Larry Miller: Some of Trump’s Most Memorable Lines

Larry Miller is an editor at Rethinking Schools. He taught in the Milwaukee Public Schools for 17 years. He was elected to the Milwaukee school board in 2009.

Governor Scott Walker is doing his best to eliminate public education in Milwaukee by expanding vouchers and charters, even though the public schools are more successful than either of the privatized alternatives.

In this entertaining post, Miller cites some of Donald Trump’s most outrageous statements. He notes that Alberta Darling, who is Governor Walker’s ally in seeking to destroy public education, is support the “racist buffoon” candidate for the Presidency.

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Troy LaRaviere to Mayor Rahm Emanuel: I Quit as Principal of Chicago’s #1 Neighborhood Elementary School

Troy LaRaviere took the job as principal of Blaine Elementary School, which was already a respected and successful school, and promised to make it the #1 rated neighborhood school in the city within six years. He did it. He also courted trouble by publicly criticizing Mayor Rahm Emanuel for his harmful education policy that favored charters over public schools. And he courted more trouble by endorsing Bernie Sanders and becoming a Sanders delegate at the Democratic National Convention. But his greatest transgressions were his repeated critiques of the high-level mismanagement of the school system under mayoral control.

In this post, he announces his resignation, explains the methods he used at Blaine to achieve success, and once again blasts Rahm.

Troy, I know you have a great future ahead of you. I hope another big district is wise enough to hire you.

If Rahm Emanuel were wise, he would ask you to become Superintendent of Schools and help every elementary school in the city.

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PDK Annual Poll: Same Old, Same Old

Phi Delta Kappa released its annual poll today. Nothing new except that Gallup is no longer the polling company. No headlines. The only obvious conclusion: the American public is confused about why we have schools and what they should be doing and whether they are doing it well.

The public doesn’t agree on what the purpose of public schools is. 45% says it is to teach academics. About a quarter think they should teach career readiness. Another quarter think they should prepare students for citizenship.

Just to be clear, the reason that public schools were first established and treated as a community responsibility was to prepare good citizens to sustain our society into the future. There are many subdivisions under the goal of preparing to be good citizens, which would include the academic skills needed to read, write, think critically, be informed about issues in science and history, and be in good health. Somehow, the central purpose has been lowered in status. When people lose sight of the central purpose of education, then they fall prey to bogus claims about choice, charters, and vouchers, about which sector can do a better job of teaching academic skills or career skills. We have public schools as a public responsibility to teach young people to become active and informed citizens. All the rest follows.

In reading through the inconclusive public opinion on almost every subject, one question caught my attention because of its wording:

Q. Charter schools are public schools that are run without many of the state regulations placed on other public schools. Do you think it’s better for charter schools to meet the same educational standards as other public schools or to set their own educational standards?

The answer was a split decision. 48% said meet the same standards, 46% said no.

The question assumes that charter schools are public schools.

But charter schools are NOT public schools. Whenever charter operators are sued, their defense is that they are not public schools. They are privately managed schools that receive public funding. As the NLRB ruled last week, and as federal courts have ruled, charter schools are not held to the same standards as public schools because they are NOT “state actors.” Public schools are state actors. Charters themselves plead that they are not public schools. In 2010, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that a charter operator in Arizona ran a private nonprofit corporation, not an agency of the state, in response to a lawsuit by a former teacher. In 2011, the staff at the New Media Technology Charter School wanted to form a union. They appealed to state law. The charter owner, however, said the school was not public and was not governed by state law; he said it was a private school subject to the NLRB. In the same year, teachers at the Chicago Math & Science Academy also wanted to form a union. There, too, the charter operator rebuffed them by saying the school was a “private” entity, not a public school, and was not subject to state law. (See pp. 163-164 of Reign of Error). Charter schools are run by private entities that receive government contracts. The receipt of public funds does not make an entity public. If it did, then every major defense contractor would be public, not private.

The answer is troubling as well as the question. If nearly half of the respondents think that charter schools do not have to meet the same standards as public schools, what is it they believe? Do they believe that charter schools should not be held accountable for student test scores? Do they think that charter schools should be judged by some other metric?

I have been reading PDK polls for years. I learned nothing new from this one, other than that the public has lost sight of why we have public schools. That may be the consequence of propaganda from the privatizers. If there is no agreement on why we pay taxes to support public schools, then any alternative will do, including schools run by churches and schools run by foreign nationals.

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It’s Official:NLRB Says Charter Schools Are Not Public Schools

Tim Slekar, dean of education at Edgewood College in Wisconsin, alerted me to an important decision by the National Labor Relations Board.

