Scan the list of resources below. The references are listed first by topic and then by state. You can search for multiple categories by entering the key words in the search box. Each reference is linked to a website. Please send posts for new sources or send a message if you have any questions.
NATIONAL SCHOOL REFORM ISSUES
National Data and Regulations
No Child Left Behind. The U.S. DOE page has links to DATA and Laws. Under DATA, you can find links to research and data, ESEA flexibility, What Works Clearinghouse on the effectiveness of educational programs, IDEA regulations, Civil Rights.
ALEC Education Proposals: The American Legislative Exchange Council formulates legislation to be considered by states and Congress.
Secretary Arne Duncan Call for Reform in Charter Sector
A few speeches from Secretary Duncan (and some testimony from Jim Shelton) over the past few years challenging the charter sector to address various pressing issues:
In Defense of Public Education
A Framework for Improving School Systems in the 21st Century. This book, by Dr. Owen Roberts, Superintendent of Schools in Alachua County, Florida describes a research based approach for sustainable continuous improvement in student learning. The book focuses on learning and language development and is packed with information. It considers the key variables for optimum impact in order to close the achievement gap. The author concludes with a description of a framework for school improvement that is based upon a shared vision of the culture and relationships essential for school improvement. Such a vision is based on collaboration, not competition. It begins in the classroom.
Here are references for vision statements for school reform as well as evaluations of the claims that public schools need to change.
Chile’s Backhelt to Send Key Education Reform to Congress. Reuters. May 2014. The fight to provide a quality education for all – over the Chicago Boys’ “innovative disruption” is being led by the President of Chile.
Do America’s Schools Need to Change? Depends on What You Compare Them To. The Atlantic. October 2013. The article compares the approaches presented in Reign of Error by Diane Ravitch and Amanda Ripley’s The Smartest Kids in the World.
Is There a Crisis? Frontline, NPR. This is a compilation of comments by education experts that provides a wide range of views on the need for educational reform. The author suggests that the problem U.S. education faces is that there are two systems of education, one for urban areas and one for all others. This division impacts resources and access to high quality educational opportunities.
Reign of Error. Diane Ravitch. In a NY Times article “This is Only a Test”, Jonathan Kozol reviews Diane Ravitch’s book. He reports her argument that public education reflects concentrated poverty and racial segregation. Privatization of education does not address these underlying problems. Book Review. 2013.
Special Report: Class Struggle-How charters get the students they want. 2013. A Reuters report that examines the barriers in place to be admitted to charter schools, including grueling application processes. While most bill themselves as open to all, the application process doesn’t reflect that regulation.
Strategies for Improving Public Education. This is a 2008 report by the Ford Foundation that describes the changes in the types of reforms that have been implemented over time e.g. changing schools from within, building communities, finance and equity, teacher diversity, and high standards for excellence. Now Ford is funding multi-pronged strategies supported by external agencies. 2008.
Teacher Wars: A History. Dana Goldstein. NY Times Review. 2014. The review credits the author with getting past facile arguments about the need for reform.
The Original Charter School Vision. The authors are fellows in the Century Foundation. In this NY Times article, they describe the differences in Albert Shankers’ original vision for charters as innovation hubs and the current implementation of school reform.
In Defense of School Reform
Beyond the Conservative Curtain: PART VII, Strategists for School Choice/Charter Schools. This religious site by Watch Pair.com lists “Pseudo Grassroots Organizations that Front for Corporate/Government Takeover”. The information on each organization is detailed.
50 Myths and Lies about Public Schools. Washington Post. 2014. The article reviews a book by David Berliner and Gene Glass, both very well respected educators who debunk common assumptions about teachers, merit pay, funding equity and others that underlie the school reform movement.
Center on Reinventing Public Education. This center at the University of Washington Bothell is funded by the Gates Foundation and others. It conducts research on charter school accountability.
Research on School Choice and Charters. National Council on State Legislators. This site has information in issues for legislators including: Comprehensive School Choice: A Guide for Legislators, Private School Choice, Charter Schools, and Parent Trigger Laws.
The Education Conversation Reformers Want vs. The One They Get. This is a report from the Education Opportunity Network on a new blog called ‘Education Post‘ that purposes to hold a more civil conversation about education reform. It cites initial funPding from the Broad, Bloomberg and Walton Foundations.
The War on Teacher Tenure http://time.com/3533556/the-war-on-teacher-tenure/
Critiques of School Reform Studies
Brief Guide to Major Charter School Studies. Washington Policy Center. org. Source Watch lists the key members of WPC who are associated with ALEC. The Center’s reviews of studies tend to support charter schools.
Efficiency Report has Many Problems. NEPC. 2014. This report explains flaws in attempts to rank countries by efficiency.
Meta-analysis Finds Effects that Aren’t There. NEPC reviews a study by the Washington Center for Reinventing Public Education. The study analyzed 52 studies and found that charters benefited students, particularly in math. The NEPC review found that the results were overstated. Charters had a small impact on math in elementary grades but not in high schools and not in reading. 2014.
Wait, Wait Don’t Mislead Me! NEPC 2014 report on charter middle school waiting lists.
Meta analysis of No Excuses Charter Schools. Cheng et al. July 2014
No Excuses Charter Schools Over Simplifies Its Analysis. NEPC January. 2015. The study does not account for all No Excuses Schools, and it does not account for attrition.
These references include national comparison studies of charter and traditional school achievement, impact and innovation.
ACT Scores Paint Troubling Picture for Students of Color Charter Schools. The report on research by the Rand Corporation states that ACT college readiness scores for all students is 39% . 11% of African Americans and 18% of Hispanics were college ready. The largest racial achievement gap was English. 2014.
Brookings Institute Report Is Retaining Students in Early Grades Self Defeating?
Evidence on Education. Haney. 2006. Florida increase on NAEP due to policy of flunking students on 3rd and 8th grade FCAT.
Florida Again Showing Progress on NAEP. NAEP 2013. Score gains due to students who enter charters and are experiencing the most difficulty academically. Florida charter school students have average scores, thus a small percentage are in the lowest scoring group.
OPPAGA Study on Third Grade Retention in Florida 2006 study shows improvement.
National Assessment of Educational Progress. NAEP Scores. This is a periodic nation-wide assessment of student achievement. It uses a sampling procedure to estimate improvement in achievement. Achievement gains are consistent but gradual.
Third Grade Retention Policies by State. Education Commission of the States: 16 states require retention. Not New York or Texas.
The Five Tenets of Highly Effective NY Charters . This study by Roland Fryer of EdLabs cites extended days and school years, data driven instruction, high quality human capital, culture of high expectations, and small group tutoring as the key to learning gains for struggling students.
Education Week State Rankings
Comparisons of Charter and Traditional Public Schools
CREDO National Charter School Study 2013. This is the nationally recognized study of comparable groups in charters and traditional public schools. Charter schools participate in the FCAT and school grade programs. There is no consistent difference in achievement for charters and public school students.
CRESST Accountability and Assessment: Is the Public Interest Being Served? UCLA. 2007. This 2007 report provides alternative views of the term ‘public interest’ and concludes that accountability does have a modest positive impact despite concerns about narrowing the curriculum.
Evaluation of Charter School Impacts. The report by the National Center for Educational Evaluation and Regional Assistance of charter middle schools in 15 states found no difference, on average, between achievement between charter and traditional public schools. Some differences occurred for certain groups. 2010.
Florida LWV Finds Charters do not Improve Achievement. Diane Ravitch Blog 2014. League of Women Voters Final Report on Charter Schools. The study found little achievement differences between charter and traditional public schools but greater differences in socio-economic and racial groups including students with disabilities.
Get the Facts. The National Alliance for Charter Schools web page with an interactive page with data for a state, district or school. There is also a link to research studies and personal stories.
