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Amy O’Rourke’s Charter School Dropped Two Grade Levels That It Still Advertises

In listening to a news report on presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke’s wife, Amy Sanders O’Rourke, I caught a quick mention of her having started a charter school in El Paso, Texas.

La Fe Preparatory School is the name. O’Rourke drafted the application in December 2006.

According to the La Fe Prep website, the school serves grades K-8. However, it seems that the site is not up-to date; the downloadable application is for the 2017-18 school year, and the latest news on the school, this KFOX14 news report dated July 24, 2018, indicates that La Fe Prep dropped grades 7 and 8 “according to parents”:

La Fe Preparatory School is downsizing, according to parents. They tell us they had been hearing rumors and finally got it confirmed.

“We were hearing rumors they weren’t sure there was going to be middle school. But we weren’t 100% sure yet,” Katherine Juarez, a parent at the school, said. “So just in case I went ahead and I put her in a different middle school.”

Juarez already enrolled her daughter into public school to be prepared for the changes.

KFOX14 reached out multiple times to the school’s public information officer to find out why the school was downsizing but never heard back.

The La Fe Prep website includes no mention of Amy O’Rourke as principal, though she is listed as principal in this Texas Tribune school search engine. (Note that data is from the 2016-17 school year.)

La Fe Prep still lists 7th/8th grade teachers on its staff page. Interestingly, no admin are listed, and no admin page is included on the La Fe Prep site.

As for O’Rourke: She is currently listed as “choose to excel director” for the El Paso nonprofit, CREEED. Her CREEED bio offers no indication of exactly when O’Rourke left La Fe Prep.

On the La Fe Prep website’s “parents” page, a link for 2018-19 school supplies supposedly for grades K-8 leads to an outdated, 2017-18 link.

Not only is there no mention of La Fe Prep being reduced to grades K-6; the “2018-19” supply link states that it is for “PK-7th/8th Grades.”

However, according to the Texas Education Agency (TEA) August 20, 2018, listing of Texas charter schools, La Fe Prep has indeed cut grades 7 and 8 for the 2018-19 school year; the school is listed as serving grades K-6 (see page 50).

Nevertheless, the La Fe Prep website has not been updated to reflect this fact– which means that the website is presenting El Paso parents with misleading information.

Good thing El Paso parents have a public school district to turn to.

question mark document

____________________________________________________________________________

Interested in scheduling Mercedes Schneider for a speaking engagement? Click here.

.

Want to read about the history of charter schools and vouchers?

School Choice: The End of Public Education? 

school choice cover  (Click image to enlarge)

Schneider is a southern Louisiana native, career teacher, trained researcher, and author of two other books: A Chronicle of Echoes: Who’s Who In the Implosion of American Public Education and Common Core Dilemma: Who Owns Our Schools?. You should buy these books. They’re great. No, really.

both books

Don’t care to buy from Amazon? Purchase my books from Powell’s City of Books instead.

 

Campbell Brown’s Union-Busting Org, Partnership for Ed Justice, Is Dead.

Partnership for Educational Justice (PEJ) was a nonprofit created in December 2013 by former journalist (and now, former ed reformer) Campbell Brown. Incorporated in Delaware under the name All Kids Matter, PEJ (then All Kids Matter) received some of its initial funding from a previous Campbell Brown nonprofit, Parents Transparency Project (PTP).

If all of this nonprofit-begetting-nonprofit history is a challenge to follow, perhaps this excerpt from my December 01, 2016, post on this blog:

In June 2013, Campbell Brown formed the lobbying nonprofit, Parents’ Transparency Project (PTP), and registered it in Delaware. It reported total revenue of $1.2 million for June thru December 2013 and had one major expense of $1.1 million:

PTP is apolitical (Schneider’s note: supposedly meaning “non-political”) watchdog group whose mission is to bring transparency to the rules, deals, and contracts negotiated between our state and local governments and the teachers’ unions, and to help parents get a clear understanding of how the education bureaucracy works. PTP used media to generate public pressure against the DOE, the UFT, and city and state government of New York to be transparent and accountable in their procedures, contracts, and legislation affecting our students and their school system.

In October 2013, Mother Jones published an enlightening article on Brown’s PTP, which supposedly aimed to cleanse New York classrooms of union-protected sexual predator teachers. An excerpt:

Early one morning in July, former CNN anchor Campbell Brown appeared on MSNBC’s Morning Joe, pen in hand, notes fanned out in front of her. Viewers might have mistaken her as a fill-in host, but Brown had swung by 30 Rock in her new role as a self-styled education reformer, a crusader against sexual deviants in New York City public schools and the backward unions and bureaucrats getting in the way of firing them. “In many cases, we have teachers who were found guilty of inappropriate touching, sexual banter with kids, who weren’t fired from their jobs, who were given very light sentences and sent back to the classroom,” Brown, the mother of two young sons, explained.

Brown was there to plug her new venture, the Parents’ Transparency Project, a nonprofit “watchdog group” that “favors no party, candidate, or incumbent.” Though its larger aim is to “bring transparency” to how contracts are negotiated with teachers’ unions, PTP’s most prominent campaign is to fix how New York City handles cases of sexual misconduct involving teachers and school employees—namely by giving the city’s schools chancellor, a political appointee, ultimate authority in the process. …

Brown’s group paints the unions as the main obstacles to a crackdown on predators. Yet Randi Weingarten, the president of the American Federation of Teachers, says that the union’s New York City chapter already has a zero-tolerance policy in its contract, and that AFT only protects its members against “false allegations.” New York state law also mandates that any teacher convicted of a sex crime be automatically fired. It is the law, not union contracts, that requires that an independent arbitrator hear and mete out punishment in cases of sexual misconduct that fall outside criminal law. The quickest route to changing that policy may be lobbying lawmakers in Albany, not hammering teachers and their unions.

Brown did not want to lobby lawmakers in Albany. Instead, she pretty much closed PTP shop in 2014 in order to create another nonprofit.

According to the PTP 2014 tax form, PTP began 2014 with the $88,000 left over from 2013. Turns out PTP paid $30,000 of that $88,000 to Brown’s next nonprofit, the Partnership for Educational Justice (PEJ).

Brown began PEJ in December 2013 under a different name, All Kids Matter, Inc., and incorporated it in Delaware. In February 2014, she changed the name to Partnership for Educational Justice (PEJ).

In March 2014, Brown filed for nonprofit status for PEJ under a New York City address. Brown reported that she expected PEJ to raise $3 million in grants and contributions from 12-19-2013 to 11-30-2014; $4 million from 12-01-2014 to 11-30-2015, and $5 million from 12-01-2015 to 11-30-2016.

Brown included the following description of PEJ’s purpose on the nonprofit application:

Inspired by the work of similar impact litigation around the country, the Applicant will seek to use the litigation process, combined with a public communications campaign, to reform harmful education laws and regulations that prevent our schools and school districts from providing all students with an excellent education. Through its public communications campaigns, the Applicant will seek to build relationships with families, community stakeholders and organizations — with the goal of forming effective working coalitions that will increase pressure on lawmakers and other decision makers to reform our educational system.

The Applicant’s initial focus will be on defending human and civil rights of children in New York State public schools. More particularly, the Applicant will help fund and support litigation challenging New York State education laws that operate to keep grossly ineffective teachers in public school classrooms. The Applicant hopes to be able to build on its initial activities in New York and to expand its activities into other states around the country.

In all events, the litigation promoted, supported or engaged in by the Applicant will be undertaken to benefit the general public. For example, in selecting rights to be defended, the Applicant will consider whether the litigation will have a substantial impact beyond the interest of the specific named plaintiffs. In addition, the selection of cases will be made by the Board, which is unrelated to, and independent of, any commercial entity retained by the Applicant. The Applicant does not expect to receive financial support from any of the persons being represented.

The Applicant will not, itself, provide legal representation to others, although it will institute and support litigation in order to defend children’s human and civil rights.

The “similar impact litigation” that inspired Brown’ s PEJ likely includes the case, Friedrichs vs. California Teachers Association, which was considered a victory for organized labor when the US Supreme Court deadlocked 4-4 in March 2016over unions’ collecting fees from nonmembers when nonmembers benefited from union advocacy, and the teacher tenure lawsuit, California’s Vergara case, which the California Supreme Court decided in August 2016 not to hear. Thus, the ruling on appeal (which was in favor of California teacher job protections) was allowed to stand.

As of this writing, Brown’s PEJ has filed lawsuits in New York, Minnesota, and New Jersey. In October 2016, a Minnesota judge tossed out the Minnesota suit for not connecting student test score outcomes with the state’s tenure laws. According to PEJ, the parents in the PEJ-backed MN lawsuit “are preparing to appeal.”

According to Minnesota ed advocate Sarah Lahm, PEJ’s Minnesota lawsuit died a quiet death. From Lahm’s March 14, 2019, Progressive.org post:

In a February 28 statement posted to the Partnership for Educational Justice website, the group acknowledged that a Minnesota appeals court dismissed the Forslund case and, in response, the plaintiffs have declined to pursue any further legal action.

So, the purpose of Brown’s PEJ was to weaken teachers unions; however, it seems that PEJ just couldn’t bring about the union-busting that Brown and her PEJ funders and allies had hoped. According to PEJ’s terminal tax form (December 01, 2016, to August 31, 2017), Brown was still listed as a director; however, as of January 2017, her attention had been turned away from union busting (and from being editor at yet another nonprofit, the 74 Media) and toward being the “head of news partnerships” at Facebook.

