Rob Levine
April 26, 2021

Proposed Page Amendment is the Cruz-Guzman killer

Minnesota foundations scramble to save their favored highly-segregated charter schools by defending segregation

IN THESE DAYS OF RACIAL STRIFE it may surprise you to learn that one influential philanthropy based in Minneapolis is paying for arguments in court to allow segregated public schools. Another foundation is leading the charge to remove language from the state's constitution that courts have used to bar segregation in schools. What's going on here? Are the Twin Cities not the 'liberal' bastion people make it out to be?

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Rob Levine
March 10, 2021

Time for Alan Page, Mike Ciresi and the Minneapolis Foundation to grab some bench

Thirty years of attacking public schools and failing to increase educational achievement is enough

In the Fall of 2022 Minnesotans may be voting on a constitutional amendment that will fundamentally change state law around public education. How will this change public education? Surprisingly, even the authors profess not to know the answer to this question. The only thing certain about the proposed amendment is that it will empower courts and throw districts, parents and others into constant legal battles.

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Rob Levine
September 20, 2019

How the Bush Foundation wasted $45 million and 10 years on an ill-conceived attack on teachers

The foundation famously promised 50% more students in post-secondary education in three states, erasure of so-called 'achievement gaps,' and a fancy new evaluation tool.

Ten years later there are actually fewer students in college, 'achievement gaps' are the same or worse, and its hyped $2 million VAM evaluation tool is up in flames - but the foundation is undaunted — proud of its failure

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Rob Levine
May 15, 2019

One way charter schools can kill a public school district

A simplified animation of how the introduction of charter schools into a public school district can lead to its extinction, through a cycle of draining students, inability to quickly react, program cuts and school closings.

Though specifics vary, across the nation charter schools are draining the students and finances of public school districts, creating distress in many. In Minneapolis, the Minneapolis Foundation is trying this very strategy with its created entity, Minnesota Comeback, whose goal is 30,000 new charter seats in the city.

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Test score proficiencies at Hiawatha Morris Park - the school lauded by Williams

Rob Levine
October 8, 2018

What Conor Williams didn't see in Minneapolis

Getting Minnesota charter school history wrong, again.

At one time Hiawatha had passable test scores, but this story, like so many education reform stories, was not what it seemed. In recent years Hiawatha's test scores have dropped steadily back down to earth, so that now they're about half of the state averages. For some reason national, and especially local media aren't interested in that now.

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Rob Levine
May 7, 2017

Twenty five years later charter schools a costly, failed experiment

Ember Reichgott Junge's book provides a clear view into the history of charter schools in Minnesota, just not the one she intended

This is a big year for charter school aficionados in Minnesota, as 2017 marks the 25th anniversary of the opening of the the nation’s first charter school in St. Paul. The legislation that authorized charter schools, enacted a year earlier, though limited in scope, promised a thorough consideration of the experimental education model, which has since sprouted up in 43 states and the District of Columbia.

Since that time rules have been loosened, spending has multiplied many times over, and hundreds of charter schools have opened in the state. Many others have been closed. Have charters lived up to the grand boasts of supporters? Have the effects been more negative than positive? Do charters represent a threat to local, democratic control of public education? On the silver anniversary of the landmark school opening the local discourse is heating up.

Gotcha.

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Rob Levine
April 23, 2017

Free to choose a Walmart school

Poverty Academies, Segregation Academies and a foundation plan to erase the Minneapolis public school district

“School choice " is all the rage in Minnesota these days. The kind of school choice most in vogue are charter schools, where, according to promoters, less affluent parents can experience the same kind of education “marketplace " that rich people enjoy with their private schools.

Ok — that's an argument. But just what kind of choices are there for, say, low-income parents of color in the core Twin Cities?

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Percentage of students in segregated school settings by race and school type

February 1, 2017

Segregated 'Poverty Academies' underperform public schools

The implicit deal was to trade charter school integration for higher test scores - but it hasn't turned out that way

Questions about segregation, integration, and academic performance have been intrinsically linked in American education policy since at least 1954, when Brown v. Board held that segregated educational facilities are inherently unequal. The research leading to that decision,and the overwhelming social science consensus ever since, has suggested that segregated schools produce a host of harms for their students, and integrated schools generate a host of benefits.

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Rob Levine
September 4, 2012

"High performing" Charter Schools

Beating the odds, or beating the test?

“Odds-beating charter school. " Those words are like an impenetrable shield for those who operate such places. They are also the holy grail of the education reform movement, which is constantly seeking shortcuts to radically increase measures of educational achievement, which these days is pretty much defined by increased math and language test scores.

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FundometerTRY OUR NEW FUNDOMETER

Are you sometimes suspicious of a news story, or a new organization? Run their 'about' or news page through EdHiveMN's new FUNDOMETER - it show you how many people, grant recipients and funders from our database appear on the page

MN EDUCATION REFORM CORE

Great MN Schools $ 33,537,921
Teach for America $ 12,805,105
Minnesota Comeback CLOSED $ 11,139,019
Hiawatha Academies $ 11,095,449
KIPP Minnesota $ 7,093,764
Advancing Equity Coalition $ 6,349,594
Policy Innovators in Education Network Inc. (PIE Network) $ 6,069,789
Ed Allies $ 5,824,154
Educators 4 Excellence, Inc. $ 4,946,913
Charter School Partners CLOSED $ 4,871,464
Center of the American Experiment $ 4,291,071
MinnCAN CLOSED $ 4,155,592
Harvest Preparatory Charter School CLOSED $ 3,099,438
Our Turn, Inc., nee Students for Education Reform (SFER) $ 2,768,250
Education Evolving $ 2,565,750
Charlemagne Institute - nee Intellectual Takeout $ 2,250,260
Harvest Network of Schools CLOSED $ 1,692,256
The New Teacher Project $ 1,451,206
Minnesota Parent Union $ 1,119,340
Total: $ 127,126,335

 

About the Data

Find out where the grant data comes from, and what years and funders are included.