The NLRB ruled that charter schools are private schools, not public schools. This echoes several previous rulings by the courts and the NLRB, which concluded that charter schools are private corporations that contract with government and are not “state actors.” Public schools are “state actors.” Charter schools are not.

The ruling was reported by a blog for the Albany Times-Union:

Here’s an interesting item that touches on the semantics as well as labor issues surrounding New York’s charter school movement.

A recent ruling by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), concludes that charter schools are private and efforts to start teachers unions in them should fall under their purview, rather than the Public Employment Relations Board (PERB) which oversees the public sector.

The decision stemmed from efforts by the United Federation of Teachers (UFT) to unionize teachers at the Hyde Leadership charter school in Brooklyn.

PERB had asserted jurisdiction over the school, but the union ended up arguing that organizing efforts should be overseen by the NLRB which administers labor law in the private sector.

The NLRB in its decision, concluded that “Hyde was not established by a state or local government, and is not itself a public school.”

I describe previous rulings by federal courts and the NLRB that charter schools are “not state actors” in Reign of Error. In a criminal case in California a few years ago, the California Charter School Association entered an amicus brief in defense of charter operators accused of fraud and claimed that charter schools are not subject to the same laws as public schools. They are not state actors.

The appropriate analogy would be a corporation like Boeing, which works for the government, is funded by the government, but is not a state actor. It is private.

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Leonie Haimson: A Bad Week for the Charter Privateers and Their Orwellian Rhetoric

Leonie Haimson, parent activist in New York City, crusader for reduced class size and student privacy, lays waste to the charter privateers in this hilarious post!

First came the devastating resolution passed by the national convention of the NAACP, calling for a charter moratorium.

Then came the attack on charters by Black Lives Matter.

And the topper was John Oliver’s funny and accurate portrayal of charter school graft.

But the privateers (or privatizers, as I usually say) continue their assault on public education with propaganda and lies.

In Massachusetts, they claim that expanding charter schools will “improve public education,” when in fact it will drain money from neighborhood public schools and take away local control.

In Georgia, a constitutional amendment on the ballot in November authorizes the creation of a state district that will eliminate local control, like the failed Tennessee ASD, yet says it will empower communities.

This is Orwellian. That means when you say one thing but mean the opposite. Another word for lying. Like saying “reform” when you mean “privatization.”

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I’m With Her, Literally

On Sunday, I attended a fund-raising event for Hillary Clinton.

I have met her on several occasions in the past, beginning in 1984, when I stayed overnight at the Governor’s mansion in Little Rock while visiting the state to give a lecture. Although she has met many tens or hundreds of thousands of people over the years, she always remembers me (as does Bill).

I had a few minutes to talk to her privately. I gave her my “elevator speech” about the disaster of the privatization and testing policies of the past 15 years, and the need for a revival of support for public schools.

If you look at the photos, you will see the progression of our meeting. She recognizes me; we hug; I give her my views. And then the great shot, all taken from my cell phone by one of her staff.

After she did the meet and greet, she spoke for about 25 minutes to the 50 or so people there.

She spoke about the importance of working across party lines to get important work done that benefits all Americans. She talked about building better relationships with our allies. She said that she would work closely with Senator Sanders to develop a realistic plan to make college tuition-free for those below a certain income level and to reduce the cost of public college overall. She spoke of the need to elect Democrats to the Senate and the House and to reverse the Citizens United decision. She spoke of defeating the gun lobby, which represents not gun owners but gun manufacturers. She was especially eloquent on the subject of guns. She said that hunters should keep their guns; collectors should keep their guns. But there should be careful screening of all gun purchasers. The fact that Congress refuses to ban sales of guns to people on the terrorist watch list is madness. When asked what she would do about the millions of guns already in circulation, she said she was not sure, but would look into the gun buyback program that Australia used. She spoke eloquently about protecting and bettering the lives of all Americans.

She is knowledgable. She is experienced. She speaks with wisdom, judgment, and clarity. She has the stamina of a person of 30 (this was her fourth event of the day, and she never sat down, not once. And she had two more similar events to go that day.) Don’t believe the Trump nonsense about her health. She looked and sounded great. She is informed, and she is ready.

#Iamwithher

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Mike Klonsky Remembers Hurricane Katrina

For the education reformers of our day, Hurricane Katrina created an opportunity for disruption and privatization.

A chance to get rid of public education.

A chance to get rid of the union.

A chance to fire all the teachers, most of whom were African Americans.

A chance for education reform.

Mike Klonsky remembers and puts it into context.

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