In 1991, with Whittle Communications still hanging on by a thread, it was re-named the Edison Project (or Edison Schools Inc., or Edison Learning – they were changing so fast) and began his first education involvement as a for-profit education management company. The initial idea was to create a network of 1,000 newly built private schools within a decade, but as the privatization drive picked up steam, he saw an opening in simply managing existing public schools for local governments. Charter Schools – he is a personal friend of Jeb Bush!

Making the circle of friends included the involvement of Tom Ingram (campaign manager and chief of staff to former TN governor and U.S. Secretary of Education from 1991-1993, Lamar Alexander), Benno C. Schmidt, Jr. (co-founder of Avenues), John Chubb (political scientist from the Hoover & Brookings Institutes), and Chester E. Finn, Jr. (assistant secretary of education to former presidents Reagan and George H.W. Bush). Originally founded around the idea of school vouchers, Edison primarily contracted with school districts on the basis of performance partnerships, alliances, and charter school establishments.

The company never posted a profit and in 2001 the share’s reached $36 and plummeted another 95% in 2002 promoting a management buyout.

Roger Milliken, an 87-year-old textile and chemical mogul was rumored to be considering bailing Whittle out. Whittle was embarrassed for being known to being courted by a notorious right-wing radical with news stories and editorials saying Whittle’s business plan was to depend on “old fashioned panhandling”.

Christopher Byron, an old friend of Whittle, noted all of Whittle’s business failures and his inability to generate profit. He went on to remark that Edison’s business plan in reality was nothing more than relying on philanthropy and would be “inherently” nonmarket based. Elaborating on the charge of “panhandling,” Byron wrote:

What else would you call it when a NASDAQ listed company, which is presumably in business to make a profit, cannot even sell its service to nearly 20 percent of its clients, let alone make any money for itself thereafter, without first soliciting the indirect support of various philanthropic foundations around the country?

At the same time Byron was showing how Whittle was failing to operate Edison truly like a business, others were highlighting exactly the different ways “for-profit” schooling was rendering public schools unaccountable by subjecting them to the whims of the market and lack of transparency.

To paint you a clearer picture, Edison under the leadership of Whittle, had by September, 2002 accumulated $276.3M in debt dating back to 1996 plus another $61.8M in losses prior to 1996.

Chris WhittleAlso in 2002 as Edison was scrambling for capital, the Securities and Exchange Commission announced Edison was settling a claim for misrepresenting corporate income to investors. The investigation revealed Edison had been counting “state” to “teacher” payments as company income despite the fact Edison never received that money. Edison failed to disclose that as much as 41 percent of its revenue that year consisted of money that it never saw, a sum of $154 million.

There is far too much to try and share with you about this company and the deceitful practices of Chris Whittle. I think you get the picture. His charter schools around the country were beginning to break their contracts giving their reasons as finances and lack of performance.

Kenneth Saltman who wrote a book about the Edison Schools stated: “what is happening is Edison had failed to achieve both its original mission and its financial goals”. The original mission was to privatize public schools through voucher schemes.

That turned into running public schools through performance contracting.

Edison, which was eventually made private in 2003 in a buyout facilitated by Liberty Partners on behalf of the Florida Retirement System and the three pension fund trustees, then Florida Attorney General Charlie Crist, Florida Chief Financial Officer Tom Gallagher, and Florida Governor Jeb Bush. This involved using the pension investments from the state’s public school teacher’s pension fund. The trustee’s tried to ward off objections stating “that would be playing politics”.

Make no mistake – this deal was financed with retirement funds of Florida teachers and other state employees against their loud and hardy protests. The Public employees and their unions had absolutely nothing to say about the deal and Whittle came away from this deal with a promised $600K per year and a bonus worth nearly triple his base pay!

All the protests made to Bush by teachers, federal employees plus retirees fell on deaf ears. Even Florida Education Association spokesperson Mark Pudlow said that Bush “has had a strong privatization agenda.”

The wheels of the money go round and round, round and round!

This is a political/business game! Politician’s pass the legislation in favor of the management companies so they can make more money and in turn the management company gives the politicians more money so he in turn will present more legislation making the management company’s job easier for them to make more money so they can give more to the politician to then again!

Whittle and Edison are not unique. There are scandals galore in all forms all over the country. You should be checking on the Charter Management companies in your state and make every effort to protect your children. There are far too many charter schools failing for numerous reasons which far exceed regular public schools and who is paying for all this manipulation – your children!

 

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Florida Association of District School Superintendents and FL School Boards Assoc. Partner with Pearson and Other Corporate Cronies

January 31, 2015 By Chris Quackenbush

Today I received the newest policy release from the Florida Association of District School Superintendents.  To say that I was disappointed is an understatement.  It pledges full support for Common Core by name.  The new report advocates convoluted minor reforms to adjust to changes and declining student performance which they do not understand, or will not address.

Joy Frank is the General Counsel and writes their bills and opinions.  We were directed to her by Senator Montford after Deirdre Clemons and I testified at the January 7th hearings in the Capitol.  After two very short meetings, it became apparent that we were not on the same page on Common Core.  After we presented our views and expert reports, Joy said her experts are telling her something else and dismissed it.  We need another meeting, but I doubt that will help.

I went to their web site and discovered the likely reason for her intransigence.

When you partner with Pearson and the other corporate cronies who pay your way, it’s tough to embrace the truth, that Common Core FAILS.

We must expose this connection to our legislators to show their views and testimony are tainted and they must listen to real stakeholders, the parents, students and tax paying citizens of Florida.   We should also address it in our districts with our elected school boards who must be largely unaware of this conflict of interest.

Then I went to the Florida School Boards Association web site to look at their “sponsors”  and found pretty much the same benefactors, with Pearson high on the list.  Both these organizations have expensive lobbyists, staff in the Capitol and access to our legislators through massive donations.  They are the ones creating reports and testifying before legislative committees with an air of legitimacy, while empirical results from education experts, parents and lower student exam results have no merit in their narrative.  By the way, we, as taxpayers, are paying for lobbyists for this association as well.  It’s part of your school district’s budget.

Both these organizations are presenting a united front urging legislators not to “rock the boat” on Common Core.   This is, indeed, a real story of David and Goliath.  Our grassroots organizations must inform and energize the public or accept enslavement of our children by corporate elites who reap the benefit at the bank from High Stakes Testing and Common Core.