How Well are American Students Learning. Brown Center, Brookings Institute. 2014. This report updates on PISA test results, homework and the Common Core.
Literature Review Research Comparing Charter Schools and Traditional Public Schools. The literature study by Dade County Schools looked at overall charter performance as well as within several subgroups. Results of these studies were mixed. Data from Miami Dade is also included. 2010.
National Charter School Resource Center. The Center compiles research reports on charter schools. Brief descriptors are available.
New Study Shows New York City’s Small Schools Boost College Enrollment Rates Among Disadvantaged Students. MDRC. October 2014. The results are for schools with high poverty and high minority students.
Review of KIPP Middle Schools by NEPC. Results for KIPP schools on average represented several months more learning than for traditional schools. There was, however, great variations in achievement among KIPP schools. Moreover, when attrition was taken into account, results were smaller. Questions about the need for the measurement of higher order thinking skills were raised. Gregory Camilli 2013.
The Great Charter School Rip off: Finally, the Truth Catches up to Education Reform ‘Phonies‘. This article cites the Florida League’s study. It refutes claims that charter schools offer a better alternative than traditional public schools.
The Efficiency Index. GEMS. 2014. This report rates education achievement effectiveness by country based on teacher salaries and class sizes. See other articles for the critiques of this Index.
WWC Review of CREDO Charter School Study. 2014. Nationally from 2008-2011, the 16 states reviewed on average showed gains in reading but not in mathematics.
Charter School Vulnerabilities to Waste, Fraud, and Abuse. The report categorized the management problems as: illegal use of funds for personal gain, support other charter organization businesses, put children in danger, request funds for services not given, inflate enrollments for funding purposes, mismanagement of funds and schools. Center for Popular Democracy and Integrity in Education. Recommendations are offered. May 2014.
Auditor General Review: Signifcant Findings and Annual Reviews
Public Accountability for Charter Schools: Common Sense Regulation and Oversight for the Future. The report makes recommendations for improvement of charter school regulations in uditorfour areas: Governance and Transparency, Equitable Access, School Climate, and Facilities. Annenberg Institute at Brown University. 2014.
A Disappointing Ruling on Teacher Evaluations. In Cook vs. Stewart, a Florida judge dismissed the FEA case against the constitutionality of provisions of SB 736 requiring teachers to be evaluated on data from courses they do not teach.
Testing and School Grades
In Miami’s schools, testing doesn’t end. Miami Herald. September 2014. The article argues that over testing has a negative impact on schools and the curriculum. Miami-Dade administers a standardized test on 172 of 180 days to at least some students.
Number of A rated schools fell 39% in 2013 and F rated schools more than doubled. The article cites results from the Florida DOE on FCAT results. There is a one-year moratorium on the impact of school grades due to a ‘flawed system’.Huffington Post.
Resistance to over testing grows nationwide. This post lists activities by anti testing coalitions nation wide. Diane Ravitch. September 2014.
Sources for Florida Standards Assessments. The post lists sites that describe the new 2014 FSA tests.
Center for American Progress. Testing Overload in American Schools. Average number of standardized tests administered: 20
Value Added Model for Achievement Gain Scores
ASA Statement on Using Value Added Models for Educational Assessment VAMs measure correlations not causation. Effects positive or negative may be attributed to other factors not included in the model. “Most VAM studies find that teachers account for 1 to 14% of the variability in test scores, and that the majority of opportunities are found at the system level conditions. Ranking teachers by their VAM scores can have unintended consequences that reduce quality.”
Sending Teacher Value-added into a Tailspin. Guerino, Ham, Reckase, Stacy, Wooldridge. 2013. VAM may misidentify teachers as effective or ineffective if they are assigned low achieving or high achieving students.
Ed Haertel. VAM accounts for less than 20% of gains in student achievement. Frederick Lord Honorary Lecture, Educational Testing Service. 2014,
STUDENT ADMISSIONS/DISMISSALS CHARTERS
Dismissal Policy at McKeel Schools . Poor behavior, attendance problems and low achievement including failing the FCAT are reasons for dismissal. Florida. 2010
- Students living in that areas public school; dependent children of military; siblings; children of board members, business partners, school employees
- Admission limitations:
- At risk students; specific age or grade groups; living within reasonable distance of school; students whose academic, artistic achievement or other eligibility standards are consistent with schools mission and purpose; charter school articulation agreement with other charters.
- Random admission for students who do not fall in above categories
ADVOCACY GROUPS AND FOUNDATIONS
Annenberg Institute for School Reform (AISR) . AISR is located at Brown University and supports policy research and reform organization with a focus on urban communities and under-served children.
Bloomberg Foundation. Advocates for school reform.
Broad Foundation. Advocates for school reform in urban areas.
Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The College Ready Education initiative works on projects to build innovation in education.
Brown Center for Educational Reform . The Center is associated with the Brookings Institute.
Corporate Reform Organizations. There is no citation for this source. It is a spreadsheet with information about non profit providers, for profit providers, hedge funds, and consultants related to educational reform.
Drivers of Educational Reform AISR. 2013 (POST email May 15 )
Education Choice and Competition Index. This is an interactive tool that scores large districts on 13 policies and practice related to school choice. Brookings Institute 2014.
Education Law Center. Publishes Ed Justice News Blast. A New Jersey based education advocacy organization for equal educational opportunity and educational justice.
MDRC. Research group with a focus on education and manpower issues.
National Alliance for Charter Schools The Alliance advocates for and does research on charter schools. There are links to policy information, congressional action, law suits, and state activities.
National Council of State Legislators This group provides papers on current educational issues.
National Highlights Report. This annual report called Quality Counts grades states on its six key indicators of education quality. Education Week 2014.
National Reform School Initiatives: Contains information and references from organizations involved in school reform. University of Illinois Library. 2014.
National School Board Action Center . This non profit organization advocates for local school board leadership.
NEA Policies on Charter Schools . This article defines charters and lists National Education Association positions.
Public Impact. School reform research group.
Say ‘This’ not ‘That”, a Slick PR Guide to Selling Charter Schools . The National Alliance for Public Charter Schools guide is reported in the Washington Post. It suggests wording for advocacy that is less confrontational.
The Friedman Foundation The foundation supports and advocates for school choice.
Step Up for Students This organization distributes the corporate tax credit scholarship program for Florida.
Walton Foundation The foundation advocates for and supports school choice and corporate tax credit scholarship programs.
AUTHORIZATION OF CHARTERS
Caps on Number of Charter Schools The National Center for Education Statistics table indicating which states have caps, exemptions from law, teacher certification and special education requirements.
How Some States Rein in Charter School Abuses . Stronger oversight of charter schools is needed.
Independent Authorizers. Charter School Authorizers Truth about State Commissions. 2013. More authorizing agencies correlates with more charter schools.
NE Florida Virtual Charter School. Charter School Fight Defused. Duval Schools opposed opening a virtual charter school. March 28th 2012 Gary Chartrand abstained during the appeal.
Rise Academy in Dade Closed in 2010, State Overruled County and Appeals Commission, but court overruled State School Board in 2012. The school was $250,000 in the red and had questionable purchases. It rose from an ‘F’ school grade to an ‘A’ I ter choolln a single year which is unusual.
State Board of Education Overturns District Denials of Charter Schools 2012 Four of five charters upheld in Palm Beach; 3 denied in Miami; 1 denied in Sarasota. CHAMPS at Palm Royal and Wellington, Virtual Academy at Palm Beach, and Academy of Science and Technology approved.
Champs Academies were denied by Palm Beach and SBE overturned district and then failed in 2014 due to finances. One closed on the first day of school. Lake worth appeal granted. SOUTH pam beach charter hasnofacilityandwillopeninunderudtilized CSUSA school. notinnovative . appeal geranted.
