Washington Post, Answer Sheet: Parent: Why school ‘choice’ doesn’t mean the same thing to me as to Betsy DeVos

It is School Choice Week, the annual exercise when well-funded, corporate school reform outfits pour money into advertising and marketing o promote charter schools as well as vouchers and other programs in which the public pays for private and religious school tuition.

School Choice Week coincides with the confirmation drama of President Trump’s nomination of Michigan billionaire Betsy DeVos as education secretary, who has said the public education system in the United States is a “dead end,” and who is seen by critics as a supporter of privatizing public education. DeVos stumbled at her Senate confirmation hearing last week, displaying a lack of understanding of key education issues, and Democrats have sought — unsuccessfully — a second hearing before the Senate Education Committee votes on whether to approve her nomination.

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It is School Choice Week, the annual exercise when well-funded, corporate school reform outfits pour money into advertising and marketing o promote charter schools as well as vouchers and other programs in which the public pays for private and religious school tuition. School Choice Week coincides with the confirmation drama of President Trump’s nomination of … Continue reading Washington Post, Answer Sheet: Parent: Why school ‘choice’ doesn’t mean the same thing to me as to Betsy DeVos

File Under Tilting At Windmills–Virtual school operator K12 Inc. faces challenge from stockholders demanding transparency

Virginia-based K12 Inc. is the largest operator of for-profit charter schools in the country and is a national leader in running online full-time public schools in numerous states. The company, based in Herndon, has long been a target of critics who have questioned the quality of its schools as well as its spending and lobbying practices — and now, the company will face new questions, this time from stockholders.

The new shareholder effort is being led by Bertis Downs,  a public school advocate in Athens, Ga., who spent his career providing legal counsel and managing the rock group R.E.M., and who bought K12 stock a few years ago. Asked why he is taking this action, Downs said in an email:

“My motivation in filing for this disclosure of K-12’s lobbying activities stems from my overall curiosity and interest as a parent and a shareholder in knowing more about what lobbying is done, whether through ALEC or directly, that leads to the so-called “education reform” laws being passed all over the country. How much does the company spend and how do they spend it and what results do they get for it? And is any of that good for meaningful teaching and learning in our schools? And is it good for the company and its shareholders?”

For the rest, please go  here.

Virginia-based K12 Inc. is the largest operator of for-profit charter schools in the country and is a national leader in running online full-time public schools in numerous states. The company, based in Herndon, has long been a target of critics who have questioned the quality of its schools as well as its spending and lobbying … Continue reading File Under Tilting At Windmills–Virtual school operator K12 Inc. faces challenge from stockholders demanding transparency

The results from Georgia— Victory in the Battle Against a State Takeover District

Nov 22, 2016

by Bertis Downs – Athens, GA parent and Network for Public Education Board Member and Janet Kishbaugh – Atlanta, GA parent and Public Education Matters- Georgia Member

For those of us who support public education, a real bright spot in the November 2016 election was the defeat of Amendment 1 in Georgia. Amendment 1 proposed to allow the state to create a state-wide “Opportunity School District” (OSD) that would take over and privatize so-called “failing schools,” patterned after similar districts in Louisiana, Tennessee and Michigan.

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Nov 22, 2016 by Bertis Downs – Athens, GA parent and Network for Public Education Board Member and Janet Kishbaugh – Atlanta, GA parent and Public Education Matters- Georgia Member For those of us who support public education, a real bright spot in the November 2016 election was the defeat of Amendment 1 in Georgia. Amendment … Continue reading The results from Georgia— Victory in the Battle Against a State Takeover District

The State of Things in Georgia — Vote No on Amendment #1

by Bertis Downs, Athens GA parent and board member of Network for Public Education and Janet Kishbaugh,  Atlanta parent and co-founder of Public Education Matters-Georgia

A big battle looms in Georgia, pitting the usual big-money, backroom supporters of a state takeover school district against the rest of us. It is the same battle being fought all over the country in the struggle against The Chaos Theory plan for public education “reform,” but in this instance those of us fighting against the persistent and well-funded forces of privatization and standardization have reason to be somewhat optimistic, despite the uphill battle we face.

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by Bertis Downs, Athens GA parent and board member of Network for Public Education and Janet Kishbaugh,  Atlanta parent and co-founder of Public Education Matters-Georgia A big battle looms in Georgia, pitting the usual big-money, backroom supporters of a state takeover school district against the rest of us. It is the same battle being fought … Continue reading The State of Things in Georgia — Vote No on Amendment #1

Addie Downs Blogs About Her Dad Turning 60!

About a year ago my dad started brainstorming what he wanted to do for his 60th birthday, which is today. As his present to himself, we invited really close family friends from home in Athens to the lake house in New Hampshire back in June. Eliza and I basically did dishes for four days straight, but it was so fun. We got to share our most sacred place on Earth with our dearest friends. Now, we are at La Colombe D’or Hotel in St. Paul de Vence with some more very special friends. I say he planned very well.

My father has many amazing qualities. He is generous and determined and loving and will always drop what he’s doing to help someone. And his hair. It’s gorgeous.

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About a year ago my dad started brainstorming what he wanted to do for his 60th birthday, which is today. As his present to himself, we invited really close family friends from home in Athens to the lake house in New Hampshire back in June. Eliza and I basically did dishes for four days straight, … Continue reading Addie Downs Blogs About Her Dad Turning 60!