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It's not enough that former Indiana and Florida schools chief Tony Bennett raised the grade of a charter school run by a Republican donor during his time in Indiana. No, Bennett actually closed two Indianapolis public schools rather than give them the same loophole the charter school got:
The issue was similar in both cases. Christel House had recently added ninth and 10th grades, and IPS’ Howe and Arlington had added middle school grades. The students who filled those seats posted poor enough scores to drag down the schools’ overall ratings.

In the case of Christel House, emails unearthed by The Associated Press show Bennett’s staff sprung into action in 2012 when it appeared scores from the recently added grades could sink the highly regarded school’s rating from an A to a C. Ultimately, the high school scores were excluded and the school’s grade remained an A.

But in 2011, after IPS’ then-Superintendent Eugene White demanded Bennett consider the test scores of high school students separately from those of middle school students so the high schools could avoid state takeover, Bennett was unmoved.

In corporate education policy world, public schools get the losing end of a double standard that absolves charter schools of all kinds of failure. Where it's not directly because charter schools have money and cozy relationships with politicians, as here, it's because of an ideology that says money and private profit entering the education system is good, and excluding some kids from schools is just fine.

Sign our petition demanding the Indiana attorney general investigate former Indiana schools Superintendent Tony Bennett for changing the grade of a charter school for his donors.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Labor on Fri Aug 02, 2013 at 01:20 PM PDT.

Also republished by Indianapolis Kossacks and Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  More of the all for me none for thee mentality. nt (8+ / 0-)

    Whatever the Foxteapublicans say, the opposite is the truth.

    by Forward is D not R on Fri Aug 02, 2013 at 01:25:10 PM PDT

  •  Is this illegal? (7+ / 0-)

    If it isn't, it should be.

    "The international world is wondering what happened to America's great heart and soul." Helen Thomas

    by Betty Pinson on Fri Aug 02, 2013 at 01:34:37 PM PDT

    •  illegal? smallgal? It's Republican politics, as (7+ / 0-)


      •  Not illegal per se, but Republican conduct (0+ / 0-)

        At least raises probable cause that something illegal is going on.

        Patriotism may be the last refuge of scoundrels, but religion is assuredly the first.

        by StrayCat on Sat Aug 03, 2013 at 11:32:28 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Rick Scott is a corrupt clown (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Old Sailor

        The real story is how incompetent Florida Governor Rick Scott is. Everything Rick Scott touches turns to shit..... Anybody he appoints has skeletons in their closets.... corruption and misbehavior and incompetence everywhere..... He was a crook and as a CEO defrauded the U.S. government (Medicare scam) before he ran for office. He paid $millions in fines.. Then used his ill-gotten fortune to buy his way to the Florida Governorship. He is so clueless about how to do his job and totally inept. He's not just a crook.... he's also a clown! Unfortunately I live in Florida.... imagine having to deal with this.... and then having to deal with a state who's mindset thinks George Zimmerman is justified in stalking and killing an unarmed teenager, guilty of nothing but being black and walking through Zimmerman's neighborhood...

  •  The charter schools are designed to shield (11+ / 0-)

    some kids from mainstream life in the US and make them part of a mythical academic elite, but there just isn't much evidence that they're succeeding academically at any higher rate than public schools kids.

    Building a better America with activism, cooperation, ingenuity and snacks.

    by judyms9 on Fri Aug 02, 2013 at 01:44:10 PM PDT

    •  And this crap is EXACTLY the crap (11+ / 0-)

      That educators and liberals were warning against when the whole mania for charter schools began.  We were warned that public dollars would be diverted to private schools, that the teachers union would be busted, that the charters would not be held to the same standards as public schools, that public schools would be defunded, that the privatization of the public school system would yield a massive, very expensive education industrial complex, and most of all kids would get screwed.
      And yet here we are.  I sure am getting tired of being Cassandra!

    •  "there just isn't much evidence"?... (0+ / 0-)

      Here's an article from US News and World Report, for starters, that ranks the best charter schools in America:

      But it's the retention of the best teachers are the key here, according to this report:

      "According to this report, strong and weak teachers are being retained at the same dismal rate. “Only 10 percent of teachers are leaving, each year,” Timothy Daly, president of the project, told The New York Times. “The problem, though, is that we lose so many great teachers, especially early in their career, that half of them are gone by year six.”

