Get sick, get well
Hang around a ink well
Ring bell, hard to tell
If anything is goin' to sell
-- Bob Dylan

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Merrow's book shines a light on Deborah Kenny's charter schools

Deborah Kenny

Former NPR and PBS journalist, John Merrow's book, Addicted to Reform, reveals how corporate reformers and greedy charter school hustlers, exploit the language of school reform to enrich themselves at the expense of the public.

The best-known of these, of course, is New York's Eva Moskowitz, who pays herself $567K/year to manage Harlem's Success Academies with 11,000 students. When she lost out to Betsy DeVos in the race to become Trump's Secretary of Education, I referred to her as "charter schools biggest hustler", but apparently I was wrong.

Merrow says that Moskowitz pales in comparison to Deborah Kenny, the founder of Harlem
Village Academies who pays herself with public tax money on a par with Moskowitz to run her charter which enrolls only 1,400 students. Compare that to New York City's public schools chancellor, Richard Carranza, who presides over the largest school system in the nation, with 1.1 million students and is paid $345K per year.
Like Eva Moskowitz's Success Academies, this network loses a lot of students, but, unlike Success Academies, the students who stay perform poorly...This same charter network has famously high turnover rates among teachers. In the most recent report, 38 percent of teachers departed—nearly four out of every ten teachers. In another school, 31 percent left. One thing that students in high-poverty schools need is continuity, which they apparently do not get in this network. Oh, by the way, the CEO who makes all that money also has her own car and driver. 
 Somehow, writes Merrow,  I suspect she’s happy to have Eva Moskowitz taking all the flack in the media about harsh discipline and high turnover rates, because that means her network’s performance is not being scrutinized.  It clearly should be.

Friday, October 5, 2018

Bill Daley gets big money from school privatizer Finnegan

Paul Finnegan
Bill Daley, who recently jumped into the Chicago mayor's race just received $200,000 from Paul Finnegan, co-CEO of Madison Dearborn Partners investment firm (net worth $1.8B). Through his Finnegan Family Foundation, he's been a major underwriter of Chicago's privately-run charter schools and school privatizers.

He's been one of the biggest donors to the Illinois Network of Charter Schools (INCS). He sits on the board of Teach for America, Inc. and has given millions to KIPP, Noble and other Chicago charter school networks. He's also a big backer of the union-busting group, Stand For Children.

Madison Dearborn had been among Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s most reliable campaign contributors for years. Three executives, including Finnegan, dumped $705,000 into Emanuel’s campaign in June, three months before Emanuel chose political retirement over the uphill battle for a third term.

Finnegan's support for Daley could spell trouble for candidate Paul Vallas the other big charter supporter in the race.