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Critiquing the Charter School Industry (2)

  • The venerable civil rights lobby has come under attack for its critique of the charter school industry.
  • The charter school movement is no fan of satire.
  • Part 1: 10 Reasons Why the NAACP Is Absolutely Right About a National Moratorium on Charter Schools
  • Part 2: John Oliver Slams Charter Schools and His Critics Totally Miss the Point

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Part 1: 10 Reasons Why the NAACP Is Absolutely Right About a National Moratorium on Charter Schools

The venerable civil rights lobby has come under attack for its critique of the charter school industry.

Steven RosenfeldAlterNet August 29, 2016 | As the 2016-2017 school year begins, champions of privatizing traditional public schools appear to be launching a new round of political and media campaigns to defend charter schools, despite growing criticism of their academics, business models and calls for a charter moratorium.

The latest media volleys from the pro-charter establishment are typified by a recent editorial at the Washington Post, which slammed a proposed resolution now before the NAACP — and one passed by Black Lives Matter organizers — that says the privately run takeover of traditional K-12 schools should be halted nationally until its negative impacts are reversed. As is often the case with pro-charter forces, the argument framed by the Post’s editorial writers is cast as doing what’s best for the children, in this case non-white kids from poor cities. “The thought of denying school choice to these families — something that middle- and upper-class parents blithely take for granted — is simply maddening,” fumes the Post.

Steven Rosenfeld covers national political issues for AlterNet, including America's retirement crisis, democracy and voting rights, and campaigns and elections. He is the author of "Count My Vote: A Citizen's Guide to Voting" (AlterNet Books, 2008).

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Part 2: John Oliver Slams Charter Schools and His Critics Totally Miss the Point

The charter school movement is no fan of satire.

Jeff Bryant, Blog for Our Future / AlterNet August 25, 2016 | Sometimes it takes a funnyman to make sense.

Earlier this week, British comedian John Oliver devoted a “Back to School” segment on his HBO program “Last Week Tonight” to examining the rapidly growing charter school industry and what these schools are doing with our tax dollars.

The Washington Post’s education blogger Valerie Strauss watched the segment and reports that while Oliver declined to address whether or not charters provide high quality education, he focused mostly on how often these schools are “terribly – and sometimes criminally – operated.” (You can see Oliver’s entire sketch here.)

Jeff Bryant is director of the Education Opportunity Network, a partnership effort of the Institute for America's Future and the Opportunity to Learn Campaign. He has written extensively about public education policy.   

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US Prison Costs Grossly Exceed Public Education Spending

  • The relative modern day cost of incarceration in the US relative to public expenditures on elementary-secondary education strongly supports social policy planning that puts education first. Assuming that the total number of people imprisoned in the United States was 1.2 million in 2010, the average per-inmate cost was $31,286 and ranged from $14,603 in Kentucky to $60,076 in New York. In contrast, the US government spent $602 billion on the nearly 50 million elementary-secondary students in public schools in the US
  • Related: The West’s War on Children

Knoema To stay on top of important articles like these, sign up here to receive the latest updates from all reader supported Evergreene Digest. 

Tuesday, August 02, 2016 | The decrease in the national crime rate in the US during the past two decades was insufficient to offset the cost to US taxpayers to manage prisons because of the simultaneous increase in the rate of incarceration during the period. Between 1991 and 2013, the national crime rate fell from 1,311 to 689 offenses per 100,000 people. In absolute terms, 8.5 million fewer crimes were committed in 2013 compared to 1991. While the crime rate decreased, the number of state inmates grew by 200 percent nationwide, reaching a total incarcerated population of 1.6 million in 2008. Another 723,131 inmates were confined in local jails for a total adult inmate population of 2.3 million, or roughly 1 in 100 adults in the United States.