March 5th, we have an opportunity to March for the Children in Tallahassee and lock arms across the state and across political lines.  Here are 4 interesting, short videos for your use:

March 5 event info: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r1-notNA_hY&feature=youtu.be

High Stakes Testing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2wGxTWTm9F8&feature=youtu.be

History: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zcyy1kJtwZo&feature=youtu.be

And English:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hnLoK9St4XQ&feature=youtu.be

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CHARTER SCHOOL GRAVY TRAIN and TOTAL RUINATION OF AMERICAN EDUCATION Part 1

Those of you who read my postings know I am trying to educate you on the dangers of Charter/Choice/Vouchers. Outside of it being the road to a Federal takeover of education, it is a proverbial “money tree” and they are using your children as “human collateral.” In this posting I have used Florida Charter School Management companies because it is where I live. My suggestion is that you check what is happening with the Charter schools in your state.

Actually some of these charter school management companies do operate in multiple states.

One warm Thursday in July, dozens upon dozens of bankers, hedge fund types and private equity investors gathered in New York to hear about the latest and greatest opportunities to collect a cut of your property taxes. Of course, the promotional material for the Capital Roundtable’s conference on “private equity investing in for-profit education companies” didn’t put it in such crass terms, but that’s what was going on.

Charter schools are booming with the push of the federal and state governments. “There are now more than 6,400 in the United States, up from 2,500 a decade ago, educating a record 2.5 million children,” according to Reuters.

Charter PrivaiCharters have a limited admissions policy, and the applications can be as complex as those at private schools. But parents don’t pay tuition and support comes directly from the school district in which the charter is located. This is the same $$ allotted to each child attending a regular public school only at a lessor percentage. They are also lucrative, attracting players like the specialty real estate investment trust EPR Properties(EPR). Charter schools are in the firm’s $3 billion portfolio along with retail space and movie megaplexes.

Charter schools are frequently a way for politicians to reward their cronies. In Ohio, two firms operate 9% of the state’s charter schools and are collecting 38% of the state’s charter school funding increase this year. The operators of both firms donate generously to elect Republicans.

The Arizona Republic found that charters “bought a variety of goods and services from the companies of board members or administrators, including textbooks, air conditioning repairs and transportation services.” Most charters were exempt from a requirement to seek competitive bids on contracts over $5,000.

In Florida, the for-profit school industry flooded legislative candidates with $1.8 million in donations last year. “Most of the money,” reports The Miami Herald, “went to Republicans, whose support of charter schools, vouchers, online education and private colleges has put public education dollars in private-sector pockets.”

Florida also created a major piece of legislation protecting public-private partnerships involved in education and other financial ventures. They also have legislators who vote on charter school legislation while owning or receiving financial gains from charter schools. Legislators in Florida are allowed to sit on Jeb Bush’s foundation (FEE) which includes the state’s commissioner of education. The money flows heavy in Florida.

Don’t misunderstand me – there are other state legislators, state superintendents and commissioners of education from several states along with Arne Duncan, David Coleman, Condoleezza Rice, and Richard N. Haass (Pres. CFR) who are “reformers” on the Jeb Bush Foundation, not just Florida. No matter where they are from you cannot “serve more than one master without hating one and loving the other or holding to one and despising the other”.

Among the big donors: the private equity firm Apollo Group, the outfit behind the for-profit University of Phoenix, which has experimented with online high schools. Apollo dropped $95,000 on Florida candidates and committees.

Lest you get the idea charter schools are a “Republican” thing, they are also favored by big-city Democrats. When 23 public schools closed for good in Philadelphia — about 10% of the total — they were replaced by charters. Charters have a history in Washington, D.C., going back to 1996 and they also have a strong home in Chicago.

They were favored by Arne Duncan when he ran the Chicago Public Schools. In 2009, Duncan rolled out the Obama administration’s “Race to the Top” initiative, doling out $4.4 billion in federal money to the states — but only to those states that lifted their caps on the number of charter schools and agreed to play the Common Core Standards game.

After Katrina, New Orleans went totally off the grid opting to make all their schools Charter schools. Is anyone really looking at these schools as to what curriculum they are using? Who is minding the store? New Orleans is riddled with scandals yet they claim their hands are clean.

A recent case study by the Harvard Business School examined the charter school reform efforts in New Orleans. The district is now composed of 70 Recovery School District (RSD) schools managed by the state (including 37 RSD charter schools) and 16 schools managed by the local Orleans Parish School Board (OPSB) (including 12 OPSB charter schools). RSD Schools are a result of Act 9 of the Louisiana State Legislature passed in 2003 to manage under-performing schools throughout the state.

Why are they going CHARTER when they too must be aligned to the Common Core Standards? Is it because they have lenient legislation guiding them or maybe it’s as simple as they have fallen for the lies regarding Charter schools because the powers to be certainly do not make public the information on Charter school closures when regular public schools (RPS) are not being closed.

Sadly, they have been accused of manipulating the data and that they are using a different, lower standard of measuring their achievements to make more schools look better. It seems to be making an impact on the quality of education in New Orleans but then there is nothing to compare them to. This reminds me of “suffer the little children.”

Other states have also lowered their standard of measuring their achievements since their “CCS” is not working.

In 2012, the Federal government showed how they support the Charter school system announcing the FY2012 grant competition for the Replication and Expansion of High Quality Charter Schools. I don’t know about your state, but Florida gives really big chunks of grant monies to starting Charter schools – and if they fail – your tax dollars just got flushed down the toilet.

Under the FY2012 appropriations law, Pub. L. No. 112-74, Division F, Title III, the Secretary is authorized to reserve up to $55 million for the replication and expansion of successful charter models.

A quick perusal of the Notice raises at least two questions: (1) If pre-existing successful models are to be replicated, why has the Department included six competitive preference priorities that may necessitate applicants changing their models to be in the running for a grant? (2) Given the grants are to replicate successful models, why give novice applicants extra points? Why not put everyone on equal footing in the competition?

In 2011, Congress voted overwhelmingly (365-54) to approve H.R. 2218, the Empowering Parents Through Quality Charter Schools Act. The bill is the first of a handful of Ed and Workforce Committee measures that reauthorize parts of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). Among other things, the legislation makes a number of improvements to the federal charter program to facilitate the replication of greater numbers of high quality charter schools. The legislation revamps the current charter schools’ discretionary grant program, among other things, to give priority to states that do not cap the numbers of charter schools.

Always remember the purpose of the support by politicians who want nationalized education is the fact Charter schools have “UNELECTED SCHOOL BOARDS and “LENIENT LEGISLATION” which is ‘TAXATION WITHOUT REPRESENTATION.” To better understand what is truly happening, each parent should read their state’s statutes regarding all parts of Charter school implementation, financial support, oversight and certification of the schools and teachers.

Again I remind you, if you are thinking of moving your child from a RPS to a public Charter school, they are both using Common Core curriculums and following the Common Core State Standards where you live.

Ask yourself, “why the lenient legislation for Charter schools”?