South Palm Beach Charter Denial Overturned by State Board of Education. April 2015 http://www.fldoe.org/core/fileparse.php/12010/urlt/actionitem7.pdf
Florida Principles and Standards for Charter School Authorizing http://www.fldoe.org/core/fileparse.php/5423/urlt/Florida-Principles-and-Standards-Final-Proof.pdf
High performing charters http://floridacharterschools.org/schools/taps/2011_Legislative_Summary_Q_A.pdf
Charter Schools Must Comply with Civil Rights Laws, Education Dept. says ‘finally’. Washington Post. This article reports Secretary of Education Duncan’s acknowledgement that charters are increasing resegregation. New admission lottery guidelines are intended to increase minority and low income student representation. May 2014
Civil Rights Complaint Targets New Orleans Charter Group Collegiate Academies. The complaint alleges harsh discipline, unreasonable suspensions, and discriminatory actions against children with disabilities. Nola.com. December 2013.
Education Department Changes Charter School Lottery Rules. The lottery guidelines allow more weight for low income, educationally disadvantaged students. 2014.
Newark Civil Rights Probe Mirrors Investigations in Other U.S. Cities. One Newark Plan, New Jersey. NJ Spotlight. July 2014. The complaint alleges that the reorganization targets African American populations. The schools to be reorganized are 86% African American, but the city is 50%.
One Newark Plan Website This is the official website for the plan. It explains which schools will become charters and how the implementation is planned.
Testing is a Civil Right. Washington Post April 2015. Advocates for low income children argue that testing focuses on the needs of at risk children.
Common Core. This is the official website for the Common Core Standards.
Edutopia Schools that Work: PK Yonge 2014. P.K. teachers developed a multi-tiered approach to teaching and learning in which teachers worked together to create learning communities and to assign teachers to groups based on teacher strengths and children’s needs. A combination of technology and face-to-face instruction and continued teacher collaboration led to significant achievement gains. P.K. Yonge was awarded one of 25 national Edutopia awards.
Injecting Charter School Strategies into Traditional Public Schools: Texas. This project achieved success by incorporating more time in school, intensive teacher training, tutoring, use of data to inform instruction, and high expectations for students. National Bureau of Economic Research 2013.
What Went Wrong at the Upstart School Milken Backed? This November 15, 2014 Bloomberg Business Week article describes the problems that K12 Inc. is having with quality control in its online course delivery business.
EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATION
Standards and Research
Early Learning and Developmental Standards . Florida Learning standards are available for children from birth to 5 years old. Standards for 4 year olds are available for Language, Communication, and Emergent Literacy, and in Mathematical Thinking.
The Building Blocks of a Good PreK. This Op Ed piece in the NY Times is written by a former Deputy Chancellor of NY City Schools and the current president along with a professor of Bank College. They argue that meaningful play is an important element of preK education to help children learn to regulate their behavior.
Evaluation of Florida’s Early Learning Professional Development System . Florida has no statewide professional development system. There are pockets where innovative programs exist. The 2011-12 study has several recommendations.
Federal Technical Assistance for Early Childhood. The site has links to a number of research studies and centers.
Center for the Developing Child. Harvard University. The site has information about the interrelationships among key concepts: brain architecture, serve and return, toxic stress, executive function and innovation.
The State of PreSchool 2013. National Institute for Early Education Research at Rutgers. Data, standards and state by state reports are included.
Lead teachers must have a BA
Lead teachers must have a specialization in pre-K;
Assistant teachers must have a CDA or equivalent; teachers must complete at least 5 hours of in-service each year;
maximum class size of 20 or lower;
staff-child ration of 1-10 or better; vision, hearing, and health screening and referral are required, along with 1 family support service; at least 1 meal is offered; site visits are required but simplified;
Florida ranked No. 1 for serving 4 year olds with 79% of eligible students. in 2012 it was about 175,000 students.
Florida ranked no. 35 for state spending dropped from $2,755 in 2008 to $2,281 in 2012. We meet 3 benchmarks in early learning standards, class size, and site monitoring. One meal benchmark may not make sense for 3 hr per day program?
82% who complete a VPK program were ready for kindergarten, compared to 53% who did not participate in 2013 according to Fla. DOE.
8 states met fewer than half of all 52 programs. Calif. Texas, Vermont, Arizona, Florida and Pennsylvania and Ohio
Push for Preschool Moving Ahead in Many States. NY Times Feb. 2014. An analysis of the reasons for bipartisan support for early learning.
State Policy Mini Update July 2014. The state by state priorities, policies and budgets as of July 2014 for birth to age 5 education. Ounce of Prevention.
Abbot vs. Burke Pre K Funding This is an equity lawsuit to fund PreK education to close the achievement gap.
N.C. Supreme Court to Rule on PreK Funding. October 2013. Case tests PreK and equity funding link.
Standardizing ECE Rules and Regulations. Fla House Education Committee passed a rule standardizing rules and regulations for early childhood centers on Feb. 20th
2014 O’Toole HB 7069? –license private providers including inspections for faith based providers; Database to track teachers; Health and safety standards for types of providers vary widely
Florida Statutes and Rules for Early Learning . Office of Early Learning webpage November 2013. s.
CS/HB7165 O’Toole and John Legg 2013 Summary of legislation passed. Moves Early Learning Office to Office of Independent Schools. Changes some management and transparency regulation
CS/SB 2014 Early Learning CPSC Gold Seal Quality Care in DCFS, revises procedures for child care market rate reimbursement and child care grants. Kindergarten screening and kindergarten readiness rates
Early Learning Could Make Gains. 2013 Erik Fresen Disagreement between Early Learning Coalition and Florida Association for Child Care Management over how to allocate state funding.Funding formula 2012 and change in 2013.
Early Learning Successes and Failures in 2014 Florida Legislative Session. Small funding increases HB 7069 failed. It required compliance of unlicensed providers with health and safety regulations, increase age of staff to 18, and deny eligibility for providers with serious criminal backgrounds
*HB394 background checks
*Omnibus Education bill increase funding for Early Childhood Education Early Head Start and 500 million to partner with local child care centers and family child care providers serving low income infants and toddlers.
*Head Start increase by $612 million to $8.6 billion 13% increase
*Childhood Development Block grant increase by 36 million to $2.36 billion increase quality of care? Pre kindergarten development grants is a new program Pre-K for All, Race to the Top Early Learning grants can include for profit providers or consortia of providers.
*Strong Start for America’s Children S.1697 H.R. 3461 high quality preK for 4 year olds.
Florida Association for Child Care Management . FACCM has over 1,000 preschool owners and 131,000 children.
Head Start Impact Study and Follow Up . These were longitudinal studies from 2000-2008 that found that the impact of Head Start disappeared by third grade. A 2014 study look at program quality and impact. There is no evidence that the quality of the program changes the low impact of Head Start in 3rd grade.
Does Head Start Work for Children? This Washington Post article balances the claims that Head Start has no effect against some methodological concerns that the study control group was not stable.
Preschool Yearbook Finds Need for Renewed Investment. Education Justice. May 2014. Preschool Pays Off: An analysis of a National Model for High Quality PreK for Three and Four-year olds. Education Justice. May 2014.
Report from National Institute for Early Education at Rutgers, Florida VPK program ranked 35th of the 39 states with such a program and met 3 of 10 quality benchmarks
The Building Blocks of a Good PreK. This opinion piece in the New York Times reviews studies that argue for a combination of play and teacher directed instruction is needed for effective learning for young children. They cite: Is Kindergarten the New First Grade? and Crisis in the Kindergarten .
