charter schools

New Layers of Dirt on Charter Schools

by Paul Buchheit

Despite ever mounting evidence to the contrary, corporate media and corporate-bought politicians continue to proclaim the superiority of charter schools. Meanwhile, “nearly 2,500 charter schools closed their doors from 2001 to 2013, leaving over a quarter million kids temporarily without a school.” The New Orleans school privatization experiment has clearly failed, as has Detroit. Yet, the charter myth persists, backed by big money and lies.

Black Agenda Report for Week of October 3, 2016

Clinton is Far More Anti-Crime Than Pro-Justice

When Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton clashed over stop-and-frisk at their first televised debate, Clinton only weakly addressed “the idea of racial justice,” but instead “went immediately to the idea of effectiveness” of stop-and-frisk as a crime-fighting tool. “If a program infringes on civil liberties and violates the Constitution, it doesn’t matter at all if it’s effective or ineffective,” said Chip Gibbons, policy and legislative counsel for the Bill of Rights Defense Committee. If, however, the purpose of a policy is “to terrorize people of color, then I supposed you can make an argument that stop-and-frisk is effective in doing that,” said Gibbons.

Trump Not the Only Neo-Fascist Running for President

Hillary Clinton’s “worldview and her policies are just as dangerous as Donald Trump’s,” said Ajamu Baraka, the Green Party’s vice presidential candidate. Lots of folks “talk about the coming of neo-fascism under Donald Trump, but don’t understand that the foundation for neo-fascism has already been created under the Obama administration -- and for some of us, in our communities, we have already been subjected to neo-fascist repression.” In Syria, both Clinton and Trump “are committed to the use of military force to advance the interests of the U.S,” said Baraka.

Candidates “Tone-Deaf” to Inner City Demands

“Our big concern was that the presidential candidates were tone-deaf to the avalanche of organizing and fightback against corporate education interventions that are targeting Black and brown neighborhoods all over the United States,” said Jitu Brown, of the Journey for Justice Alliance, representing 40,000 activists in community organizations in 24 cities. The Alliance demands “real, comprehensive equality in education” and a national moratorium on school charters. “We will not give folks the pass that President Obama got,” said Brown.

Black Agenda Radio on the Progressive Radio Network is hosted by Glen Ford and Nellie Bailey. A new edition of the program airs every Monday at 11:00am ET on PRN. Length: one hour.

NAACP and Movement for Black Lives Call for Moratorium on Charter Schools

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by executive editor Glen Ford

“The NAACP and the Movement for Black Lives are both on the same page when it comes to charter schools.” Both organizations called for a halt to the spread of charter schools, with the NAACP charging that charters are “as destructive to poor communities as predatory lending practices by banks.” The Movement for Black Lives demands an end to President Obama’s Race to the Top program, which coerces states to allow more charters.


Black Agenda Radio for Week of May 30, 2016

Jill Stein: U.S. Electoral “House of Cards” Coming Down

Presidential candidate Jill Stein has an answer tor those Democrats that accuse the Greens of offering themselves as “spoilers” who would throw the election to Donald Trump. “I will be horrified if Donald Trump gets elected, and I will be horrified if Hillary Clinton gets elected,” Stein told a panel at the Left Forum conference, in New York City. “I’m most horrified by a political system that gives us two lethal choices and says, ‘Pick between them, and that’s it.’” The two-party duopoly electoral arrangement is in trouble because of the “inherent disfunction of the system, and the fact that the house of cards really is coming down.”

Blacks Will Be Slow to Abandon Democrats

Bernie Sanders has no interest in creating a new political party to the left of the Democrats, because he “wants to strengthen the leftish faction within the Democratic Party,” said BAR executive editor Glen Ford, speaking at the same Left Forum panel as Jill Stein. However, Ford predicted that millions of Sanders’ followers will choose to join or help form such a party. Although Blacks are the most left-leaning constituency in the country, they will be slow to support any new, “social democratic” political formation, for fear of helping the “White Man’s Party” – the GOP. Blacks will only break out of the Democratic “trap” in large numbers, said Ford, when they perceive that the Republicans are no longer “a kind of monolithic threat” to Black America.