The for-profit Charter School management companies are providing everything from back office operations including payroll, contracting with vendors for food services, textbook, etc., to hiring principals and teachers and curriculum control at an enormous cost. So what has been sold to parents and children as local public education innovation are actually national charter-chains, the “Waltmartization” of public education. The Charter schools pay huge management fees to these for-profit businesses.

Over three-quarters of all charter school students are enrolled in a “charter chain school” in the United States. The top four charter operators in Florida for 2013-2014 were:

AcademicaAcademica (100) – This management company is owned by Fernando Zulueta. To put the frosting on the “cupcake”, Erik Fresen, FL. legislator is also the brother-in-law of Zulueta. He also serves on the board of the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools along with Jeb Bush, Jr. Fresen not only has financial connections to the charter operator through his architectural firm, but also chairs the FL House Education Appropriations Subcommittee. Previously, Fresen worked as a lobbyist for Academica in the state. Fresen isn’t the only Florida legislator with ties to the company.

State Senator Anitere Flores is the CEO of Doral College, a private college affiliated with a charter school run by Academica. Before running again in 2012, she had stated if she was offered this position she would not run – she did anyway.

The company’s owners carry additional favor through campaign donations. In a 2011 investigation, the Miami Herald noted: State election records show Academica’s owners, Fernando and Ignacio Zulueta, have steered $150,000 in campaign donations to Tallahassee lawmakers and political committees through real-estate companies they have controlled since 2007. The records also show the Zulueta family has donated an additional $75,000 in the past five years, and Academica executives and school contractors donated another $54,000. During that time, the Legislature relaxed rules and passed lenient legislation, some of which was presented and pushed by Fresen. Fresen has also had ethics charges filed against him for his actions in the legislature, but they have always been dismissed.

How can a legislator support and vote on Charter school legislation, make financial gains from a Charter school and sit on the pro-Charter Foundation (FEE) of Jeb Bush’s and be impartial and have the children’s futures at the fore front of their decision making?

Jonnnathan HageCharter Schools USA (CSUSA) – They had the honor last year of having their CEO Jonathan Hage named Florida’s “Man of the Year”. I guess Florida had no one else who could fill those shoes. Before forming this for-profit charter school management company, Hage was the research director for Jeb Bush’s Foundation for Florida’s Future and also served on Governor Rick Scott’s education transition team. Tina Bennett, wife of former Florida Education Commissioner Tony Bennett, also works for the company.

Emails obtained through a public records request revealed that Charter Schools USA is one of the many sponsors of the Chiefs for Change, a project of Jeb Bush’s Foundation for Excellence in Education (FEE) and Hage is also considered one of Bush’s “Reformers.”

For a test, I looked up one of their Charter Schools in Orange Cnty, FL which is a K-8 school. Checking their 2014 budget and taking what they state would be spent for Professional and Vendor services averaged out to give $1,283.93 less per student. They receive $6077.00 for each of the 924 students. They budgeted to spend $42,400 for advertising; $353,512.00 for CSUSA Management fees; $15K for Accounting Services; $161,445.00 Custodial Services; $255,232.00 Contracted Food Service to name a few. This school received an F last year and is still open. Why is that? I could find no where on their website the name of the Principal or how many teachers they have.

Just what do you get for the $353,512 management fees?

Charter School Associates – They currently have 17 schools in Florida and it is owned and operated by Mike and Estelle Strader. As Executive Director of the Center for Education Entrepreneurs, Mike organized Florida’s first state-wide workshop to assist first year operators (Survival Training for Charter Operators) and developed the first “How-To” guide for Florida charter developers (The Florida Charter School Planning Guide).He has presented at national and state conferences including the National Association of Educators in Private Practice, The National Charter School Conference and the Florida Charter School Conference.

They boast the use of a Math curriculum called Mathletics and it is Common Core aligned.

Jason Bryant ImagineImagine Schools – A for-profit Charter School Management Co., Imagine also owns a for-profit real estate development company (Schoolhouse Finance) and a non-profit management company (Imagine Schools Non-Profit). In some places, Imagine run schools dedicate nearly half their operating expenses to rent. The high rent rates not only divert resources from the classroom, the costs pushing some Imagine schools into debt, and sometimes that debt is owed to Imagine’s for-profit arm. (Further criticism)

Jason Bryant, their CEO and President prior to joining Imagine in 2005, worked at AES Corporation. His tenure at AES included operations oversight of multiple power plants in California, leading development efforts in Kazakhstan, and overseeing operations in Brazil and Spain as commercial and financial director. Sounds like a great background for overseeing the education of children. Not!

More!

These are not the small, locally run experimental schools envisioned by the original legislation as told to voters.

The threat of vouchers, wavering support for public education, and bipartisan support for charters has led some unions to start charters themselves. Several AFT chapters, such as those in Houston and Dallas, have themselves started charters. The National Education Association has allocated $1.5 million to help members start charter schools. Proponents claim that charters offer teachers a measure of empowerment, employee ownership, and governance that might be enhanced by union assistance.

The White House on both sides of the political realm has had their fingers in this also. You must ask yourself why are they making our schools i.e., our children’s education, part of the political and business world?

Charter school implementation was one of the main objectives of former President George H. W. Bush. Since that time it seems to have been a “family” affair.

Former President Bill Clinton saw charter schools, with their emphasis on autonomy and accountability, as a workable political compromise and an alternative to vouchers

Others, such as former President George W. Bush, saw charter schools as a way to improve schools without antagonizing the teachers’ union. Bush made charter schools a major part of his No Child Left Behind Act. Despite endorsements, a recent report by the AFT has shown charter schools not faring as well as public schools on state administered standardized testing.

With Jeb Bush deeply in bed with Bill Gates and on a full-time move for Charter schools and Vouchers/Tax Credits for Private and Parochial schools one must wonder what their alternative motives are? Get rich? Power? Control? It certainly is not because they care about our children and their receiving a good education.

Jeb Bush’s web of deceit and deception involves not just the money men, but legislators, state superintendents/commissioners of education, corporate giants and Democrats such as Obama, Arne Duncan, David Coleman and the President of the CFR Haas.

Isn’t it strange how close those on both sides of the fence relate to each other and the same agenda’s? Bill Clinton who looks on G.H.W. Bush as a father figure!

Quick note: Jeb Bush has removed his tab on his web site that formerly named all the Reformers who were both R’s and D’s sitting on his Foundation – backers of the Bush education agenda and most involved in some way with education. Hum! Maybe he thinks we don’t remember who they were.

Outcome-Based Funding

2012 Foundation for Excellence in Education Donations
2013 Foundation for Excellence in Education Donations

More than one opponent to Charter schools have examined the competing claims of success and suggest that most students in charter schools perform the same or worse than their traditional public school counterparts on standardized tests.