ELL: ENGLISH LANGUAGE LEARNERS
ESE: EXCEPTIONAL STUDENT EDUCATION
U.S. Government Announces Resolution of South Carolina Virtual Charter Schools Civil Rights Investigation. U.S. Dept. of Education. March 2014. Compliance with Section 504 of the 1972 Rehabilitation Act and Title II Americans with Disability Act for students in online education. Need to provide equal access to online learning.
Children with Disabilities Face Discrimination in Charter Schools in New Orleans Southern Policy Law Center. 2012 The case is P.B. v Pastorek. Both charter and public schools are alleged to violate IDEA.
U.S.DOE increased reporting requirements June 2014 change to abolish alternative assessments for children with disabilities and to increase reporting requirements.
Title I Part A regulations have been amended. Alternative ESEA standards and assessments that are based on disabilities with be phased out. Data such as graduation and suspension rates as well as state assessment scores will be used for Individuals with Disability Act (IDEA) grants.
State Funding to Private Schools
Personal Learning Scholarship Account These accounts are for students with special needs who have serious disabilities. Parents whose children attend private schools can purchase services for their children.
Private Schools Respond to Public Money Private school support for students with disabilities.
McKay Scholarships for South Florida Students with Disabilities
This is a Florida private school scholarship program funded by the legislature directly.
McKay Scholarships Investigation This New Times article cites 3 other stories on McKay scholarship investigations in 2011. 200 children at South Florida Prep were moved from one location to another until fire marshal closed the facilities. A 17 was driving a van on a school field trip and fell asleep. One teacher and one student were killed in the crash. Many other incidents reported of frau and abuse of children.
McKay Statutes 2012 This legislation made revisions to the law to improve oversight of the McKay regulations. Site visits were added.
McKay Scholarship Audit. 2014 In general the Department has sufficient controls to oversee the program. Some controls could be strengthened.
McKay Scholarships This is Florida DOE website. It has a FAQ section with eligibility and other requirements.
A charter shall not levy taxes or issue bonds secured by tax revenues.
Alachua County Property Tax Assessor Lists owner by address of property
Fla. Business Entity Secretary of State lists owners of the charter schools
Charter School Funding Sources
Charter School Capital Outlay. 6A-200.20 FS 1013.62. Charters may be considered part of an extended feeder chain.
Charter School Facilities . The NCSL comparison of state facility funding sources.
Charter School Facility Finance Landscape 2010 This is a publication from the Educational Facilities Financing Center. Charters generally use tax exempt revenue bonds secured through per pupil allocations. In order to lower interest rates, they use credit enhancement secured through a third party’s credit.
http://www.miamiherald.com/news/business/article87977762.html Chinese investment EB-5 program
Charter School Lease Issues
Charter Schools and High Rents. Video. Detroit Free Press.. 14 of 47 Michigan Heritage Academy charters charge $1 million in rent. There is no fair value requirement for leases.
Florida Imagine School Leases. The real estate company associated with Imagine is School House finance. Leases at two charters are more than double the leases at other Pinellas charters. Imagine charter in St. Petersburg is nearly $1 million in debt due to high lease payments and low enrollment.
Public Charter School Facilities. 2014 National Alliance for Charter Schools 2011-12 about the types of facilities and rents paid. The average percent of the budget spent on facilities was 13%. Five percent of charters paid more than $1 million for facilities.
Safe and Secure Schools Lawsuit. An OSHA whistle blower ruling that Manatee School for the Arts in Palmetto, a part of Renaissance Schools unlawfully fired a whistle blower who reported fire safety hazards at the school.
Bonds to Pay Debt Service or Other Outstanding Debt. Cannot use PECO fund to make bond payments.
Charter School Bond Issuance: A Complete History . Education Facilities Financing Center. October 2012
Direct Payment Subsidy Option for Certain Qualified Tax Credit Bonds and Build America Bonds (instead of tax credit) FAQ Tax Credit Bonds
FAQ Tax Credit Bonds The federal government created new forms of bonds: QZABS, QSCB, QREBs, and CREBs. The interest rate and subsidy of these bonds is explained.
Fla Q Bond QZAB Federal Bonds for schools
Florida Federal Bonds DOE website with listing of facilities bonds.
Cherokee Charter Academy Nonprofit Moving Ahead Georgia charter to post $27.3 million bond.
Moody’s May Down Grade Los Angeles Credit Rating Due to Charter School Expansion KIPP planning to double charters by 2020.
Palm Bay Community Charter School Broward Board voted to close the school because it had not made payment on its $21 million bond debt in two years.
Social Impact Bonds These are government ‘bonds‘ that promise payment for successful solutions to social problems. Private investors raise money to implement promising solutions. If they are successful, the federal government pays a return on the investment. This is a relatively new approach, and the article lists concerns about the approach.
HB 377 – Educational Facilities Financing How financing relates to charter schools. Current HEFFA law and this bill do not and can not apply to charter schools, state colleges, state universities, for profit institutions, etc. HB 377 only adds SACS accredited K-12 non-profit private schools to those that would be eligible to participate. Statutorily, a charter school is a public school of choice not a private school.
Tax exempt funding authorized by public authority or convincing a lender or other investor that since the charter schools is itself a public authority, any financing provided to it is tax-exempt.
Low interest loan pools for charters6A-2.0030 Qualified School Construction Bond Program. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. Under Florida law, Sect. 159.841-845 qualified districts, charters…can borrow funds at no interest issued by a state or local government agency…receive a federal income tax credit..Full faith and credit of Florida is not pledged to these bonds. Lease payments may not be made. Each district or charter school is responsible for repayment. Amount limited by federal law.
Chapter 6A-2 Educational Facilities This section includes facilities reference for public schools, eligibility for capital outlay, and eligibility for QSCB which includes charter schools..
Cost and Benefit of an Excellent Education for all American Children. Levin, H. et al. Columbia University 2006. Professor Levin identifies 5 factors to raise graduation rates and estimates cost/benefit of funding them. Factors include: reduced K-3, class size, increase teacher salaries, pre school, instructional reform, and parental involvement program.
Cost Comparisons Charters and Public Schools. Spending Comparisons in Ohio, Texas, and New York. 2012 NEPC.
Does Money Matter in Education. 2012. Shanker Institute Money does matter. Level of funding, resources, and finance reform matter.
Lack of Funding Is No. 1 Challenge Facing Public Schools According to Recent Poll. Ed Justice Newsblast. September 1, 2014. 60% oppose Common Core; 54% believe there is over testing, 70% do not know about PISA international comparisons, most believe in local funding control.
Moody’s: Charters Pose Greatest Credit Challenge School Districts in Economically Weak Urban Areas. Most charters are in areas already economically stressed. Public schools have limited ability to shift operational costs, control charter growth, and may not be integrated in other local government agencies.
Race to the Top Grants Go to States at Bottom on School Funding. 2012. Based on ‘Is Funding Fair?” the National Report Card reports that 5 states receive an ‘F’ on funding: California, Colorado, Florida, Nevada, and Washington. Most funding is unequal between wealthier and poorer districts.
FOR PROFIT/ NOT FOR PROFIT MANAGEMENT
Excessive Profit Reports
Herald: Cozy Connections = Tax payer paid profits. Academica charter school investigation.
Charters Making Big Profits for Private Companies. WTSP News. 2014. This is an article about Charter Schools USA high rents charged for facilities its Red Apple Corporation builds. The article is based on the League’s research.
Charter Schools and the For Profit Motive. Turley. 2013. The profit reaped by banks and financiers due to New Market Tax Credit was a ‘windfall’.
3 Hillsborough Charter Schools Future Uncertain Hillsborough School District sends 90 day letter about the lack of independent boards for Charter Schools USA.
How Academica Operates. Miami series “Cashing in On Kids” on Academica charter school management firm. Major Academica Schools (Florida charters include: Somerset, Mater, Doral, Pinecrest).
