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Providence Plans to Defund Its Public Schools to Expand “No Excuses” Charter

Originally published at http://www.commondreams.org/views/2019/08/24/providence-plans-defund-its-public-schools-expand-no-excuses-charter


The DINO governor of Rhode Island (another soldout Dem shill) is described as a “venture capitalist” as well as ex hedge fund parasite; she is still working for hedge-funds in office by even considering the idiot plan to defund public ed. WTF ? She should be described as a vulture capitalist for this transparent sellout of public education!
What she is working for are profits, not education!

Hedge-funds have supported and bet-on the profits to come from for-profit education - like following the for-profit health care rip-off.
By defunding public ed (not even sure that is legal) Ms Governor is going the for-profit education route just like her brainwashing in the hedge-fund world, and likely her own investments. She should be investigated for current ties, as well as impeached!


If you’re looking for a poster child of neoliberals in the Democratic Party Gina Raimondo is your woman. She is a hedge fund impersonating a human being.


What is even more sickening is that education is not on the chopping block, training is. Education is something that one has to do for oneself in America. What passes for “public education” is a sham thanks to the likes of John D. Rockefeller and his chief minion, Frederick T. Gates. Look into John Gatto’s excellent lectures and writings. Research the trivium (grammar, logic, and rhetoric) and contemplate why only the wealthy get exposed to it and not the masses. Or better yet, just watch the Late Great George Carlin’s YouTube videos on education before they disappear down the rabbit hole.


Who in God’s name would buy a used education from this woman?

First, there are big problems with Providence RI’s public school system. As described: Wall Street Journal Monday 7-8-2019 page A16 ‘An Education Horror Show’ Big text “A case study in public school failure and lack of accountability.” Providence RI. This is a government failure, underwritten by entrenched union power. Only 5% of 8th graders score proficient in math. Student performance actually drops the longer students spend in Providence schools. Proficiency in English fell from 18.7% of 5th graders to 8.5% of 8th graders.

Second, I challenge Ms. Ravitch’s second sentence: “It’s equally clear that charters drain resources from the public schools that enroll most students.” - On the contrary, charter schools typically receive less per student than public schools. That is one reason why state legislators like charter schools: they cost less than public schools. (Two other reasons are that charters get better results than public schools, and the parents are happier.)

Providence RI has a bad problem with their schools. How they going to fix that?

“Providence RI has a bad problem with their schools. How they going to fix that?”

They sure as hell wont fix the problem allowing private corporations to suck up taxpayer money intended for the kids education. Expect those test scores to drop even more with all but a handful of Providence’s kids. Shameful.


“First, there are big problems with Providence RI’s public school system. As described: Wall Street Journal Monday 7-8-2019 page…”

Why would anyone trust the Wall Street Journal says about public education? They have been repeatedly wrong on education policy and on their “sky-is-falling” stories.

“Only 5% of 8th graders score proficient in math.”

Proficient on WHAT indicator of mathematics proficiency? If you are talking about the NAEP, then you are telling us 8% of students in a poorer and more diverse urban district (79% low income, 91% non-white) scored proficient on a test that only 30% of the wealthier-on-average Rhode Island 8th graders on average scored proficient on? Without knowing more, that’s not particularly surprising, nor is it evidence of school failure. I have no special knowledge of how well Providence’s public schools are performing given the conditions they face, and I’m guessing neither do you. But as an educational researcher, I know that numbers like that 8% don’t prove anything by themselves. The entire wrong-headed school accountability and privatization movement was built by using misleading numbers to create the illusion that public schools are generally failing when better evidence is that our economy is failing to serve children and families well (and our failing economy is the main source of educational inequality).

“Two other reasons are that charters get better results than public schools, and the parents are happier.)”

It’s deeply and dangerously misleading to say that charters get better results than public schools–as if students learning is primarily the result of the quality of schooling they receive. It isn’t. Roughly 65-90% of the variance in student outcomes is due to out-of-school factors, primarily family SES, but also intangibles like parental motivation. The charter process allows charters to skim off a disproportionate percentage of the more able and motivated families and students from the sending district AND push out kids who can’t keep up academically or who misbehave a bit. Public schools can’t do that, so when you’re comparing the test scores of kids from charters vs. public schools, if kids from charters seem to be doing a bit better, it doesn’t mean that charter schools are teaching better, it mostly means the charter selection process allows them to cherry-pick more able kids and parents and push out the less able or less well-behaved. It that group of kids who are performing better on tests, but that provides zero evidence that charters SCHOOLS are performing well, let alone performing better than public schools. The best evidence we have shows public schools outperforming private schools by a bit.