Public Accountability for Charter Schools: Common Sense Regulation and Oversight for the Future” May 2014

3

FLORIDA’s SCHOOL BOARD TREACHERY! How Is Yours? Part 1

It is becoming increasingly clear that the only preservation for the children of Florida and their futures is to change how things are done in Florida. We must return the position of Commissioner of Education to an elected position; change the positions on the State School Board to an elected position or both.

EthicsThe cronyism in Tallahassee has reached the highest levels it has ever been. The ethics bill last year was a smoke screen to fool us as an effort on their part to be good boys and girls. However the legislation passed in no way touched the real problems in that city and our government.

Appointing people to positions that hold the power such as the Commissioner and State School Board leaves parents out of the equation in regard to education and makes them answerable to whom?  Each other and a governor who has in recent months shown us he cares less about listening to parents concerns in regard to their children’s education and it is more important to him to have dinner with Jeb Bush.

Our past 2 governors,  Bush and Crist along with Rick Scott since the changes in the Florida Constitution in 2003 have given us 5 Commissioners of Education who are currently sitting on Jeb Bush’s Foundation for Excellence in Education; John L. Winn, Eric J. Smith, Gerard Robinson, Tony Bennett and now Pam Stewart. Has Jeb Bush been Florida’s perpetual governor?

Never forget it was George H.W. Bush who picked up the idle gauntlet of Education from Johnson and created the Charter school system which has been the “baby” of the Bush family ever since. Here again, no education experience as is the case with most politicians meddling in the future lives of our children.

Given the timing of the change to the Constitution (2003), the following commissioners (John Winn & Eric Smith) were given a seat on Jeb Bush’s Foundation which of course is what Bush did after leaving the governor’s office – form his foundation. Do you see a little long range plan laid out here?

All of these people support the trash education of the Common Core Standards and the taxation without representation of the Charter/Choice/Voucher scheme along with the unelected school boards of the Charter schools removing the parental input into the equation. They don’t want you to know about the failures of the charter schools – much larger by percentage than traditional public schools.

The focus here is to make the Charter School Management (CSM) companies rich and the heck with what our kids learn! CSM’s fill coffers!

I want to give you the background on those dictating the futures of our children. You got a good look into the disrespect and arrogance of the SBOE Chairman Chartrand this past Tuesday. We saw the board members talking to each other, messing with their iPads or phones, conversing with the administrative assistant through the whole time while over 95 taxpayers explained their point of views in regard to Common Core and education in general.

They didn’t even have the decency to have a conversation amongst themselves in regard to any of the issues brought up by the speakers before taking their vote. The 2 new board members (and there is history there also) spoke basically in favor of the vote that was about to take place with Tuck (new kid on the block) even stating we have to move into the 21st Century.

Florida State School Board:

ChartrandGary Chartrand came to the board in 2011 and of course is now serving as its chairman. His business background is pretty impressive as being one of those individuals who sits on every board you can think of. It is always supposed to make your resume look better. (jaxkidsmatter.blogspot.com/ /2013/08/gary-chartrand-floridas-most.html) Other than the KIPP Charter school thing I can’t find any reason for Scott to appoint him to the board.

Know that no matter how impressive Chartrand’s bio is, it is what it doesn’t say that is important. He has absolutely no background in education except for being involved in bringing Kipp Charter schools and Teach for America (TFA) teachers to Jacksonville. He is a lot like Al Gore – he knows not of what he speaks”. And his actions are getting rather loud.

Not a classroom, not a school office, not even a school janitor – he has no qualifications to sit on the FL. State Board of Education.  It is a little bit like asking a Construction Engineer to teach a Home Ec class (do they still have those?). Or maybe a professional chef to build a bridge!

Under Chartrand’ s direction the board’s 3 decisions in regard to a choice for the states “Unelected” Commissioner of Education have been less than stellar and it would lead those who follow these things to ask who was really behind these choices. Remembering our last five (5) including our present commissioner are also “reformer’s – (formerly chief’s for change) on Jeb Bush’s Foundation for Excellence in Education.  Maybe they just wanted to make sure they had someone who would tow the line.

The main problem here is these choices rather than being individuals interested in actually improving our children’s education, the choice of commissioners were those whose main goal was to privatize our education instead. (Charter Schools).

KIPP 2Chartrand has been applauded for the KIPP Charter schools in Jacksonville – but of course he has given his allegiance to Charter schools. The state’s agenda is charter schools; however his results shown here so far are not any better than his performance as the SSBOE chairman. Chartrand, who helped raise $9 million to bring a KIPP elementary school to Jacksonville, also donated $1 million toward the network’s elementary school in the same city.

KIPP Impact Middle School is of course planted in a “low-income” area which to this writer gives them an out excuse for failure which is where a good amount of charter schools put themselves, low-income areas, especially KIPP schools. 98% of the students are minority and 89% are Title I students both of which bring in extra funds for the school. Started in 2010, their first year grade was an F with less than 30% achieving the FCAT of 25% or less in reading and for math 67% reached the level of 25% or less. Not good.

When Commissioner Robinson made his famous trip to Jax to look into the start-up of another KIPP school (I wonder what his interest was?), he was asked by a reported if he was going to take into consideration the existing Kipp school had received an F, he responded, “we don’t use that as the criteria for allowing new schools to open”.

Wow!  Given the Florida State School Board allows D and F Charter schools (of which there are many more than traditional public schools) stay open for far longer than they should, one does have to ask “What are they doing”?

The mission statement for KIPP Jacksonville Schools is to prepare our students with the academic and character skills necessary to succeed in high school, college and the competitive world beyond.  Not at this rate!

Something else I discovered while doing this posting. Kipp and Charter Schools USA send their teachers to what is called the Clarion Council For Educational Greatness in Ft. Lauderdale, FL.  Though not clear, it looks like it is owned by Charter Schools USA and when you go to the web site and try to see what the training is – you have to have a “Clarion Training” password. Secrets, always secrets.

KIPPS’s Accountability report for the 2010-2011 school year – AFRICAN-AMERICAN, ECONOMICALLY DISADVANTAGED KIPP IMPACT MIDDLE SCHOOL has not met federal adequate yearly progress under No Child Left Behind because it needs improvement in one or more areas.  Because this is a Title I school, your student may be eligible for school choice options under No Child Left Behind.

Charter schools are School Choice so where do these students go if the school were to remain a failure. In fairness I admit they garnered a C the following year after the change to the grading process – no figures for the 2012-2013 year. But then the full accountability figures have not been posted on the Florida DOE web site since 2010 – 2011 school year. HUM!