IRS will Provide Closer Scrutiny if Charters are Using For profit Management and Facilities Companies. Many charters operate as a 501(3)c . IRS will look more closely to determine if charters are operating for the private benefit of the for-profit management company.
Jonathan Hage and Charter Schools USA Orange County plans to appeal decision that Charter Schools USA will open 3 new schools in Orange County.
For Profit Management Companies in Florida 2012
Academica: 91 schools, Charter USA: 44, Imagine: 14. They account for 27% of charters. (source: websites). Source: auditor general. Three for-profit management companies control 27% of Florida’s charter schools. Management fees of about $450s per student are usual. In addition to lease or debt service payments that are often at least 20% of the total school budget:
Management Oversight Issues
Naples News has a resource list of charter school stories, databases for closed charters, school grades for public schools near closed charters and 126 documents related to charter school management.
Loopholes in Florida Law Mean Little Oversight of Charter School Business Deals . Academy of Arts and Minds in Dade is charging fees and has financial conflict of interest. Charters do not have to disclose their business plans in their charter applications.
Mavericks in Education: Failing to Make the Grade. Orlando Sentinel. October 2014.
Maverick Schools. The article ‘Mavericks Hope to Profit in Education but at What Cost? gives an overview of the Maverick Schools organizational history.
New Skepticism of For Profit Companies Managing Charter Schools Hechinger Report cites resistance in Mississippi to for-profit management companies.
Profiles on For Profit and Not for Profit Educational Management Firms. This publication by Gary Miron et al at the NEPC. For profit EMOs operated in 33 states in 2010-11 and non-profits operated in 29 states. Comparisons between the two types of companies are made by size of company. . 2014
Two Broward County Charter Schools to Close. Obama School for Boys and Red Shoe Charter Schools for Girls for financial mismanagement. Corey Alston, the founder is on probation from a felony charge of grand theft during his tenure as city manager of South Bay. 2014.
When Does Public Money Turn into Private Assets? Ohio Hope Academy vs White House Management case was heard by Ohio Supreme Court in September 2014. When a charter closes, who owns the facilities, equipment and other capital assets.
Charter School Closures in Florida. School Choice website.
LAWS AND LITIGATION
Expanding Opportunity Through Quality Schools Act 2014 . Senate version of charter schools act.
Rare Bi Partisan Support Secures Charter Bill Passage. U.S. Congress. 2014
U. S. Charter Schools Program Legislation. Title V, Part B Non Regulatory Guidance
State Charter School Laws – a side-by-side of key accountability provisions. For the AISR/CPER Working Group meeting on Charter Accountability Standards. February, 2014. email 4/20/2014
Charter and Cyber School Reform Update and Comprehensive Reform Legislation. Pennsylvania Democratic House Education Committee.
Charter School Laws and Legislation. Center for Educational Reform 2014.
Charter School Law Rankings and Score Card. Center for Educational Reform. 2014.
Model Charter School Law. Ranks state laws based on their model. Their database/”dashboard” on the various provisions of state laws is very helpful – at least on the issues that they include in their model law.
Model Legislation for States. An essential guide to charter school law making. Center for Educational Reform. This publication distinguished between ‘freedom of religion and freedom from religion’. It cited the U.S. Supreme Court ruling on school choice
National Ranking and Score Card. Center for Educational Reform. 2013. Scores based on multiple authorizers allowed, number of charters allowed, operation independence, and fiscal equity. Accountability issues can earn or lose points in the scoring for charter school legislative support.
State Charter School Laws-a side by side comparison. AISR/CPER Working Group Meeting. email April 2014
Education Law Center: Individual state tracking of lawsuits.
Center for Educational Reform Report that Charter Schools Need More Flexibility to grow to meet demand. April 2014.
Charter School Indicates FBI Raid is over Federal Grant Money. Math and Science Academy N. Indiana. Indy Star. June 2014.
Charter School Under Federal Investigation Caught Charging Illegal Enrollment Fees. Concept Schools, Indiana. July 2014. These are charters associated with the Gulen Foundation.
Charter School Vulnerabilities to Waste, Fraud and Abuse. 2014. Integrity in Education lists types of mismanagement problems: personal gain, use of charter money to support other businesses, request money for services not provided, put children in actual or potential danger, inflating enrollment and mismanaging schools. The report offers recommendations.
Dozens of Charter Schools Over Estimate Enrollment List of charters’ expected vs. actual enrollments.
D.C. Officials Seek Stronger Oversight of Charter Schools After Recent Fraud Allegations. Washington Post 2014. Two schools accused of diverting millions of dollars into private companies.
FBI Cracks Down on Fraudulent Charter Schools. AllGov. August 2014. Accusations of fraud, exorbitant salaries and other charges for at least 5 states have been made. K12 Inc. is cited in the article. 2014.
Fraud and Mismanagement in Pennsylvania’s Public Schools. The Center for Popular Democracy. October 2014.Two major findings: general auditing techniques are not designed to uncover fraud and staffing is inadequate to monitor charters.
Head of Charter School Resigns amid Investigations. Southwest Learning Center, New Mexico. KRQE.com. August 2014. FBI investigation into fraud and embezzlement of charter chain head.
How Some States Rein in Charter Schools . Tighter oversight is important.
How will Charter Schools Deal with their Corruption Scandals? Washington Post. 2014. Michigan has the most for profit management firms-78%. Florida has no requirement for background checks. Michigan allows management companies to do business with firms that are run by relatives. League study cited.
Manatee School for the Arts An OSHA case jury ruled in favor of a whistle blower at Renaissance charter schools. 2013
More Federal Subpoenas in Hartford Charter School Probe. FUSE Schools. Hartford Courant. July 2014.
Non profit Charters Turn Taxes into Profits for Board Members. Economic Policy Institute. April 2014.
Options D.C. Charter School Medicaid Billing is at Center of Investigation. Options, D.C. Washington Post. Dec. 2013.
SEC charges Chicago Largest Charter Chain with Fraud. Chicago Sun Times. June 2014. The United Neighborhood Organization charged with $37.5 million in fraud against investors.
South Miami-based Charter Management Firm under Federal Scrutiny. Academica. Florida. Miami Herald 2014. The charges are related to a transfer of charter school funds to an unaccredited college owned by Academica. Also charge of conflict of interest for Erik Friesen, the brother in law of the CEO of Academica.
U.S. Probe Widens to 18 Charter Schools. Philadelphia. Philly.com. May 2010. Probe involved high salaries, fraud, real estate, and a range of other charges in Philadelphia.
White House Management Ohio Charter School in the Midst of Upheaval. The Plain Dealer. July 2013. Lawsuit by charter school boards against White House is before the state Supreme Court. At issue is how much information the private company must disclose.
ACLU vs Tiza et al. Minnesota. 2009 lawsuit filed for repeatedly violating Establishment Clause in the Constitution by promoting religion.
Are Religious Charter Schools the New Norm Under John Kasich. OHIO. Plunderbund. This probe involves 30 Gulen Foundation schools operating under the name Concept, Horizon and Noble.
Blurring the Lines: Charter, Public, Private and Religious Schools Come Together. Book by Mulvy, Cooper and Maloney. Links to a book about how private public and charter schools have overlapped over the last 20 years. This book offers a thoughtful, critical analysis of how our schools have changed over time.
Cash Strapped Catholic Schools. 2014. Over the last 10 years, 1800 Catholic schools have closed. Alliance for Catholic Schools at Notre Dame says some schools convert to charters and use the money to support other religious schools.
Church, Choice and Charters: A New Wrinkle for Public Education Creationist Voucher Schools. The site lists schools by state.