As for PEJ, well, it just couldn’t go on. Its total revenue fell dramatically from 2015 to 2016; in 2015 (actually December 2014 to November 2015), PEJ garnered $4.7M in contributions and grants; in 2016 (Dec 2015 to Nov 2016), PEJ revenue dropped markedly, to $901K– with PEJ ending the year in the red (-$400K). In its final year (Dec 2016 to Aug 2017), PEJ listed only $500K in revenue and again ended its year (this one shortened to eight months) in the red (redder, at -$690K, but the same total to the dollar as its net assets, thereby leaving and end-of-year fund balance of zero).

On its terminal tax form, PEJ’s explanation for its short year is simply, “Organization has been dissolved as of August 31, 2017.”

RIP

Even so, PEJ still has a functioning website with contact info redirected to “media@50can.org”– 50CAN being connected to none other than Jonathan Sackler, of the Purdue-Pharma-OxyContin-producing Sacklers.

Jonathan Sackler is “incubating” a new ed reform org that happens to involve two ed reformers looking for a new reform gig, one of whom was once on the PEJ payroll. From my March 08, 2019, post on Jonathan Sackler:

What I also noticed is that a number of the ed reform orgs that Sackler once supported are now either out of commission or absorbed by other entities (e.g., Families for Excellent Schools, Black Alliance for Education Options, StudentsFirst, Partnership for Educational Justice, Excel Bridgeport). Still, that does not mean that Sackler is not ready to offer his OxyContin-derived bucks to help re-form reform. Consider this May 11, 2018, Chalkbeat article, entitled, “Two Former Staff Members at Families for Excellent Schools Planning a New Pro-Charter Org”:

Two former top staffers at the recently shuttered Families for Excellent Schools are working to start a new pro-charter advocacy group, according to multiple sources with knowledge of their plans.

Reshma Singh, who was the chief growth officer at Families for Excellent Schools, and Sean Andersen, who was its chief program officer, are leading the new effort. And while the scope and approach of their new organization are still unclear, the connections the pair have to the education reform world suggest the group’s impact will be felt even as it faces tough political headwinds in some states.

The group is being incubated at 50CAN, an education advocacy group with a presence in several states and where Andersen and Singh are currently employees.

According to Singh’s Linkedin bio, prior to her time with now-inoperative Families for Excellent Schools, Singh was the founding executive director of another nonfunctioning ed reform nonprofit,  Partnership for Educational Justice.

Is the third time the charm?

According to her Linkedin bio, Singh’s new org is P.A.C.E. Education Strategies, designed to boost the grass-rootsiness of ed reform. From PACE’s web site:

We believe the key to upward mobility in America is a great education. But today, more than sixty years after Brown v. Board of Education, access to a quality education is still determined by a student’s race, income, and zip code.

Despite these persistent challenges, there are bright spots all across the country. There are innovative public schools run by dedicated and visionary leaders that are preparing thousands of students for college and a successful life. There are parent-led organizations fighting for opportunity in their communities.

These leaders give us hope. But they face so many barriers that can keep their work from succeeding. Whether it’s an entrenched political opposition or the devastating impact of apathy from those in power, creating bold educational change can feel like rolling a boulder uphill.

That’s why we exist – to help local leaders who are fighting to change the status quo in our education system. And by doing so, we will move towards a nation where every child has access to a great public school.

Sure, PEJ is dead, but there’s always room (and money, even opioid-derived) for an ed-reform spinoff, a corporate-reform makeover.

Throwing public education under the bus can be so difficult on the passionate ed reformer.

Some must reinvent themselves as ed reformers, at least for awhile.

Then they can exit that passion and become Facebook execs.

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Campbell Brown

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Interested in scheduling Mercedes Schneider for a speaking engagement? Click here.

.

Want to read about the history of charter schools and vouchers?

School Choice: The End of Public Education? 

school choice cover  (Click image to enlarge)

Schneider is a southern Louisiana native, career teacher, trained researcher, and author of two other books: A Chronicle of Echoes: Who’s Who In the Implosion of American Public Education and Common Core Dilemma: Who Owns Our Schools?. You should buy these books. They’re great. No, really.

both books

Don’t care to buy from Amazon? Purchase my books from Powell’s City of Books instead.

 

FBI Wiretaps Show Importance of Fake Charity and Extended Testing Time in College Admissions Scam

William Rick Singer operated The Key Worldwide (KWF), a fraudulent nonprofit, as a front for a massive college admissions scandal for the rich.

william rick singer

William Rick Singer

However, Singer could not state the real purpose of his nonprofit in its declared mission, so he manipulated the language as follows:

The Key Worldwide Foundation endeavors to provide education that would normally be unattainable to underprivileged students, not only attainable but realistic. With programs that are designed to assist young people in everyday situations, and educational situations, we hope to open new avenues of educational access to students that would normally have no access to these programs. Our contributions to major athletic university programs, may help to provide placement to students that may not have access under normal channels.

Compare Singer’s words above with those intercepted in a June 2018, court-approved, FBI wiretap of Singer selling his college admissions wares to a wealthy parent, New York attorney Gordon Caplan, who is now part of this 204-page affidavit in support of criminal complaint.

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Gordon Caplan

(Note that Singer says he has perpetrated his scheme a whopping 761 times before):

Okay, so, who we are– what we do is we help the wealthiest families in the U.S. get their kids into school …. Every year there are– is a group of families, especially where I am right now in the Bay Area, Palo Alto, I just flew in. That they want guarantees, they want this thing done. They don’t want to be messing around with this thing. And so they want in at certain schools. So I did 761 what I would call, “side doors.” There is a front door which means you get in on your own. The back door is through institutional advancement, which is ten times as much money. And I’ve created this side door in. Because the back door, when you go through institutional advancement, as you know, everybody’s got a friend of a friend, who knows somebody who knows somebody but there’s no guarantee, they’re just gonna give you a second look. My families want a guarantee. So, if you said to me ‘here’s our grades, here’s our scores, here’s our ability, and we want to go to X school’ and you give me one or two schools, and then I’ll go after those schools and try to get a guarantee done. So that, by the time, the summer of her (Caplan’s daughter’s) senior year, before her senior year, hopefully we can have this thing done, so that in the fall, before December 15th, you already knows she’s in. Done. And you make a financial commitment. It depends on what school you want, may determine how much that actually is. But that’s kind of how the the side and back door work.

And that is where a fake charity is useful, as noted in the affidavit:

Once parents agreed to participate in the scheme, CW-1 (Singer) sent bribes to coaches and, in one case, a university administrator, typically out of a KWF bank account. In some instances, he directed the money to the recipients directly, for their personal use, including one recipient who received bribe payments by mail at his residence in the District of Massachusetts. In other instances, he directed the money to designated accounts at the Universities that were controlled by the recipients, including in some instances via mailings from the District of Massachusetts. In still other instances, CW-1’s clients made the payments directly to the designated accounts at the Universities, as directed by the bribe recipients.

Below are excerpts from conversations between Caplan and Singer. Having the student granted extended time is critical to Singer’s scheme because it allows the privacy necessary to operate the scam. Notice also the goal of keeping the student unaware of the fraud:

Singer:

So here’s the first thing we need to do. And I think I mentioned this to your wife. We need to get your daughter tested for a learning difference. Here’s why. If she gets tested for a learning difference, and let’s say it’s my person that does it, or whoever you want to do it, I need that person to get her 100% extended time over multiple days. So what that means is, we’ll have to show that there’s some discrepancies in her learning, which there’s gotta be anyways. And if she gets 100%, Gordon, then, I own two schools. I can have her test at one of my schools, and I can guarantee her a score. If it’s ACT, I can guarantee her a score in the, in the 30s. And if it’s the SAT, I can guarantee her a score in the 1400s. Now, all of a sudden, her test score does not become an issue with all the colleges. Because she’s strong enough. Then, if we clean up her transcript, then her ability, with her athletic ability and her testing and her getting better at school, it’s much easier to get her into school, because you’re not fighting huge obstacles at the types of schools you’re talking about. Now, if we do that, there’s a financial consideration that you have to pay to the school to get it done, because this is absolutely unheard of, to make this happen. I can make scores happen, and nobody on the planet can get scores to happen. She won’t even know that it happened. It will happen as though, she will think that she’s really super smart, and she got lucky on a test, and you got a score now. There’s lots of ways to do this. I can do anything and everything, if you guys are amenable to doing it.

Caplan:

Okay, so let me let me understand the two components. What is the, what is the, the number?

Singer:

So the number– the number–

Caplan:

–At Cornell for instance.

Singer:

Well, hold on a second. The number on the testing is $75,000. Okay? It’s $75,000 to get any test scores you would like to get on the SAT or ACT. Okay, that’s–

Caplan:

Explain to me how that works.

Singer:

I just explained it to you. You get extended time, you gotta get the extended time first. Then you’re going to fly to L.A. And you’re going to be going on a fake recruiting visit. You’ll visit some schools, while you’re out here in L.A. And then on a Saturday, which is the national test day if it’s ACT or SAT, she’s going to sit down and take the test. I will have a proctor in the room, that’s why, when you have 100% extended time, you have– you get to take it at a– you don’t take it with everybody else, you get to take it over multiple days. And you get to take it at a– you can take it at your school or another school. Okay? And then this kid, ’cause she’s taking online classes, you have to go somewhere anyway. So you come to my school, take the test on a Saturday. She’ll be in the room for six, six and a half hours taking this test. My proctor would then answer her questions, and by the end of the day, she would leave, and my proctor would make sure she would get a score that would be equivalent to the number that we need to get.

Caplan:

Okay.