“Providence RI has a bad problem with their schools.” You’re blaming schools for a problem you haven’t proven exists. Perhaps it exists, but by far the biggest causes of poorer student learning in America are poverty, inequality, and the echoes of 400 years of structural racism. Differences in the quality of schools and teachers typically accounts for only 20% of the variance in student outcomes, so the last 35 years of public school bashing has mostly been a wasteful and destructive exercise in barking up the wrong tree.


Look, It’s actually pretty simple; with privatization of ANYTHING (water, schools, electric, or other govt services) you add profit into the cost thereby adding to the cost. Forget about the “market” and all that bullshit, bottom line is THE bottom line. More profit and less service, simple as that.

Edit to add: And, ALWAYS blame the unions too.


There are limited seats in charter schools, so which kids get to go, of those whose parents want them to go, is decided by lottery. Researchers have compared the kids who won the lottery vs. the ones who did not. Those who went to charter schools did better. [Perhaps those who wanted to go but didn’t still did better than those whose parents didn’t bother…]

Consider the vice-versa, then. Public schools do a lousy job of organizing study groups and so forth so that the best who would otherwise go to charter schools could/would help drag the others up to a higher performance level. Isn’t that the purpose of school desegregation, that it would increase the focus on improving the test scores of the downtrodden and disadvantaged. - Instead it seems like the whole systems drags everyone down to the lowest level enrolled.

Like most people and like Will Rogers, most of what I know is what I read in the newspaper.

I read recently that Baltimore MD public schools are in even worse condition. Of five gradings of proficiency from not-at-all to good, not a single student scored above a 3, where 4 or 5 is considered ‘proficient’.

Wow. It is hard to believe that someone actually defends charter schools. In more advanced countries (pretty well any school in western Europe, Canada, Australia, Japan or South Korea), students score much higher than students in the U.S. across the board. All of these countries have unionized teachers, higher teacher salaries and far better results than in the U.S. Those same countries operate systems that are entirely “public”. The fact that this charter nonsense has gained so much traction is merely proof that corporate America can suck anyone in if you just give them enough time.
I have gone to Charter School “investment meetings” where people brag how much can be made by investing in a system that sucks the money from the public treasury and promises “returns on your investment” by under paying teachers and redirecting the savings to profitable dividends. Exclusion of minorities, the handicapped and the “economically challenged” are explained as “excellent opportunities” to take advantage of the crumbling public sector.
The “crumbling public sector” is a result of the ‘corporate creep’ over the years that has starved the U.S. public education system (much in the same way that corporate creep has undermined the post office, public transit, healthcare and other programs popular amongst the 99%) to make the concept of “privatization” more palatable to the general public.
What is really needed in the U.S. are studies to find our how the more developed countries are producing better results. For example, in Toronto, Canada, schools educational success, or lack of, are meticuously measured each year. The worst performing schools receive large grants (typically to the tune of an additional $5,000,000 per school) to help with their under performance. The extra money is used in a variety of ways from hiring more staff to adding school lunches. All of the schools that receive these grants are located in economically challenged areas (to no one’s surprise!) and are understood by the boards of education that additional resources may be required to promote social equity and justice. The results are very impressive with all of the schools that receive grants showing marked improvement almost immediately.
Of course in countries like Canada, corporations are not allowed to dictate educational policies. Nor are hedge fund managers considered to be reliable authorities on matters of education despite their financial success. However all public educational systems abroad are on guard against ‘corporate creep’ out of fear that their educational systems could end up like those in the U.S. if they listen to CNN, hedge fund politicians and the Wall Street Journal.
Finally, education should not be measured solely by some grammar and math tests. Again, in more developed countries, teachers focus on identifying each and every students strengths and weaknesses so that they can help children find themselves and develop their inherent talents more efficiently. Beethoven was not an overachiever in German (his native tongue) or in math, yet no can argue that Beethoven was not a genius. In the U.S. Beethoven would have been pegged as a ‘slower student’ and perhaps he never would have had a chance to become one of the world’s greatest composers. Instead, critical thinking skills (the enemy of corporate America) should be the foundation of any educational process. Social equity, justice and empathy should be stressed instead of allegiance to the military and ‘training for the corporate sector’. Until Americans revisit the fundamentals of what we expect our children to learn, the educational crisis will continue its downward spiral.


