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The Edward Wong Hau Pepelu Tivrusky School is a notable exception

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos is a woman on a mission: She wants to make American public education worse while piling up big profits for people running private “alternatives,” because if somebody’s making a buck, then you know our children is learning. One of her favorite schemes for transferring education dollars from public schools to private hands is the virtual charter school, where kids can sit at home behind a keyboard and a monitor and get all the education they need without any indoctrination from Marxist teachers. Or, for that matter, without a hell of a lot of learning, either, according to a Politico story on the exciting vistas of online schools in Pennsylvania, where DeVos successfully got the state to shift tax dollars to cover students’ enrollment at “cyber charter schools,” as they’re called there. Also, could you please not make too much of a fuss over DeVos and her husband owning a chunk of one online educational outfit, K12 Inc.? They’re both already filthy rich, so that probably only amounts to pocket change.

Besides, says DeVos, such schools offer lots of opportunities that kids in rural areas just couldn’t get. In Pennsylvania, more than 30,000 K-12 students are enrolled in virtual charters, and among the opportunities they offer are a 48% graduation rate, which you’d almost never see in a brick-and-mortar school district. Even more impressive, not a single cyber charter school meets Pennsylvania’s “passing” standards. Many of the state’s virtual schools have lower performance in math and reading, according to state assessments of rural schools. But what they lack in achievement, they make up for in depriving students of the chance to interact with other kids their age. Politico notes that many cyber-students do take part in athletics and other activities at local schools, so they’re not altogether isolated; no word on whether they’re experimenting, like one under-funded Idaho district, with online P.E. classes.

Obviously, there are a few bugs to work out, so the best approach is to pull more kids out of government schools and send that money to the online versions.

Some students really do well with the online classes, especially if they’re self-motivated or have parents who can spend time supervising their learning and helping them with questions. Others, maybe not so much:

Success in these schools depends on a child’s ability — or a parent’s enforcement — to stay on task with no teacher in the room, researchers say […]

Pennsylvania school districts with less-educated parents appear more likely to send higher percentages of students to virtual charters, according to research by Bryan Mann, an education professor at the University of Alabama who studied virtual charters while at Penn State.

In some cases, Mann said, kids may have been bullied or had trouble learning in a regular school environment, but it can turn out that “the only other option they have is something that’s not right for them, either.” Yeah, but at least it’s popular with many parents, who are happy their money is going to a program they like, not to the godless secular schools.

Wouldn’t you know it, some of the biggest critics of the online schools are people running those failing public schools, which are for losers since they don’t bring any return on investment:

Amanda Hetrick, superintendent of the Forest Area School District in Tionesta, Pa., said too often the kids are unsuccessful in virtual charters.

“Then they come back to us, and they’ve lost a year because they are a year behind. They haven’t done well. They haven’t passed,” she said.

Hetrick said her district recently paid for one student to attend his senior year at a virtual charter school three times.

“It wasn’t a good choice for him,” she said […] “To be successful in online learning … you really have to be in a position where you have discipline or someone who is willing to sit with you and make sure you’re on task, similar to what teachers do, holding their attention on task in a classroom.”

Spoken like an advocate of government dependency. Since when was it adults’ job to ensure that kids have guidance and coaching as they learn, huh? Best to let them fail so they learn life is hard.

Just how shitty are a lot of these online charter schools? Bad enough that advocates for charter schools like the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools are calling for them to be fixed.

“If traditional public schools were producing such results, we would rightly be outraged,” the alliance said. “We should not feel any different just because these are charter schools.”

Oh, but there’s so much MONEY to be made! While the online charters are required to be nonprofits, says Politico,

many have ties to for-profit companies that aggressively push the schools’ interests. Two virtual school management companies alone, K12 Inc. and Connections Education, have spent $1.8 million to lobby Pennsylvania lawmakers since 2007, Ed Week reported last year.

