Recent Posts

Click to View and Comment

Education Issues Blog

To Educate and Inform on Issues Relating to Public Education

Introduction

Our blog is a tool box. Make it work for you. Here you will find data, studies, and perspectives that inform the discussion about school choice. Send stories of events in your state. Tell us about studies that clarify issues. Do your own studies. Use the information you find here to advocate for League positions.

CONTACT us by email to send posts.

COMMENT by pressing the ‘Continue Reading’ button and scroll to the space provided.

CLICK THE PICTURES on the banner to see the FEATURE STORY. LEGISLATION, and LAWSUITS.

VISIT THE COMMITTEES. You will see the latest on national school reform issues. Learn about school and teacher ACCOUNTABILITY, CURRICULUM, LAWS, MANAGEMENT, FACILITY issues, and VOUCHER concerns. We will post questions of the week about the hot topics. Participate through our contact icon.

STUDY THE RESOURCES. Here you will find sources of information. They will grow with your help. Use the Search bar to locate categories of resources. Write articles and make fact sheets for your own groups. Send what you create to share with others.

SUBSCRIBE TO THE BLOG TO RECEIVE EMAIL NOTICES OF NEW POSTS.

New:

Who’s Calling the Shots?

Aaron Burr shot Alexander Hamilton in a duel, and Burr died broke and alone. Both men lost. Their dispute was both personal and political and lasted over two hundred years. Now It is playing not only on stages across the country, it also has entered K12 and postsecondary classrooms. The argument is over power–whether the few or the many should control the government. Alexander Hamilton was the Federalist party leader. He believed in political control by an elite, centralized government, and implied powers drawn from the constitution. His Federalist party viewed religion (usually Protestant belief) as a tool to build its sense of community. Burr was Thomas Jefferson’s vice president. They were anti federalists who supported state and local control and the separation of church and state. The Federalists collapsed as a political party by 1808, and new political alliances were formed on both sides. Nevertheless, the issues remained as we see today.

The debate over civics education in Florida is the latest political power play rooted in this old dispute. The strategy is subtle. Political conservatives are using money and political connections to alter Florida’s civics education. Behind the scenes is Hillsdale College, a religious college in Michigan that is defining what it means to be a patriotic citizen. The concept is akin to the idea of promoting ‘civil religion’ that evolved from the Federalist party’s celebration of patriotic ideas and events to build its base of support.

We need to not only understand these changes in civics education, but also the story behind Hillsdale College. The College was founded in 1844. Facing scandal and near collapse in 1999, the college selected its current president who saw an opportunity to promote its conservative Federalist ideology as a form of super patriotism and rebuild the school. It now has an endowment of over $800 million. It defines Federalism in its version of classical education called the 1776 Curriculum which is used in its classical charter schools. Read a critique here.

Supporters of the College include national and Florida-based politicians. Betsy DeVos, former U.S. Secretary of Education and Ginnie Thomas, wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas are examples. In Florida, they include Erika Donalds, wife of U.S. Representative Byron Donalds, who led the Florida Coalition of School Board Members, a conservative alternative school board association. She helped found the Florida Classical Academies (charter schools) sponsored by Hillsdale College. Florida politicians such as Governor DeSantis and Florida Commissioner of Education Richard Corcoran are identified with these charters. It is a close knit group with a history.

Erika Donalds sponsored Amendment 8 to the Florida Constitution in 2018. The amendment was thrown out by the courts, but its agenda to limit school boards’ authority, ban books, and require its version of civic literacy remain. Governor DeSantis has coopted it as he builds his candidacy for President. His legislative agenda prohibits teaching subjects that make students uncomfortable about past events (HB 7). HB 1467 bans controversial topics in textbooks. The new civics curriculum with its particular set of values will take effect in 2024.

