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Charter school scandal brings down Fla. education director

Discussion in 'Sports and News' started by Dick Whitman, Aug 1, 2013.

  1. Dick Whitman

    Dick Whitman Well-Known Member

    This one has been brewing for a few days, and I'm surprised it hasn't gotten more attention. Essentially, some FOIA reporting this week by the Indianapolis AP revealed that former Indiana schools superintendent - it's an elected position in Indiana - Tony Bennett worked furiously behind the scenes to alter the letter grade from a C to an A for a prized donor's charter school.

    Bennett was defeated for re-election, but re-emerged in Florida. Today, he will resign:


    Beyond the corruption aspects of the story, just awesome, awesome work by the AP.

    I'm curious, in particular, to hear YF's take on this. The Indy Star's lead news columnist this week wrote a column in which he basically said he always supported Bennett's reform efforts, but he could not defend this, and neither should anybody else. There were some quotes from Bennett in the wake of it in which he said that he basically did it, and it was justified because he knew that this was a great school that deserved an A.

    The emails the AP uncovered were really, really damning.
  2. 93Devil

    93Devil Well-Known Member

    Great way to properly start a thread.

    Accountability is great, but you need to be strong enough to accurately publish results when you call for this accountability.

    Politics and private money in education is a very dangerous mix.
  3. LongTimeListener

    LongTimeListener Well-Known Member

    Charter schools are a cynical scam. There's one in Oakland that is in the throes of fraud as well. What they do exceeds only the worst schools in terms of performance.

    Flim-flam men getting their piece, all over the country.
  4. TheSportsPredictor

    TheSportsPredictor Well-Known Member

    Lamestream media too busy reporting on Benghazi to talk about this.
  5. playthrough

    playthrough Moderator Staff Member

    I wouldn't bunch all charter schools together -- some are quite good, and a huge blessing in areas where the public schools are all but unsalvageable. Sure, some are scams too.

    This was all about Bennett greasing a donor and revealing himself as a fraud. The whole thing about accountability in schools and school grades is a fine concept, but you can't marionette it behind the curtain, like Bennett was doing in Indiana and in Florida:

    (from AP)
    Bennett earlier this month pushed the Florida board that oversees education policy to adopt a “safety net” provision that prevented the grades of more than 500 schools from dropping more than one grade this year.

    That provision was adopted by a 4-3 vote amid much debate and criticism that the move would “mask” the true performance of schools. Bennett’s plan was even opposed by the education foundation set up by Bush. The grades released last week still showed a sharp drop in the number of A-rated schools and a jump in the number of F-rated ones.
  6. Bubbler

    Bubbler Active Member

    Few things give me more pleasure than to see this arrogant fraud get his.

    It says a lot about him that even though his ideas probably had statewide acceptance among Indiana's voters (not me mind you), he was such an epic cocksack in implementing them that he was voted out of office.

    Between this and ex-gov Mitch Daniels taking heat for trying to strong-arm universities into not using materials that didn't jive with his world view, its been a great month for Hoosier State schadenfraude.
  7. Shoeless Joe

    Shoeless Joe Active Member

    Here is the problem with the rating system in education: one size does not fit all, but politicians think education is an assembly line where every product that rolls off the end should be just alike.

    This is an analogy I regularly use: Let's say Phil Jackson is a teacher or a school. I am his student. He is given an arbitrary benchmark of getting me to dunk. I am 5-9 and 42 years old. No matter how much Jackson works, I'm not dunking. He may turn me into a can't-miss free throw shooter or get me hitting 99 percent of my layups, but that doesn't matter. Somewhere in an office building, a group of people who have never worked in basketball, met Phil Jackson, or me have determined what is success and what is failure. "Sorry Phil, you didn't meet what WE thought you should be able to make him do, so you clearly are failing as a coach."

    People aren't standard, but standardized testing is how politicians evaluate such things. Another thing that skews this is special education. At least in my state, let's say you have a student with a learning disability who comes to school every day and does the best of his abilities. At the end of four years he graduates with a special education diploma. Although he graduated by taking the types of classes that were required by law because he was SPED, it still counts against the graduation rate of the school because the student didn't receive a regular diploma. That's crap.
  8. The big charter school scandal in my heck of the woods is about over. The state revoked its charter with the founder facing tax charges and the school mixing funds with a church it was associated with.

    More than 400 students need to be accommodated in a district that has closed several schools in the past two years.
  9. 93Devil

    93Devil Well-Known Member

    Rating systems are a way for people to say that schools are failing. I guess they were not prepared to deal with one of their schools failing.
  10. Baron Scicluna

    Baron Scicluna Well-Known Member

    Whatever happened to that anyways?
  11. printit

    printit Member

    No sane standardized testing system would penalize the Phil Jackson in your analogy for that. Actuaries create tables for variables like the ones you are alluding to (number of parents in home, past performance of students, etc) and measure not if Phil Jackson gets you to dunk but if Phil Jackson got you to where you should be (or better) at dunking.
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