Charter Schools Take Chicanery Online

Charter school companies are now operating so-called “virtual schools” that have no physical classrooms, but only exist on the Internet. David Cohen, executive director of the advocacy group In The Public Interest, said California Virtual Academies, run by K-12 Inc., graduates less than half its students and is accused of counting pupils as “present” if they log online for as little as one minute a day. The charter’s teachers are paid only about $30,000, said Cohen. The company “needs to make a profit, they need to pay their CEOs, they also need to do whatever they need to do for their shareholders on the stock exchange,” he said. The profits are produced by paying teachers less, hiring fewer administration people, and squeezing every way they can,” he said.

Rich Countries Drain Trillions from Developing World

Global banking expert James Henry said rich countries siphon more than $12 trillion a year from China, Russia and other developing nations. “Collectively speaking, the world has to worry about this because it means that, oddly enough, the developing world is actually a net creditor of western Europe and the United States.” Much of the huge cash outflow is diverted to secretive offshore banking outlets, but soon finds it way back into rich western portfolios. The loss of wealth is disastrous for the developing world, said Henry. “It’s a tremendous opportunity cost for developing countries.”



Black Agenda Radio for Week of May 9, 2016

Detroit Teachers “Browbeaten” Back to Work by National Union

The two-day teachers sick-out that closed Detroit public schools last week was about much more than paycheck issues, said Steve Conn, the former elected local union president who, along with activists from BAMN (By Any Means Necessary), has been leading teacher sick-outs since November. “It’s about fighting the governor’s plan to destroy the schools. Gov. Snyder wants to replace public education in Detroit with a charter model,” said Conn. More than half of Detroit students already attend charter schools, second only to New Orleans. The sick-out was popular among teachers and the public, but ended prematurely when national union president Randi Weingarten “and her local flunkies browbeat the teachers into going back to work,” said Conn. “They snatched defeat from the jaws of victory.”

Towards a National Black Political Agenda

The Black Is Back Coalition for Social Justice, Peace and Reparations plans to hold events in cities around the country in coming months to put together a National Black Political Agenda. The project grew out the Coalition’s national conference on the 2016 elections, convened in Harlem, New York, last month. “The timing is excellent,” given the turmoil in the duopoly parties, said Coalition chairman Omali Yeshitela. “We don’t have to settle for an outcome that’s determined by these folks who are tied to the ruling establishment. We can speak for ourselves and have an agenda of our own that will influence the political direction of Black people.” Yeshitela hopes the agenda can be completed in time for the Coalition’s annual march on the White House and national conference, in November.

Sawant Petitions for Sanders to Dump Democrats After Convention

Seattle city councilwoman and Socialist Alternative Party leader Kshama Sawant is circulating a petition that Bernie Sanders run as an independent to pave the way for a third electoral party. But, what about the Green Party, which expects to be on the ballot in most states in November? “If there is any possibility of Bernie Sanders and Jill Stein running together on a Green Party ticket this year, I would support that wholeheartedly,” said Sawant. “Something like that could help build the basis of an independent party of the 99%, which is the most critical project we have to get started on.”

With GOP Help, Hillary Will Move Democrats Further Right

“Get ready for the whiplash,” said historian, activist and author Paul Street, predicting that an influx of anti-Trump Republicans will assist Hillary Clinton in pushing the Democratic Party even further rightward, once Bernie Sanders’ supporters on the left have been pacified. “The Democratic Party is about to go from being the party that allowed a self-declared democratic socialist to go very far in the primary process, to becoming the objectively truer and more fully explicit ruling class party in the country,” now that Donald Trump has split from the Republican corporate establishment. Street’s latest book is titled They Rule: The 1% Versus Democracy.