Search

Grants – search for grants by various criteria
Recipients – search all grants to a particular recipient
Funders – search for organizations or individuals that are funding grants
People – search for people who benefit from grant funds or who play a role at a Recipient or Funder

CHARTER SCHOOL SCANDAL OF THE DAY

January 29, 2024
Exeter charter school closing amid investigation into alleged fraud and embezzlement
Families in the Seacoast rallied around the alternative school when it opened in 2022, but some say they saw warning signs of mismanagement early on.
Source: www.nhpr.org

January 26, 2024
New info on multi-million dollar education fraud after recent charter school-related indictment
Officials with the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Indiana released more information about a recent indictment brought forward in a multi-million dollar education-related fraud scheme.
Source: fox59.com

January 25, 2024
Virtual charter school trio federally indicted
INDIANAPOLIS — The U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Indiana alleges that three operators of a pair of virtual charter schools defrauded the state of Indiana for tens of millions of dollars by inflating the number of students learning from home sitting before keyboards. From 2016-2019, the federal indictment claims that Thomas Stoughton, Phillip […]
Source: fox59.com

More charter school scandals of the day...

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AROUND THE WEB

Edhivemn.com
June 19, 2018

Charter schools in Minnesota started or supported by the funders

Sorted by size of largest school demographic

This year ONE non-White majority charter school supported by funders in this database exceeded the state average in test score proficiency. But that one school is suspect because of wildly fluctuating test scores. Overall these schools are highly segregated and many have had very low test scores for many years.

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Badass Teachers Association
January 28, 2018
Nancy Bailey

The Sad Impact of Corporate School Reform on Students with Emotional/Behavioral Disabilities

Public schools need a continuum of services for children experiencing emotional/behavioral problems. They also need a whole curriculum that includes classes that are therapeutic, like art, music, and drama. These classes can help students find their niche and keep them from academically falling behind.

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Journal Journal of Education Policy
February 7, 2017
Elisabeth E. Lefebvre & Matthew A. M. Thomas

Shit shows’ or like-minded schools’: charter schools and the neoliberal logic of Teach For America

This paper critically examines the relationship between these entities through the lens of TFA corps members placed in charter schools, and explores two types of schools described by interviewees, namely, shit shows,’ and like-minded schools.’

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Have You Heard blog
May 4, 2017
Jennifer Berkshire

Education Can’t Fix Poverty. So Why Keep Insisting that It Can?

Education is not the best anti-poverty program, argues historian Harvey Kantor, and it’s long past time we acknowledged that "¦

One of the consequences of making education so central to social policy has been that we’ve ended up taking the pressure off of the state for the kinds of policies that would be more effective at addressing poverty and economic inequality. Instead we’re asking education to do things it can’t possibly do. The result has been increasing support for the kinds of market-oriented policies that make inequality worse.

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Washington Post
April 27, 2017
Emma Brown and Mandy McLaren

Nation’s only federally funded voucher program has negative effect on student achievement, study finds

Students in the nation’s only federally funded school voucher initiative performed worse on standardized tests within a year after entering D.C. private schools than peers who did not participate, according to a new federal analysis that comes as President Trump is seeking to pour billions of dollars into expanding the private school scholarships nationwide.

The study, released Thursday by the Education Department’s research division, follows several other recent studies of state-funded vouchers in Louisiana, Indiana and Ohio that suggested negative effects on student achievement. Critics are seizing on this data as they try to counter Trump’s push to direct public dollars to private schools.

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Alternet
April 30, 2017
Steven Rosenfeld

5 Times Charter School Founders Used Shady Real Estate Deals to Shamelessly Enrich Themselves

A trio of academics compare the tactics to Wall Street's raiders.

As the Trump administration plans to redirect taxpayer billions to privatize K-12 education, a scholarly article by some of the nation’s leading investigators of charter school rip-offs has highlighted how their business model is prone to fiscal self-dealing.

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MinnPost
April 28, 2017
Erin Hinrichs

STRIDE Academy was once one of the top performing charters in Minnesota. Now it’s getting shut down

Today, however, STRIDE is facing closure. While school leaders say they embraced the school’s newfound diversity, they struggled to adapt to the academic needs of their changing student population. The school went from being in the top 15 percent of all Title 1 schools in the state, in terms of students’ academic performance, to being in the bottom quarter of Title 1 schools.

Also see:

Grants to STRIDE Academy

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Crooks & Liars
April 24, 2017
Jenn Budd

Race To The Bottom: The Department Of Walmart Education

The Walmartification of Education

The Walton family now owns only 50% of Walmart stores. Sadly, that means they only make billions upon billions having lost the last chunk of billions. But never fear, for they have invested wisely. So much so that they have been able to give over $1.3 billion, by their own estimates, to K-12 education during the last two decades through their Walton Family Fund.

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The News & Observer (Raleigh)
April 24, 2017
Lynn Bonner

Should charter school enrollment be a corporate employee perk?

Students could gain admission to charter schools based on where their parents work or where they live under legislation that would make significant changes in the ways the schools fill their classrooms.

The state House is considering a collection of bills that would change who can start a charter and how quickly the schools can grow. Corporations would be able to reserve spaces in schools for their employees’ children...

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