I don’t see value in an extended argument on this subject. To bring up a few points for you and the other readers to consider…

An alternative view is that public education, like several public things, have decayed, gotten rotten, because it is the inherent nature of such things to go bad, particularly in America. Corporations creep into it because they see an opportunity to do a better job. And make money. They only make money if their product is better than the alternative.
– Those charter school investment meetings you attended are straight forward. They are attempting to persuade savers and investors to put up money to open another charter school. Producing better educated students is a selling point. But they also have to persuade those putting up money that it is not a rathole and they will earn comparable in value to their alternatives. Not very different than how a Catholic school operates. Note that Catholic schools have many fewer administrators than an American public school; that is one source of cost savings.

Note the contrast that American public schools, and their teachers, and many here on this forum are adamantly opposed to meticulously measuring school or student performance. How would that system in Toronto work if they weren’t allowed to assess performance?

Interesting to note that in Japan High Schools operate much like colleges do. Students have to apply and take entrance exams, and they/their families often have to pay tuition. Obviously, such schools have to offer something better than what the free alternative provides.

Yes it would.
[BTW, I corrected two misspellings you made.]

Gov. Raimondo might be considered Exhibit “A” in the case that voting “Blue no matter who” is a bulls#$% argument to prop up a morally bankrupt and failing political party. Probably tied with Joe Biden, Kamala Harris, and the rest of the corporate Democrats who have taken lots of corporate and billionaire money in their bids for the Democratic presidential nomination.


IMHO. So called successful business people have made poor politicians. We all likely have a case of that in our own state. Wrong priorities. And instead of sharing the good of their experience, we always get the self positioned prejudices.
We need no lawyers, business owners, money mongers, or sons of the oligarchy. How about politicians that worked a 40 hour week, showered in the evening, and who’s net worth is minimal.

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Mohandas K “Mahatma” Gandhi and Jose Mujica aren’t available. But you can ask them their advice on where to find someone like them… Good luck with that.

(incidentally, Gandhi earlier in his career was a lawyer…)

The working class has been moneyed out of the political system, yet another reason to fund the electoral process with taxpayer money only, and force the MSM to donate air time equally among the candidates.

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“There are limited seats in charter schools, so which kids get to go, of those whose parents want them to go, is decided by lottery. Researchers have compared the kids who won the lottery vs. the ones who did not. Those who went to charter schools did better. [Perhaps those who wanted to go but didn’t still did better than those whose parents didn’t bother…]”

Maybe I didn’t make my point clear enough. Charters are merely skimming off a select group of kids and families. Those who lose the lottery go back to school in a schools with the rest of the kids, who are, one average, less able and motivated than those who participated in the lottery. That pulls everyone’s learning down, so comparing the test scores of lottery winners and losers is a dumb way to assess the success of charters in many ways (for example, most of what matters in education isn’t on standardized tests/ the charter selection process and attrition process both give charters an unfair edge). As an educational researcher, I can’t begin to figure out why anyone is taking seriously these charter studies–other than the fact that the big money neoliberal push is to expand charters. If you wanted to actually figure out whether expanding charters was good for kids in a big urban district, you’d compare results and trends before and after (or with and without) expansion of charters–but you’d lump the charters and non-charters together, because in a classic “the richer get richer effect,” expanding charters directly hurts the non-charter kids and schools.

“I read recently that Baltimore MD public schools are in even worse condition.”

Again, you are attributing student outcomes primarily to the quality of teaching and schools. That is totally unscientific. ~65-100% of the variance in student outcomes is due to out-of-school factors, so the more scientific way to phrase that is to say that “The SCHOOLCHILDREN in Baltimore are performing at an even lower level.”

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For educating the masses in a way that is consistent with our highest moral, democratic, and educational ideals, fully public schools are vastly superior to corporate-style solutions. Corporate-style policies are what has been so destructive in American education for the past 15 years.

The main cause of educational inequality is our failing economy–a neoliberal capitalist economy that is basically an inequality-producing machine.

“Corporations creep into it because they see an opportunity to do a better job. And make money. They only make money if their product is better than the alternative.”

False. All they have to do to make money is twist the arms of the people they donated money to, get laws passed in their favor. To be sure, it helps if they can keep up some thin illusion their schools are performing as well or better than public schools–but it’s all an illusion that depends on people not knowing how to reason about the issue.

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Good job Karl…You are Spot On in Your Assessments

The tacky reruns that a2d2 repeats ad nauseum are just talking points from the predators

The First Taxes Jefferson raised were for the Education of the Common Person

This was to Protect Our Democracy with an Intelligent Voting Base

Underfunding Public Education until the Corpse falls dead…

Then Shock Doctrine insertion of your campaign donor’s company
isn’t Public Education as the Founding Fathers Envisioned

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