Singer:

That’s how simple it is. She doesn’t know. Nobody knows what happens. It happened, she feels great about herself. She got a test a score, and now you’re actually capable for help getting into a school. Because the test score’s no longer an issue. Does that make sense?

In a follow-up conversation, Singer clarified the importance of students being granted extended time in order to have access to multiple test days. Caplan constantly sought reassurance about the con, both in this excerpt and throughout the numerous recorded conversations he had with Singer:

Singer:

Schools don’t know. Schools don’t know. That’s why you have to get 100% time or you have to get 50% multiple days. The only, so the way it works is, if you get 50% time you have to take it at a national test center okay? If you get 100% time you have to find a school that’ll actually give you the test. So, if she were at a traditional school, she would be taking it at that school. What I do is, I always tell the family, “Oh, you got a bar mitzvah out of town that weekend, so you found a school to take it at,” and they go take it at our school and then they come home and they get a score. So the key is the testing, and we have to get the testing so that we show a discrepancy. It sounds like she has a discrepancy, but I need the discrepancies to be significant enough so that we don’t have to appeal and we can go forward. The fact that she’s in an online school, that may be helpful for us as well.

Singer also has the gall to file appeals with testing companies if extended time is not granted– so the stupider, the better, on initial eval (as though no student will catch on that this is fraudulent):

Caplan:

And do you ever have a problem getting the 100% time?

Singer:

Oh yeah, there’s times when we have to appeal because, you know, for whatever reason. You have to understand that College Board and ACT both outsource their decisions to a committee, ’cause they’re tired of being sued. For, you know, so they do the outsourcing. So, sometimes you have to re-appeal so that psychologist that’ll do the testing, will actually write up an appeal. So we’ll do that, and I also need to tell [your daughter] when she gets tested, to be as, to be stupid, not to be as smart as she is. The goal is to be slow, to be not as bright, all that, so we show discrepancies. And she knows that she’s getting all this extra time, everywhere that she is right now. At the Academy kids are getting extra time all the time.

Caplan:

You mean the Greenwich Academy?

Singer:

Everywhere.

Caplan:

Oh, oh you mean at her tennis academy. I see. Yeah. Okay.

Singer:

Yeah, everywhere around the country. What happened is, all the wealthy families that figured out that if I get my kid tested and they get extended time, they can do better on the test. So most of these kids don’t even have issues, but they’re getting time. The playing field is not fair.

Caplan:

No, it’s not. I mean this is, to be honest, it feels a little weird. But.

Singer:

I know it does. I know it does. But when she gets the score and we have choices, you’re gonna be saying, okay, I’ll take all my kids, we’re gonna do the same thing. (laughing)

Caplan:

Yeah, I will.

KWF, the nonprofit providing education for the privileged.

The playing field is not fair.

It turns out that ACT twice denied extended time to Caplan’s daughter but the FBI asked ACT to grant the request, and ACT did so.

Caplan had no idea. However, by this time, Singer was apparently cooperating with the FBI because the affidavit notes that the conversation was “consentually recorded”:

Caplan:

So [my daughter] did get the extension. Totally unexpected. We got it last night.

Singer:

Really?

Caplan:

Yeah.

Singer:

That’s cool. Cool.

Caplan:

Yeah. And you were right. I mean, it was like third time was the charm. So everybody was telling us there’s no way, and then all of a sudden it comes in through [her school]. So, again, and– keep in mind I am a lawyer. So I’m sort of rules oriented. Doing this with you, no way– she’s taking the test. It’s her taking the test, right? There’s no way–

Singer:

So–

Caplan:

— any trouble comes out of this, nothing like that?

After more discussion, Caplan decided he wanted in– and he sent his first payment to KWF. From the affidavit, as written by the FBI agent. (Note that Singer was cooperating with federal agents):

On or about November 13, 2018, CAPLAN wired $25,000 to a bank account in Boston, Massachusetts in the name of the KWF charity that, unbeknownst to CAPLAN, [Singer] had opened at the direction of law enforcement agents. [Singer] had previously advised CAPLAN that the $25,000 would be a “deposit” to reserve the services of [Mark Riddell], who [Singer] said was his “best test-taker” and could “nail a score– he’s that good.”

Singer later explains to Caplan what will happen on the day of the test:

Okay. And you’ll– you’ll meet [Mark Riddell] and [test administrator] Igor [Divorskiy], and you’ll– you’ll go your own way. [Your daughter] will go in and take the test. She’ll be the only one, taking it in the room with– with [Mark Riddell]. She will take the test. She will walk out the door. At the end of it she’ll say to you, “Dad, it was so hard,”or “I’m so tired,” or whatever the typical reaction out of the kid. Then [Riddell] will finish the exam. He will then take the exam and look at her– what she’s done, and then ensure that whatever score we decide that we want to get– he has it down to a– unbelievable that he can do it. Get that number based on the four sections. She’ll do the computer writing of the essay herself. That’ll be all her. He can help her if she wants some guidance [inaudible] approach. But other than that, that will be all her writing. And she will sign it and she’ll walk out of there and she will never know that this actually occurred. You will get your results back in, you know, anywhere from, 11– depends on what day it goes back in. But anywhere from 11 to 20 days. And she’ll get her results and she’ll say, “Oh, my God, Dad, I got a 33!”

From the FBI agent, as recorded in the affidavit:

On or about December 8, 2018, law enforcement agents observed Dvorskiy arrive
at the West Hollywood Test Center at approximately 7:05 a.m. CAPLAN and his daughter arrived approximately ten minutes later, and Dvorskiy, CAPLAN and CAPLAN’s daughter went inside the building. At approximately 7:21 a.m., CW-2 entered the West Hollywood Test Center. At approximately 7:31 a.m., Dvorskiy and CAPLAN walked out of the building and had a brief conversation. At approximately 11:52 a.m., CAPLAN’s daughter left the West Hollywood Test Center, met CAPLAN, and drove away.

On or about December 20, 2018, CAPLAN wired an additional $50,000 into the KWF bank account in Boston.

Two key (note the pun) issues for Singer’s fraud: extended testing time and a nonprofit money-funnel.

Also, be sure to send invoices for the fraud, as well as thank-you letters, both of which appear in the section of the affidavit referring to the complaint against actress Felicity Huffman:

Singer (to Huffman):

Okay, and then, so then are we– so again the last time we did this. Just so I can make sure the financial part is all squared away that then we’ll– we will send you an invoice for $15,000 and we’ll– and that’ll be all taken care of.

The term “invoice” appears 38 times in the 204-page affidavit.

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Felicity Huffman

Invoices leave a trail, but it is also important to remind those clients to pay.

It just so happens that individuals happen to often make donations to KWF for the amount of those invoices for fraudulent services rendered. (It seems Singer also created fake invoices for services rendered by his for-profit, Edge College and Career Consulting.)

Singer’s partner in crime (literally), Steven Masera, sent Huffman a thank-you letter for their *donation* “for disadvantaged youth”:

On or about February 27, 2018, HUFFMAN and her spouse made a purported contribution of $15,000 to KWF. On or about March 21, 2018, Masera sent them a letter thanking them for the purported donation and falsely stating that it would “allow us to move forward with our plans to provide educational and self enrichment programs to disadvantaged youth.” The letter falsely stated that “no goods or services were exchanged” for the $15,000.

Even though Huffman decided not to use Singer to directly alter her younger daughter’s score, as the affidavit notes, she did consider it, and both of Huffman’s daughters were granted extended time for the SAT as part of a scheme– one that still allowed the younger daughter an undue advantage over other SAT test takers.

No more need for Huffman to donate to that nonprofit for the “underprivileged.”

It was there when she and scores of others of the wealthy, entitled set needed it for exploitation’s sake, as was the manipulation of extended testing time–

–all caught on tape.

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______________________________________________________________________________

Interested in scheduling Mercedes Schneider for a speaking engagement? Click here.

.

Want to read about the history of charter schools and vouchers?

School Choice: The End of Public Education? 

school choice cover  (Click image to enlarge)

Schneider is a southern Louisiana native, career teacher, trained researcher, and author of two other books: A Chronicle of Echoes: Who’s Who In the Implosion of American Public Education and Common Core Dilemma: Who Owns Our Schools?. You should buy these books. They’re great. No, really.

both books

Don’t care to buy from Amazon? Purchase my books from Powell’s City of Books instead.

 

About That College Admissions Scandal: Use of a Fake Nonprofit Was Critical

On March 12, 2019, I happened to be discussing with a few of my students the extent to which some individuals will go in order to benefit from academic fraud because college admission is a high-stakes issue.

Little did we know, that very day, the story broke about numerous individuals– among them the famous and moneyed– who have been implicated in a massive self-serving, deceptive, fraudulent network of college admission scamming known to date, as CNN reports:

Fifty people — from Hollywood stars and top industry CEOs to college coaches and standardized test administrators — stand accused of participating in a scheme to cheat on admissions tests and admit students to leading institutions as athletes regardless of their abilities, prosecutors revealed Tuesday in a federal indictment. The scandal is being called the largest college admissions scam ever prosecuted.

As the alleged culprits, including actresses Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin and fashion designer Mossimo Giannulli, position their defenses, the fallout continues for players across this wide-ranging case, which spans six states and raises seminal questions about how level the postsecondary playing field really is. …

Loughlin, who played Aunt Becky on “Full House,” faces felony conspiracy to commit mail fraud and honest services mail fraud. Her husband, Giannulli has been charged with the same offense.