More on Kipp Jacksonville Schools according to the 2012-13 FL Charter School Accountability Report:

Kipp Imagine:  4 of the 8 teachers are Teach For America teachers; 6 of the 8 teachers are not certified but are being paid at the same rate as the certified with benefits; average salary with benefits $48,125; 86.66% rated NOT Highly Qualified; 82.35% Teaching out of their field; in the hole financially at the end of the year $14, 000+ and have a large note due to Kipp,Inc.

Kipp Voice:  8 of the 12 teachers Are Teach For America teachers; only 1 is NOT certified; 100% of the teachers are teaching out of their field; their salaries are equivalent to those of Imagine.

Both schools are NOT certified and rent their building from McDuff Qalicb, Inc. of Jax and they are in a relationship with Kipp, Inc. but how is not clear. Both schools hold board meetings once a quarter and at one of the recent meetings Gary Chartrand asked Ashley Ferguson who is listed as the principal of both schools about her views on the Common Core vs. Florida State standards. There was general discussion about this.  She is also a TFA girl!

It’s too bad that Chartrand couldn’t find it in his heart to leave his ego at the door of the board room but then we tin-hatter’s all know that most of the people we are dealing with today have enormous ego’s.

The saddest part of this “Charter School Scam” is with a country like ours they could have made our children’s education the best in the world. However, they are more interested in privatizing education and making it a big business for pay back donations and at the same time “dumbing the children down” into mental idiots for the “New World Order.

The 2013-2014 school found Florida with 75 new Charter school but 26 existing ones had closed. They lie to you because the school closers in this country are not “regular” public schools but “charter” schools. New Orleans who chose after Katrina to turn all their schools into charter schools and is the only place in the state with charter schools has 18 charter schools and 6 closed.

What about the children and their trying to get an education at the same time as being bounced around from school to school. Why are we as parents not INSISTING we stop this madness?

Charter Closing

Why Students Call KIPP the Kids In Prison Program?

Information in part came from the Miami Herald “Cashing In On Kids” 12/2011 and www.charterschoolscandals.blogspot.com

Part 2:  Andy Tuck and Rebecca Fishman Lipsey – the new kids

2

WHAT HAVE THEY DONE?

Grades 2This past weekend the story was released about the consequences of the State School Board agreeing to play games with the Florida grading system AGAIN!

Although the information in the story in the Orlando Sentinel is unsettling it once again shows how the state continues to mess with the education of our children – from the standards, to the curriculum, to the textbooks, to the grading system. Are they ever going to learn to just give our children a good education with the very best teachers, curriculum, textbooks and all the rest that goes with it rather than continually changing the rules of the game and playing with their futures?

Just who is their allegiance to – our children or the money men?

What Floridians Against Common Core Education is actually more concerned about is the drastic drop in some of the grades of the schools. Focusing on Central Florida since that is the information that was in the article, someone please explain to me how a consistently A school over a 5 year period drops to an actual D but is given a C. How does a B school drop to a D which would have been an F?
cHANGE gRADES

COMMON CORE???? The reports that have been out by parents show a major increase in frustration by the elementary school children. How does the state school board, legislators and governor explain the dramatic drop? This is not just a matter of changing the grading system.

Information on the states “School Accountability Reports” site does not have the scores posted for 2011-2012 or 2012-2013 years – so the grades I followed were from the 2006-2007 through 2010-2011. Even with the missing 2 year reports the grade drops for the schools mentioned – there needs to be a reason and the only thing really new is the Common Core Standards along with the new curriculum and textbooks.

Parents should not be willing to “just accept” whatever is being handed out but full explanations need to be forthcoming from the local school districts, individual schools and the State Department of Education and the State School Board.

A statement such as the one by Patricia Levesque, Jeb Bush’s Chief of Staff at both his foundations, ‘this just highlight’s where students are struggling the most and it’s been powerful”. The Bush Foundations have pushed for the A-F grading system which there is nothing wrong with that – just pick a system and stick with it.

Levesque went on to say “too many changes were made too quickly to the grading formula that now must be simplified”. Do you think? At the push from your foundations to get all your ideas in place at what cost just as you have done with the implementation of the Common Core Standards and the Charter/Choice boondoggle. Although the foundation was opposed to the State Board’s decision to make the changes last July because it would prevent schools with the lower grades from getting the resources they needed.

What resources? Moving the students to a Charter school? They are quick to note that under Florida law parents have the ability to move their children from D or F schools to Charter/Choice.

Now I have another question for all of you. Knowing Common Core has been set up to be instituted in every public and private school in this state, why is Jeb Bush still pushing Charter/Choice?????

UNELECTED school boards who for taxpayers means “taxation without representation” and using our children once again as “Human Capital” in public private partnerships! “They” just never stop!

Jeb Bush has a financial interest in all of this and never forget it!
Bricks and mortar
Accountability is the key word and they are intending on sweeping this under the bricks and mortar!

0

Carnegie, Gates and Murdoch – Strange Bedfellows?

IT IS HERE – THE TRACKING SOFTWARE THAT WILL FOLLOW YOUR CHILDREN FOREVER! ”

GatesEntrepreneurs are rubbing their hands together and imagining the profits as they begin to roll out expensive tools for K-12 education at this week’s South by Southwest (SXSW) conference.

Reuters:

An education technology conference this week in Austin, Texas, will clang with bells and whistles as startups eagerly show off their latest wares.

But the most influential new product may be the least flashy: a $100 million database built to chart the academic paths of public school students from kindergarten through high school.

In operation just three months, the database already holds files on millions of children identified by name, address and sometimes social security number. Learning disabilities are documented, test scores recorded, attendance noted. In some cases, the database tracks student hobbies, career goals, attitudes toward school – even homework completion.

Local education officials retain legal control over their students’ information. But federal law allows them to share files in their portion of the database with private companies selling educational products and services. (Parents have no say in this – your parental rights are gone).

Entrepreneurs can’t wait.

“This is going to be a huge win for us,” said Jeffrey Olen, a product manager at CompassLearning, which sells education software.

Yeah, maybe. Parents are pretty creeped out over the idea of tracking their kids’ school performance over their K-12 educational careers. I have some ambivalence about the whole idea, but it’s a non-starter for me when I see how they’ve structured it, and particularly knowing Rupert Murdoch is involved.