Yes, that’s the same K12 Inc that DeVos has a stake in. No big that she didn’t list it on her federal disclosure forms, it’s probably not much income at all. Think of the children’s success instead, won’t you? Besides, even if there are some rough spots here and there, the virtual charters really are opening exciting opportunities for learning.

You want proof? Even in the most rural areas, high school kids know who Pepe the Frog is, and they want to Make America Great Again. A lot of them have even picked up foreign languages, or at least can complain about the Lügenpresse.

Yr Wonkette is supported by reader donations. Pleas CLICK HERE so we can educate YOU about all the horrors of life in the Trump era.

[Politico]

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  • PubOption

    Are we not grifters?

    • armed_bears

      We are Devos.

  • Toomush_Inferesistance

    IT’S THE DEVOLUTION…

  • PubOption
  • I have a passing familiarity with these sorts of virtual schools. Maybe not all of them were this bad, but a friend of mine who was laid off from a public school during the recession took a job at one for $12/hr ‘teaching’ a group of 200 students.

    Throw in some Jesus, teach the controversy bullshit, and an assignment to watch Fox News and you’ve got a Republican’s wet dream of ‘public’ education.

    • BoatOfVelociraptors

      That’s the rub. Jesus is probably the best part of an Abrahamic education. The dude seriously almost cut his son’s throat after running out of sheep, heard voices in the mountains, and chopped up penises.

  • bubbuhh

    It is a bitter, bitter comfort that I know I did not vote for this; and, worked hard to convince others to vote against Trumpazz if they could not see their way to voting for HRC.

    So much work will have to be done just to put the country back together at the 2016 level after these vandals are finally thrown out of office.

  • WotsAllThisThen

    As soon as they offer online P.E. classes I’m trying out for the virtual track team.

    https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/9/97/Decathlon_C64.gif

    • Skwerl the Nazi Puncher

      God I need a cheeseburger after seeing all that exercise.

      Wait a second, them’s those European metric system in use there!

    • Arolpin

      Does it come with a pocket comb so that you can set it up as a lever over your knuckles and get two taps for every one physical tap?

  • Skwerl the Nazi Puncher

    I’ve heard they’ve teachers been using that “Pedagogy” on them white children to turn them all into swamp brained monsters!

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/d838f0889577be70c63a0b633c06483689a82e2ff7492d258ba396b878a811cd.jpg

    • Nockular cavity

      Holy fuck that guy’s demented.

      • Natalie Au Natural Hedonist

        Yeah, I mean a swamp of gender fluids?

    • Natalie Au Natural Hedonist

      I wish one of the pink pierced ‘gators would eat Ole ben, with votes of course.

  • Michael Smith

    Well, one of the main steps in MAGA is keeping rural whites uneducated and poor.

    • BoatOfVelociraptors

      And they like it.

      • OutOfOrbit

        ignorance [is] blissful

      • Michael Smith

        Well after a certain age, you need to either decide to be ashamed of your ignorance and try to change it, or spin the argument so that being educated is actually the REAL ignorance.

  • Spotts1701, Nothingburger Chef

    A few years back when I worked in a more rural District, we had a big to-do about one of the local “virtual charter” schools. 38 kids came back to the District’s schools after the school closed its doors. Out of those 38 students, they had earned a total of 3 credits. All were severely credit-deficient and in serious danger of not graduating.

  • BoatOfVelociraptors

    I literally teach myself languages all the time. But I’m a freak. Not normal in any sense. I learned R in rehab after hacking their network. In high school I earned twice the credits needed to graduate.

    School is a valuable thing, if only for human relations.

    The idea of self education remotely only works with edge cases.

  • Cousin Itt un Mondialiste

    Going to a virtual charter sounds a lot like fucking a blow up doll.

  • Resistance Fighter Callyson

    Suddenly, I understand why my home state was taken in by Donald’s crap last year…

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/0a3a03bc2b7849bc8903a5b3ba6e03aedce735ca9565221fc3168b1a92d29837.jpg

  • Resistance Fighter Callyson

    one under-funded Idaho district, with online P.E. classes

    So the classes are glorified exercise videos. Good to know!

