CURMUDGUCATION: NOLA Charters and Bloated Bureaucracy

CURMUDGUCATIONThe slightly-cranky voice navigating the world of educational “reform” while trying to still pursue the mission of providing quality education.

Source: CURMUDGUCATION: NOLA Charters and Bloated Bureaucracy

NOLA Charters and Bloated Bureaucracy

Remember how the charter school industry was going to be a lean, mean, educatin’ machine. That is repeatedly turning out to be not particularly true.

Take this recent study from New Orleans, home of the charter industry’s greatest opportunity, the hurricane-fueled chance to set up a chartertastic free-for-all. The ways in which this is failing are legion and oft-reported. For the moment we’re just going to focus on this singular failure.

From a report on the study published by The Lens, a NOLA news site:

Overall, New Orleans schools — the vast majority of which are charters — spent $1,358 more per pupil on operating expenses, or 13 percent, than a control group in the 2013-14 school year.

Administrative spending increased $699 per student, or 66 percent, compared to the control group. Meanwhile, instructional spending dropped by $706 per student, or about 10 percent.

In other words, taxpayers are paying for far more administration in their schools than they would have been had the district stayed on centralized, single district.

This is not a shock. If you are having trouble making ends meet with one home, you don’t fix the problem by buying a second one. And you can’t operate several schools with hte money you previously used to operate just one. And if you like this idea couched in proper econo-talk, try this quote from Christian Buerger of the Education Research Alliance

If you decentralize an entire district, there’s a loss in economies of scale. And the study found that despite claims that charters would cut through all the red tape, they spent far more on red tapery. Charters are also fond of hiring contractors for various tasks, another not-very-cost-effective method of operating.

And that’s before we even get to the specific issue of what these new layers of fat, happy administrators are being paid. The examples in charterdom are legion. Eva Moskowitz is paid more to run her NYC charter chain than the head of the entire NYC public school system is paid. Just today this week, we get this story from Los Angeles wherein the head of a small charter chain is paid more than the chief of the entire Los Angeles public school system. In a charter choice system, we routinely take one well-paid school superintendent and add several more even-better-paid school chiefs. With a charter choice system, you get more administrators, and they are often paid more. It’s like replacing your Yugo with a fleet of Lexus.

This is neither lean nor mean, but it’s attractively profitable if you’re thinking of starting your own charter school.

Trump’s claims of saving millions on F-35 fighter untrue, says armed services committee Dem

Sen. Jack Reed of Rhode Island, the ranking Armed Services Democrat, says savings were already in place on Lockheed plane.

President Donald Trump claims that his intervention forced Lockheed Martin to reduce the cost of its F-35 airplane to the Pentagon, but the ranking Democrat on the Senate Armed Services Committee says that’s not true.

Earlier this week, Trump asserted that his negotiating pressure had knocked $600 million off the costs of a deal, formally announced Friday, for 90 of the jets. At Friday’s White House news briefing, press secretary Sean Spicer told reporters that the president’s handiwork had saved taxpayers $455 million. Trump had tweeted in December that program costs were “out of control,” and summoned Lockheed CEO Marillyn Hewson to a meeting.

But Pentagon officials, who’ve long bargained to reduce costs of the massive F-35 order, announced before that meeting took place that Lockheed would bring down costs for the 90-jet order by more than $500 million. That move followed the Pentagon’s decision before November’s election to invoke a provision of its contract to unilaterally impose cost-cuts on Lockheed.

After Trump’s $600 million claim earlier this week, Lockheed offered a statement of appreciation that Trump had recognized “the positive progress we’ve made on the F-35 program.” After Spicer took credit for the president Friday, Sen. Jack Reed of Rhode Island, the ranking Armed Services Democrat, responded more bluntly.

“This is simply taking credit for what’s been in the works for many months,” Reed told CNBC in a telephone interview. “These are savings that would have happened anyway.”

Source: Trump’s claims of saving millions on F-35 fighter untrue, says armed services committee Dem

White House investigates leaks of Trump calls to Australia, Mexico | Reuters

The White House is looking into how embarrassing details of President Donald Trump’s recent tense phone conversations with his counterparts in Australia and Mexico were leaked to news organizations, White House spokesman Sean Spicer said on Fox News Channel.

“The president takes these leaks very seriously,” Spicer said in an interview with Fox News Channel, which on Friday provided a transcript of a segment set to air on Saturday.

Trump cut short a phone call with Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull after an acrimonious discussion about a refugee swap deal, a conversation that threatened ties between the two allies after details appeared in The Washington Post.

In an earlier call with Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto about paying for a wall on the southern U.S. border, Trump said he might send the U.S. military to Mexico to stop drug cartels – details from a transcript obtained by a Mexican news organization Aristegui Noticias and the Associated Press. The White House later said the comments were meant to be lighthearted.

“That’s troubling and I think the president has asked the team to look into this because those are very serious implications,” Spicer said.

Spicer described the conversations as “candid” but respectful, and has noted that both the Australian and Mexican governments have disputed some of the details.

White House officials did not respond to requests for comment on the investigation into the leaks.

