Tabacco: Clever Politicians do some good things to confuse the Voters into believing they are NOT AS BAD as they appear! Obama, Cuomo, Christie, Rubio & Clinton (Hillary) fit into that Category!
If everything you did were Evil, (Adolf Hitler & George W. Bush for example), people would pick up on it, and you would be history in the next Election.
But Obama doesn’t have a ‘next’ Election! So basically any Lame Duck can do as he chooses! Bill Clinton pardoned Fugitive, Marc Rich, on his last day in office, January 20, 2001, among the 140 Last Minute Pardons & Commutations.
In total, Clinton pardoned 450! Fellow Democrat, Jimmy Carter, pardoned 566 and Republican Ronald Reagan pardoned 406.
Governor George Ryan of Illinois cleared Death Row in his last days, commuting 167 CONDEMNED INMATES in January, 2003. THREE CHEERS FOR GEORGE RYAN!
For those of you, who think Bush was clever in legislating ‘No Child Left Behind’, just ask any parent how that worked for them and their children. If you legislate a euphonic sounding piece of Trash and/or don’t fund it properly, then you get the Credit for instituting it, but NOT the BLAME for its Failure!
However some folks did PROFIT IMMENSELY from ‘No Child Left Behind’, namely Brother, Neil, and rest of Klan:
BUSH FAMILY VALUES
Don’t Forget To Click On The URL above or On The Image Itself to get full-page sizing on the Printed Matter – Tabacco wouldn’t want you to miss any of this Bush Teflon tidbit!
So even when it appeared GWB was doing something for We The People, it was a SHAM-SCAM! That means Bush does NOT qualify as a ‘Clever Politician’ – he’s just a Selfish, Sophistic, Capitalistic SOB – nothing more, nothing less!
Friday, May 8, 2015
As Obama Admin Seeks More Funding for Charter Schools, Questions Raised over Billions Already Spent
As the Obama administration asks Congress to increase funding for charter schools by almost 50 percent, a new report claims charter schools are spending billions of dollars with nearly no oversight, regulation, or accountability. The Center for Media and Democracy argues the federal government has spent more than $3 billion over the past two decades on the charter school industry, but there is no comprehensive database showing how these funds are spent and what results they produce. The new report analyzes materials obtained from open records requests regarding independent audits of how states interact with charter schools and their authorizers. It concludes that the anti-regulatory environment around charter schools coupled with their lack of financial transparency warrants a moratorium rather than increased charter funding. We are joined by Lisa Graves, executive director of the Center for Media and Democracy. The group’s new report is “New Documents Show How Taxpayer Money Is Wasted by Charter Schools.”
This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.
JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Well with the Obama administration asking Congress to increase funding for charter schools by almost 50 percent, we turn to a major new report that claims charter schools are already spending billions of dollars of federal money with nearly no oversight, regulation, or accountability. The report was released by the Center for Media and Democracy and it’s called, “New Documents Show How Taxpayer Money is Wasted by Charter Schools.” According to the report, the federal government has spent more than $3 billion over the past two decades on the charter school industry, but there is no comprehensive database showing how those funds are spent and what results they produce.
AMY GOODMAN: The new report analyzes materials obtained from open records requests regarding independent audits of how states interact with charter schools and their authorizers. It concludes that the anti-regulatory environment around charter schools, coupled with their lack of financial transparency, warrants a moratorium, rather than increased charter funding. Well for more, we go to Denver, Colorado, to Denver Open Media, where we’re joined by Lisa Graves, Executive Director of the Center for Media and Democracy. Their new report is called, “New Documents Show How Taxpayer Money is Wasted by Charter Schools.”
Lisa, welcome to Democracy Now! Lay out the key findings of your report.
LISA GRAVES: Thank you so much. We spent quite a bit of time trying to figure out how much money has even been spent by the federal government fueling this industry. And it turned out the sum is $3.3 billion. And so we thought, with that much money at stake, there’d be tremendous controls on that spending. But our open records request showed time after time in which the federal government and the state governments have no idea how that money’s being spent. And that, in part, is due to the design of those schools. The design at the state level, driven by ALEC, the American Legislative Exchange Council’s, policies and a number of sort of extreme policies represent a real hostility to government schools, to the idea of public schools and government oversight. And so what we saw in our records request was, time after time, in which no one really knew how much money was being spent by the schools, how much of those tax dollars was being spent on executive pay, how much money was being outsourced to for-profit corporations.