    /FFS

  • Bebecca

    She’s just doing her master’s bidding, remember he loves the poorly educated. OMFG, how did someone like that get elected?

    • OutOfOrbit

      that average voter is a meathead

      • therblig

        too many below average voters

  • jesterpunk

    We don’t need no education…

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rXCUO2SGTHY

  • tihond

    Without virtual charters, how will our nation develop its e-sports stars?

  • Oblios_Cap

    DeVos needs to be one of the first ones up against the wall.

    • tihond

      If a wall isn’t available, one of her yachts might work in a pinch.

    • Creepoman

      Build the dang wall!

  • Indiepalin

    I was once caught smoking dope in the virtual boys room.

    • mailman27

      That virtual dope won’t even give you a buzz.

    • Daniel

      Bot for teacher.

      • armed_bears

        Very very good. Excellent, in fact.

      • Button

        Booooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!

      • Button

        @disqus_RlxPzMtsi0:disqus I saw you make that upvote. Go to bed.

        • Daniel

          Night Button.

      • Nigel R. Toppinglift, III

        Sit Down, Waldo

  • SomeBigRedDog

    I get that online schools probably aren’t the best but I can only think that if that had been an option for me in high school I would have loved it. Being able to work at my own pace and not have to deal with all the bullshit redneck kids I grew up with? I would have probably graduated by the age of 16 or something.

    I grew up in a small town with a delinquent older brother. Half of my teachers hated me just because of what my last name was. I had to constantly prove myself academically because I was just assumed to be a loud mouth idiot with impulse control just like him. I would have taken online classes in a heartbeat if they had been around. Did I really learn algebra any better by having a grouchy old man who should have retired years ago hurling erasers at my head when I made a mistake?

    • BoatOfVelociraptors

      Ehhh.. That’s a code review for you.

    • Gigglesnort

      Many online schools are not actually “work at your own pace.” They have a schedule and deadlines just like your regular school, so kids earn credits (theoretically) at the same rate. But some kids need more flexibility than that.

  • Anna Elizabeth

    Upfist for Cowgirl Ed, YAYS! :D

    • Lance Thrustwell

      Cowgirl Ed?

    • TheGrandWazoo2

      Reverse Cowgirl Ed. even better.

      • Anna Elizabeth

        xD Do you have a newsletter or pamphlet to which I could subscribe?

  • Scooby

    Not to mention the fact that they miss out on the socialization and comradary a school provides.

    • Three Finger Salute

      I could do without that. Nothing but bullies who hated the well-educated. School was run by a husband-and-wife football pair — principal was the cheer coach and district superintendent the football coach. They actually stopped publishing the honor roll because it made targets of the kids who were on the “enemies list.” My education was scattershot. Promoted ahead a year, but then left early due to the nonstop torment, got my equivalency and went to college almost entirely online. I haven’t really had contact with people since maybe junior high school. I don’t miss it either. I just wish I could get a decent-paying job without it.

  • janecita

    Standardized, GOOD, education should be the law in this country. My kids are lucky, we live in a blue ribbon district, but my best friend lives in a no so good school district in the same state (NJ). While my kids are thriving, hers are struggling, while my kids are in small classes, the classrooms at her kids’ schools are overflowing. While my kids have access to all sorts of extracurricular activities, hers don’t. It bothers me, that in a country as rich as this one, a good education seems so hard to obtain.

    • Alan

      But bootstraps. Seriously though, at the University of Michigan, probably 3/4 of the in-state students come from maybe a dozen of the several hundred school districts in the state because those students are always prepared. The rest not so much. The lost opportunity for those kids, mostly victims of circumstance, is immeasurable.

    • PubOption

      But standardized education would have to have common core material for each subject. We can’t have socializms.

  • William
  • Lance Thrustwell

    I think I’m turning Republican. As soon as I read about those for-profit school managment companies, I thought, “but are they publicly traded?”