CarneigieThe database is a joint project of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which provided most of the funding, the Carnegie Corporation of New York and school officials from several states. Amplify Education, a division of Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp, built the infrastructure over the past 18 months. When it was ready, the Gates Foundation turned the database over to a newly created nonprofit, inBloom Inc, which will run it.Murdoch

States and school districts can choose whether they want to input their student records into the system; the service is free for now, though inBloom officials say they will likely start to charge fees in 2015. So far, seven states – Colorado, Delaware, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, North Carolina, and Massachusetts – have committed to enter data from select school districts. Louisiana and New York will be entering nearly all student records statewide.
Klein and Murdoch
Former New York Public Schools chancellor Joel Klein signaled the onslaught last December:

Asserting that the K-12 education market is “ripe for disruption,” Joel Klein, former New York City schools chancellor, now executive VP at News Corp. and director of Murdoch’s Amplify, its education unit, offered a presentation of Amplify’s business model and plans to release hardware and software solutions optimized for a new generation of digitally savvy students and teachers. Klein outlined plans to release an open source tablet device, and specialized teaching software tied to it and to Common Core standards and data analytics, all in an effort to transform the basic model of American education.

What protections will there be for student privacy? And who’s going to pay for this? Taxpayers, of course. As the budget for data mining grows and Murdoch’s pockets bulge, will there be any money left for teachers?

(Klein also serves on Jeb Bush’s Foundation for Excellence in Education and several other board’s overseeing the Charter school and school choice agenda.)

http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/03/03/us-education-database-idUSBRE92204W20130303

0

The Education Bed Is Almost Full!

Bush and RubioWell, Florida’s glory boy stood in front of millions of Americans last night and told them he supports school choice and the vouchers, which in education language means – “I am also sleeping with Jeb Bush.”

Wow! I know the rest of the country is in love with this young, flashy, great speaker Marco Rubio, but have any of you talked to Floridians who helped him get elected? We certainly are not any happier with him than we are with most of the other senators and congressman who have been selling us down the river for the past 3 ½ years.

Have you forgotten that most of them signed the NDAA and the Re-Patriot Act and at the same time not listening to a word the taxpayers – the ones who pay their salaries said – begged, pleaded, almost cried – for them NOT to sign those bills and they said, “I don’t work for you – I am in control now and I know more than you do and I am smarter in general. So just go home, watch TV and let whatever will be – be.”

Are Floridians supposed to be excited and proud that because Rubio was given the “place” of responding to Obummer last night and now according to the press, that is the official announcement that Rubio will be running for president?

Are Floridians going to forget how many toes Rubio stepped on to get where he is today without a thank you, or I appreciate all you have done or just plain lied in the process.

And with Rubio’s national speech last night for School choice is that also the announcement that if he wins the Presidential race Jeb Bush will be the Secretary of the Department of Education?

Is there no way to keep Bush’s at home rather than creating havoc and deception all over this country? Bush needs to go back to the family ranch before he can do any more damage!

Rubio’s speech stated the “school-choice” bill he proposes would allow taxpayers to subsidize private-school education for poor kids. ONLY POOR KIDS? What gauge is he intending to use to determine who a “POOR KID” is? How many more programs are the working people of this country supposed to fund when we are out-numbered by the “non-working”?

Realizing the apparent close relationship of Bush and Rubio shines brightly as a way to enforce a voucher program similar to what Bush tried to get through in Florida the last election in Amendment 8. Bush has tried to get that imposed on the citizens of Florida since the late 90’s even to the point of the Florida Supreme court calling his supporters out for trying to get “around the rules.”

With what Rubio and Bush have proposed your tax dollars would be going to fund Private and Religious schools without any say on how the money would be spent because once again they would NOT be overseen by the “elected” school boards and that Ladies and Gentlemen is “taxation without representation”.

To further enforce how wrong this is, it has been openly proposed that businesses and foundations would come in behind the Federal $$ to give the added financial support for each voucher and now we are back to what we have been fighting against for years – “for-profit” schools creating “public-private partnerships”.

In his speech last night it sounded to me that Rubio was basically laying out a major theme for his Presidential campaign in that the conservative policies would be good for the poor and working class.

Someone please show me a CONSERVATIVE IN CONGRESS!

Let’s look at this with “clear eyes.” Jeb Bush was Rubio’s mentor when he was serving as a Florida politician. Rubio, not to my memory, ever voted against a Gov. Jeb Bush agenda/policy.

“It’s not about unions. It’s not about school administrators,” Rubio said in an interview. “This is about parents. The only parents in America who don’t have a choice where their kids go to school are poor parents.”

That statement is certainly not true because the Bush Foundations in their push for Charter schools all over the country using the voucher and choice systems target “low-income” areas all the time. Then if they fail they can turn around and use that as the reason for failure – “well what did you expect, we tried and we just never can get anywhere in the low-income areas?”

And unless I am in error, the vouchers are supposed to be used on a lottery basis as to prevent a student from being accepted because of their financial status.

This will not be an easy sell for Rubio with the current Senate since the Teachers Unions and Democrat’s in general are not supportive of these measures. All over America they have pushed back at Bush and his nonprofit foundations as it pushes for more school-choice legislation. They also do not support Bush’s alignment with Michelle Rhee’s “Student’s First” or “Teach America”.

Having Charter schools, school choice and vouchers becoming a Federal issue is NOT good. We need, as Americans, to get the Federal government out of the Business of the Education of our Children. It is unconstitutional and a format for nothing more than “monkey business” and following the Communist plan for the over throw of this country.

DO YOU REALLY WANT YOUR CHILDREN IN FEDERAL GOVERNMENT SCHOOLS TOTALLY LEAVING OUT YOUR LOCAL AUTHORITY?

Before last night’s speech, Democrats had accused Rubio of supporting “extreme” budget policies that would cut social-welfare programs. I am sure the Dem’s will focus in on how his plan would certainly add to the National Budget and WE DON’T HAVE ANY MONEY! WHAT PART OF WE ARE BROKE ARE YOU NOT HEARING?

Rubio admits he doesn’t know how much the legislation could cost and I seriously doubt he cares as long as the legislation any politician presents is passed.

And Florida, the news has just broke that Jim Greer, former head of the Florida Republican Party, after all this time has pled guilty to all charges lodged against him WITHOUT A TRIAL and now Rubio doesn’t have that hanging over his head either.

“Oh what a tangled web we weave when we first practice to deceive.”

HUM!!!!!!!

0

Parent Trigger & the Money Changers!

Parent Trigger 3What is a Parent Trigger law? The proposals have varied from state to state, but they generally allow parents at any failing school, defined by standardized testing, to sign a petition to radically transform the school using any of four “triggers.” Parents can petition to: 1) fire the principal, 2) fire half of the teachers, 3) close the school and let parents find another option, or 4) convert the school into a charter school.

While the details of how the school can be “restructured” also vary from state to state, the charter school option is always present and actually the main focus. Charter schools are privately managed, taxpayer-funded public schools which are granted greater autonomy from regulations applicable to other public schools, ostensibly in exchange for greater accountability for results, but they have been criticized for uneven and mediocre track records.