At the center of the scheme is a fake nonprofit, California-based The Key Worldwide Foundation, operated by William Rick Singer, as CNN continues:

Huffman, who is best known for her role on TV’s “Desperate Housewives,” is accused of paying $15,000 to Singer’s fake charity, the Key Worldwide Foundation, to facilitate cheating for her daughter on the SATs, the complaint says. …

Much of the indictment revolves around William Rick Singer, the founder of a for-profit college counseling and preparation business known as The Key. …

Singer was paid roughly $25 million by parents to help their children get in to schools, the US attorney said.

Singer pleaded guilty on Tuesday to racketeering conspiracy, money laundering conspiracy, conspiracy to defraud the United States and obstruction of justice, prosecutors said.

william rick singer

William Rick Singer

In laundering their dirty money through a nonprofit, Huffman and others were also able to receive a tax write-off for payments related to their scams. Let that sink in.

Below are three tax forms for Singer’s The Key Worldwide:

According to those tax forms, the mission of The Key Worldwide is to (wait for it) *help the underprivileged*:

The Key Worldwide Foundation endeavors to provide education that would normally be unattainable to underprivileged students, not only attainable but realistic. With programs that are designed to assist young people in everyday situations, and educational situations, we hope to open new avenues of educational access to students that would normally have no access to these programs. Our contributions to major athletic university programs, may help to provide placement to students that may not have access under normal channels.

Ahh, the irony!

“…we hope to open new avenues of educational access to students that would normally have no access to these programs…”

Which Singer et al. did.

Our contributions to major athletic university programs, may help to provide placement to students that may not have access under normal channels.

Which Singer et al. also did.

However, in order to set up that fake charity, Singer had to toss in the term, “underprivileged.”

More Key Worldwide background:

The Key Worldwide was registered in California in 2012:

From that incorporation document, another whopper:

This corporation is a nonprofit Public Benefit Corporation and is not organized for the private gain of any person.

On its incorporation document, Steve Masera is named as The Key’s initial agent.

When I googled, “Steve Masera Key Worldwide,” I found the 23-page The Key Worldwide indictment, filed on March 05, 2019, US District Court, District of Massachusetts. Twelve individuals are listed as defendants; Masura is one. (Singer is not named as a defendant in this indictment, but he is mentioned. Stay tuned.)

The positions of ten of the twelve defendants in this suit hold the following positions:

  • Head coach, men’s and women’s tennis, Georgetown University
  • Associate athletic director, University of Southern California
  • Head coach, women’s soccer, University of Southern California
  • Assistant coach, women’s soccer, University of Southern California
  • Water polo coach, University of Southern California
  • Head coach, men’s soccer, University of California at Los Angeles
  • Women’s volleyball coach, Wake Forest University
  • Compensated standardized test administrator, College Board and ACT (Houston)
  • President of a private tennis academy and camp in Houston
  • Compensated standardized test administrator, College Board and ACT (Los Angeles)

Then, there’s Masera and another Key Worldwide associate:

  • Defendant STEVEN MASERA (“MASERA”) was a resident of Folsom, California. Until December 2017, MASERA was employed as an accountant and financial officer for the Edge College and Career Network, LLC and the Key Worldwide Foundation in Newport Beach, California.
  • Defendant MIKAELA SANFORD (“SANFORD”) was a resident of Sacramento, California. SANFORD was employed in various capacities for the Edge College and Career Network, LLC and the Key Worldwide Foundation in Newport Beach, California.

As the March 05, 2019, indictment details, the Edge, “a for-profit college counseling and preparation business” established in 2007, was also called “The Key” (see this Edge 2011 state filing— Edge “dba The Key” and Masera’s name appears); according to the indictment, for-profit The Edge became nonprofit The Key in 2012.

This Key 2014 state filing lists Masera as chief financial officer; by 2016, Masera is gone and Singer is seemingly running the whole Key Worldwide show.

Though not named as a defendant in the March 05, 2019, indictment, Singer’s role is detailed. From the indictment:

Singer agreed with clients whose children were scheduled to take the SAT or ACT exams as part of the college admissions process to have [Mark] Riddell [a resident of Palmetto, Florida] either take the tests in their children’s place or correct the children’s answers after they had completed the tests.

Parents generally paid Singer between $15,000 and $75,000 per test, typically structuring the payments as purported donations to KWF (Key Worldwide Foundation) that they wired or deposited into one of the KWF charitable accounts.

To facilitate the cheating, Singer counseled parents to seek extended time on the exams, including by having their children purport to have learning disabilities in order to obtain medical documentation that ACT, Inc. and the College Board typically required before granting students extended time.

Singer used the purported charitable donations from parents, at least in part, to bribe [one defendant], who administered the SAT and ACT exams at the private school in Los Angeles, California where he worked, and [another defendant], who administered the exams at the public high school in Houston, Texas, where she worked.

At Singer’s direction, MASERA sent the bribe payments to [one defendant]– typically $10,000 per student– from one of the KWF charitable accounts.

There’s much more to the above indictment. Though this particular indictment does not name Singer, Loughlin, or Huffman as defendants, the document’s 23 pages clearly detail how they and others perpetrated this fraud and benefited from it.

(Note: Here is a list of all individuals charged as of March 12, 2019, including case status as well as links to all charging documents.)

Exploiting a nonprofit as a front to conceal the fraud was an indispensable component of the scam. Singer’s nonprofit allows for donor anonymity, payments to anyone associated with college acceptance could smoothly be explained as assisting the underprivileged.

There is also the twisted privilege of claiming as a “donation” money spent to exploit.

Of course, as the fraud grows, the difficulty in concealing it increases.

Then come the indictments.

Good.

rotten-apple-2.jpg

______________________________________________________________________________

Interested in scheduling Mercedes Schneider for a speaking engagement? Click here.

.

Want to read about the history of charter schools and vouchers?

School Choice: The End of Public Education? 

school choice cover  (Click image to enlarge)

Schneider is a southern Louisiana native, career teacher, trained researcher, and author of two other books: A Chronicle of Echoes: Who’s Who In the Implosion of American Public Education and Common Core Dilemma: Who Owns Our Schools?. You should buy these books. They’re great. No, really.

both books

Don’t care to buy from Amazon? Purchase my books from Powell’s City of Books instead.

 

Federal Judge Vacates Betsy DeVos’ Special Education Regulation “Delay”

On July 1, 2018, states and local education agencies (LEAs) receiving federal funding were supposed to be in compliance with US Department of Education (USDOE) “2016 Regulations” in order to demonstrate consistency across states in determining special education eligibility. The USDOE motivation behind its 2016 Regulations was to have states effectively address and modify special education determination that resulted in disproportionate numbers of children of color in special education.

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Betsy DeVos

Two days after the July 1, 2018, deadline for 2016 Regulations compliance, on July 3, 2018, US ed sec, Betsy DeVos, decided to issue her own “delay regulation,” in which she and her USDOE questioned the issue of the 2016 Regulations producing quotas– an issue addressed in depth in the 2016 Regulations– even as she undercut her own professed concerns about the 2016 Regulations producing quotas by allowing states to still use the 2016 Regulations if they so chose.

On July 12, 2018, DeVos and the USDOE were sued by the Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates (COPAA), an organization that US District Judge Tanya S. Chutkan determined to have standing in the case.

USDOE filed a motion to dismiss, and Chutkan said no. Instead, Chutkan found that DeVos’ USDOE (also referred to as “the government”) issuance of a “delay regulation” was “arbitrary and capricious,” and thereby thrown out (“vacated.)”

Below are excerpts from Chutkan’s 43-page judgment dated March 7, 2019:

The government implemented the Delay Regulation because it was concerned that the 2016 Regulations could incentivize LEAs to use racial quotas to avoid findings of significant disproportionality. This decision did not have adequate support in the rulemaking record.

The issue of the 2016 Regulations acting as an incentive for racial quotas was thoroughly discussed and dealt with years before 2018, when the government cited it as the basis for implementing the Delay Regulation. In adopting the 2016 Regulations, the government responded to comments arguing that the regulations “would create an incentive [for LEAs] to not identify children for special education and related services in order to reduce disproportionality numbers” … by acknowledging this possibility, but concluded that it was limited to States that selected “particularly low risk ratio thresholds.”… (“[T]he Department recognizes the possibility that, in cases where States select particularly low risk ratio thresholds, LEAs may have an incentive to avoid identifying children from particular racial or ethnic groups in order to avoid a determination of significant disproportionality.”).

Although the government in 2016 found this danger to be smaller than some commenters proposed, it nonetheless worked to address them in the final regulations. The preamble to the final 2016 Regulations condemned the use of racial quotas. … (“[N]othing in these regulations establishes or authorizes the use of racial or ethnic quotas limiting a child’s access to special education and related services.”). The government expressly stated that the use of quotas violates the IDEA. … (“[I]t is a violation of IDEA for LEAs to attempt to avoid determinations of significant disproportionality by failing to identify otherwise eligible children as children with disabilities.”). The preamble also warned that the use of quotas would expose an LEA to various forms of legal liability. … (“[A]n LEA’s use of quotas to artificially reduce the number of children who are identified as having a disability, in an effort to avoid a finding of significant disproportionality, would almost certainly conflict with their obligations to comply with other Federal statutes, including civil rights laws governing equal access to education.”); (“[T]he establishment of any such quotas would almost certainly result in legal liability under Federal civil rights laws, including title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Constitution.”). And the government stated that it had “added a new § 300.646(f) (regulation) to make clear that these regulations do not authorize a State or an LEA to develop or implement policies, practices, or procedures that result in actions that violate any IDEA
requirements.”

