Charter Schools in Michigan Harm Students and Help Investors — and DeVos Deserves Much of the Credit

A long article in the NYTimes analyzes how the rise of almost completely unregulated charter schools in that state has not meant any benefits to the poor students attending their privatized schools. In fact, the authorizing agencies for these mostly for-profit charter schools actually seem to be doing it mostly because they get a cut of 3% of the entire budget for the schools that they supposedly supervise!


In addition, the charter management companies make huge profits by buying under-utilized land and buildings for a school and then selling that property to the school for many times what they themselves pay!


If that’s confusing, rest assured that that is on purpose.


Not that this has helped the children of Michigan. By the very yardsticks that corporate edu-“reformers” like to use, since Michigan has undergone this wholesale charterization of its formerly public school system, their test scores have dropped from near the middle of all 50 states to very close to the bottom.

And our current federal education secretary, Betsy DeVos, has been leading the way, advocating more school choice.


A quote:


“…banks and hedge funds, Miron told me, profit greatly from the charter sector, thanks to large tax breaks dating back to the Clinton presidency that benefit investors in schools located in struggling “renewal communities.” And with so many eager lenders and bond underwriters lined up, E.M.O.s realized they, in turn, could make money from one of the largest expenses charter schools face. “A bunch of them thought, Wow, I can start a real estate division!” VanderWerp said. “We’ve run into this all over the place”: E.M.O.s buy buildings “for a couple hundred thousand bucks, lease them to the school for a couple of years and then sell them” to the school “for a few million.” In Michigan, 80 percent of charters are currently operated by for-profit E.M.O.s. The state’s largest E.M.O., the Grand Rapids-based National Heritage Academies, operates 84 charters in nine states and has been criticized for charging wildly above-market annual rents to its schools: A Detroit Free Press investigation found that 14 National Heritage schools in Michigan pay the company $1 million or more.”


Very sad, depressing, wholesale theft. When will we stop it?

Published in: on September 10, 2017 at 10:24 am  Comments (5)  

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  1. I don’t think “we the people” will stop what is happening until we heed Thomas Jefferson’s advice.

    “what country before ever existed a century & half without a rebellion? & what country can preserve it’s liberties if their rulers are not warned from time to time that their people preserve the spirit of resistance? let them take arms. the remedy is to set them right as to facts, pardon & pacify them. what signify a few lives lost in a century or two? the tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots & tyrants. it is it’s natural manure.”


    • Great idea! It has worked well in Somalia, Afganistan, Libya, and Syria. Come to think of it, China made great strides in the 1920s & 1930s.


      • When you mentioned China, a million-watt spotlight lit up your ignorance. The other countries you slung out there like vomit, I don’t want to spend the time to research to tear your flawed logic to bits and pieces.

        But I know the history of China, so here goes.

        China’s problems started with the Opium Wars in the first half of the 19th century. Do you know who started the two Opium Wars and why?

        Fast forward to the 1920 when Dr. Sun Yat-sen left Hawaii after learning about the U.S. Constitutional Republic by going to school and living in Hawaii for years.

        Sun Yat-sen wanted China to have a similar Republic but one that fit the Chinese culture.

        Sun Yat-sen is considered that father of China’s republic by both Beijing and Taiwan. There are monuments to this man in China and in Taiwan.

        Sun was building a Constitutional Republic in China that fit the Chinese culture when he died suddenly in his early 50s in about 1925. At the time, that growing republic was made up of several political parties. There was the Chinese Communist Party and the Nationalist Party, etc.

        Soon after Sun died, Chiang Kai-shek became the leader of the Nationalist Party and he formed an alliance with the brutal criminal triads in Shanghai who launched a Pearl Harbor style attack against the CCP and all labor unions leadership and ended up slaughtering tens of thousands. If you were a member of a labor union or the Chinese Communist Party, you were sentenced to death without a trial.

        Mao was a minor official in the CCP at the time. But when the smoke cleared, most of the leaders of the CCP were dead and after his well-known Long March to avoid ending up dead too, Mao became the leader because he was simply the last one standing since all the rest had been executed by the KMT without trials.

        China’s Civil War that was started by the Nationalists (KMT) under Chiang Kai Shek would rage until 1949 with a short break to fight the Japanese during World War II.

        Let’s take a step back to 1949. The average lifespan in China was 35 and 95-percent of the people lived in extreme poverty.