Add to this the involvement of businesses in the Charter school “business” which in fact makes Charter schools not only “for-profit”, but also “public-private partnerships” .

Realizing the “goal” of the Charter school system is the “unelected” school boards of each Charter school. The “goal” and “agenda” is to do away with elected school boards. Think about that! With each Charter school having unelected boards and yet using tax payer $$ to fund the schools, that is “taxation without representation”.

“The Money Changers” – ALEC, Heartland Institute, Bill Gates Foundation, Jeb Bush Foundation x2, Michelle Rhee – Student’s First, Parents Across America, Pearson Publishing, Pearson Foundation, Koch Bros., K-12, Bridgeport Education, Rupert Murdock, Philip Anschultz, right-wing extremist , Eli Broad Foundation, Rockefeller Foundation, Parent Revolution Board chair Rica Orszag and original member of Bill Clinton’s “Global Initiative and so many more I don’t have enough room?

How do you go against this kind of financial control?

I have asked this question time and time again with no answer – “If all of you money mouthpieces think you have the answer to the woes of our education system, why are you not giving all that money to the public school systems to raise teacher salaries, repair schools, buy uniforms and musical instruments, putting more into scholarships rather than creating another division within our country to make a profit and in the process USE OUR CHILDREN AS BAIT?” Why are you not including educators when creating curriculum’s or rules and laws?

What they will not tell you or admit to is that Charter schools along with the “Parent Trigger” legislation is a communist “school – to – work” agenda. This offense against our children was first introduced in The Carnegie Institute Report on Social Studies in 1934. http://www.scribd.com/doc/32432452/Carnegie-Endowment-AHA-Report-on-the-Commission-on-Social-Studies

This study was funded to the tune of $340,000 by the Carnegie Corporation and at a 1934 currency rate exchange that was a great deal of money! Professor Harold Laski, the philosopher of British socialism, said of this report: “At bottom, and stripped of its carefully neutral phrases, the Report is an educational program for a Socialist America.” An important and revealing excerpt from Conclusions and Recommendations follows:

The Commission was also driven to this broader conception of its task by the obvious fact that American civilization, in common with Western civilization, is passing through one of the great critical ages of history, is modifying its traditional faith in economic individualism [free enterprise], and is embarking upon vast experiments in social planning and control which call for large-scale cooperation on the part of the people…. (pp.1–2)

…Cumulative evidence supports the conclusion that in the United States and in other countries the age of “laissez faire” in economy and government is closing and that a new age of collectivism is emerging. www.deliberatedumbingdown.com

Back to the “Money Changers” – The recent movie “Won’t Back Down” was meant to push ALEC’s “Parent Trigger Proposal”. For those of you who might not know what “ALEC” is – it is a group of major American corporations and right-wing legislators who craft and vote on “model” bills behind closed doors. These bills include extreme gun laws, like Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law implicated in the Trayvon Martin shooting, union-busting legislation, Arizona style anti-immigrant legislation, maybe your states Energy bill or sustainable development legislation and voter suppression laws that have sparked lawsuits across the nation.

They are kind of like the “hump” on the back of the Hunchback of Notre Dame! Or maybe something as simple as Lucifer’s Shadow! That’s how I think of people using our children for financial and communistic gains.

There are millions of dollars out there sponsoring ALEC by corporate funds being funneled through ALEC to “buy” votes. I was extremely happy to see Wal-Mart, Coca-Cola, Kraft, General Mills, Mereck and Duke Energy among approximately 30 other sponsors withdraw their support of ALEC over what they called “the organizations extreme agenda”. ALEC’s support of the movie “Won’t Back Down” was the final straw that broke the camel’s back.

Don’t get too excited though because this tells you these corporations are leaning very far to the left.

In addition, Heartland Institute recently suffered an exodus of corporate sponsors after it launched a billboard comparing those who believe in the science behind global warming to the Unabomber, Ted Kaczynski.

You can see how things are splitting even in the corporate world. The left leaning corporations are against School Choice, Charter schools and Vouchers not because they are bringing in a communist agenda and curriculums but because the Teachers Unions are against it.

Somehow the far right has gotten on this bandwagon of knowing what is good for our children and will “NEVER” admit they are pushing a Communist agenda and supporting the New World Order. But NEVER FORGET the left is also working on the New World Order – they just have different ideas on how to achieve it.

I am trying to help you understand you cannot trust either party in today’s world.

Example: Marc Tucker is the President and CFO of the NATIONAL CENTER ON EDUCATION AND THE ECONOMY. A socialist deeply in bed with the Clinton’s, Bill Gates, Rockefeller’s and other Progressive Socialists, wrote his famous letter to Hillary 7 days after Bill’s election in 1992 – http://www.eagleforum.org/educate/marc_tucker/

Tucker’s ambitious plan was implemented in three laws passed by Congress and signed by President Clinton in 1994: the Goals 2000 Act, the School-to-Work Act, and the reauthorized Elementary and Secondary Education Act. These laws establish the following mechanisms to restructure the public schools:

1. Bypass all elected officials on school boards and in state legislatures by making federal funds flow to the Governor and his appointees on workforce development boards.
2. Use a computer database, a.k.a. “a labor market information system,” into which school personnel would scan all information about every schoolchild and his family, identified by the child’s social security number: academic, medical, mental, psychological, behavioral, and interrogations by counselors. The computerized data would be available to the school, the government, and future employers.
3. Use “national standards” and “national testing” to cement national control of tests, assessments, school honors and rewards, financial aid, and the Certificate of Initial Mastery (CIM), which is designed to replace the high school diploma.

Designed on the German system, the Tucker plan is to train children in specific jobs to serve the workforce and the global economy instead of to educate them so they can make their own life choices – “school-to-work”!

AND – School Choice, Vouchers, Charter Schools, Parent Trigger Bill, Parental Rights – all those names mean the same thing they are just loaded with other words meant to confuse you and they do!

This whole process of “dumbing down our children” has been a long, slow process with a firm foothold beginning in the early 1900’s. COMMUNISM is very patient – they know how to play the game!

“Your children’s children will live under COMMUNISM. You AMERICANS are so gullible. No, you won’t accept COMMUNISM outright, but we’ll keep feeding you small doses of SOCIALISM until you will finally wake up & find that you already have COMMUNISM. We won’t ever have to fight you; we’ll weaken your economy until you fall like overripe fruit into our hands.” Nikita Khrushchev 1959

Added note: bottom line – the FEDERAL GOVERNMENT, UNIONS AND BUSINESSES AROUND AMERICA ALONG WITH FOREIGN COUNTRIES/BUSINESSES HAVE NO BUSINESS BELING INVOLVED IN THE EDUCATION OF OUR CHILDREN.

