This bill will pass. As with any legislation there is good and bad mixed together and the good for some is bad for others and the bad for others is good for some…  So it will always be.

But as a parent fighting for a child’s right to have a decent education, this bill undoes a lot of bad stapled to the No Child Left Behind which incidentally continues until a newer version of ESEA gets passed….

Common Core is dead… States now make their curriculum, not the FEDs…. We can choose to continue the Smarter Balanced if we want, we don’t have to keep it… or… we can go back to the DCAS which was a giant improvement over the Smarter Balanced in educating children correctly. Or we can use SAT’s for our graduation requirement… Bottom line is that we decide it… Parents fighting corporate entities… not corporate entities ignoring teachers, parents, administrators, and elected representative officials and using the Fed’s directive to go it alone.

There is a lot of good.  Early childhood education money for one… Restrictions on the US Secretary of Education’s power for two. And a general acceptance of local control over educational needs as a third….

But with the good, comes the bad… In order to get the good some bones had to be thrown to round up enough dogs for passage… One of those is to the Charter Industry.

And to be true, many people still believe the myth that Charters can do it better and that the difference between a charter and public schools is that when a Charter  fvcks up, it gets shut down… Everyone cheers and goes, yea, yea… and does not think of how it devastates those students trying to learn in the charter school their parents put them in based on false promise no charter can fulfill

This ESEA is a gift for charter corporations…  The purpose of this bill among other things is to:  “increase the number of high-quality charter schools to students across the United States..” to the tunes of ….

‘‘(1) $270,000,000 for fiscal year 2017;
‘‘(2) $270,000,000 for fiscal year 2018;
‘‘(3) $300,000,000 for fiscal year 2019; and
‘‘(4) $300,000,000 for fiscal year 2020.’’.

This is the new Race to The Top… Any state needing funding can apply through grants for this money.  Or… they can choose not to… depending upon their “state legislatures”….

it’s a carrot with no stick.. but if one chooses the carrot, one has to pay the price….

States to receive these grants… have to provide to charter schools support for facilities financing in an amount more nearly commensurate to the amount states typically provide for traditional public schools;

States must spend 12.5% of the allotment to support charter school “facility” assistance.

These grants will be awarded to states which …

‘‘(A) open and prepare for the operation of new charter schools;
‘‘(B) open and prepare for the operation of replicated high-quality charter schools; or
‘‘(C) expand high-quality charter schools;

and “provide technical assistance to eligible applicants and authorized public chartering agencies”

A state receiving these funds must spend 90% of them on sub-grants to charter organizations.  As you can see, this is free federal money being handed out to charter organizers…  One can startup a charter for profit with no skin in the game.

The good news is that all subgrants issued at the state level must undergo a peer review to be approved.  That peer review has to be positive.

Three grants have to be granted by the Secretary.  Implied is that more is better but no less than three have to be granted and the money for the first two years, will be designated before the first year begins…

The US Secretary in order to continue the funds for years 3 and 4,  must evaluate each state after the two years and see if all the  criteria are met. Some of those criteria are:

The state must prove how fast and aggressively they are opening up charter schools.

The state must market and broadcast effectively to all the availability of free federal money and assistance if one wishes to open a charter school.

The state must make sure every charter gets the maximum amount of funding it is allowed to receive.

Ensure every eligible applicant receives a subgrant under this bill.

And here is the kicker:… Is required to demonstrate funds for continuing the aggressive charter program will be available in years after this funding has ceased….

On the bright side, the state will now HAVE to do audits yearly of every charter and must also be more heavily involved in micromanaging charters, at least those charters who get the free money…

Each state receiving grants has to give Charters equity with public schools when deciding future educational policy decisions affecting the whole state.

Things tipping favor to one state versus another….

The flexibility of the state’s charter school law..

The ambitiousness of the state towards granting new charters.

The likelihood the applicants will succeed in establishing long term charters.

The state must allow at least one “private” entity to run a charter.

The state must ensure equitable funding for charters the same as public.

The state must help charters out with facilities’ costs by giving them either state property, partial funding of facility costs, the ability to pass bonds and levies upon the general population for charter improvement, or low cost or no cost leasing privileges….

These funds can be used as start up costs before the first child walks through the doors, training staff, school leaders, professional development,

Facilitating financing by identifying potential lending sources, encouraging private lending, and other similar activities that directly promote lending to charter applicants.

Facilitating the issuance of bonds by charter schools, or by other public entities for the benefit of charter schools, by providing technical, administrative, and other appropriate assistance (including the recruitment of bond 4 counsel, underwriters, and potential investors and the consolidation of multiple charter school projects within a single bond issue).

Of note lately for a state to receive this money, it must provide annual financing, on a per-pupil basis, for charter school facilities…

Secondly, next come the terms (very similar) for making subgrants to current and existing charters to allow for growth and expansions. However this is only conducive to a private charter management organization. (Sorry Red Clay)…

And that traces the money. Within the ESEA (pages 518-574) there is much more verbiage regarding  the do’s and don’ts which sound reflectively similar to Delaware’s HB 165 Earl Jacques.

Bottom line, is this is a huge gift of life support to what was written off as a dying enterprise only days before.  It is geared primarily to KIPP and provides them free money to move into any area they wish, provided that state is conducive to them setting up shop….

Your job and mine, is to make sure Delaware is not conducive to them setting up shop here on our soill..  no matter what Sokola, Jacques, Markell or Godowski insist…. And who knows, with a very angry populace watching every move each charter makes, maybe our state’s excursion into charterdom may miraculously beat all the odds-of-failure with which every other state’s charters  have been beset ….

But then again… perhaps not. Being wiser we should choose to “opt out” of charters.

 

 

 

 

 

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