But we know that the $3.3 billion have fueled an industry that now devotes millions of dollars each year to lobbying for more charter schools, and devotes millions of dollars advertising on public airways for people to send their kids to charter schools, things that public schools don’t have a chance to do. Public schools don’t have the budget to advertise their benefits. Even though these things are called public charter schools, in many respects these operate in many instances for the private sector, for the benefit of CEO’s and Wall Street.
JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Well, Lisa, one of the things your report highlights is this black hole of accountability when it comes to charter schools. That the federal government is not holding the states responsible for the money it gives to the states for charter schools. The states are not holding their own charter authorizing agencies or even the individual charter schools accountable. And you conclude that this was not by accident.
LISA GRAVES: That’s right. One of the things we’ve seen over and over again are promises by the Department of Education to do more to hold charter schools accountable. But what you see on the ground based on the audits, based on the Inspector General’s report, is a real lack of controls. You basically have the Department of Education’s charter operation sort of encouraging the states to do more. Meanwhile, you have audits that show that in many instances the states have no idea where the money was spent once it went into the charter school system. They don’t know how many kids were really served. They don’t know what happened to assets that were purchased through our tax dollars. There is a recent report last week from the Center for Popular Democracy that shows through looking through federal and state criminal fraud indictments, that there have been more than $200 million worth of fraud in the charter school industry. So this sort of circumstance calls for much greater control, much greater restraint rather than the 50 percent increase that the administration has called for for charter school funding.
AMY GOODMAN: Lisa, I wanted to turn to a mother featured in an ad released by charterswork.org.
MOTHER: I had the potential to be great, but no one helped me to identify that. I was not letting that happen to my kids. Public charter schools provide high quality education right in our community. I have a daughter that attends Achievement First Apollo and there’s no limits for her now. I voted for de Blasio, but I didn’t vote for you to take my child’s future.
AMY GOODMAN: So there you have it. And of course, they’re talking about de Blasio, the mayor of New York City, Mayor Bill de Blasio. Lisa Graves, what about this? And what about the success or failure of charter schools overall?
Tabacco: Equally important is ‘Who paid for this expensive TV ad?’ – we all know ‘Mother’ didn’t pay for it!
LISA GRAVES: Well you know The studies that we have looked at—and we’ve looked at a huge range of them—show that overall the charter schools don’t perform better than the public schools, the traditional public schools. And in fact, in the worst circumstances, the charter schools perform far worse. You also can see circumstances in which in the so-called virtual public schools, where the dropout rates are higher, the failure rates in essence are higher. And so while people can point to examples here and there of success or innovations, the overall studies seem to indicate that we’re siphoning a lot of money out of our public school system to these charters and some people are getting really rich off of it. Some of these for-profit corporations are making millions—in fact, hundreds of millions of dollars out of our tax dollars, and turning around to spend that money to lobby for more tax dollars, and spending that money to advertise for more kids to come through these systems, even though they’ve had record after record after record of failure, in many instances, by these charter schools. What we’ve also seen in one of the biggest studies is that more money goes to so-called administration in charter schools than to students directly. And that’s not a surprise when you see how these things are structured. Some of the charter schools basically outsource everything to the private sector. And then the private sector is not accountable to open records requests on Ohio, Indiana, other states, where people have tried to figure out where the money went. How much money went to executive pay, how much money went to these for-profit operations, you cannot even tell.
JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Lisa, I want to play for you a comment by Reed Hastings, who is the CEO of Netflix. He is a supporter and an investor in the Rocket Ship Education Charter Schools Network. Last year, at a meeting of the California Charter Schools Association, he called for the abolition of local school boards. His speech was posted on YouTube. The audio is not great, but if you listen carefully, you can hear his words.
REED HASTINGS: And so the fundamental problem with school districts is not their fault. The fundamental problem is they don’t get to control their boards. And the importance of the charter school movement is to evolve America from a system where governance is constantly changing and you can’t do long-term planning, to a system of large nonprofits. Now, if we go to the general public and we say, here is an argument why you should get rid of school boards, of course no one is going to go for that. School boards have been an iconic part of America for 200 years. And so what we have to do is to work with school districts to grow steadily. And the work ahead is really hard, because we’re at 8% of students in California. Whereas in New Orleans, they’re at 90%. So we have a lot of catch-up to do.