      TNTP looked at over 90,000 teachers in four urban areas for the basis of this report. Based on student scores in state exams and student reviews, they determined that just 20 percent of these teachers are “irreplaceables”: teachers who are so successful their students actually obtain the equivalent of five to six months of extra learning compared to students in weaker teachers’ classes. If one of these irreplaceable teachers leaves, TNTP estimates that it will take approximately 11 hires to find a teacher of a similar caliber. In other words, they are pretty much irreplaceable."

      The evidence is out there, but I neither the time nor the inclination to do your research for you. Google is your friend. I used only the keywords "Charter schools better than public schools" and found tons of evidence that thoroughly refuted your assertions.

      "I wish to have no connection with any ship that does not sail fast, for I intend to go in harm's way." John Paul Jones

      by ImpeachKingBushII on Sat Aug 03, 2013 at 09:42:28 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Trying Googling "Charter schools worse (6+ / 0-)

        than public schools." There is a mountain of evidence out there. All I need is the official scores of the schools in Ohio. Charters are failing at a rate multitudes greater than public schools. 80% of them are pure trash. An overwhelming majority of the schools in academic failure are charters. Worse, these operators are allowed to close schools and open new ones.

        Ed FitzGerald for governor Of Ohio. Women's lives depend on it.

        by anastasia p on Sat Aug 03, 2013 at 10:13:35 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I've already researched both sides... (0+ / 0-)

          ... and I support the potential success of charter schools, if ran by the right people. I responded to the poster's comment claiming there wasn't any evidence to support charter schools over public schools, so you or anybody else shouldn't get their panties in a twist when someone calls them on it and produces the evidence they denied existed.

          I support both public schools and charter schools. It's a false dichotomy to say that because some public schools and some charter schools are ineffectual, all are. And like I proved in my second link, to keep those teachers who have proven they are the cream of the cream is at least as much to blame-or more. It's also a logical fallacy to say that charter schools are to blame for everything that's wrong with the educational system and eliminating them entirely will somehow be the cure-all. It's not. I don't support any politician who abuses his/her powers of office to reward their contributors or anyone else who tries to buy favors.

          "I wish to have no connection with any ship that does not sail fast, for I intend to go in harm's way." John Paul Jones

          by ImpeachKingBushII on Sat Aug 03, 2013 at 03:41:22 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  The largest study about the effectiveness (7+ / 0-)

        of charter schools was done by Stanford University in 2009.  At that time it was determined that charters perform better than public schools 17% of the time, worse than public schools 37% of the time and the rest are about the same.  

        There has been another study in 2013.  That study can be found here.

        The 2013 CREDO study finds that charters in the original 16 states have made modest progress in raising student
        performance in both reading and mathematics, caused in part by the closure of 8 percent of the charters in those
        states in the intervening years since the 2009 report as well as declining performance in the comparison
        traditional public schools over the same period.

        Across the charter schools in the 26 states studied, 25 percent have significantly stronger learning gains in
        reading than their traditional school counterparts, while 56 percent showed no significant difference and 19
        percent of charter schools have significantly weaker learning gains.

        In mathematics, 29 percent of charter schools
        showed student learning gains that were significantly stronger than their traditional public school peers’, while 40
        percent were not significantly different and 31 percent were significantly weaker.

        As a teacher in Maryland, whose schools have been ranked #1 for the last 4 years, I find that strong financial support and a commitment to maintaining strong public schools goes a long way to making the schools better.  We have very few charters.  What I've observed is that those state legislatures who pursue a "choice" agenda--i.e. charters and vouchers--seem to have little commitment to their public schools.  It makes sense that those schools would not perform as well.

        It's like the small government argument.  Those who think government is bad and want to shrink it to the size where they can drown it in a bathtub, have no interest in seeing it work well.  Those who believe that government can actually serve the people, try to make it work well.  Same goes for those who are committed to public schools.  Sadly, we don't have the same kind of corporate backing as those who seek to dismantle the public school system.

