“The facts don’t matter” with the League of Education Voters

…according to Kelly Munn, State Field Director of the League of Education Voters (LEV), when it comes to charter schools.

During Munn’s presentation this week praising the glories of charter schools, one of the images she showed during her rather weak Power Point presentation were the words The “fact’s” don’t matter. She said that approving or disapproving of charter schools was simply a matter of “values”, either you like them or you don’t.

That’s quite a simplistic message to share with others when it comes to pushing the agenda of privatizing our schools here in the state of Washington. Don’t let the facts weigh you down when determining whether charter schools should be allowed in our state. Hmmm. It’s interesting how big the ed reformers are on data, evaluations and studies and yet here Ms. Munn is saying that the “facts don’t matter”. Which way is it Ms. Munn?

And “values”? What does that mean? Whether we value public education or not? Whether we value the democratic process or would rather have mayoral control and a lack of transparency that charter schools enjoy while making large profits? That we value our teachers who are part of our school communities rather than a TFA recruit who might be with us for two years and has no teaching experience? That we refer to teachers as teachers and not as “human capital” as NCTQ, LEV and others have referred to the human beings who show up every day doing their best to educate our children while at the same time becoming hemmed in more and more with less and less in terms of support and resources? What are your values Ms. Munn? Receiving a nice pay check by way of Bill Gates, et al? Are you truly with our community or just for the betterment of your own career up the ladder of corporate privatization?

Yesterday I came across another great post by Jim Horn of Schools Matter about KIPP schools which reveal those pesky facts about how this charter franchise has been performing.

Below is an excerpt from his article KIPP Indianapolis: Dropout and Pushout Factory.

Johns Hopkins researcher, Bob Balfanz, defined a “dropout factory” as a school that graduates fewer than 60 percent of its 9th grader four years later.  Wonder what Balfanz would call a middle school that loses over 60 percent of its new students in one year!  And yet that is exactly what is happening at the KIPP testing chain gangs that are billed as the future schooling model to emulate for urban America.

Swimming pools of ink have been spilled in the corporate media to press the message that the abusive and segregated corporate eugenics camps known as KIPP, Inc. are the answer to schooling the poor and brown of urban America. KIPP’s total compliance regimes and psychological sterilization techniques have had influence far beyond the 100 schools that now serve as model lockdowns for other charters and public schools, alike, all trying to keep up the race to indoctrinate, contain, and culturally neuter black and brown children who are regularly abused through screaming, ostracizing, name calling, and public embarrassment, all in the name of “achievement.”

Those who do “achieve” are held up as examples that poverty doesn’t matter in today’s scary and inhumane business of schooling the children of poor folks.  At the same time, KIPP officials refuse to answer questions by public officials on how they intend to address the fact that they are losing almost 70 percent of their students over the first year of enrollment, all the while collecting tax dollars to run these corporate reform schools.

Meanwhile, the material conditions of these children’s lives continue to deteriorate as white privileged politicians and their hedge funder money men breathe a sigh of relief that no one is clamoring to alter the conditions under which these poor children must live their lives.   No excuses, even if you live in motel room or a car.

And this, ladies and gentlemen, and Arne Duncan, is the civil rights issue of this generation–the systematic and sanctioned abuse of black and brown and poor children by a system of corporate education reform beyond redemption, beyond the pale of decency, beyond belief in what was once our America.

But we’re coming after you, Arne and Bill and Eli, and all the other shameless and self-serving fools, crooks, and charlatans who have hijacked American education.  Shame?  No, they have no shame.  They do have utter disrespect for the poor and a limitless patronizing attitude, and they see the non-privileged as pawns to be corralled and converted into human capital for their games of rancid form of capitalistic debauchery.

Below are a few fact to dispel some of the myths about the KIPP mirage.  For instance, if parents are beating down the door to get their children into KIPP, why has KIPP Indianapolis missed its enrollment targets for the past 5 years?

And how can we call a school a solution to school disaffection when it is retaining only 34 percent of its students from 5th to 6th grade?  And why won’t KIPP, Inc. answer the questions put to them by Mayor’s Office about this issue?  And what does the Mayor’s Office plan to do about it?

You can view the charts and an explanation of what they mean by going to the full article at Schools Matter.
If you are interested in the facts about charter schools, you can take a look in the right hand column of this page and view

All Studies re: Edicts of RTTT

or click any number of subjects that begin with the words “Charter schools and…” also in the right hand column of this page to get all the facts that Ms. Munn and others would rather not include in their presentations.

Today Jim Horn posted more information on KIPP schools and the Whitney Tilson connection:

KIPP Indianapolis: Too Connected to Corporate Power to Fail



4 thoughts on ““The facts don’t matter” with the League of Education Voters

  1. It’s very easy to say that the facts don’t matter when the facts can’t back any good reason to have charter schools in our state.

    The same approach was used last year when the issue of merit pay came up at the last PTA legislative session. Someone waved copies of what they said were studies that showed that merit pay was an effective way to make teachers teach better. See: https://seattleducation2010.wordpress.com/2010/10/10/the-stepford-wives-for-race-to-the-top-our-pta/ for the details of that session. When I looked at the so-called studies there was nothing to them, literally, no stats, nothing. When I came back with real studies that had been done suddenly the ed reformy argument was, well, there are studies on both sides of every issue and we’ve decided to take this side.

    Sorry, that doesn’t hold water. You will note on the right side of this page studies listed regarding charter schools. Please show me a study that can counter any of these studies in terms of LEV’s push for charter schools in our state. Then we can have a real discussion.

    Telling me that we should have charter schools in our state “just because” isn’t good enough.


  2. The point of the “facts don’t matter” quote was that you can dig up “facts” to support any point of view. If you hate charters, you can point to fact showing their shortcomings. If you love them, you can find facts that show charters doing remarkable things.

    We can argue our favorite facts all day long and not really communicate.

    1. However, if the facts that you “dig up” reveal that they lose 70% of their students between 5th and 6th grade, and this is how they achieve “success” with those who are left, how does that translate into “success” overall? The public school takes all students, and works to push them all to be as successful as they can be. What do charter schools do for those who don’t make the grade, and leave after a year? Oh, yeah, those kids just go back to their public school, which is then expected to help them succeed when the charter school did not (could not?).

      Pat Robertson

  3. Dora, once again you are right on the money. Great comments on the hypocritical political-economic agenda of the League for Education Voters. They really play the halls of Olympia with a professional expertise, but are clueless when it comes to educating our children. Thanks for the link to Jim Horn as well, its a breath of fresh air. Community-based organizations such as Seattle Education 2011 are the true reformers looking out for our children and the future of, not only public education, but the entire wellbeing of our democratic society.

    David Fisher

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