Douglas County Defeats Dark Money for Vouchers

Douglas County, next to Denver, Colorado school board races are national news and funded nationally. Why? It is a target area for school privatization. So much money is involved that candidates form coalitions. The pro choice/voucher group is called ELEVATE. The anti voucher group is called Community Matters. Evidently, community does matter in Denver. The four anti voucher school board candidates won by 60%.

The district began a voucher program in 2011, but it has been stalled in the courts. The U.S. Supreme Court told the Colorado Supreme Court to reconsider its decision that vouchers in Colorado were unconstitutional. The decision by the voters is likely to slow privatization of schools in Denver.

The race was touted as a test case for school vouchers. Americans for Prosperity, funded by the conservative Koch Brothers faced off against the teachers union. Politico estimated that the race cost over $800,000 dollars. Democracy is getting very expensive with all that dark money pouring in from billionaires. This time, the citizens won.

When You Lose Control of Your School

children-105894_640I do not generally repost blog articles, but this one just appeared in Diane Ravitch’s blog.  It tells the story of children required to eat breakfast in the hallway of their school.  The story is told by a teacher there who resigned.  She headed the United Opt Out movement, and her position was eliminated.   The school has become one of the Relay Leadership schools that focuses on teach to the test strategies.  These ‘take over’ schools promise the moon but deliver smelly cheese.  You should read this.  It is what privatization of public schools is all about.  It is becoming a ‘like it or leave it’ world.  This teacher left.

What is the Unkindest Cut of All?

Charters and traditional public schools are claiming that their funding allocations are inadequate and unfair.budget

 

Given the massive cuts in education funding, their claims are not trivial.  Their arguments, however, are different. Judges are ruling differently as well.  Based on information reported by Education Justice, a  program of the New Jersey based Education Law Center, and Access, a research institute at Columbia University, charters want facilities and traditional public schools seek fairness.Continue reading

Is More Truly Better?

After 15 years of school choice, have we learned how to help disadvantaged children?  The achievement gap remains. A year of school produces a year’s worth of learning.  Children who lack kindergarten readiness skills must somehow learn faster just to catch up. Yes, access to high quality preschool programs is needed, but for children already in school, is more school better? Continue reading