        When Mao died in 1976, even with his brutal Cultural Revolution to destroy all signs of capitalism, the average lifespan had almost doubled and was in the 50s.

        When Mao came to power after winning that long Civil War, he liberated women in his famous, “Women hold up half the sky” speech and he ade women legally equal to men.

        Before that speech, women were property that could be bought and sold and were considered of less value than a hog or cow.

        Overnight, women were liberated. Up until that speech, many Chinese women were still having their feet smashed, broken and bound. The CCP made that horrid act illegal and enforced it.

        No matter what you think of China’s government, the CCP has ruled China for 68 years and extreme poverty went from 95-percent to less than 4 percent. Next door there is India, a democracy. Check how many people still live in poverty there, and how many don’t have toilets, and how many are illiterate, and how many children die each year from malnutrition and starvation.

        Under the CCP, there has only been one famine, and Mao was blamed for that. But before the CCP, there were annual famines in one or more provinces that caused death. Imperial records going back more than 2,000 years document this fact. China is known as the land of famines because of that documented history.

        The World Bank and the UN have credited China for 90-percent of the reduction of poverty in the world in the last 30 years and the average lifespan is nearing 80.

        I think the evidence is overwhelming that China’s long Civil War paid off big time for China’s people still alive today, and, for sure, as long as the CCP rules China. a Donald Trump will never get a chance to become president of China. In China, merit counts, and an ignorant idiot like Trump wouldn’t stand a chance. In China, even crooked politicians have to be good at their jobs because failure is not an option. Failure for the CCP’s leaders can lead to a bullet or a life long prison sentence.

        In the U.S. CEO’s that fail and elected officials that fail, get bonuses and seldom if ever end up in prison.


  2. Lloyd, JKRideau was talking about the period of the 1920s and 1930s when China was ruled by lots of warlords, not the period after 1949.


    • I know, but JKRideau doesn’t seem to know what caused the warlord era was not a civil war. The warlord era was after the Qing Dynasty collapsed and that collapse started with the Opium Wars in the early 19th century.

      Later, the Boxer Rebellion against the same foreign powers with troops still in China and an invasion of Korea by Japan in the first Japanese Sino war were more nails in the Qing Dynasty’s coffin.

      The warlord era was not a civil war. China’s government had collapsed during the unrest that started with the Boxer Rebellion, and the warlords were regional strong men that stepped into the vacuum while Sun Yat Sen was still struggling to launch his constitutional republic in the south.

      At one point, Sun had to flee the country due to death threats from some of those warlords that saw him as a threat.

      In the 1st Opium War, the British and Fench empires invaded China to force the Emperor to agree to the opium trade. The Emperor didn’t want his people addicted to this drug. China lost. China lost the Opium War and the British and French got what they wanted. A legal Christian, Opium trade invasion of China. The treaty allowed Christian missionaries to go whenever they wanted in the country while merchants fattened their fortunes with the opium from India flowing into the treaty ports.

      But that wasn’t enough so troops from the British, French, Germans, United States, et al. invaded China for the 2nd Opium trade to expand the market beyond the few cities they gained after the 1st war.

      During the second opium war, there was the Taiping Rebellion led by one of the early Chinese Christian converts who woke up one morning and claimed he was the younger son of Jesus Christs. The British joined forces with Imperial troops to crush this rebellion led by God’s Chinese son because he was against the opium trade in China.

      The Taiping Rebellion that would have established China as a Chrisitan nation was crushed with help from the European powers and the U.S. One U.S. mercenary general, a Chrisitan from the southern states, where slavery was once allowed before the U.S. Civil War, who was known as the Devil Soldier raised an army of foreigners to fight the Taipings and the Qing Dynasty paid for his ruthless mercenary army. When he was wounded on the battlefield and died later, he was replaced by a British major who later became famous in world history.

      The Taiping rebellion is considered the bloodiest rebellion in world history with 60 to 100 million dead.

      To the credit of the U.S. Congress during the 2nd Opium War, within a couple of years, U.S. troops were pulled out and the money that China was forced to pay its invaders that went to the U.S. after the war was returned to China. China used that money to build a university in Beijing. The other foreign invaders kept their money and China was impoverished to pay those war reparations to the victors that started the war.

      A nonfiction book was written about the Opium Wars and how the profits and revenues from the opium sold in China financially supported the growing British Empire.


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