The government implemented additional safeguards beyond these warnings. Because the government found that States which “select particularly low risk ratio thresholds” … were most likely to be incentivized to use quotas, the 2016 Final Regulations “provide[d] States the flexibility to set their own reasonable risk ratio thresholds, with input from stakeholders and State Advisory Panels.” … The government explained that “[a]s part of the process of setting risk ratio thresholds, States must work with stakeholders to identify particular risk ratio thresholds that help States and LEAs to address large racial and ethnic disparities without undermining the appropriate implementation of child find procedures.” …

Moreover, the government committed to “monitor States for any use of risk ratio thresholds that may be unreasonable and take steps, as needed, to ensure the States’ compliance.”… The regulations required “States to report all risk ratio thresholds, minimum cell sizes, minimum n-sizes, standards for measuring reasonable progress, and the rationales for each,” and these rationales had to “include a detailed explanation of why the numbers are reasonable and how they ensure appropriate analysis for significant disproportionality.” … The government also committed “to publish guidance to help schools to prevent racial discrimination in the identification of children as children with disabilities, including overidentification, under-identification, and delayed identification of disabilities by race.” … Finally, the regulations included monitoring of States and LEAs. … (“[T]he Department intends to conduct an evaluation of the implementation of this regulation to assess its impact, if any, on how LEAs identify children with disabilities.”). This evaluation would “include an examination of the extent to which school and LEA personnel incorrectly interpret the risk ratio thresholds and implement racial quotas in an attempt to avoid findings of significant disproportionality by States, contrary to IDEA.” …

In 2018, the government rejected its prior conclusion that the 2016 Regulations adequately protected against the risk of States using racial quotas to avoid findings of significant disproportionality. However, the government did not explicitly find that the safeguards in the 2016 Regulations were insufficient or that the 2016 Regulations would result in the use of quotas. Rather, it stated it needed more time to determine whether the regulations “may” incentivize quotas. … (“We want to evaluate whether the numerical thresholds in the 2016 significant disproportionality regulations may incentivize quotas or lead LEAs to artificially reduce the number of children identified as children with disabilities under the IDEA.”). Such equivocation pervades the explanation for the Delay Regulation. … (“We are concerned the 2016 significant disproportionality regulations could result in de facto quotas ….”); … (Quotas are “precisely the risk[] that the Department believes the standard methodology may pose.”); … (“The Department is concerned that the 2016 significant disproportionality regulations may create an incentive for LEAs to establish de facto quotas ….”); … (“[T]he regulations themselves may, in fact, incentivize quotas.”); … (“We want to evaluate whether the numerical thresholds in the 2016 significant disproportionality regulations may incentivize quotas ….”); … (“may result in encouraging quotas”); … (“may result in de facto quotas”); … (“concerned that the 2016 significant disproportionality regulations, potentially create[] an express or implied incentive for LEAs to set quotas”) …

The Delay Regulation either did not address the 2016 Regulations’ safeguards to deter the use of racial quotas or responded to them in an inadequate or cursory manner. … The Delay Regulation did not address the other specific safeguards in the 2016 Regulations. Moreover, the safeguards built into the 2016 Regulations were not meant to operate in isolation; they worked together to prevent LEAs from being incentivized to use quotas. In implementing the Delay Regulation, the government failed to explain why the safeguards as a whole would not prevent against the risk of quotas being used by LEAs.

The government did not explain why it had changed its position that the 2016 safeguards would be effective. Instead, it concluded that the 2016 Regulations could incentivize the use of quotas—a conclusion that was contrary to and inconsistent with its prior determination. …

The insufficiency of the government’s explanation for its policy change is highlighted by the fact that, while the government expressed “concern” about using standard methodology incentivizing quota use, the Delay Regulation did not forbid LEAs from using this methodology. Rather, it allowed states to comply voluntarily with the 2016 Regulations during the delay. … Indeed, the government acknowledged that “many States have commented that they intend to . . . implement the standard methodology in the 2016 significant disproportionality regulations even if the Department delays these regulations.” … This inconsistency between the government’s purported concern about the risk of using the standard methodology and the government’s decision to permit LEAs to use the standard methodology is amplified by the government’s decision to allow the use of the standard methodology without the 2016 Regulations safeguards designed to deter racial and ethnic quotas. …

The government in 2018 likewise failed to adequately explain why it needed to delay the implementation of the 2016 Regulations to further evaluate whether the regulations could incentivize using quotas. This failure also renders the Delay Regulation arbitrary and capricious. …

The Delay Regulation is also arbitrary and capricious because the government failed to consider all the relevant factors when considering the cost of the regulation. …

An agency must consider reliance costs when delaying a regulation. … As the government concedes, for 18 months—the time between the effective and compliance dates of the 2016 Regulations—States and LEAs incurred costs by coming into compliance with the 2016 Regulations. … The government labels these costs “sunk investments” and explains that “[r]egardless of whether the Department delayed the required compliance date, States would be unable to recover those expenses, and therefore it would not be appropriate to assign their value as either a cost or benefit of this action.” … The government, however, does not explain why this would be inappropriate. Under this logic, the requirement to consider reliance costs would become illusory, because an agency could simply rebrand “reliance costs” as “sunk costs.” Tellingly, the government cites no law in support of this proposition.

The Delay Regulation also fails to account for the costs to children, their parents, and society. In promulgating the Delay Regulation, the government identified “five sources of benefits” for children with disabilities, their parents, and society from the 2016 Regulations: “(1) Greater transparency; (2) increased role for the State Advisory Panels; (3) reduction in the use of inappropriate policies, practices, and procedures; (4) increased comparability of data across States; and (5) expansion of activities allowable under comprehensive CEIS.” … In so far as the delay in implementation undercuts these benefits, the Delay Regulation imposes costs that must be accounted for. But the government has not fully accounted for these costs. As to the potential losses of the transparency benefit and the increased stakeholder participation, the government claims that the mere preparation for the 2016 Regulations effectively achieve those benefits. See id. This argument ignores the fact that “part of the purpose of the standard methodology [was] to foster greater transparency in how States identify significant disproportionality,” and that States would adopt “simple and easily interpreted analyses” when identifying LEAs with significant disproportionality. … This is a loss for which the government does not account. Similarly, the government fails to explain how preparation for stakeholders’ expanded involvement would also have occurred if compliance with the standard methodology were required. …

…The appropriate remedy is vacatur. …

The court hereby DENIES Defendants’ Motion to Dismiss… GRANTS Plaintiff’s Motion for Summary Judgment… DENIES Defendants’ Cross-Motion for Summary Judgment… and VACATES “the Delay Regulation,” Assistance to States for the Education of Children With Disabilities; Preschool Grants for Children With Disabilities… (July 3, 2018).

An appropriate Order will accompany this Memorandum Opinion.

March 7, 2019

TANYA S. CHUTKAN
United States District Judge

DeVos’ Delay Regulation VACATED.

DeVos is ideologically opposed to any federal oversight, which in this situation put her in the ridiculous position of declaring USDOE special education regulations as problematic even as she allowed states to continue to follow them if they chose.

However, the principal goal of a Betsy DeVos– one ideologically opposed to federal oversight in overseeing a federal office– is to undo as many regulations as she can. Period.

In this case, she was denied her ideological goal by another branch of the federal government.

Betsy DeVos 2

Betsy DeVos

_____________________________________________________________________________

Interested in scheduling Mercedes Schneider for a speaking engagement? Click here.

.

Want to read about the history of charter schools and vouchers?

School Choice: The End of Public Education? 

school choice cover  (Click image to enlarge)

Schneider is a southern Louisiana native, career teacher, trained researcher, and author of two other books: A Chronicle of Echoes: Who’s Who In the Implosion of American Public Education and Common Core Dilemma: Who Owns Our Schools?. You should buy these books. They’re great. No, really.

both books

Don’t care to buy from Amazon? Purchase my books from Powell’s City of Books instead.

 

Jonathan Sackler’s Bouncer Foundation: Opioid-Funded Ed Reform

Purdue Pharma is the company that produces the opioid, OxyContin.

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The Sackler family– including noted ed reformer Jonathan Sackler— owns Purdue Pharma.

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Jonathan Sackler

In June 2018, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts sued Purdue Pharma and Sackler family; on January 31, 2019, Massachusetts attorney general, Maura Healy filed an amended, longer, suit, for Purdue Pharma’s having “created the [opioid drug] epidemic and profited from it through a web of illegal deceit.” From the amended lawsuit:

Dangerous opioid drugs are killing people across Massachusetts. Prescription medicines, which are supposed to protect our health, are instead ruining people’s lives. Every community in our Commonwealth suffers from the epidemic of addiction and death.

Purdue Pharma created the epidemic and profited from it through a web of illegal deceit. First, Purdue deceived Massachusetts doctors and patients to get more and more people on its dangerous drugs. Second, Purdue misled them to use higher and more dangerous doses. Third, Purdue deceived them to stay on its drugs for longer and more harmful periods of time. All the while, Purdue peddled falsehoods to keep patients away from safer alternatives. Even when Purdue knew people in Massachusetts were addicted and dying, Purdue treated doctors and their patients as targets to sell more drugs. At the top of Purdue, a small group of executives led the deception and pocketed millions of dollars. …

Defendant Purdue Pharma Inc. is a drug company incorporated in New York with its principal place of business in Connecticut. …

The seventeen individual defendants are current and former directors of Purdue Pharma Inc. …

Defendants Richard Sackler, Beverly Sackler, David Sackler, Ilene Sackler Lefcourt, Jonathan Sackler, Kathe Sackler, Mortimer Sackler, and Theresa Sackler controlled Purdue’s misconduct. Each of them took a seat on the Board of Directors of Purdue Pharma Inc. Together, they always held the controlling majority of the Board…. They directed deceptive sales and marketing practices deep within Purdue….

