Southern Education Foundation: Charters and Vouchers Increase Segregation, Decrease Opportunity for Neediest

The Southern Education Foundation has released a new report that explodes the myth that charters and vouchers increase opportunity for students of color and low-income students. Far from it. Privatization via charters and vouchers has intensified racial segregation and is reversing the Brown Decision of 1954. The disreputable concept of “separate but equal” is returning under the guise of “school choice.”




CONTACT: Autumn Blanchard


State-funded “separate but unequal” education billed as opportunity for underrepresented


MARCH 29, 2016 – The Southern Education Foundation (SEF), an advocate for equity in education, releases Race & Ethnicity in a New Era of Public Funding of Private Schools: Private School Enrollment in the South and the Nation. This report explores the phenomenon of publicly funded private school segregation occurring more than 60 years after the Brown v. Board of Education verdict declared segregated public schools unconstitutional. It closely examines racial demographics in contemporary private schools and finds that they remain segregated, with white students significantly overrepresented as compared to public school populations.


Currently, 19 states have programs that provide public funding to support children’s attendance in private schools. Last year alone, approximately $1 billion was diverted to private schools from state treasuries across the country, spreading thinner already limited resources. Though such state initiatives exist in each region of the nation, they are especially concentrated in the South.


“The prevailing message is that these voucher and neo-voucher tax credit scholarship programs offer better or more opportunities to students of color and low-income students…the data does not reflect that story,” said Dr. Kent McGuire, president of SEF. In reality, it perpetuates a trend of financially supporting private schools that as a whole remain overwhelming white – no less than 75 percent of all white students in private schools attend schools where 90 percent or more of the student body is white. As segregation persists in private schools, the demographics of public schools shift toward an increasingly diverse student body – fertile ground for the reemergence of a “separate but unequal” education system.


Using data from the National Center for Education Statistics from 1998 and 2012, this brief and the accompanying Southern state profiles review several indicators of racial demographics and segregation in public and private schools including: overrepresentation of white students, disproportionate white enrollment rates, virtual segregation (90% or more white student population), and virtual exclusion of students of color. All of which suggest that segregation persists in private schools across the country and especially in the South.


The six Deep South states, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, and South Carolina, which resisted the constitutional mandate for school desegregation the longest are the worst offenders in the nation by far – demonstrating that state support of private schooling does not appear to have led to greater access for students of color. These six states had a considerably higher rate of overrepresentation among white students in private schools than any other section or region in 2012. Five of the six states were at the top of the state rankings in 2012 and the sixth, Alabama, was ranked tenth.



Despite laws against segregation and in contrast to public schools, private schools with and without public funding continue to select which students they will admit. As long as the private school adopts a non-discriminatory policy and publicly declares that they do not discriminate on the basis of race, color, or national origin they are eligible to receive public funds in states with programs that allow for the shifting of funds to private institutions. However, enrollment patterns show that this measure primarily gives only lip service to a commitment to diversity. Despite these trends, black students can still often be found on promotional materials produced by private schools and scholarship organizations. This leaves the false impression that primarily students of color are served by such voucher initiatives and supports the oft-championed messaging that greater access to private institutions is available for students of color, which is often not the case.


The study’s findings and analysis are reminiscent of the overall patterns and conditions of attendance in private schools in the South that the authors of The Schools That Fear Built found in 1976 in the aftermath of massive resistance to desegregation: “These are schools for whites. The common thread that runs through them all, Christian, secular, or otherwise, is that they provide white ground to which blacks are admitted only on the school’s terms if at all.” This study suggests that today’s “common thread” also encompasses the exclusion of Hispanic and Native American students, as well as African American students.


“Because we must preserve the fundamental democratic principle that each child in this nation should have an opportunity for a good education, schools funded by tax dollars – be they private or public – should not be allowed to pick and choose only the students they wish to admit and educate. We know from this report the consequences: most unregulated private schools, left on their own in the South and the nation, have failed to admit any significant number of students of color,” said Steve Suitts, adjunct lecturer of Emory University who developed and wrote the report while serving at the Southern Education Foundation in his last year as a senior fellow. The prospect for better academic opportunity for students sounds attractive but in reality it manifests into an age-old practice that perpetuates a racial divide between children before they ever even learn their ABCs. Currently, these initiatives show no sign of slowing and in many cases are on the upswing. Now more than ever, our scarce public resources should be used to invest in public schools that operate under an obligation to serve any and all students.