JUAN GONZÁLEZ: That was Reed Hastings, the CEO of Netflix and a big supporter and investor in the charter school industry, last year at a meeting of the California Charter Schools Association. Lisa Graves, your reaction and also this whole issue of the long-term goal of eliminating any kind of democratic process for parents and communities in their school boards.
LISA GRAVES: Well if you listen closely to what he said, what he said was we need to abolish the school districts — we need to abolish the school boards, basically. School boards are really the only way that we have democratic-controlled, direct democracy, over our schools. For ordinary public schools, if they have want to build a new gym, a new stadium, they have to go to taxpayers to get permission to expand the school system, to get taxes to expand. And also, people can elect who is on that school board. What we see through charters and the American Legislative Exchange Council’s agenda is an effort to circumvent local democratic control. To basically remove control of these schools, these charter schools, these often for-profit enterprises that are related to them. And that’s part of the design of them. When you look back at the history of this, what you see is the year after Brown v. Board of Education, when the Supreme Court unanimously ruled that the schools had to desegregate, Milton Friedman, the Godfather of the right on the economics, someone who has fueled and supported the American Legislative Exchange Council before he passed away, Milton Friedman suggested that the solution to segregation was that there ought to be just purely private schools. They ought to abolish public schools, and people could choose all-white schools, all colored schools, and mixed schools. And Milton Friedman—
AMY GOODMAN: Actually, we have a clip of the late economist Milton Friedman back in 2006 talking about the public school system should be eliminated.
Tabacco: Whenever Rich People advise Middleclass Folk how to best serve their own needs, you must take out your magnifying glass, analyze each word, each phrase, each line, each paragraph, then – and this is most important of all – you MUST analyze the MOTIVES of that Rich Person, searching for his/her self-serving self-interests. Then and only then can you reasonably conclude whether that Advice is worthy of consideration or ridicule! Here the Conclusion is OBVIOUS!
(A) “abolish the public school system” – that is their ultimate goal because it is nearly impossible to siphon off really Big Money from Public Schools themselves without the use of Privatized Charter Schools! Making Public Schools the Tail and Charter Schools the Dog is what these Capitalists really want!
(B) “eliminate all the taxes that pay for it. Then parents would have enough money to pay for private schools.” – Here Friedman continues shifting his emphasis to approach what he truly means but obfuscate his true intentions. Redirecting Public Education Funds as ‘VOUCHERS’ is the same ploy Capitalists want to use with Social Security & Medicare Programs. It’s called ‘PRIVATIZATION’! If you recognize it when applied to Social Security & Medicare, why is it so difficult to spot it when they say the same words about PUBLIC EDUCATION!
(C) “choice; that you have to change the way government money is directed. Instead of its being used to finance schools and buildings, you should decide how much money you are willing to spend on each child and give that money — provide that money in the form of a voucher, to the parents of the children” – Desperate Parents are provoked into believing they are the best judges of what the best education is for their children. You know they are not because they listen to the Advice of the very Capitalists, who created the Educational Mess in America in the 1st place! So those silly, desperate, misguided parents would fork over that Tax Loot to Privatized Charter Schools, which cannot be Audited, which cannot be controlled by those Parents, which can hire/fire uncertified Teachers at will (1 Uncertified Teacher per 100 Students), which can expel Students, who create a problem for the Privatizers or whose grades are below Norm or students they just don’t like such as those with Special Needs! If ever there was an Example of that old Adage, this is it: “OUT OF THE FRYING PAN, AND INTO THE FIRE!”
AMY GOODMAN: So that’s the late Milton Friedman, the economist Milton Friedman, speaking in 2006. And behind him is the banner of ALEC, the American Legislative Exchange Council. So if you can talk about the significance of this, Lisa, and also you refer to ALEC, but exactly explain its role in all of this, as well as the Koch brothers.
Tabacco: To read more about ALEC, go to following URLs:
Insidious Capitalism Undermines America: ALEC (AMERICAN LEGISLATIVE EXCHANGE COUNCIL)
LISA GRAVES: That was a speech to ALEC, as you point out. And what Milton Friedman was saying was basically the goal is to abolish the public schools. This is a radical, extreme goal and it had been his goal since at least 1955. That goal has been joined by numerous billionaire families in this country, including the Koch brothers. When David Koch ran for Vice President in 1980, one of his platforms was to abolish privatized the public schools. You heard it in the last presidential cycle, the Republican candidates were competing for which agencies to abolish. They wanted to do abolish the Department of Education. I’ve heard Grover Norquist and others joke about the need to get rid of public education. This is part of that agenda. It’s also fueled by the duBois family, from the Amway fortune, by the Walmart family, the Walmart Foundation. All of them have basically wrapped their agenda in these words of “choice” that Milton Friedman suggested. That it is about choice, when, in fact, the agenda is a — hostile to the idea that there should be public schools. The radicals, basically, in the country, for a long time, including Fred Koch, who was David and Charles Koch’s father, believed that the idea of public schools was basically communist or socialist, which is really ridiculous. Public schools are one of the basic innovations of America that has made our country strong and great, to have universal public education for all kids.