According to March 04, 2019, STAT News, Purdue Pharma has filed a motion to dismiss. A STAT News excerpt:

The 45-page motion serves as Purdue’s effort to push back against claims that generated national media attention and painted Purdue and its officials as driven by profits and pushing sales representatives to score more prescriptions.

In the motion, Purdue seeks to distance itself from overdose deaths that are now occurring. It cites data from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health showing that fatal overdoses are being largely caused by heroin and illicit fentanyl, not prescription painkillers. It also references language from the state health department that says “no single substance or health care practice is solely responsible for the current opioid crisis.”

As a result, the motion states, “Purdue’s medications (let alone Purdue’s alleged conduct) cannot, as a matter of law, be the cause of the opioid abuse crisis.”

(Purdue critics argue that many people became addicted to opioids by first taking painkillers and then shifted to using heroin or other illicit opioids.)

Also on March 04, 2019, the Wall Street Journal reports that Purdue Pharma might also be pursuing bankruptcy as a way to “contain liability from hundreds of lawsuits”:

OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma LP is preparing a possible bankruptcy filing as it seeks to contain liability from hundreds of lawsuits alleging it fueled the nation’s opioid epidemic, according to people familiar with the matter.

Its restructuring advisers now include AlixPartners LLP, a New York-based consulting firm known for its restructuring work, according to a person familiar with the hiring. The company last year hired law firm Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP as restructuring counsel and added longtime restructuring specialist Steve Miller to chair its board.

Purdue has been targeted in lawsuits by some 1,600 cities, counties and states seeking to recoup costs incurred by widespread opioid abuse.

Now, here’s the WSJ kicker:

In late 2018, information shared with parties in the multidistrict litigation revealed that Purdue’s assets may not be enough to resolve the company’s potential liability, in part because most of its profits had been regularly transferred to members of the company’s controlling family, the Sacklers, according to people familiar with the matter.

Thus, the picture of Jonathan Sackler’s ed reform funding as being directly connected to Purdue Pharma profits is pretty clear. Moreover, an interesting piece to emerge in this Sackler opioid saga is the apparent Sackler family strategy of purchasing the components vital to growing the success of the product, referred to as “seeding” in this January 15, 2019, STAT News article, excerpted below:

[Richard] Sackler’s comments at the party and his email are contained in newly public portions of a lawsuit filed by the state of Massachusetts against Purdue that alleges that the company, the Sackler family, and company executives misled prescribers and patients as they aimed to blanket the country with prescriptions for their addictive medications. …

The new filing also reveals how Purdue aggressively pursued tight relationships with Tufts University’s Health Sciences Campus and Massachusetts General Hospital — two of the state’s premier academic medical centers — to expand prescribing by physicians, generate goodwill toward opioid painkillers among medical students and doctors in training, and combat negative reports about opioid addiction.

Under an agreement with Mass. General, Purdue has paid the hospital $3 million since 2009 and was allowed to propose “areas where education in the field of pain is needed” and “curriculum which might meet such needs,” the court document shows. Tufts made a Purdue employee an adjunct associate professor in 2011, Purdue-written materials were approved for teaching to Tufts students in 2014, and the company sent staff to Tufts as recently as 2017, the complaint says. Purdue’s New England staff was congratulated for “penetrating this account.” …

Healey’s office sued Purdue, current and former executives, and members of the Sackler family in June. In December, it filed an amended complaint that was nearly 200 pages longer than the June filing, with more allegations spelled out against the individual defendants. …

The state’s suit focuses on Purdue’s actions since 2007, when the company and three current and former executives pleaded guilty in federal court to fraudulently marketing OxyContin and the company agreed to pay $600 million in fines. The case is separate from litigation being waged by STAT to obtain sealed Purdue documents in Kentucky, including the only known deposition of Richard Sackler, about the company’s marketing practices in earlier years, which have been blamed for seeding the current opioid addiction crisis.

“Seeding” involves creating conditions favorable to the success of the product. As Sarah Dauer Littman notes in this November 2017 Alternet article, “the super wealthy OxyContin family supports school privatization with tactics similar to those that fueled the opioid epidemic”– by financing a spectrum of necessary components to bolster success.

One can see evidence of such a practice in the school choice funding of Jonathan Sackler, since 2002 by far the principal donor to a nonprofit for which he and his wife, Mary Corson, are for most years the only board members: the Bouncer Foundation (EIN 35-4119735). (As a nonprofit with “private foundation” (PF) designation, the Bouncer Foundation is required to identify any contributor who gives $5,000 or more. Only Sackler names are listed.)

At the end of this post, I link to Bouncer Foundation tax forms from 2001 to 2017, all of which can also be accessed via this ProPublica link. In the remainder of this post, I highlight some key information, primarily school choice-related but also some otherwise, from those 18 years of Bouncer Foundation tax filings.

First of all, the Sackler family had been profiting from OxyContin since its arrival on the Purdue Pharma scene in 1995; this means that the money Jonathan Sackler and his family members used to fund his Bouncer Foundation, which received nonprofit status in October 2000, has been money associated with Purdue Pharma sales of OxyContin.

There really is no way around the reality that money from Jonathan Sackler is money made from America’s opioid crisis– a Sackler-manufactured-and-nurtured crisis, at that.

Below is how much money Jonathan Sackler (and once, in 2001, from Raymond Sackler) contributed to his Bouncer Foundation for each year, from 2001 to 2017. Note that for each year, no other major, $5,000+ donors contributed. Note also the notable increase in the annual amount of Jonathan Sackler’s cash donations from 2011 to 2017:

Total Cash and Noncash Donations to Bouncer Foundation, 2001-2017

  • 2001: $30,000 from Raymond Sackler
  • 2002: $154,917 (and all the rest listed below) from Jonathan Sackler, all in assorted stocks (note that return includes a typo total is reported as $154,417, but stock listing totals $154,917)
  • 2003: $149,750, $99,750 of which was in assorted stocks
  • 2004: $876,269, $446,269 of which was in assorted stocks
  • 2005: $179,101, $99,101 of which was in assorted stocks
  • 2006: $15,000
  • 2007: $61,721, including $56,985 in “public securities”
  • 2008: $221,000
  • 2009: $381,325
  • 2010: $448,000
  • 2011: $1,083,000
  • 2012: $690,163
  • 2013: $1,263,446
  • 2014: $2,605,000
  • 2015: $2,905,000
  • 2016: $8,212,500
  • 2017: $10,052,722, including $1,052,722 in “securities–publicly-traded”

Below are notable contributions that Jonathan Sackler’s Bouncer Foundation made from 2001 to 2017, most of which concern Sackler’s efforts to promote charter schools and to foster the ed-reform-friendly atmosphere necessary to charter school expansion. (Sackler also made donations to other orgs outside of ed reform for many of these years. Feel free to dive deeper into such exploration by accessing the Bouncer Foundation tax forms linked at the end of this post.)

In the listing below, I offer some brief commentary and some links to help inform readers about certain ed-reform orgs and interconnections; however, I won’t pretend for a moment that what I offer is exhaustive.

Once Sackler’s personal cash donations to his Bouncer Foundation exceeded the million-dollar mark (2013, with a profound jump from 2015 to 2016), his donating to increasingly more charter-choice-nurturing organizations also markedly increased.

2003

  • In 2003, Bouncer Foundation made its first contribution to a charter school: $50,000 to Amistad Academy in New Haven, CT (which has been in the news in January 2019 for severe discipline, among other issues).

2004

  • The next year, in 2004, Bouncer Foundation expanded its school choice contributions, including to another Jonathan Sackler nonprofit, this one ed-reform-centered: $250,000 to “CT Coalition for Achievement No Interlocking Directorate,” renamed “CT Coalition for Achievement Now” (CONNCAN), created by Sackler in 2005. (For those interested, here is CONNCAN’s 2006-07 annual report.)

The term, “interlocking directorate,” refers to the same individuals serving on multiple boards of directors or one on company’s board and another company’s management. According to Investopedia, the practice is against the law “in specific instances wherein they gave a few board members outsized control over an industry.”

Ironic that a Sackler would protest “outsized control over an industry.”

  • Other 2004 Bouncer Foundation ed reform donations include Black Alliance for Education Options (BAEO) ($30,000) and Alliance for School Choice ($50,000), and the largest donation, $365,000 to Amistad Academy (CT).

2005

  • Philanthropy Roundtable (“America’s leading network of charitable donors working to strengthen our free society, uphold donor intent…”) $5,000
  • Amistad Academy (CT; charter school) $20,000

2006

  • Philanthropy Roundtable $5,000

2007

  • X Prize Foundation $54,759 (not an ed-reform org; the only 2007 grantee– a quiet year for Sackler’s Bouncer Foundation)

2008

  • Philanthropy Roundtable $5,000
  • Codman Academy Foundation (MA; charter school) $2,000
  • Alliance for School Choice $10,000
  • Black Alliance for Education Options (now defunct) $25,000

2009

Richard S. Sackler, M.D., and his brother, Jonathan Sackler, joined forces in 2009 to create a $3 million endowment establishing the new professorship, expressly intended to be held by those appointed as director of Yale Cancer Center (YCC). Richard Sackler, co-chairman of Stamford-based Purdue Pharma and adjunct professor of genetics at Rockefeller University, serves on YCC’s Advisory Board and the Yale School of Medicine’s Dean’s Council. He and his wife, Beth, head the Richard and Beth Sackler Foundation. Jonathan Sackler and his wife, Mary Corson, lead the Stamford-based Bouncer Foundation.