It is the responsibility of the individual states and their parents – not Unions either but parents!

Who do you trust? Not a politician!

2

Does the FLDOE Work for Jeb Bush’s Foundation? Part 1

If you are receiving this posting and have been following me for very long you know I think there is a level of cronyism and corruption taking place in Tallahassee in regard to our Education system and in particular “Charter” schools. In addition, the connections between the FL. legislators, the FLDOE and Jeb Bush’s Foundations has come to the point of “out of control”. The Florida Legislature is in the process of trying to “clean” it’s house by writing a new Ethics Bill of which I stated the other day does not go far enough or deep enough.

Today the following information was brought out by a fellow blogger Bob Sikes on his blog “Scathing Purple Musings. I am happy to say we think quite a bit alike when it comes to the Education system in Florida or should I say “lack of Education”. The DC watchdog group “In the Public Interest” is doing a great job.
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jebbushfrowny← Bush Foundation “staff acted to promote their corporate funders priorities” – Posted on January 30, 2013 by Bob Sikes

Today’s release of emails from a DC watchdog indeed provided some troubling revelations. Among these were arranging travel and reimbursements for Florida Department of Education (FLDOE) staffers and examples of clear advocacies for their corporate donors. But more than anything else, the sheer volume of emails between multiple Foundation for Excellence in Education(FEE) staffers and state employees at the Florida Department of Education made the two appear almost co-dependent. So many policy questions and requests for data were made by FEE staffers to numerous FLDOE staff that one would more likely be left with the impression that the later worked for the former.

Most disturbing of these involved attempts to dictate policy and legislation. This from “In the Public Interest”:

In addition to sending an invitation to the FL state board of education to attend a press conference in support of parent trigger legislation, FEE staff were very much involved in legislation affecting the state’s school turnaround procedures, which include converting some neighborhood schools to charter schools. (Education Commissioner Gerard Robinson) emailed (Jeb Bush CEO Patricia Levesque) in December 2011 to review the Department of Education’s Differentiated Accountability Draft Legislation. Levesque writes, “I think we need to add a sec into this bill to give you/the department authority to set a state‐approved list of charter operators or private providers so districts can’t pick poor performers to implement turnaround. Also, you/State Board should have more authority to enforce a strict timeline for turnaround models.2” If Charter Schools USA, the for-profit operator, were included on the “state approved list,” it could improve the company’s growth potential.

And this involving Florida’s No Child Left Behind waiver:

Levesque made her and her team’s resources available in February 2012 to “help with any defense of Florida’s waiver, push back on Ed Trust’s report.” (Education Trust’s report, which rated each state’s NCLB waiver application, noted that Florida’s accountability system did little to address achievement gaps.) Chiefs for Change, another Jeb Bush-related education group, became aware of the report, because Paul Pastorek, who, as the former Louisiana state Superintendent, was a member of Chiefs for Change, attended a meeting about waivers at the Federal Department of Education as a representative of the Chiefs. New Jersey Education Commissioner Chris Cerf’s private response about the ratings to a representative from Education Trust was shared with Robinson by Levesque along with the note: “Did Gerard get his copy of their review? We would like to help respond.” Levesque and the Foundation were an integral part of the waiver process in Florida; at one point Robinson emailed a staffer saying “Please connect with Patricia as you did before to discuss our latest draft document. Also, take a look at a document she me about our waiver.”

It is clear that Levesque and her staff have been enlisting the assets of the FLDOE to support legislation they’ve crafted on behalf of their clients like Pearson and Charter Schools USA. Moreover, the never-ending requests for data reveal even more. FEE has been manipulating the FLDOE to conform to it’s agenda while using it as a tool to maintain the Florida Model Jeb Bush sells to state legislatures all over the country.
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My added thoughts to this – I am not surprised it has surfaced and I am very grateful that it has. There is even more to come!

I would hope that you will read into these communications exactly what is here – the connection between the Florida Department of Education, Jeb Bush’s Chief of Staff Patricia Levesque and the Foundation for Excellence in Education’s manipulation or attempts to manipulate the legislation regarding Charter Schools in Florida and also the relationship s between the FLDOE, the Bush Foundations, Charter School and now Virtual School businesses and their “for-profit” “public-private” donors.

1. Gerard Robinson leaving the post as Florida’s Commissioner of Education “early” after reading this only endorses my thoughts that he found he was having to serve far too many masters and maybe his “ethical” side took over – we can only hope!

2. Florida now being graced with Jeb Bush’s Chief’s for Change “leader” as our Commissioner of Education and reading this information only makes me feel far more uncomfortable than I did before – especially when I know at least HALF of our State School Board is sleeping with Jeb Bush and his Foundations and have for some time in one capacity or another.

3. We have legislators who have been drafting policy to enrich the pockets of the likes of “Charter Schools USA” and their CEO Jonathan Hage and Mr. Hage being chosen as Florida’s “Man of the Year”. By the way – his children do not attend any Charter schools – his 4 children attend Pine Crest School, a private school at a tune of $20K per child, per year. He complains the closest Charter school to his home is 30 minutes away. (I still am curious as to how many of our Florida legislators send their children to Private schools).

4. Then there are the legislators drafting policy and putting into effect bills regarding Charter schools while enriching their pockets -Rep. Fresen, Academica; John Legg, Day Spring Academy; Rep. Seth McKeel, South McKeel Elementary Academy and Sen. Anitere Flores (Doral Academy.

5. How about the legislators who were as of 12/2012 (can’t say if they still are because Jeb Bush changed his web site) serving on Jeb Bush’s Foundation for Excellence in Education: Sen. Don Gaetz, Sen, John Negron, then Senator Thrasher and Rep. Weatherford.

Time and again the ethics have been overlooked and excused and I can tell you Patricia Levesque holds the same status and push in her job as does Valarie Jarrett in hers. These are very dangerous women who have perfected the ability of control and manipulation.

LevesqueIf Patricia Levesque comes calling put out the call “DANGER WILL ROBINSON, DANGER”! Maine’s Commissioner of Education Stephen Bowen might in the long run have been better off in making that call than the one he did to Patricia Levesque asking for her help in setting up Jeb Bush’s program in their state. Time will tell since he has been lured into the Levesque’s “spiderweb” and is now one of Jeb Bush’s Chief’s for Change also!

“Oh what tangled webs we weave, when first we practice to deceive.”

http://bobsidlethoughtsandmusings.wordpress.com/2013/01/30/bush-foundation-staff-acted-to-promote-their-corporate-funders-priorities/#comment-5436

http://www.inthepublicinterest.org/sites/default/files/0212%20ITPI%20Privatization_Report_f_0.pdf