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United States Education Government The Almighty Buck Politics

25% of Charter Schools Owe Their Soul To the Walmart Store 233

Posted by timothy
from the so-you're-saying-this-bothers-you? dept.
theodp writes "Among the billionaires who helped Bill Gates pave the way for charter schools in WA was Walmart heiress Alice Walton. The Walton Family Foundation spent a whopping $158+ million in 2012 on what it calls 'systemic K-12 education reform,' which included $60,920,186 to 'shape public policy' and $652,209 on 'research and evaluation.' Confirming the LA Times' speculation about its influence, the Walton Foundation issued a press release Wednesday boasting it's the largest private funder of charter school 'startups,' adding that it has supported the opening of 1 in 4 charter schools in the U.S. since 1997 through its 1,500 'investments.' But as some charter school kids have learned the hard way, what the rich man giveth, he can also taketh away. For the time being, though, it looks like America's going to continue to depend on the tax-free kindness of wealthy strangers to educate its kids. For example, while it was nice to see the value of Shop Class recognized, the White House on Monday called on businesses, foundations and philanthropists to fund proposed 'Maker Spaces' in schools and libraries. Hey, when the U.S. Secretary of Education turns to corporate sponsors and auctions to fund his Mother's afterschool program for kids of low-income families in the President's hometown, don't look for things to change anytime soon."
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25% of Charter Schools Owe Their Soul To the Walmart Store

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  • eprof.com (Score:0, Informative)

    by roman_mir (125474) on Saturday February 08, 2014 @04:16PM (#46197851) Homepage Journal

    http://eprof.com [eprof.com] - free market answer to the failures of government (redundancy detected) 'education' system.

    It is that school system that is about to bring you Beta.

  • by Luckyo (1726890) on Saturday February 08, 2014 @04:33PM (#46197969)

    Aka corruption. Public corruption that is actually viewed as a positive thing.

    It shows how far people have fallen.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 08, 2014 @04:48PM (#46198049)

    My children go to a charter school and they are getting a far better education than they would at the failing local schools. My wife and I are both involved in the school and we both have a teaching background (I taught engineering at the college level for 4 years and my wife was a preschool teacher for 11 years, both sets of grandparents also taught public school for 20+ years). The teachers and organization of the charter school is light years beyond the local public school in delivering an effective learning experience for the kids. There are always a few bad apples, but anyone who tells you that charter schools as a whole are not far better than public schools is a liar in the tank for the teachers union or someone who has been brainwashed by their propaganda.

    The money that charter schools get from the taxes that we pay is a pittance compared to what the pathetic, failing state run public schools get. If we don't want charities funding charter schools maybe we should ban teachers unions and give parents vouchers that they can take to any school that is accredited. Let's also institute a ranking system based on the learning the students actually do so even the laziest parents can pick winner schools. That way charter schools won't have to beg for funding and will be on an even footing with public schools; the problem is the teachers unions don't want that because they know that inside of 10 years all of the public schools would be gone along with their power, massive union dues and a huge fundraising/advertising arm of the Democrat party. The bottom line is the teachers unions exist only to further their own power and enrich the teachers, regardless of how well they teach. Until we break those unions, our children's education will always be second place on the political landscape.

    They tried vouchers in DC and it has been an unmitigated success which is now trying to be shut down because the unions are scared spit-less that it will spread to other states.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 08, 2014 @04:59PM (#46198123)

    Not at all, teacher's unions are quite direct in their interests being representation of teachers and not the students.

    This is why they are teacher's unions, not student unions. You want representation of student interests, try another group.

    Can't serve two masters.

  • Charter school... (Score:4, Informative)

    by BrookHarty (9119) on Saturday February 08, 2014 @05:30PM (#46198315) Homepage Journal

    Many many decades ago, I went to a charter school for k-6th grade. The school had to allow everyone in the area as part of its opening up in a richer suburb. I lived along the border and was included in the school map. School had computers while only the jr high and high schools. My parents could have never afforded to to send me to a private school with lower population sizes and computers. I was lucky. And being a poor rowdy kid, they never kicked me out. Lucky that's where I got my introduction into computers.

    Only thing I'd like to see is smaller classes, and charter schools on average have higher. This is supposedly with them kicking poor performing kids out. But charter schools differ so much, there is no "standard" model used. I think we can all agree smaller classrooms with more individual help is what schools should have, but thats gets very expensive. I'd rather take all those billions of dollars in state taxes on alcohol and marijuana taxes go to directly fund schools instead...

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 08, 2014 @05:33PM (#46198345)

    Actually, in this day and age, if you add in all of the benefits teachers get (remember I was a teacher, my wife was a teacher, my mom is a teacher and my father in law and his father were teachers, so I know WTF I am talking about) teachers are making bank. In southern California they are making $56k/year, median US income $51k according to Salary.com. This doesn't take into account the top of the line medical benefits, housing benefits and many other benefits that they get which are far better than a much more qualified professional gets in the private sector (I have heard estimates of $20k/year or more above private sector equivalents).

    Also factor in that they only work 8 months a year and get 12 months of benefits. They are making $7,000 a month and have 16 weeks of vacation a year. If they worked like the rest of us for 12 months a year (nothing is stopping them from working the other 4 months, BTW), they would make $84k a year. Also realize that they are doing a job that any high school graduate could technically do (and up until the advent of state run schools and unnecessary regulation, people did). The teachers unions have consistently increased the regulation on who can teach by legislation to the point where I can teach at the college level but can't teach in the public grade school or high school. All to justify jacking up the salaries of teachers and increasing the power of the unions.

  • Re:Who gives a shit? (Score:1, Informative)

    by maxwell demon (590494) on Saturday February 08, 2014 @06:15PM (#46198587) Journal

    At least I know a place to discuss this question. [slashdot.org] And I guess a lot of activity in that specific discussion would be taken much more seriously by Dice than the Fuck Beta posts.

  • by Solandri (704621) on Sunday February 09, 2014 @12:51AM (#46200275)

    These charter-school folks have a long-term agenda, and that is the conversion of public education from a public service to a fully privatized profit center, with the added perk of eliminating teachers unions as a political force. A key factor in achieving this is that wealth inequality has become so extreme that local governments no longer have the resources to educate the nation's children, but billionaires do.

    Local governments have plenty of resources to educate the nation's children. The U.S. spends more on education per student than any other country in the world [ncee.org]. K-6 spending is 4th highest in the world, 7-12 is 5th highest (both about 40% more than the OECD average), and post-HS spending is highest in the world. The result of all this spending? Performance at or below the OECD average [theatlantic.com].

    The problem isn't lack of money. The schools are completely awash in it.

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