  • Philanthropy Roundtable $10,000
  • Black Alliance for Education Options (now defunct) $56,500

2010

  • Philanthropy Roundtable $10,000
  • Yale University (endowed professorship) $300,000
  • University of California, Berkeley (Bouncer endowment) $50,000
  • University of Washington )”UWB Sackler fund for CRPE (Center for Reinventing Public Education) school district program” $50,000

2011

  • Philanthropy Roundtable $10,000
  • Alliance for School Choice $5,000
  • Yale University (endowed professorship) $300,000
  • Lagniappe Project of New Orleans (“to create, develop, manage, operate, guide, direct, promote and support Louisiana public charter schools and medical facilities for parents and families of school children and staff at such schools”) $500,000
  • Students for Education Reform (astroturf student network on college campuses) $100,000

2012

  • Yale University (endowed professorship) $300,000
  • Alliance for School Choice $5,000
  • Philanthropy Roundtable $10,000

2013

  • Bouncer Foundation begins paying Impact for Education for “philanthropic advice” ($98,750); Impact for Education’s president and founder is Alex Johnston, co-founder and former CEO of CONNCAN. Johnston also serves on the CRPE advisory board. (No interlocking directorate….)
  • Yale University (endowed professorship) $300,000
  • Booker T Washington Academy (CT; charter school) $7,500
  • Students for Education Reform (astroturf student network on college campuses) $100,000
  • Public Policy Center of Mississippi (supports school choice) $10,000
  • New Schools Venture Fund $100,000
  • Philanthropy Roundtable $10,000
  • CONNCAN $240,000
  • 50CAN (Sackler and Alex Johnston both on board of directors)
  • Achievement First (CT; charter school chain; in the news in Rhode Island on February 28, 2019, for Sackler’s donation of opioid-connected millions) $151,571
  • Northeast Charter Schools Network (NY) $150,000

2014

  • Impact for Education (philanthropic advice) $130,454
  • Students for Education Reform $100,000
  • Philanthropy Roundtable $10,000
  • CONN CAN $200,000
  • Families for Excellent Schools (now-defunct charter school advocacy org) $1,083,333
  • Northeast Charter Schools Network (NY) $150,000
  • Philadelphia School Partnership (not only school choice, but notable school choice support) $25,000
  • Civic Builders (NY; charter school facility support) $50,000

2015

  • Impact for Education (philanthropic advice) $90,000
  • New Schools Venture Fund, approved for future payment: 667,000, $333,000 of which was disbursed in 2015
  • Students for Education Reform $25,000
  • Philanthropy Roundtable, $10,000
  • 50 CAN, $300,000
  • Achievement First (CT; charter school chain) $250,000
  • Northeast Charter Schools Network (NY), $150,000
  • Families for Excellent Schools (now-defunct charter advocacy org), $300,000
  • KIPP Foundation, $10,000
  • Capital Preparatory Schools, Inc. (CT; charter school chain) $250,000
  • FaithActs for Education (grass roots org in CT– with Alex Johnston on its board) $300,000
  • Partnership for Educational Justice (Campbell Brown’s now defunct union-busting, lawsuit-manufacturing nonprofit; see here for more) $200,000
  • Summit Public Schools (CA; charter school chain) $25,000
  • Oakland Public Education Fund (CA; supports both direct-run and charter schools) $5,000
  • Match Foundation (MA; charter school chain) $25,000
  • Students First Institute (CA) $40,000
  • Education Reform Now (NY; related to Democrats for Ed Reform, DFER) $250,000
  • New Beginnings Family Academy (CT; charter school) $10,000
  • Harlem Lacrosse Leadership Corp. (NY; charter school) $10,000
  • Excel Bridgeport (CT; grass roots org no longer around; see 2015 archived web site here) $25,000
  • Booker T Washington Academy (CT; charter school) $150,000
  • Teach for America, $25,000
  • Innovate Public Schools (CA; community organizing nonprofit) $10,000

2016

2017

  • Impact for Education (philanthropic advice) $262,500
  • Students for Education Reform $25,000
  • Philanthropy Roundtable $10,000
  • 50 CAN $300,000
  • Achievement First (CT; charter school chain) $350,000
  • Northeast Charter Schools Network (NY) $150,000
  • Families for Excellent Schools (now-defunct charter advocacy org) $333,000
  • Capital Preparatory Schools, Inc. (CT; charter school chain) $250,000
  • FaithActs for Education $200,000
  • StudentsFirst Institute (CA; “acquired” by 50 CAN) $100,000
  • Education Reform Now (NY; related to DFER) $50,000
  • Great Oaks Charter School (CT) $100,000
  • Booker T Washington Academy (CT; charter school) $150,000
  • Teach for America $25,000
  • The 74 Media $50,000
  • Institute of Justice $30,000
  • Yankee Institute of Public Policy $125,000
  • Relay Graduate School (“deans” closely tied with Teach for America) $50,000
  • CONN CAN $250,000

And we’re done.

Once Sackler exceeded the million-dollar donation mark to his Bouncer Foundation– and once he began paying fellow ed-reformer, Alex Johnston’s Impact for Education for “philanthropic advice”– Sackler began to noticeably diversify his funding of a spectrum of school choice supports, including charter school funding, charter school facilities, charter chains in other states, grass roots orgs, charter temp teaching force, litigation orgs to advance school choice and weaken unions, sympathetic policy and lobbying orgs, school-choice-friendly media.

What I also noticed is that a number of the ed reform orgs that Sackler once supported are now either out of commission or absorbed by other entities (e.g., Families for Excellent Schools, Black Alliance for Education Options, StudentsFirst, Partnership for Educational Justice, Excel Bridgeport). Still, that does not mean that Sackler is not ready to offer his OxyContin-derived bucks to help re-form reform. Consider this May 11, 2018, Chalkbeat article, entitled, “Two Former Staff Members at Families for Excellent Schools Planning a New Pro-Charter Org”:

Two former top staffers at the recently shuttered Families for Excellent Schools are working to start a new pro-charter advocacy group, according to multiple sources with knowledge of their plans.

Reshma Singh, who was the chief growth officer at Families for Excellent Schools, and Sean Andersen, who was its chief program officer, are leading the new effort. And while the scope and approach of their new organization are still unclear, the connections the pair have to the education reform world suggest the group’s impact will be felt even as it faces tough political headwinds in some states.

The group is being incubated at 50CAN, an education advocacy group with a presence in several states and where Andersen and Singh are currently employees.

According to Singh’s Linkedin bio, prior to her time with now-inoperative Families for Excellent Schools, Singh was the founding executive director of another nonfunctioning ed reform nonprofit,  Partnership for Educational Justice.

Is the third time the charm?

According to her Linkedin bio, Singh’s new org is P.A.C.E. Education Strategies, designed to boost the grass-rootsiness of ed reform. From PACE’s web site:

We believe the key to upward mobility in America is a great education. But today, more than sixty years after Brown v. Board of Education, access to a quality education is still determined by a student’s race, income, and zip code.

Despite these persistent challenges, there are bright spots all across the country. There are innovative public schools run by dedicated and visionary leaders that are preparing thousands of students for college and a successful life. There are parent-led organizations fighting for opportunity in their communities.

These leaders give us hope. But they face so many barriers that can keep their work from succeeding. Whether it’s an entrenched political opposition or the devastating impact of apathy from those in power, creating bold educational change can feel like rolling a boulder uphill.

That’s why we exist – to help local leaders who are fighting to change the status quo in our education system. And by doing so, we will move towards a nation where every child has access to a great public school.

Of the services PACE offers, one has to do with research– specifically, using research to, uh, “shape the policy and political debate”:

We shape the policy and political debate by developing original research in support of our partners’ goals.

It might be difficult to shape that policy debate if your new money stream is already opioid-tainted.

IMG_1449

But enough for now.

Below are Sackler’s Bouncer Foundation tax forms (2001 – 2017):

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______________________________________________________________________________

Interested in scheduling Mercedes Schneider for a speaking engagement? Click here.

.

Want to read about the history of charter schools and vouchers?

School Choice: The End of Public Education? 

school choice cover  (Click image to enlarge)

Schneider is a southern Louisiana native, career teacher, trained researcher, and author of two other books: A Chronicle of Echoes: Who’s Who In the Implosion of American Public Education and Common Core Dilemma: Who Owns Our Schools?. You should buy these books. They’re great. No, really.

both books

Don’t care to buy from Amazon? Purchase my books from Powell’s City of Books instead.

 

Real Faces Behind Corporate Reform? Look Closer.

A few days ago, I read this February 28, 2019, Forbes article entitled, “The Real Faces Behind the ‘Corporate Reform’ of America’s Public Schools,” by Emily Langhorne, policy analyst for the Reinventing America’s Schools project at The Progressive Policy Institute.

In her piece, Langhorne features three DC charter school CEOs; she does so to counter words spoken by National Education Association (NEA) president, Lily Eskelsen Garcia, regarding the Los Angeles teachers’ strike– words that Langhorne misquotes, and in which she employs one strategically-placed ellipsis, as follows:

Unfortunately, those listening to coverage of the Los Angeles teachers strike received a very different definition of charter schools from National Education Association President Lily Eskelsen García. On MSNBC, she explained that the Los Angeles Unified School District had no money because “they’ve given it away to for-profit charters. If you’re in the charter industry, what do you want to do? You want to create horrible public schools…. The billionaires who are behind this, the venture capitalists, the Wall Street guys, are out to make money on public schools.”

This statement is absurd: California has never had many for-profit charters, and the legislature banned them entirely last year. Nationwide, less than 15% of the roughly 7,000 charters are run by for-profit operators.

First of all, Eskelsen Garcia does not say “for-profit charters.” She says “for-profit companies.”