Just What We Need: More Black Celebrity Charter School Crooks... I Mean 'Entrepreneurs'

A Black Agenda Radio Commentary by BAR managing editor Bruce A. Dixon

Sean “Diddy” Combs, with accomplices Iyanla Vanzant and privatization hustler Steve Perry are fronting the Capital Prepatory Harlem Charter School. When black celebs put their names on a charter school what does that mean? Are they “giving back” or are they cashing in on the drive to convert public assets into their private property? Are they siding with parents, teachers and communities, or with their own investment portfolios?


Public School Privatization Strategies: What Teachers, Unions, and Public Education Stakeholders Should Know

by Dr. Walter C. Farrell, Jr. Phd, M.S.P.H.

The future of public education is not guaranteed. A corporate-financed “Cartel has infiltrated every level of the political structure by utilizing targeted campaign contributions and has cultivated major backing among public education’s traditional supporters.” The privatizers target heavily minority school districts and do not hesitate to manipulate data “to show fraudulent academic gains.”

The Glen Ford Report: High Stakes Testing is a Weapon for School Privatization

by the Real News Network

White House pledges to reduce standardized testing are bogus, says Ford. Administration policy is to use standardized testing to "fail" public schools and replace them with charters.

Tell the New Education Secretary: Charter Schools Flunk Out in New Orleans

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by executive editor Glen Ford

Arne Duncan said Katrina was the best thing to happen to New Orleans schools, and his successor, John B. King, doubtless feels the same. But “it’s all propaganda and phony numbers.” Even with more than a third of its poor Black students in exile, the New Orleans all-charter system ranks significantly lower than Louisiana public schools – and that’s after controlling for factors of race, class and qualifications for special education.


Privatization, Charters & High Stakes Tests: Arne Duncan's Legacy

by the Real News Network

Professor Pauline Lipman and educator Jose Luis Vilson discuss the legacy of Arne Duncan and what we know about his successor John B. King

Web of Secrecy Surrounds Federal Half-a-Billion Handout to Charter Schools

by Jonas Persson

Hell-bent on quietly forcing the bipartisan neoliberal project of school privatization down the the unwilling and oft unwitting throats of mostly black constituencies across the land, the Obama Administration's cynically misnamed Department of Education is handing out another wad of public money to private charter school operators.

Black Agenda Radio, Week of April 8 2015

Attempted Murder of Mumia Through Medical Malpractice

Pennsylvania prison officials allowed the political prisoner’s condition to worsen until he was in horrific pain and on the brink of a diabetic coma, said Pam Africa, of International Family and Friends of Mumia Abu Jamal. His supporters are demanding that “specialists be allowed to go in and see Mumia,” who is back in prison after being released from a hospital that had no specialists in diabetes. The State of Pennsylvania is trying to torture and kill the world renowned former death row inmate, said Ms. Africa. “Can you imagine your body burning from head to toe, your skin erupting, and you’ve blown up to the point that your skin starts bursting open?” Supporters of Mumia should telephone their concerns to prison officials listed at

Democrats Gang up on Seattle Socialist

Kshama Sawant, the Socialist Alternative Party leader whose campaign for a $15 an hour minimum wage won her a seat on the Seattle city council, now faces three Democratic challengers, including the head of the local Urban League. Sawant has earned broad support, but must still contend with the popular mindset that Democrats are the “lesser evils” of politics. “The problem with the logic of ‘lesser evil-ism’ is that it’s ad infinitum,” she said. If we accept that logic, “there’s never going to be a point when we can say: ‘At this moment we have to make a clean break to make sure that we build a movement independent of the two business parties.’”

Obama’s TPP Trade Pact Empowers Global Corporations

Documents recently released by Wikileaks reveal that the Trans Pacific Partnership trade treaty would rig international law to the decisive advantage of multinational corporations. “It confirms the worst of our fears,” said Patrick Woodall, research director of Food and Water Watch. “It includes language that grants powerful new avenues for corporations to attack common sense public health, environmental and consumer protections” – all to protect anticipated corporate profits. Other language would keep the contents of the treaty secret for four years, even if it is rejected by the U.S. Congress. President Obama wants Congress to pass TPP with no amendments or effective debate.