        “It is the job of the artist to think outside the boundaries of permissible thought and dare say things that no one else will say."—Howard Zinn

        by musiclady on Sat Aug 03, 2013 at 10:21:13 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Actually, they're not (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      quill, Old Sailor

      You're thinking of vouchers. Since most charter schools are in inner cities and provide dismal education on the cheap, they're simply designed to suck up the education money going to educate poor kids and throw those kids on the trash heap.

      No elite child goes to a charter school. They're mostly garbage.

      Ed FitzGerald for governor Of Ohio. Women's lives depend on it.

      by anastasia p on Sat Aug 03, 2013 at 10:11:29 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  it would be pretty to think so (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Old Sailor

      If charter schools were there primarily to separate extremely motivated students from extremely unmotivated students, there would be some benefit to that.  Allowing students who primary focus is educating themselves a separate space, even within a larger school, has proven benifits.  The academic elite in public education is not mythical, it is simply not at charter schools.

      The problem is that these students are very expensive to educate.  They need specialized teachers who aren't often going to do double duty.  They need equipment, stimulus, that is much more expensive than just some sports equipment.

      From what I can tell charter schools mostly fall into two groups.  The first is the school that takes the unexceptional students with good behavior and gives them a chance to become slightly less unexceptional.  The schools appear to be cheaper because they do not provide the breadth of support services that a comprehensive school does, and appears to be more successful because they generally only teach the content. So, for instance, the bright kid who is a troublemaker and occasionally is high can be expelled instead of educated.  I know that may think such a kid should be expelled, which is why charter schools are so popular.  They only educate the pretty kids.

      The second class of schools is to shield kids from mainstream culture,  These are generally run by religious conservatives and are there for parents who have significant concern about public schools.  These concerns are often valid, dealing with a diverse group of people is always tough, but my question is if kids do not learn how to deal in school, when are they going to learn how to deal?  Or is ok to have large groups of people in the US believing that it is ok to discriminate.

  •  There was concern in FL about Education Comm... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dave in Northridge, Amber6541, quill

    And that the turn over under Rick Scott has been leading to lower quality candidates being interested in the position.

    And then we get this gem.

    Amazing that this guy is saying that these reports are unfounded.  Seems clear what was going on.  Voters in Indiana have recourse to vote out the Education Commissioner, and did so with this man.

    But here in Florida, we're not as fortunate.  We can vote for Agriculture Commissioner, but not Education.  No sir, that's an executive appointment. Feh.

  •  Because of those two IPS schools, he ordered (20+ / 0-)

    a takeover of IPS.  You wanna know who took them over?

    A private charter company of which HIS WIFE IS A MEMBER.

    "Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity." --M. L. King "You can't fix stupid" --Ron White -6.00, -5.18

    by zenbassoon on Fri Aug 02, 2013 at 02:49:26 PM PDT

  •  Can we skip the facade (5+ / 0-)

    and just give the best grade to the schools that donate the most to the Republican party?

    That would exclude all the public schools, but would ensure the future of donations to all Republicans.

    Republican tax policies have led to financial conditions which have caused Republicans to demand cuts to programs they have always opposed.

    by AppleP on Fri Aug 02, 2013 at 07:44:05 PM PDT

    •  In Ohio, they don't bother (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Amber6541, JBraden

      Grades schmades. If it's in academic emergency but it's run by for-profit charter operator David Brennan, one of the Ohio Republican Party's biggest donors, then it never closes. In fact, he not only gets to open more schools and continue to keep unauditable books, but very nearly was allowed to write the charter school oversight regulations for the legislature until — incredibly — our conservative state papers busted this scam.

      Ed FitzGerald for governor Of Ohio. Women's lives depend on it.

      by anastasia p on Sat Aug 03, 2013 at 10:17:02 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  and his wife got job at co. that took over Howe (9+ / 0-)

    Tony Bennett's wife now works at for-profit corporation he picked to run IPS schools

    And, so, the bottom line is this: Tina Bennett is now earning a paycheck from the company her husband hand-picked to take over schools in Indiana, a decision that was very good for the company’s financial fortunes.
  •  As you can see, there are very few degrees (9+ / 0-)

    of separation among all the Deformers. One state kicks one out...another state picks them up. Add in Michelle Rhee, Kevin Huffman, Jeb Bush, David Coleman and it's all like a bad dream. They're all ALEC cousins.