These trends in US criminal justice have come at a cost to American taxpayers. State corrections budgets have nearly quadrupled in the past two decades. Despite this alarming figure, official correction budgets account for only a portion of the financial obligations a state incurs when it sentences an individual to prison. The Vera Institute of Justice estimates that the total taxpayer cost of prisons, including additional indirect costs that fall outside correction budgets, was $39 billion in 2010. This is $5.4 billion more than official $33.5 billion total spending of state correction departments. These indirect costs vary widely, according to the Vera Institute, from 1 percent of the total cost of prisons in Arizona to 34 percent in Connecticut.

Knoema: Smarter research with the world's statistics in your hands

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The West’s War on Children, Bruce Frohnen, The Imaginative Conservative / Intellectual Takeout

  • The prejudice against children begins from an immoderate desire for order.
  • Special Project | The War on Children: Week Ending  January 9, 2016


Prof: Today’s Students and Professors ‘Know Hardly Anything about Anything at All’

  • Esolen’s above lament is supported not only by similar laments from his fellow professors, but also by statistics that show only a minority of American students are proficient in reading and writing, and by the fact that billions of dollars each year are spent on remedial courses in college.  
  • Do you think that things can be turned around in the near future? Or are we destined to slip further into an educational dark age?
  • Related: School climate: Students are stuck in a dysfunctional system

Daniel Lattier, Intellectual Takeout

August 8, 2016 Six months ago we shared a frightening observation from Patrick Deneen, a political science professor at Notre Dame who has also taught at Princeton and Georgetown. He described his students as “know-nothings… devoid of any substantial knowledge.”

More recently, a respected author and English professor at Providence College in Rhode Island has echoed Deneen’s concerns.

Daniel Lattier received his B.A. in Philosophy and Catholic Studies from the University of St. Thomas (MN), and his M.A. and Ph.D. in Systematic Theology from Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, PA. During his doctoral studies, he served as an adjunct professor, spoke at a number of academic conferences, and published articles in peer-reviewed journals.

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Related: Journalism with real independence and integrity is a rare thing. All reader supported Evergreene Digest relies - exclusively!- on reader donations. Click on the donation button above to make a contribution and support our work.

School climate: Students are stuck in a dysfunctional system, Earl Holdridge, Minneapolis (MN) Star Tribune 

The way our schools are organized is at odds with learning and dispiriting for students. Naturally, some rebel. 

From Obama's election to 'Black Lives Matter' — how?

  • The same poverty. The same criminal-justice system. What can honestly be said to have changed in the lives of young African-Americans? 
  • Related: The movement will not be criminalized

Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor, Minneapolis (MN) Star Tribune Now you can follow Evergreene Digest on Twitter.*425/rap072313a.jpg Photo: Kristin Pelisek, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel/MCT

August 1, 2016 | Eight years ago, at the dawn of the Obama era, pundits seriously debated whether the election of the nation’s first black president would mark an end to the country’s long history of racial inequality. Weeks after Obama was elected, Forbes Magazine jubilantly published an editorial headlined “Racism in America Is Over.” While few others went quite so far, 7 out of 10 Americans did believe that “race relations” would improve as a result of the Obama presidency.

What happened? How did we get from the optimism of Barack Obama’s presidential run to the eruption of a protest movement calling itself Black Lives Matter? Perhaps the optimism itself is to blame, or rather the contrast between Obama’s promise and the reality of his tenure.

Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor is the author of “From #BlackLivesMatter to Black Liberation” and professor of African-American Studies at Princeton University. Taylor wrote this article for the Los Angeles Times.

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The movement will not be criminalized, Janae Bonsu, People's World Riot police arrest a nurse protesting peacefully in Baton Rouge.  |  Max Becherer/AP

  • Alton Sterling - just like with Tanisha Anderson and countless others - lost their lives after police were called. We have no other choice than to be more vigilant than ever - not only in our resistance, but in our commitment to building an abolitionist future in our everyday lives. We have to be unyielding in our right to resist, and brave, imaginative, and bold enough to interrogate all the ways in which we don't have to rely on police; we have to increasingly rely on, love, support, and protect each other. Our lives depend on it.
  • Related: From the Archives | The Bandwagon of Hate: America’s Cancer