Charter Schools are for Black and Brown Kids, Only

Union County, New Jersey, has 21 municipalities, but all five of its charter schools are located in the majority Black city of Plainfield. “There’s a pattern in New Jersey, and in the country, of taking local control away from majority Black and brown cities, said David Rutherford, a member of the Plainfield board of education. State officials constantly override Black and brown school boards and encourage charter school companies to set up shop. “As a board of education, we have no say on whether there will be charter schools in our city, how many there will be, or who will run them,” said Rutherford. “Our only obligation is to pay these charter schools, per student.” If charter schools are so beneficial, he asks, why don’t white communities want them?

UNAC to Hold National Conference May 8 – 10

The United National Anti-War Coalition will hold a national conference in Secaucus, New Jersey – just outside New York City – under the banner “Stop the Wars at Home and Abroad.” UNAC used the same slogan at its founding conference, said spokesman Joe Lombardo. “It’s become more and more clear as time went on that there’s been militarization of the police, more heavy-handed intervention into the Black and brown communities, more people deported, more austerity, more assaults on civil liberties. So, these wars have had a real impact on the people of the United States.”

Black Agenda Radio on the Progressive Radio Network is hosted by Glen Ford and Nellie Bailey. A new edition of the program airs every Monday at 11:00am ET on PRN. Length: One hour.

What's the Difference Between Teach For America and a Scab Temp Agency?

A Black Agenda Radio Commentary by BAR managing editor Bruce A. Dixon

Back in the days of organizing meat packing, steel and auto workers, employers couldn't use tax-exempt donations to transport, pay and train their scabs, and they had to wait for strikes to deploy them. That was before Teach For America....

Why Does the US Chamber of Commerce Want to Train or Replace Your Elected School Board, If They Haven't Already?

By BAR managing editor Bruce A. Dixon

A key role in the elite drive to privatize public education is being played by privately owned school “accreditation” agencies, which are immune from public scrutiny, and under the absolute thrall of pro-privatization forces like the US Chamber of Commerce and the Broad Foundation. Are you hearing stories in local corporate media about your school board being “dysfunctional” and your school systems accreditation threatened? It could mean the US Chamber of Commerce and the Broad Foundation just want to replace them.

Send In the Clowns: 3 Stooges, Gingrich, Sharpton & Duncan Hit the Road For Corporate “School Reform”

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Bruce Dixon

Quite separately from each other, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, Rev. Al Sharpton and Newt Gingrich have long ago forfeited whatever credibility they may once have had. Taken together, they are simply a bad joke: three grown men publicly eye-poking and slap fighting each other while they all come together to sell us high-stakes testing, charter schools, educational privatization and the whole package of corporate “school reform.”


Obama Ordering States to Close 5,000 'Failing' Schools!... Chicago Lies Go National

by George Schmidt

The corporate narrative that public schools in minority neighborhoods are "failing" and must be replaced by unaccountable but often highly profitable "charter schools" is an inheritance from the Bush era that the Obama administration intends to continue and intensify.  Despite any proof of improved educational outcomes, and contrary to the democratic wishes of the American people the push to discredit and privatize public education appears to be a hallmark of the Obama era.

Eshu’s Blues: charter schools and the rest of us

by michael hureaux

John McCain and Barack Obama "share the same market nostrums for education reform, from charter schools to merit pay to the test mania of No Child Left Behind," but have no inkling of the meaning of comprehensive education. An educator himself, the author advocates that teachers "work to build a new, independent leadership of labor to take charge of this comprehensive public education question and every other question of any societal importance." One thing he's sure of: "When the human need factor is addressed, academic achievement is vastly improved."


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