    But check this out from The Nation...Are Street Protests Next in the Fight Over Education Reform?

    If I had one wish, Republican men would have uteruses.

    by Desert Rose on Sat Aug 03, 2013 at 06:19:01 AM PDT

  •  that's modern "conservatism" for ya (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Matt Z

    do everything you can to benefit your big dollar donors.  Little folk? Fuck em.

  •  I think there's a silver lining here (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JBraden, drmah

    We knew that there was something going on with state departments of education supporting charter schools, but we couldn't put our fingers on it, could we. Now we know of at least one example of blatant corruption.

    How much of this is going on in YOUR state? I bet it's not so hard to find out with some digging.

    Seneca Falls, Selma, Stonewall

    by Dave in Northridge on Sat Aug 03, 2013 at 09:19:00 AM PDT

  •  charter schools (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    quill, JBraden

    Most here recognize the R desire to privatize education, to ostracize teachers, and to underfund education.  Few realize the original southern aim--get funding for Christian academies.  This is still a remnant of Brown v Bd of Education.

    Under capitalism, man exploits man. Under communism, it's just the opposite. John Kenneth Galbraith .

    by melvynny on Sat Aug 03, 2013 at 09:19:10 AM PDT

  •  The new truth is of course... (0+ / 0-)

    That the rules were never to be applied to charter schools because they were always too big to fail.

    ...wait, am I a little ahead of the narrative?  


    I don't blame Christians. I blame Stupid. Which sadly is a much more popular religion these days.

    by detroitmechworks on Sat Aug 03, 2013 at 09:35:06 AM PDT

  •  Signed the petition. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Two sons graduated from Howe in decades past.

    "Because inside every old person is a young person wondering what happened." -Terry Pratchett

    by revsue on Sat Aug 03, 2013 at 09:40:16 AM PDT

  •  the seamy underbelly of the Education industry /nt (0+ / 0-)

    Warning - some snark may be above‽ (-9.50; -7.03)‽ eState4Column5©2013 "I’m not the strapping young Muslim socialist that I used to be" - Barack Obama 04/27/2013

    by annieli on Sat Aug 03, 2013 at 09:45:31 AM PDT

  •  these people are criminals (0+ / 0-)

    in all their activities

    everything is designed to be gamed from inception - the intent to steal is baked into ALL the schemes - there is NO interest in Ed other then the draining of resources for personal gain

    these attempts to privatize everything are just lazy con folks actively searching for public cash streams to exploit

    I find (even on DK) a easy acceptance of
     the 'conventional wisdom' that scares me to no end

    things like Public Schools (a right to a level playing field) - available to ALL strata of society were INVENTED here - Public libraries, Public parks, Public transportation, Public service, etc. etc. are up for sale to the highest bidder

    and we yawn

    Stand up before its too late.

    by pnchad on Sat Aug 03, 2013 at 09:49:09 AM PDT

  •  None of this is surprising (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    417els, Amber6541, drmah

    Having worked for the state of Indiana during the Daniels administration this isn't at all surprising. Problems with FSSA, the Lottery, BMV, the Auditors office, INDOT, Department of corrections, yet nothing ever stuck to Daniels, we eventually began to refer to him as the Teflon governor. He even created an Inspector General position to "police" government corruption then appointed a yes man to the position. Amazingly every time there was an investigation in to his administration the Inspector General never found any wrong doing. Daniels appointed more than half of the Purdue trustees who hired him. Sorry for the rant, but this type of thing was the norm during the Daniels administration and he gets a 150K plus a year job to spread his extreme conservative views at a state university.

    •  Bennett's cover-ups for Charter Schools pale in (0+ / 0-)

      comparison to the damage he and Daniels did to Special Education students. Together they put education for the most vulnerable students in Indiana back at least a half a century.

  •  Another interesting development for Fla. GOP (0+ / 0-)

    Allied Veteran gaming company charity that only gave 2% to charity.  Did it make a $25000 campaign donation to Florida Attorney General?

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