Florida DOE Religion. 73% of FTC schools in 2013 are religious according to School Choice site.
FBI Raids Turkish Gulen Schools. Louisiana Concern that money was diverted to support the Islamic movement.
FBI Raids Gulen Schools in U.S. Daily Sabah. June 2014.
Federal Guidelines on Charter School Ties to Religious Organizations Gulen Charter School Network List of Gulen Schools in Florida.
Gulen Foundation: CBS news report on the Turkish Imam who runs the Gulen Foundation.
Gulen School list. Schools reputed to be associated with the Gulen Foundation and a Turkish Imam.
Creationism in Public Schools This site has a map of private schools by state that teach creationism.
Florida list of private schools receiving FTC vouchers that teach creationism
Education Creationism. 2014. Politico article about the expansion of creationism in private schools.
Texas Charter Schools Creationism. The Intersection of Religious Charter Schools and Urban Catholic Education by CN Horning: Look up on Google
Voucher Schools Teaching Creationism. Bill Moyers program interview with Zack Kopplin. There is an interactive map of the locations of these schools.
TAX CREDIT SCHOLARSHIPS/VOUCHERS
FTC Corporate donors: https://www.stepupforstudents.org/for-donors/tax-credited-contributions/participating-donors/
A summary of the 17 participating states:
Corporate Sponsors 2007. Uncited list of staff and other corporate data of FTC sponsors.
Corporate Donors. 2014 List of corporations that give donations to FTC program.
Explaining Florida’s Tax Credit Scholarships. State Impact. 2013.Senator Rubio sponsored the legislation to expand corporate tax credits for private school scholarships.
Florida Education Budget Proposal Rick Scott. Tampa Bay 2014. Increase of per pupil spending to $7176 reported to be $50 more than in 2007.
Florida’s Gov. Scott signs voucher expansion into law. 2014 Increases income eligibility to $60,ooo for a family of four. Adds Parent Learning Accounts for students with disabilities who attend private schools.
Tax Credit Funding Organizations A list of corporations that contribute to the FTC scholarships.
Florida Private School Directory List of schools for FTC and McKay scholarships.
FTC Expansion Bill. 2014 Legislation
FTC Research. 2011-12 David Figlio evaluates the FTC program annually.
How Ohio’s Voucher Program Works. State Impact. Site has many related links.
Lobbying Groups Push Florida Voucher Program. Tampa Bay Times.
Second Manager for FTC Scholarships. AAA. 2014. A new organization to manage FTC scholarships in addition to Step Up for Students.
Step Up for Students Website The management organization to allocate the FTC scholarships.
Do Charters Retain Teachers Differently? Evidence from Elementary Schools in Florida. Cowen and Winters. 2013
Harris, D. Should I Stay or Should I Go? Comparing Teacher Mobility in Florida’s Charter and Traditional Public Schools. 2007
Tackling Teacher Turnover in Charter Schools. 2012. Cavanaugh (2012) cites report that charter school teacher turnover is 25% vs. 14% in traditional public schools. Reasons for leaving are lack of administrative support and dissatisfaction with working conditions.
Teacher Effectiveness, Mobility, and Attrition in Florida. West and Chingos. Harvard. 2008. West and Chingos’ paper was prepared in 2008 under the auspices of the Kennedy School of Government. The abstract states: A clear majority of the state’s most effective teachers do not remain in their initial schools only four years into their career, and these same teachers are no less likely to leave their profession all together than the least effective. Schools with high performing students do a far better job than most of retaining their most effective teachers and dismissing their least effective.
Teacher Qualifications and Work Environments across School Types. NEPC. 2008. Teachers in Catholic schools appear most similar to those in traditional public schools. Charters have more teachers who have graduated from select colleges but they also have less experienced teachers. Private school teacher report the most satisfaction even though they have lower salaries. Public schools do not experience competition for high quality teachers. 2008
Teacher Turnover in Charter Schools. Vanderbilt University. Stuit et al used NCES data for 2003-4 and found that charter school teacher turnover was 25% compared to traditional public schools at 14%. 14% of charter teachers left the profession outright compared to 7% in TPS. Charter teacher turnover is called voluntary and dysfunctional.
Teachers are Losing their Jobs, but Teach for America’s Expanding. What’s wrong with that? The Nation. May 2014. Between 2008 and 2013 there were 324,000 teaching positions eliminated according to the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities.
U.S. DOE Proposes Plan to Strengthen Teacher Education. 2014. The DOE requires new outcomes assessment reports from colleges of education that include their students’ ratings in their teaching positions
Ross et. al vs State. Tax credit scholarship program. filed by Alabama Education Association ruled Accountability Act was unconstitutional in May, 2014. The Accountability Act included provisions for tuition income tax credit for families and funding for private schools. An appeal was filed.
Child Rights Issues in Charter Schools. Litigation. 2014. The litigation is over providing for children with disabilities.
The Survival of California Charter Schools is at Stake. 2013. Litigation over Proposition 39 that required school districts to provide charters with reasonably equivalent facilities. Los Angeles Schools argued that a ‘norming’ ratio would be used to allocate space in public schools.
Dwyer vs. Colorado. Education funding. Keep the Promise to Fund Schools as Colorado Constitution Requires. Education Justice. July 2014.
Larue vs. Colorado Board of Education Private school voucher program. Filed by the ACLU against a pilot program for vouchers. The trial court held that the program was unconstitutional, but on appeal, the court reversed the trial court. The case has been appealed to the State Supreme Court. amici briefs
State Reform Colorado. Colorado Amendment 66. Increase school finance, early childhood education. 2013
LWV Action Alerts LWV Articles
Charter School Explosion: Are they fulfilling the promise? La Gaceta. 2014
Charter School Explosion: Doing it Better. La Gaceta. 2014.
Charter School Explosion: Following the Money. La Gaceta. 2014.
Charter School Explosion: Accountable to Whom? La Gaceta. 2014.
Charter School Explosion: On the Fringe of Legal. La Gaceta. 2014.
Don’t Duck the Test. Gainesville Sun. Common Core. October 2013.
Online Ed Faces Challenges. Gainesville Sun. July 2013.
Legislature’s Intent Different from Charter School Reality. Gainesville Sun. May 2013.
Is Public Funding of Private Schools Constitutional? Gainesville Sun. April 2013.
Florida Charter School website:
Florida School Choice. Fast Facts
Florida School Public Accountability Reports: School grades, demographics data, etc.
Personal income rank per student Florida ranks 19th and 48th as a percentage of personal income goes to taxes per student funding 2013-14 rank 45th http://www.nea.org/assets/docs/NEA_Rankings_And_Estimates-2015-03-11a.pdf
Lottery transferred from Ed. Enhancement 242,352,820 and of this 103,776,366 from Education Enhancement Fund to K12 School Recognition and the remainder to cash and debt service, school capital outlay bond fund and work force education 49.9%
($357 million authorized for FTC scholarships) 2014
In 2014-15, 38% of FEFP education funding came from State ($7,499,962,017 including $242,352,820 gambling funds from Education Enhancement Fund) Lottery and $170,269,174 State School Trust Fund: unclaimed property) plus local effort $7,179,517,373 from property taxes plus $3,013,103,776 for class size reduction that includes 103,776,356 from Education Enhancement
Education budget 10,647,648,670 total 2014
Lottery to K12 480,712,053 Education Enhancement Fund
Laws and Litigation
Fla Ed Legislation Citizens for Strong Schools School choice constitutionality. Filed by the Southern Legal Counsel in 2009. In 2013, State Supreme Court upheld right of judicial system to question legislative educational policy. Amended complaint filed in 2014 by SLC against the Florida Department of Education charging that the State of Florida is violating its constitutional mandate to provide a uniform, efficient, safe, secure, and high quality system of free public schools, and preK educational opportunities. The Florida LWV is a plaintiff.