It is difficult to believe that a small college in Michigan could impact Florida’s students at both the K12 and postsecondary levels, but they have. The Florida legislature has passed Governor DeSantis’ measures to revise the State Standards for Civics (HB 5), K12 Social Studies (SB 1108), and postsecondary requirements regarding diversity of opinions (HB 233). Teacher training workshops have been held to make the curriculum “more patriotic”. These changes were reviewed and modified by Michigan’s Hillsdale College. A new University of Florida Hamilton Institute was funded by Florida’s legislature and Hillsdale College to develop civics courses at the college level. Normally, the faculty at universities control the curriculum, and how these courses will be implemented is unclear. This week DeSantis has announced the creation of three community college civics career academies to train students to work in local government.

Florida politicians, like the president of Hillsdale College are opportunists. They thrive in times of turmoil. As in 1808, our political parties are again in disarray leaving room for new parties and power brokers to emerge. Will political parties reorganize to rebalance the power of money and influence? Hamilton took his shot at power and lost. The anti-federalist Jeffersonians held sway until their internal divisions split the party. New coalitions formed then and will again when voters insist. Our democracy depends upon it.

US House Appropriations Chair: Blistering Reproach to Opponents of For-Profit Charter School Regulations

by Carol Burris, Executive Director of the Network for Public Education

Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro, Chair of the House Appropriations Committee, issued a blistering reproach of how “the national trade organization representing for-profit EMO’s is running a well-funded misinformation campaign” to stop the proposed regulations of the U.S. Department of Education to provide more accountability and transparency in the federal Charter Schools Program (CSP).

Although Chairwoman DeLauro does not mention the National Alliance of Public Charter Schools (NAPCS) by name, that organization has been leading the campaign telling President Biden and Secretary Cardona to #backoff. “In 2019, the NACPS Hall of Fame winner was Fernando Zulueta, the founder and owner of the largest for-profit chain in the United States, Academica. Zulueta served on their board for years,” according to Carol Burris, the Executive Director of the Network for Public Education. NPE issued a report last year on the for-profit charter industry, entitled “Chartered for Profit: The Hidden World of Charter Schools Operated for Financial Gain.”

Burris continues, “The campaign of misinformation waged by NACPS at defeating sensible reforms in CSP regulations has been relentless. Wild and untruthful claims made include that the Department does not believe rural charter schools and culturally affirming charter schools should exist, that public school districts would need to approve new charter schools, and that the regulations would override state law. Each of these outrageous false claims are intended to do one thing–frighten parents who send their children to charter schools to oppose the regulations in order to ensure that for-profit run charters and white flight charters can still get CSP funding.”

According to the Chair’s press release, which you can find here, this is not the first time that the same organization has used misinformation in order to protect the for-profit charter industry. The “trade organization” , presumably the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools, led a similar campaign of misinformation last summer, according to Chair DeLauro.

Finally, Reasonable Federal Regulations for Charter Schools Management!

The U.S. Department of Education has proposed regulations to curb charter school management problems. The regulations are tied to federal funding. This is great news! They tackle for-profit charter schools and require community impact studies of charter schools. The Department wants your feedback. Please submit your comments here.

Below I have summarized my comments about the proposed regulations.The Department needs to hear from you. Please stand up and be counted.

I am writing in response to the invitation to submit comments regarding “Proposed Priorities, Requirements, Definitions, and Selection Criteria-Expanding Opportunity Through Quality Charter Schools Program (CSP)-Grants to State Entities (SE Grants)

I strongly support the Department’s attempt to ensure that charter schools operated by for-profit management corporations do not receive CSP grants. As a resident of Florida, I can attest to the problems created by for-profits running schools. In my state, over 50% of our charter schools are run by for-profit management companies.

I strongly support the proposed regulations that seek to bring greater transparency and assess the impact of a new charter school on the community. I especially support the inclusion of a community impact analysis “to inform the need, number, and types of charter schools to be created in a given community.”

Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to submit comments. And thank you for proposing much needed reforms.

Sue Legg

JavaScript

Categories

Previous Posts

June 2024
M T W T F S S
 12
3456789
10111213141516
17181920212223
24252627282930

Subscribe to Blog via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 1,046 other subscribers

Follow Us!

Follow me on Twitter