About Southern Education Foundation
The Southern Education Foundation (SEF), founded in 1867, is an Atlanta-based research institution and policy advocate whose mission is to advance equity and excellence in education for all students in the South, particularly low-income students and students of color. SEF uses collaboration, advocacy, and research to improve outcomes from early childhood to adulthood. Our core belief is that education is the vehicle by which all students get fair chances to develop their talents and contribute to the common good. SEF has published a host of impactful reports including “A New Majority” & “Performance Funding at MSIs” as featured in The Washington Post and Inside Higher Ed, respectively. For more information, visit

For the full report visit

from sarah


Revisiting The “Coke” & “Pepsi” Of NC’s Community Banks: BNCN vs YDKN Current Pro Forma

PDF ATTACHED:FIG Partners Industry Analysis 3-31-16 – BNCN vs YDKN

North Carolina’s BNCN-BNC Bancorp and YDKN-Yadkin Financial have become the proverbial “Coke” vs. “Pepsi” in the eyes of Community Bank stock investors.  Both companies announced mergers late in 2015 creating future franchise expansion and an upward shift in earnings per share.  Since we cover both companies intimately, we can attest how investor expectations and the forward outlook for both stocks have surged and more recently retreated.

We share the math (see Page 2) on how both companies are valued using pro forma figures for March 2016 after both companies’ M&A deals have been closed.  YDKN officially closed the NewBridge Bancorp transaction in March 2016 and BNCN’s two mergers in NC and SC close in another 3-4 months.  Our figures compare the December ‘16 estimates for Tangible Book, TCE, Core Deposits, and the 4Q16 EPS run-rate to today’s stock price as well as 2017 to judge the Deposit Premiums, P/E, and Tangible Book multiples.

BNCN has a similar forward P/E as YDKN in 2016 and has stronger upside potential in the near-term, which meets our “Outperform” rating standard, while YKDN could attract a better P/E as 2017 comes better into focus (we admit that our conservative valuation next year may need revision).  In both cases, execution on merger integration as well as continued organic growth is key in the next 12 months.

Contact us or your FIG Partners Sales person for more background on our analysis.

The post Revisiting The “Coke” & “Pepsi” Of NC’s Community Banks: BNCN vs YDKN Current Pro Forma appeared first on FIG Partners.

from sarah

Parents: Don’t Be Bullied: Opt Out in 2016

Julia Sass Rubin, who lives in New Jersey, points out that the threat of cutting off federal funding is empty. No federal official would stop funding Title I schools, attended by the poorest children. The administrative funding for the program is $3.3 million.


Is $3.3 million a big deal? Not really. The state of New Jersey has spent over $8 million to defend Governor Chris Christie in Bridgegate.


$3.3 million to protect your children is a good deal.


Opt Out in 2016.

from sarah

2016 Election: Where Do the Candidates Stand?

This is a good article by Steven Rosenfeld about the 2016 election. Rosenfeld focuses on the charter school issue. He understands, as so few national commentators do, that charter schools are an existential threat to public education. 
He reviews the reactionary views of the Republican candidates, all of whom support privatization.
And he deconstructs the views of Hillary and Bernie. 

from sarah

Illinois: Don’t Believe It When They Tell You Not to Opt Out

A former Chicago Public Schools teacher left a comment and referred to this article, which features one of her students. He is organizing a boycott of PARCC. Illinois offers no “formal” way to opt out; the decision is left to children. Some schools are threatening punishments of various kinds, and school officials imply that the tests have been improved. They say, for example, that the results will arrive in the summer, instead of the fall, when there is still time to help children. On the face of it, that claim is ridiculous. The child is not in school in the summer, for starters. He or she won’t have the same teacher by the time the results come in. Worse, there is nothing in the results that will “help” the teachers or the children. How are children “helped” by learning that they have scored a 1, 2, 3, or 4? How will they be helped if they learned what percentile they scored it? This is all nonsense, which is why students and parents should opt out and demand an end of this massive waste of money and instructional time.


This week, when state standardized testing begins at many CPS schools, at least one sixth-grader at Sumner Elementary School will be sitting out PARCC.


“I’m going to refuse PARCC next week because we haven’t had typing classes,” Diontae Chatman told the Board of Education last week, missing school for the first time all year so he could testify.


“We didn’t have a qualified math teacher from September to January,” he added. Plus last year, students taking the test online were logged on and off repeatedly, among other problems.


But skipping the test, even though state law allows it, could bring about consequences that feel unfair to children.


“My school is threatening to take away our field day to students who refuse PARCC,” Diontae explained. “I think we all should get treated the same way, if we take it or if we don’t take it.”


Once again, neither Chicago Publics Schools nor the Illinois State Board of Education have any specific directive for how schools should treat children who refuse to take the exam between now and May 15.