I can operate a nonprofit charter school and make money by the way I distribute contracts for school services to for-profit companies, even ones to which I am connected. (Arizona is a fine example of a state in which one can handily use a nonprofit charter school to serve oneself. Charter advocates sell this as “free from bureaucratic red tape,” like Langhorne does in her article.)

money voting

That error right there kills Langhorne’s piece: One can siphon public education funding into for-profit company coffers via nonprofit entities, including charter schools. One need not have a for-profit charter school to do so.

Still, having that for-profit behind the scenes certainly can be just as greedy and devious.

As of September 2018, for-profit charter schools have been banned from California– the catalyst being for-profit K12, Inc., which “managed” a nonprofit that it arguably used as a front. (This creative practice of a for-profit hiding behind a nonprofit is just as profit-driven as a nonprofit shadily shelling out contracts to for-profits. And, rest assured, for-profit K12 will likely seek loopholes in California’s new law.)

magnifying glass money

Aside from the graft potential, there is also the general business model of charterization: Make a profit (enrollment, funding, test scores…) or go out of business. In the case of the privatization model, this is what destabilizes communities via charter churn.

But I am getting ahead of myself. First things first.

In the name of fully informing the public, let us consider the link in Langhorne’s article excerpt above, which is for Eskelsen Garcia’s 7-minute NBC New York interview with journalist Stephanie Ruhle, posted on January 14, 2019:

I have transcribed the entire interview below. I also highlight in red the section that Langhorne erroneously reports in her Forbes piece as well as some additional key phrases of note:

Ruhle (R): Steve, this is such an important story. If anyone claims they care about income and equality, economic mobility, it starts with education. If we do not get kids a great education, how can we expect them to succeed? 

I want to share some videos we saw over the weekend because these teachers are preparing for the strike, quite a few took to social media and explained their reasons for striking. Watch this: Meggan Akins, a kindergarten teacher, she has taught in L.A. for over 20 years. Over the weekend, she posted this video covering all the supplies that she– right there, they’re covered up with white cloth. These are all the supplies that she had to purchase with her own money out of her pocket. Look at it. It’s pretty much most of the things in the classroom.  She tells viewers that the strike is not something that she wants to do, but it’s something she has to do.

Joining me now to weigh in on the strike, Lily Eskelsen Garcia. She is the president of the National Education Association, the nation’s largest union, that represents 3 million educators across the country. Walk us through this. You are going to be there alongside these teachers today. How did teachers even get to that point? I look at that video: The majority of things inside the classroom, that teacher had to pay for herself to do her basic job. When I show up to work in the morning, I don’t have to deliver the cameras, the pens, and the papers. It’s what they provide for me. And I have the benefit of, well, I’ll leave it there. Walk us through this.

Eskelsen Garcia (EG): Well, you know, we probably have the only profession where you steal from home and bring it to work. It’s how we move. I’m a sixth-grade teacher from Utah; I had 39 kids in my classroom. Here in Los Angeles, it’s not unusual to find someone with 40 or 45 kids…

R: In one classroom?

EG: In one classroom. 

R: In one classroom??

EG: In. One. Classroom. With that one teacher. So, when someone says, like this administration, “You know, let’s just talk about your salary,” this is so much bigger than being paid a fair salary. Certainly, that’s something that these teachers and support staff deserve, but they are putting this all on the line because they love someone else’s kid. Because they want those school nurses. They care about class size. They want a librarian. That’s like finding a unicorn in this district.

And so, they are putting it all out there, saying, “We want to be in school. We want to be with our kids. We want to be doing the work we love, but we have said, “Enough is enough.” This administration has ignored the voices of the people who know the names of their kids. And who are they listening to? They’re listening to the Betsy DeVos types, the billionaires that say, “I don’t know anything about public schools. Why don’t we just turn it into a for-profit business?” The charter industry has been growing in this district, and everywhere that the charter industry has grown, it’s grown at the expense of your neighborhood public schools.

That’s what this is all about. When someone says, “There’s no money,” why isn’t there money? And a big reason is that they’ve given it away to for-profit companies.

R: But haven’t many charter schools started because of the terrible situation in public schools? If I lived in a district where there was 45 kids in a classroom, and, to your point, finding a librarian is like finding a unicorn, I’d be desperate for another option.

EG: So think about this: If you’re in the charter industry, what do you want to do? You want to create horrible public schools, joyless places that people will want to escape.

R: You mean to say, hold on, please, that all charter school founders are there to drain public schools? Come on, now.

EG: This is a, so, let’s be very, very clear: The billionaires who are behind this, the venture capitalists, the Wall Street guys, are out to make money on public school. They can find [R: So you mean, sorry, sorry.] there’s a vast, there’s a vast difference in quality with charter schools, and some of them are fabulous, wonderful places, and some of them are scams. The issue is, when did we stop talking about making sure that every public school was as good as our best public school? When did we stop talking about making sure that every kid had what they needed in their neighborhood public school?

It’s one thing to talk about a choice, but what if the only choice that these kids are never given is the choice to have a great, to-die-for public school in their neighborhood? And that is by intention. It’s exactly like Betsy DeVos did in Michigan, and they did it in the poorest neighborhoods. They experimented with our most vulnerable children.

R: Well, in a perfect world, every kid would get a great education, and right now, I can say that there are some great public schools. There are some great charter schools. But what you are trying to do right now is help all of those kids in Los Angeles– 500,000– who potentially not have teachers to educate them in their classrooms today. Is an argument to be made that we need to take a closer look at what benefits are? Many teachers have said, “Hold on a second. In L.A., for example, there’s a $2 billion reserve. Why isn’t that going to us and our schools?” What is the school district telling you? When I see $2 billion in reserve, I say, “Hold on a second. You can find smaller class sizes. You can find librarians with money like that.”

EG: Yeah, you could. And so, we’re not buying this, “There’s no money out there.” The could be doing so much more, and it’s why I want to come back to that: Are they intentionally starving public schools because they don’t want them to be places that people feel good about? And here’s what is actually going on here with these very courageous, brave educators who are going to be out on picket lines today: When you’ve given up working with negotiations because you feel that the administration on the other side is not engaged in good-faith bargaining, you take it to the streets.

You take it to the public.

When we saw that Red for Ed wave starting in West Virginia, Oklahoma, Arizona last year, they took it to the streets, and the public then started to pay attention to what had been happening for years in their public school. It was invisible. It was quiet. And then they made some noise, and they got something better for those kids. That’s what we have to hope is going to happen here: That parents and the public will stand beside us.

R: We’ve got to find a way to give a good, if not a great, education to every American child. All right. Thank you so much for joining me today.

So, back to my previous comment about privatization of public education and charter churn. The business model behind corporate ed reform is one of profit (enrollment, funding, test scores…) or go out of business.

In the case of school choice, this profit-or-die business mindset is at the heart of the pro-charter argument. Langhorne even uses it in her Forbes article:

In exchange for increased autonomy, charters are held accountable through performance contracts with authorizers, who close or replace them if their students aren’t learning enough.

Langhorne is okay with closing or replacing schools. In fact, according to the DC Public Charter School Board, between 1998 and 2019, DC has closed 62 charter schools, with another 3 slated to close in 2020.

For some reason, Langhorne chose to feature three charter school CEOs in DC instead of either addressing the likes of K12, Inc., leading to California’s for-profit charter ban or refuting the charter school situation in Michigan, which Eskelsen mentions in her NBC interview. (Langhorne also had nothing to say about Betsy DeVos’ influence on school choice even though DeVos is the only billionaire Eskelsen Garcia mentioned by name and she did so twice. And not a peep about charter schools as a venture capitalist market.)

Langhorne calls those three DC charter CEOs the “real faces behind ‘corporate reform.'”

I don’t think so.

Now, Arkansas billionaires Alice and Jim Walton, who try to buy elections explicitly to promote charter schools, like they did to the tune of $1.8M in Massachusetts in September 2016, those are some real faces behind corporate reform.

Back to Langhorne’s three DC charter school CEOs.

They opened their schools in 2011, 2013, and 2018.

In 2011, DC closed five charter schools: three for academic reasons, one for financial reasons, and one for low enrollment. Charter churn: part of the corporate reform business model.

In 2013, DC closed another five charter schools, all for academic reasons. More churn; just business.

And in 2018, DC closed three charter schools: one for academic reasons, one for financial reasons, and one for financial, academic, and management difficulties.

Since 1996, for every five charter schools DC has opened, it has closed two.

It’s just how the charter business works.

school closed

Maybe that is why after more than 20 years of charter schools making it big on the scene in the mid-1990s, people like NBC’s Ruhle still distinguish between charter schools and public schools, as she did in her January 2019 interview with Eskelsen Garcia.

Public schools are neighborhood schools, a place where the business model doesn’t belong.

And maybe that is why 20-plus years later, charter proponents like Langehorne must keep sloganing the public, “To clarify, charter schools are public schools,” which is what she had to do in her Forbes article.

Steadily sloganing the public:

Good for business.

IMG_1446

_________________________________________________________________________________

Interested in scheduling Mercedes Schneider for a speaking engagement? Click here.

.

Want to read about the history of charter schools and vouchers?

School Choice: The End of Public Education? 

school choice cover  (Click image to enlarge)

Schneider is a southern Louisiana native, career teacher, trained researcher, and author of two other books: A Chronicle of Echoes: Who’s Who In the Implosion of American Public Education and Common Core Dilemma: Who Owns Our Schools?. You should buy these books. They’re great. No, really.

both books

Don’t care to buy from Amazon? Purchase my books from Powell’s City of Books instead.