Citizens for Strong Schools 2nd Amended Complaint Motion to Dismiss . Defendants argue that the amended complaint was too late in the process.
McCall et al vs. Rick Scott et al. Florida Tax Credit Scholarship Program. Tax credit scholarship. Filed by Florida Education Association in 2014. The Florida LWV is a plaintiff. In Bush vs. Holmes, Florida’s Supreme Court ruled in 1999 that vouchers were unconstitutional.
Alternative Teacher Certification Fact Sheet. Florida House of Representatives. 2010-2011.
LWV Press Releases LWV Florida Releases Statewide Study on School Choice. email LWV Florida Joins Lawsuits to Ensure High Quality Public Education. August 2014 and email May 2014
LWV Studies of School Choice
Understanding School Choice: Social Impact. LWV Alachua County. 2013.
Understanding School Choice: Standards and Accountability. LWV Alachua County. 2013.
Understanding School Choice: Funding in Florida. LWV Alachua County. 2013.
Final Report: Statewide Study on School Choice and Consensus. LWV Education Team. 2014.
Interactive Map of Local League Studies of School Choice. LWV Education Team. 2014.
Florida Charter Schools Unsupervised. Sun Sentinel. 2014.
District Disruption and Revival. School systems reshape to compete and improve. Education Week 2014.
Private company skirts public boards in running tax-funded charter schools. Journal Gazette 2009.
Meredith et al vs. Daniels et al . Private school vouchers. Filed by Institute for Justice. State Supreme Court ruled that the Choice Opportunity Program vouchers for low and middle income families was constitutionality.
Brumfield vs. Dodd Private school voucher program. Provides vouchers to low income families from ‘C – F’ public schools. Over 90% of recipients are black. The U.S. Department of Justice ruled in November 2013 that the voucher program impeded desegregation plan. The program provided vouchers for The Goldwater Institute filed an appeal.
Michigan Data Base: Look up rankings, MEAP scores at Michigan charter and traditional schools
Michigan’s Biggest Charter Operator Charges Big Rents.14 schools pay $1M. 2014.
Summary of Minnesota charter school facility law Minnesota Charter School Fact Sheet: 2014 (POST)
Minnesota Facilities: Charter schools may not own facilities, but they receive lease aid from the state. After 3 years of successful operation, a charter school may form a building partnership. That building organization may sell bonds and build or lease facilities with the proceeds and then lease said facilities to a charter school. There is no maximum percentage of budget set in law that a school may spend on leasing, but the aximum state aid is 90% of the cost of the lease not to exceed $1200 per pupil. There are strict statutory provisions that must be followed. The Minnesota Department of Education reviews and approves all leases.
Closures: Most of the charter school closures in Minnesota are the result of financial mismanagement, often related to facilities. Little issue with “for profit” management companies – lots of hoops – must be incorporated in MN whether for profit or non-profit (ex. KIPP). The Edison Project (for profit) has run a very successful school in Duluth since the fall of 1997, with a total enrollment of 1190 for the 2011-12 school year and 1257 for 2012-13 school year. Most of their test scores are higher than state averages. Representative student populations of special education, students of color and free and reduced lunch.
Management policy and issues: Accountability is the buzzword of the times. Even some “proponents of charter schools, say it’s too difficult to close down underperforming charters.” (Star Tribune 5/29/14). Most action falls on the charter school’s board of directors who, it appears, often whitewash the problems. Authorizers are supposed to be the watchdogs. Reformers are pushing a proposal for next year’s legislature to require the Minnesota Department of Education to take action when there are concerns about a charter school.
A new University of Minnesota study finds that charter schools in diverse suburban areas are growing “whiter”. (MPR). Myron Orfield, Director of the University of MN Institute on Race and Poverty, finds, in his studies, that charter schools “underperform their districted public counterparts and are driving the re-segregation of Twin Cities public school systems.” (2012 study) . Nearly 20% of MN charters openly appeal to “niche” groups – such as Somali, Hmong, Hispanic. There is an argument in progress as to whether this is a good or bad direction. (ex. 90 percent of black charter school students attended a racially segregated school in 2008, Orfield’s report claimed, compared to just under 40 percent of black students who attended segregated traditional public schools.) by Lonni Skentner
Mississippi Parents’ Campaign For-profit Schools: As states have opened the door for investors to gain access to tax dollars through for-profit charter schools, an entire industry has developed. It is now booming, with private equity groups holding conferences to recruit hedge fund managers and others to invest in for-profit education opportunities, teaching them how to profit from state education dollars. (Click here to read about other efforts to privatize public schools.)
How for-profits get around the non-profit school requirement. Lobbyists for the for-profit schools have had a tremendous influence on state statutes regulating charter schools, and legislation often is designed to mask the for-profit agenda. For instance, charter school legislation may stipulate that charter schools must be non-profit entities but leave loopholes allowing charters to “contract with” for-profit companies to manage and operate the schools (the for-profit groups actually establish their own non-profit schools which, in turn, pay them “contract” fees). Such loopholes give corporations access to and control over taxpayer dollars meant for public, not-for-profit, education.
Closing the loophole. Every charter school bill that was taken up in the 2012 legislative session contained the loophole allowing for-profit management organizations to run charter schools. In the 2013 session, The Parents’ Campaign successfully advocated for bill language that would close this loophole. The final charter school bill, HB 369, prohibits charter schools from contracting with for-profit companies for comprehensive management services. The language is similar to Tennessee’s charter school statute; click here to see how our neighboring state eliminated the for-profit loophole. We anticipate that, in future legislative sessions, the for-profit lobby will push for changes to the charter school law to insert the for-profit loophole and allow them to tap into stated education dollars. We will continue to oppose such a push.
Lobbyist influence For-profit charter schools have become such a money-maker that their operators pay handsomely to influence education legislation to benefit their bottom line. Lobbyists (including those operating in Mississippi) aggressively push their agenda, donating to political campaigns through PACs that aren’t required to reveal their funders, running multi-million dollar ad campaigns to influence public opinion, and funding foundations that push their for-profit agenda. K-12, Inc. is the largest of several for-profit virtual school companies that are profiting from state tax dollars, despite an abysmal record of student achievement. A Pennsylvania study found that 100% of the state’s cyber schools, including K-12, Inc., had “significantly worse” outcomes than their traditional public school counterparts, for which the virtual companies were paid $10,000 per student from public school coffers. In turn, K-12, Inc.’s revenues for the first quarter of this fiscal year increased by 14.4% to $221.1-million. In 2011, K-12, Inc. paid its CEO $5-million. Click here to see an interview with the CEO of Entertainment Properties Trust about charter schools as a high-growth, recession-resistant money-maker for investment portfolios. He says that public charter schools represent a “two and a half billion dollar opportunity” for investors.
States are banning for-profits New York, a leader in the charter school effort, had such problems with for-profit charter schools that the state banned them – including for-profit management organizations – in 2010. At least three other states, Tennessee, New Mexico, and Rhode Island, also have banned for-profits from running schools.
There is a fundamental conflict of interest inherent in the for-profit agenda: are the for-profits more concerned about profit margins or the education of children?
Read about problems other states have had with for-profits running non-profit charter schools.
In Duncan vs. State of New Hampshire (2013) Private school vouchers. the State Superior Court ruled that vouchers for religious schools were unconstitutional but were allowed for private schools. The State Supreme Court will hear the case.
Flipping Schools: The Hidden Forces Behind New Jersey Education Reform . NJ had $3 billion already available and designated only for the purpose of refurbishing and building urban schools. That’s when Christie ordered all progress stopped. (ie, aside from the QSCBs). http://truth-out.org/news/item/25425-flipping-schools-the-hidden-forces-behind-new-jersey-education-reform.