Meanwhile, the district is urging all parents to participate in the test, saying PARCC provides useful detailed data.


“PARCC is a mandatory exam and the district’s failure to implement the exam does have serious consequences” that are financial, Chief Education Officer Janice Jackson said. “We’re making a lot of short-term fixes, so we can’t afford any reduction in financing from the state as a result of our failure to administer the test.”


PARCC — the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers — is given to third- through eighth-graders and some high schoolers. Aligned to Common Core standards, it aims to show how well students are preparing for college at each grade level. Though PARCC was designed to be interactive and taken on a computer, CPS’ third- and fourth-graders still will take a paper version.


PARCC still carries no consequences at CPS, which uses a separate test to evaluate teachers and schools.


For its second year, PARCC has been shortened. It has a simpler format, and results have been promised much sooner than last year — by the summer, rather than late autumn, so that teachers and parents can actually use the results.


Those improvements still won’t stop a number of families in Chicago from skipping it.



[Some readers said the link doesn’t work; this works for me:


PARCC Testing Begins, But Still No Opt Out Policy, in the Chicago Sun-Times



from sarah

The False Claim that Teachers’ Unions Are Behind the Parents’ Opt Out Movement

The tabloid press in New York City, which has consistently supported corporate reform, such as charters and high-stakes testing, regularly claims in its editorials that the parents’ opt out movement is secretly funded and manipulated by teachers’ unions.


This is absolutely untrue. There are teachers involved in the opt out movement, but as individuals and parents, not as representatives of their unions. When Karen Magee, the president of the New York State teachers’ union, endorsed opt out last spring, right before the testing started, it was big news. (My blog got the biggest one-day readership in its history [about 140,000 views in one day] when I reported Magee’s decision).


The New York City United Federation of Teachers never endorsed opt out, never funded it.


Please, editorial writers for the New York Post, the New York Daily News, and yes, even the New York Times, please take note: The opt out movement is parent-led, parent-organized, and depends on parents for its energy and passion. It is not union-led, union-funded, or union-controlled. In short, the opt out movement is a grassroots uprising against the absurd emphasis on standardized tests that consume instructional time without any benefit to students and without providing any useful information to teachers.



from sarah

Michelle Gunderson: Why Chicago Teachers Are Striking on April 1

Michelle Gunderson has taught in the Chicago public schools for 29 years; she teaches first grade.


In this post, she describes why the Chicago Teachers Union decided to strike on April 1. The House of Delegates’ vote to strike was overwhelming, but it was not unanimous. It was 486-124. Some teachers wanted a longer strike. Others had other reasons to dissent. Some Chicagoans predict that the strike will be joined by other unions, to protest Mayor Emanuel’s failure to fund the public schools, by his open hostility to public schools and their teachers, and by his clear favoritism toward charter schools opened by his friends and funders. Some think it may be close to a general strike. We will see. In the meanwhile, those of us who do not live in Chicago send our love and support to our allies who are fighting for the equitable treatment of the children they teach.


Gunderson writes:


In many schools around Chicago teachers experienced losing their colleagues through the recent cuts. When a teacher leaves a job they do not simply pack their personal effects into a banker’s box and walk out the door. Most teachers need a U-Haul to pack up all the materials they have personally brought into the school. And they leave behind them grieving children (losing your teacher is akin to losing a parent) and colleagues who must take up the additional workload.


In these schools which were cut to the bone, the argument to strike for revenue was easy. It is not a coincidence that the argument is harder at schools on the north and northwest side where race and class divide us on lines that were construed by injustice in the first place.


You will hear stories of teachers and parents who disagree with the strike. You will read news articles that amplify this message and comment sections in our Chicago papers that promote this injustice and often pure hate of teachers and children.


The facts remain – our city is divided, our children are suffering, and the Chicago Teachers Union has a vision of the world that makes this not so.


Join the strike on April first.

from sarah

John Thompson: Corporate Reformers Descend on Oklahoma City to Inflict the “Edu-Politics of Destruction”

John Thompson, historian and teacher, thought that corporate reform was happening elsewhere, but not in Oklahoma City. But now they have arrived in full force, with all their failed and demoralizing strategies. It is such a good post that I am quoting a lot of it, but not all of it. I urge you to read the whole thing.


He writes:


It wasn’t until I left the fulltime classroom in 2010 that I saw out-of-state corporate reformers, ranging from the Walton Foundation and the Parent Revolution to ALEC, try to bring their competition-driven, edu-politics to Oklahoma City. I saw plenty of examples of Sooner state Reaganism, and the gutting of the social safety net. After all, we expect businessmen to play political hardball, as well as take risks and leverage capital in order to increase their profits. That is why we need the checks and balances of our democratic system to counter the “creative destruction” of capitalism. Some free market experiments will fail, but “its only money.” When schools gamble on market-driven policies, however, the losers are children.



