Posts by: William Phillis

Jennifer Berkshire recently wrote about the Betsy DeVos visit to Van Wert, Ohio.  Perfect timing to celebrate Ohio’s failed charter school week.

Berkshire’s perspective on the Betsy DeVos visit can be summed up by a quote made by Elida Treasurer Joel Parker while he and Board member Brenda Stocker were talking to her:

Parker, a Trump supporter, likens the growth of Ohio’s virtual schools, with their moneyed bosses and political flunkies, to the takeover of the garbage collection industry by organized crime in the ‘50’s. *The mob got into the business because it was easy, they could control it, […]

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Jeanne Melvin, President of Public Education Partners (PEP) has developed a graphic that can be used to show school district patrons how a portion of their school levy funds flow to charters. Some state officials have argued that no local funds are involved in chartering. They may be aware that the use of revenue from local levies is restricted to the operation of the school district; hence, they fabricated the following argument:

· Districts must use their local revenue first for their district students
· Districts must use their state funds first for charter students

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According to a recent article by Diane Ravitch, the Walton Family Foundation spent $179 million on charter school activities in 2015 and they “are in the midst of a pledge to spend $1 billion to open more charters.”

The Walton Family foundation and other pro-charter foundations are spending billions in the campaign to charterize the traditional public system. Ravitch shared a list of organizations that Walton is helping to bankroll that includes Michelle Rhee’s StudentsFirst Institute ($2.8 Million) and Teach For America ($8 Million) as well as School Choice Ohio ($35K), the shady Ohio-based, anti-public school organization.

While […]

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According to Dr. Sarah Stitzlein, Associate Professor of Education, University of Cincinnati, school voucher programs place individual interest over the common good.  The conclusion of Dr. Stitzlein’s Cincinnati Enquirer OpEd article is that SB 85 (the almost-universal voucher bill pending in the Senate Education Committee) is the wrong choice for Ohio.

Expanding school choice via free market ideology, a system that has served our country well in other areas, is appealing. But, it should only be used in the context of education when research and evidence demonstrate its usefulness for real children, schools, and communities. The reality is […]

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The Washington Post published an excellent brief recitation of the history of the “Blaine Amendment” by Diane Ravitch.

Public school personnel and all other citizens will benefit by reading this insightful article.

Church and state must be kept separate for the benefit of both church and state. Recent decisions by all three branches of government have blurred the line of separation in recent decades. That does not bode well for democracy.

Each, the church and civil government, have unique separate roles to play in our society. Intermingling of those roles will compromise both the church and state to the […]

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Before Ohio expands funding for charter school facilities, state officials should seriously investigate the California charter facilities disaster.

A group called In The Public Interest (ITPI) engaged Dr. Gordon Lafer, associate professor at the University of Oregon, to research the flaws of the California charter facilities policy. An April 2017 report of Lafer’s findings reveals that hundreds of millions of dollars are being spent each year without any meaningful strategy. Funds are thrown to charters with no statewide plan or local plans for efficient and effective use of the funds. Charter facilities are being built in locations where school […]

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Is standardized testing in America for the benefit of students? Or for huge corporations that profit from tests?

In an April 11 blog, Diane Ravitch highly recommended a post by Steven Singer that asks important questions.

School children as young as 8-years-old are forced to take a battery of standardized tests in public schools. Would educators prescribe such assessments if it were up to them? Would parents demand children be treated this way if they were consulted? Or is this just a corporate scam perpetrated by our government for the sole benefit of a particular industry that funnels […]

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As the almost-universal voucher bill (SB 85) is pending, Ohio legislators should take notice that Texas lawmakers supported an amendment to their budget expressly stating that state money, “may not be used to pay for or support a school voucher, education savings account or tax credit scholarship program or similar program through which a child may use state money for non-public education” by a 103-44 vote.

But even after that resounding defeat, some Texas lawmakers proposed a voucher program for poor families. It was defeated by a 117-27 margin. It appears Texas lawmakers understand that universal “voucherism” is […]

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A recent Washington Post article reported that U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos is being protected by U.S. Marshals under a 7 ½ months contract for the amount of $7.78 million.

Federal marshals are protecting Education Secretary Betsy DeVos at a cost to her agency of nearly $8 million over nearly eight months, according to the U.S. Marshals Service.

The Education Department has agreed to reimburse the marshals $7.78 million for their services from mid-February to the end of September, said a marshals spokeswoman — an average of about $1 million per month.

The plan is that U.S. Marshals will […]

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Ohio Republican State Senator Matt Huffman has introduced a bill  (SB 85) that would provide almost universal school vouchers across Ohio.

The Legislative Service Commission (LSC) estimates that 74% of Ohio students would be eligible to participate under the terms of the SB 85 voucher proposal. The LSC Fiscal Note and Local Impact Statement indicates if all students would opt for vouchers the net cost to the state would be $1.19 billion per year. Further, the LSC Note states, “Participation rates between 2.5% and 10% result in net annual state costs ranging from $45 million to $133 million.”

Private […]

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Imagine schooling in Ohio without the 1851 Constitutional provision for a thorough and efficient system of common schools.

The 18th and 19th century public officials set forth education policy with future generations in mind. The Land Ordinance of 1787 set aside the 16th section of each township for the support of education. It took a couple of decades after statehood for Ohio officials to get their education act together. They mismanaged (wasted) the revenue-raising capacity of the 16th section of each township and, for the most part, merely granted charters to local libraries, literary societies and charities to provide a […]

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