But what we have seen through ALEC is this combination of ideological right-wingers and for-profit entities and their trade groups coming together to actually vote as equals, behind closed doors, with legislators from across the country, in this effort to privatize our schools, through vouchers, through expanding charters, through charters with very few controls, charters exempted from state and federal regulations, charters exempted from local regulations, charters exempted from control by local school boards. What happens at ALEC Education Task Force meetings — and that task force has been co-chaired in the past by for-profit corporations that benefit from the agenda, as well as nonprofits that outsource money to for-profits — those task force meetings, unbelievably, legislators actually vote as equals, on those model bills, with these special interest groups, before those bills are introduced in our state houses and state legislatures across the country. And that’s one of the reasons why we work to expose ALEC.
JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Lisa, I wanted to ask you, particularly, the mention of Friedman about having the money in the form of vouchers per-child, rather than for schools itself. You’ve talked about how in Wisconsin and other states now, you’re getting online, private schools. We are talking not just in colleges. We are talking at the public school level. Charging, getting the same per child fee as a normal public school would get. Could you talk about that?
LISA GRAVES: Yes, one of the most amazing bills I read after the whistleblower gave me the bills in 2011 that were approved through this corporate voting process of ALEC with legislators was a bill called The Virtual Public Schools Act. It and other ALEC bills basically require that these so-called virtual schools that would get vouchers or tax dollars and would be paid the same per-pupil amount as schools with bricks and mortar, air-conditioning, blackboards, lunch ladies, school buses, etc. The difference is profit. So you have a situation in which some of these vouchers are going to support operations that have far fewer costs. In part because some of these vouchers, at least in the virtual arena, are supporting schools or classrooms where there is one teacher for 50, 60, or hundreds of students. And in some states like Arizona, where they, through ALEC measures and related measures have basically stripped down teacher certification rules so that you do not have to have the traditional teacher certification, you can have uncertified teachers teaching in so-called virtual classrooms, hundreds of students, getting thousands per-pupil, and meanwhile, the corporations that are involved, like K12, are making millions of dollars. K12 has gone from a Wall Street firm that was created in part by the junk bond Michael Milken, his — that felon who was convicted for those junk bond schemes. He invested in K12. It’s gone from $200 million in revenue to nearly $1 billion in revenue. That’s almost entirely supported by federal and state tax dollars. And so there’s enormous profit to be made through these vouchers.
AMY GOODMAN: Lisa, we have to leave it there. I thank you for being with us, Executive Director of the Center for Media and Democracy. And we will link to your report at democracynow.org. As well, Juan, we’ll link to your piece in The New York Daily News, called, “Feds Fail to Keep Tabs on $3 Billion in Aid Doled Out to Charter Schools.”
Tabacco: We all learned about the ‘Big Bad Wolf’ as children when we read ‘Red Riding Hood’. Why have you all forgotten?
Milton Friedman, President Barack Obama, Governor Andrew Cuomo and others are the ‘Big Bad Wolf’ and you Folks out there in Blogland are Red Riding Hood, if not Grandma! Wake Up!
Red Riding Hood & Wolf2.jpg
Tabacco: I consider myself both a funnel and a filter. I funnel information, not readily available on the Mass Media, which is ignored and/or suppressed. I filter out the irrelevancies and trivialities to save both the time and effort of my Readers and bring consternation to the enemies of Truth & Fairness! When you read Tabacco, if you don’t learn something NEW, I’ve wasted your time.
Tabacco is not a blogger, who thinks; I am a Thinker, who blogs. Speaking Truth to Power!
In 1981′s ‘Body Heat’, Kathleen Turner said, “Knowledge is power”.
T.A.B.A.C.C.O. (Truth About Business And Congressional Crimes Organization) – Think Tank For Other 95% Of World: WTP = We The People