Actually, even the economic game involves more than money, as we in Oklahoma have learned after our state adopted so much of the ALEC agenda of shrinking the size of government. Even as we cut funding by about 1/4th since 2008, national corporate reformers have imposed incredibly expensive and untested policies (such as Common Core testing and test-driven teacher evaluations), while encouraging the creaming of the easiest-to-educate (and the least-expensive-to-educate) students from neighborhood schools and into charter schools.



Before 2010, I only read about national conservative and neo-liberal school reformers who adopted a strategy of “convergence” or “flooding the zone” to drive rapid, “transformational change” in selected districts and schools. I didn’t personally witness the way that they used mass charterization, now called the “portfolio strategy,” to avoid the messiness of constitutional democracy. Freed of local governance, corporate reformers promoted a school culture of risk-taking, and urgent experimentation to produce “disruptive innovation.”



Now, it looks like local edu-philanthropists have joined with the Billionaires Boys Club and they may be ready to pull the plug on the OKCPS. Before embracing the policies pushed by national reformers, Oklahoma City and other urban areas should consider Sarah Reckhow’s and Megan Tompkins-Stange’s “‘Singing from the Same Hymnbook’: Education Policy Advocacy at Gates and Broad.” It begins in the glory days of test-driven, market-driven reform, from 2008 to 2010, when the Broad Foundation proclaimed,



“We feel the stars have finally aligned. With an agenda that echoes our decade of investments—charter schools, performance pay for teachers, accountability, expanded learning time and national standards—the Obama administration is poised to cultivate and bring to fruition the seeds we and other reformers have planted.”

Reckhow and Tompkins-Stange explain how this dramatic change was conducted in the “absence of a robust public debate.” An alphabet soup of think tanks, funded by “venture philanthropists, produced the best public relations campaign that money could buy, and they did so while playing fast and loose with the evidence. As a Gates insider explained:


“It’s within [a] sort of fairly narrow orbit that you manufacture the [research] reports. You hire somebody to write a report. There’s going to be a commission, there’s going to be a lot of research, there’s going to be a lot of vetting and so forth and so on, but you pretty much know what the report is going to say before you go through the exercise.”

It should now be clear that corporate reform failed. The ostensible leader of the campaign, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan is gone, as are the highest-profile leaders of transformational reforms in New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, Newark, Houston, Memphis, Washington D.C. and other districts. The quantitative portions of teacher evaluations are all but dead, and Common Core has replaced NCLB as the most toxic brand in education. After the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) replaced NCLB, and after Hillary Clinton distanced herself from charter schools, it is likely that federal support for this top-down social engineering experiment is history.



The prospect of the eminent demise of test-driven, competition-driven reform seems to have prompted the most fervent reformers in the Broad and Walton Foundations to double down on mass charterization, i.e. the “portfolio” model, in Los Angeles, Oakland, Chicago, Newark, D.C. and, apparently, Oklahoma City. I believe it is also obvious why top-down, corporate reform failed. It came with the sword, dismissing educators as the enemy. The “Billionaires Boys Club” hatched their secret plans without submitting them to the clash of ideas. These non-educators ignored both social science and the hard-earned wisdom of practitioners. The “astroturf” think tank, the Center for Reinventing Public Education (CRPE), has gained a foothold in Tulsa and they seem to have the ears of competition-driven reformers in Oklahoma City. The CRPE may best illustrate the way that reformers are doubling down on the edu-politics of destruction, even while they belatedly try to cultivate a kinder, gentler image.



I hope that Thompson is right about the demise of corporate reform. It is so lucrative that I don’t expect the hedge-fund-manager-driven demand for privatization to go away quietly, nor do I expect Broad and Gates to abandon their obsession with privatizing the nation’s public schools. I think that once they realize that the public rejects their malignant beneficence and that their reputation is endangered, and that history may view them as scoundrels for the damage they have inflicted on a democratic institution, then they might desist and pick some other sector to micro-manage.


By the way, it was Paul Hill, founder of the Center for Reinventing Public Education who invented the idea of the portfolio strategy about a dozen years ago. His theory was that the school board should look on their schools as akin to a stock portfolio: get rid of the weak ones, hold on to the top performers. Open and close schools to balance the portfolio. This is already a failed strategy because it ignores the reasons for low academic performance.

from sarah