Thursday, April 18, 2013

Voucher School Schemes Flourish with the Help of Taxpayer Money.

Charter and voucher schools are ripe for taxpayer exploitation. This is a point that seems to always get lost in the discussion. Just like the most egregious corporate schemes, private school operators are looking to game the system, funded by you and me.

For instance, private schools set up separate corporations to own the land their schools are on, make yearly leases increases, paid for by taxpayers, and then write the expense off on their taxes. That’s just one example. It's a con. Another?

Educator and historian Diane Ravich just pointed 3 others in one state. Issue one:
Last year, the Metro Nashville school board rejected Great Hearts Academy four times because it insisted on locating its charter school in the city’s most affluent neighborhood, with no plans for diversity … the equivalent of a publicly-funded private school for affluent white students. State Commissioner of Education Kevin Huffman (Michelle Rhee’s -ex, whose sole previous education experience was TFA) was furious (and) withheld $3.4 million in state funds owed to the children of Nashville to punish the board for defying him.
Issue Two:
In Arizona, Great Hearts was known for high test scores, but also for expecting parents to contribute $1,200-1,500 annually to defray school costs and keep classes small. For parents thinking of private schools, that’s a bargain, but it’s not public education. Last year Great Hearts directed $1 million in textbook purchases to a board member, who gave generously to the school.
Issue Three:
Then House Speaker Beth Harwell (R) expressed her displeasure by introducing ALEC legislation to create a state charter commission to authorize charter schools at will, without regard to the wishes of elected local school boards. This made other Republican legislators uncomfortable, some because they remembered that local control is (or used to be) a conservative idea, others because they worried that charters for inner-city kids might open in their own neighborhood.

So the legislators dropped Harwell’s ALEC proposal and shifted to a bill saying that the state board of education should have the power to override local school board decisions. That way they can protect their own neighborhood schools from those “poor kids trapped in failing schools,” while making it possible for the state board to open publicly financed private schools in white neighborhoods.
The expensive con game of privatization has so many other tricks up their sleeves. Search this blog with the word “charter” and “voucher” for more. You really won't believe what they're doing.

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