Bacon vs. NJDOE Funding for low income districts. 2014
New Jersey Charter and District Schools Educating Very Different Populations of Students, Finds Study by Rutgers Research. The 2014 study from Rutgers University by Weber and Rubin reports the large differences in the enrollment of ESE, ELL, and high poverty students in charter v. TPS in New Jersey. For specific data see: Save Our Schools NJ website
Ed Justice Newsblast
ED Presentation Winograd 2 21 1 A University of New Mexico Center for Education Policy Research report provides detailed statistics, by county, of social and economic concerns that the New Mexico schools face. Based on a ranking of family status, progress through school and adult outcomes by the Center, New Mexico’s children’s chances for success are among the worst in the nation. Opportunities to break the cycle are outlined. See the recommendations to improve the future of New Mexico’s children.
Charter Schools Profit Myth. 2010. This document explains the NY regulations for charter school management.
Children First Network. Children First Network private management organizations for NY traditional public schools.
New York Charter School Refugees. 2014. This article cites differences between charter and TPS on %age of ESE students. TPS have double or triple the number of students with IEPs. Students who leave charters tend to be those with IEPs. 27% had transferred to a TPS by third grade compared to 17% in the general population. A State Supreme Court justice ruled in 2014. that charters did not have to file financial audits.
Maisto vs. State of New York Funding for low income districts. 2014
New York Carter School-Facilities. This is the New York charter school site. It has additional links to facility guidelines for charter schools.
Public Accountability for Charter Schools: Common Sense Regulation and Oversight for the Future. The Annenberg Institute for School Reform at Brown University. 2014. The guidelines for improving NYC charter school management are grouped by the following topics: Equitable Access, School Climate, Governance and Transparency, and Facilities.
Six Charter School Myths 2014. The Executive Director of Class Size Matters testified before the NY Council Education Committee refuting the publicity about the success rates of charter schools with data showing they have fewer students with disabilities and English language learners. The Success charter schools in the same school building as a public school also had 29% fewer students with economic needs. Charter school funding is not adjusted for the number of enrolled students with disabilities, they actually receive more money per student than do public schools. Charter schools now will also receive free space from the city and receive on average $4000 per student in corporate funding. Success charters lose one half of their students by 6th grade and have an annual suspension rate of 14% compared to public schools rate of 7%. Expulsion rates are not reported; yet, the charter authorizer has cited Success charters with not following procedures. Finally, public school waiting lists in NYC are much higher than charters. A parent applying to a Success charter is counted on everyone of its schools. An NEPC study found only 36 out of 500 charters with enough applications to hold a lottery.
.The Endless Search for Silver Bullets Iris Rotberg, George Washington University, reports that results on NY Common Core tests showed not only drops in proficiency, as expected, for charters and TPS, but the drops were greater for students in charters than for those in TPS. Questions about teaching to the test and narrowing the curriculum due to pressure to raise scores. The achievement gap remains. Policies need to address more equal access to high quality education in low income areas.
Private school vouchers
Hart vs. North Carolina. North Carolina Association of Educators suit filed in 2013 opposing vouchers.
North Carolina School Boards Association suit Filed in 2013 opposing vouchers. In August 2014, the Superior Court judge ruled that Opportunity Scholarships were unconstitutional. Private schools do not meet accountability requirements. Case on appeal.
Leandro case ruling in 2001 that North Carolina was not providing adequate and appropriate funding for at-risk students. This is an on going case. In 2013, the issue of adequate coverage for preK schooling for at risk students was raised after budget cuts were made. Court ruled that Leandro case rulings still in effect, but constitutionality of legislative actions in 2012 were not before the court.
Hoke County vs. North Carolina. NC Policy Watch. 2013. NC Supreme Court rules on PreK Case. See also: https://nces.ed.gov/edfin/pdf/lawsuits/Hoke_v_NC_IV.pdf
Zelman vs. Simmons-Harris. Private school vouchers. Cleveland Scholarship and Tutoring Program 2002. Federal U.S. constitution’s Establishment Clause used to defeat case to overturn vouchers. U.S. Supreme Court ruled that vouchers were legal if they were neutral with respect to religion. Legal Information Institute, Cornell University.
Taking the Right of Education Out of State Constitutions. Constitutionality. Education Justice. May 2014.
Lawsuit by Educators Attacks OK Scholarship Program for Special Needs Children. Oliver et al vs. Barresi. Students with Exceptionalities. 2013.
RI Supreme Court is deeply concerned but denies relief to school children. School Funding. Education Justice. 2014.
Pro-charter organization issues report on Washington D.C. Education Justice. April 2012. What used to be the Illinois Facilities Funow calls itself, simply, IFF. It turns out that the closed schools often reopen with different children, part of gentrification sometimes. This is one of the claims being made by people in the South Ward of Newark, NJ. They think the state is trying to push people out to make way for more expensive, high-rise condos/apartments. The South Ward happens to be close enough to NYC, with good transportation to NYC, to make this a feasible claim.
League of Women Voters et al vs. State Funding. filed in July, 2013. Appeal filed in State Supreme Court August, 2014 re charter school funding. Washington lawsuit summary judgment. Report on the Charter School Lawsuit – Catherine Ahl, LWVWA Education Chair On Dec. 27, 2013, Plaintiffs filed a Notice of Appeal to the Supreme Court of WA, seeking direct review of the portions of the Order denying in part Plaintiffs’ motion for summary judgment and granting in part Defendant State of Washington’s and Intervenors’ cross motions for summary judgment. A few words about Summary Judgment, which both parties asked the Superior Court judge to declare. “Summary judgment is appropriate if a party demonstrates that there is no material fact at issue and that they are entitled to judgment as a matter of law.
The party challenging a statute has the heavy burden of demonstrating that it is unconstitutional beyond a reasonable doubt. The Plaintiffs’ challenge is a facial challenge. Therefore, they must show that there is no set of circumstances in which the statute can be constitutionally applied.” From the ruling by Superior Court Judge Jean Rietschel on Dec. 13, 2013: (I inserted the bold) Article IX, WA State Constitution: “The public school system shall include common schools, and such high schools, and technical schools as may hereafter be established. But the entire revenue derived from the common school fund and the state tax for the common schools shall be exclusively applied to the support of the common schools.” In interpreting our state’s constitutional provisions, the court looks at the previous decisions of the Washington Supreme Court. The Plaintiffs’ rely on the case of School Dist. No. 20 v. Bryan. 51 Wash 498, 502. 99 P. 28 (1909).
The Court held in this case that a normal school, i.e. a school established to educate teachers was not a common school. The court reasoned: The system must be uniform in that every child shall have the same advantages and be subject to the same discipline as every other child. To summarize, a common school, within the meaning of the Constitution, is one that is common to all children of proper age and capacity, free, and subject to, and under the control of the qualified voters of the school district. The complete control of the schools is the most important feature, for it carries with it the right of the voters, through their chosen agents to select qualified teachers, with power to discharge if they are incompetent.
The Court holds that the Bryan case is controlling. Under Bryan, the legislature cannot “by any designation or definition” establish a common school that does not meet the minimum constitutional criteria. Bryan has not been overruled. It has been cited in many of the more recent education cases. A charter school cannot be defined as a common school because it is not under the control of the voters of the school district. The statute places control under a private non-profit organization, a local charter board and/or the Charter Commission. Plaintiffs’ next challenge the act regarding funding issues. First as to state matching funds for construction, these funds are restricted to common schools. Given that the court has held that charter schools are not common schools, the court grants the motion on this ground. (This is one reason for the appeal to the Supreme Court. The judge only referred to construction funding not other funding – the state property tax, for instance – specifically designated for common schools.