READ MORE HERE: White House investigates leaks of Trump calls to Australia, Mexico | Reuters

Bureau of Indian Affairs sending agents to help clear Dakota Access protesters from site – The Washington Post

The federal government announced Friday that it was dispatching Bureau of Indian Affairs agents to help clear Dakota Access Pipeline protesters from the Standing Rock Sioux reservation.

The tribe and its allies have been lobbying against federal approval of the 1,170-mile pipeline, which crosses four states and would carry crude oil from the rich shale-oil basins of western North Dakota to the pipeline networks and refineries in Illinois. While many business, farm and labor organizations back the project, arguing it remains the safest ways to transport oil, a coalition of tribal and environmental groups argue it will accelerate climate change and could disturb sacred burial grounds and archaeological sites and potentially pollute water sources.

READ THE FULL STORY HERE: Bureau of Indian Affairs sending agents to help clear Dakota Access protesters from site – The Washington Post

Allegan Harvest Farm | Cultivating Life!

Cultivating Life!

Source: Allegan Harvest Farm | Cultivating Life!

Had lunch recently at Four Roses Cafe in Plainwell.
Group of us talking Michigan politics.
Fellow walked up to our table and asked if we’d ordered already.
We hadn’t.
He went on to tell us he was an Allegan County pork farm owner and that his employees were men from a variety of backgrounds all having faced personal life crises.  His pork was sold he went on to tell us to and prepared into meals at Four Roses by owners Tom and Jan Rose. His goal in employing them was to help them turn their lives around. Quite inspiring tale.
His name was Doug Rietema and he encouraged us to consider a lunch or dinner item or entree featuring pork.
Allegan Harvest Farm
3575 Dumont Road
Allegan, Michigan 49010
IMHO it has the making of a great “good news” story.
Check them out!

10 Essential Facts About Medicare’s Financial Outlook | The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation

10 Essential Facts About Medicare’s Financial Outlook

Medicare, the nation’s federal health insurance program for 57 million people age 65 and over and younger people with disabilities, often plays a major role in federal health policy and budget discussions. This was the case in discussions leading up to enactment of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), which, in addition to expanding health insurance coverage, included changes to Medicare that reduced program spending. Medicare is likely to be back on the federal policy agenda as Congress debates repealing and replacing the ACA, and also if policymakers turn their attention to reducing entitlement spending as part of efforts to reduce the growing federal budget deficit and debt.

By many measures, Medicare’s financial status has improved since the ACA passed in 2010, and repealing the ACA’s provisions related to Medicare would increase program spending and worsen the financial outlook for the program. But even if the Medicare savings and revenue provisions in the ACA are retained, Medicare faces long-term financial pressures associated with higher health care costs and an aging population. To sustain Medicare for the long run, policymakers may need to consider additional program changes to modify program revenues, benefits, spending, and financing.

This brief presents 10 facts and figures about Medicare’s financial status today and the outlook for the future.

READ, SHARE, DISCUSS AND LEARN ABOUT THE: 10 Essential Facts About Medicare’s Financial Outlook | The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation

Artifacts show a Rosa Parks steeped in freedom struggle from childhood – The Washington Post


February 3, 2015
When Rosa Parks was a little girl in rural Alabama, she would stay up at night, keeping watch with her grandfather as he stood guard with a shotgun against marauding members of the Ku Klux Klan.

Klansmen often terrorized black communities in the early 1900s, and Parks’s grandfather, Sylvester Edwards, the son of a white plantation owner, had their house boarded up for protection.

But Parks longed for a showdown.

“I wanted to see him kill a Ku-Kluxer,” the renowned civil rights leader wrote in a brief biographical sketch years later. “He declared that the first to invade our home would surely die.”

They sounded like hard words for the small, bespectacled woman who is most famous for refusing to give up her seat to whites on an Alabama bus in 1955.

[See the arrest report from police on the arrest of Rosa Parks.]

But a cache of Parks’s papers set to be unveiled Tuesday at the Library of Congress portrays a battle-tested activist who had been steeped in the struggle against white violence since childhood.

The trove, parts of which were unknown to historians, also shows Parks as a woman devoted to her family, especially to her mother and husband, Raymond, for whom she kept her hair in long braids even after he died.

The material is part of the collection of Parks’s belongings that was purchased by the Howard G. Buffett Foundation in August and deposited with the library in September on a 10-year loan, the library said.

Parks died in Detroit in 2005 at the age of 92, famous for a solitary act of defiance that helped launch the modern civil rights movement and etched her name in the annals of history.

READ THE FULL STORY HERE: Artifacts show a Rosa Parks steeped in freedom struggle from childhood – The Washington Post

After Trump, Black Lives Matter And Pipeline Protests, New Bills Would Raise Penalties For Protest : NPR

In North Dakota, a lawmaker has introduced a bill that would allow motorists to run over and kill any protester obstructing a highway as long as the driver did not do it intentionally.

Source: After Trump, Black Lives Matter And Pipeline Protests, New Bills Would Raise Penalties For Protest : NPR


Bills across the country could increase penalties for protesters

After two years of protests that often have shut down highways, state legislatures in several states are trying to make future demonstrators think twice. In Iowa, that could mean five years in prison and a $7,500 fine. Three other states are considering similar bills, while in North Dakota a motorist could accidentally run over and kill any protester obstructing a highway with no penalty.

The ACLU says the bills are un-American.