  • jesterpunk

    One thing I saw on “Adam Ruins everything” was that China is beating the US because their schools actually prepare people to enter the workforce and they provide government paid training. But we go the opposite direction and cut education funding as much as possible then wonder why jobs move to other countries with better educated workforces or why companies want visas for qualified employees.

    • WotsAllThisThen

      Yeah but how’s their football team? We have to remember what’s important here.

      • jesterpunk

        They didnt score 4 touchdowns in a single game and didnt make the school a lot of money. SAD!!!

      • Creepoman

        I bet they all stand for the anthem, too.

    • Dr. Rrrrrobotnik

      Over time, I’ve become less and less convinced that the liberal arts education fosters anything other than an across-the-board Dunning-Kruger effect. Why did I walk out of a first-rate high school not knowing how to do my taxes? How to vote? What social security, medicare, or welfare were? And why, in place of those things, did I know trigonometry, which I have since forgotten due to complete lack of use?

      • jesterpunk

        It depends on the school and teachers too, we learned all of those things in school in history and business classes when I was in high school. But then again the high school I went to was one of the best in the state at the time. With the republican tax cuts its gotten worse so I don’t know if they still teach those things or not.

      • Alan

        Math libel.

        • ahughes798

          Math is evil and should be curb-stomped.

          • Alan

            You had bad math teachers.

          • ahughes798

            I did. My brain completely locks up when confronted with basic algebra problems, which is why I’ll never have a 4 year degree. But really, unless you go into the sciences, how useful is calculus to one’s everyday life?

          • Alan

            Not sure how to answer that. I never hear anyone ask how useful is poetry if you’re not studying English or how useful is learning a foreign language if you don’t plan to travel. Yet they do it with math all the time. It is the common language of just about everything and there is amazing artistic beauty in math just for the sake of math. It teaches logic and critical thinking skills. Calculus has far reaching applications in the physical sciences, engineering, biology, economics, finance, statistics, political science, philosophy, and policy. Also it is just darn fun. Not that it should interest everyone, just that asking what it is useful for is the wrong question to ask

          • ahughes798

            When I went to my local CC, I had a very good math teacher. It was a basic college math course. I then took algebra I, just to see if I could do it. I couldn’t do it. I got an F. I went to all the tutoring that was offered(by the same good math teacher), and checked out Algebra for Dummies from the library. It’s totally a mental thing with me, because I’m not dumb. I felt extremely proud of myself when I got a problem right during the tutoring. But in order to be able to do Algebra on my own, I needed an epiphany, and was right on edge of one, but it never happened.

      • Three Finger Salute

        At least you learned math. My school we had social promotion and teach-to-the-test. Everything was graded on a curve, so if you got what basically would have been a D in algebra, you couldn’t go home with much lower than a C- otherwise you lose that sweet, sweet Bush-era NCLB funding. I ended up going on and getting a hair’s breadth shy of a 4.0 for my B.A., but I took no math or computing classes beyond what was required for the gen-eds. Scholarship monies were tied to GPA, so, all I really did was go where my strengths were — term-paper classes — and as a result, learned zero real-world practical skills that would ready me for the modern workforce. I can’t program worth a shit and to this day I even forget my times tables. I am so far behind it’s like I’m, I don’t want to use the “R” word because it’s taboo here, but it’s almost like the left half of my brain doesn’t exist. I’m all about words and books and ideas. I don’t know how to “systemize.”

        Nobody even taught me how to interview for a job, and the career center was no help either. They actually ended up giving the liberal arts students the bum’s rush because “we don’t know where or how to place them.” The same was true of career fairs. No history majors need apply. Only business and IT students applying to banks and tech firms. This is no country for local book people. Today I’m unemployed, and probably will be for the remainder of my life, but at least I can tell you what the Romans ever gave to us anyway.

      • hudson

        I agree that stuff like taxes, savings, insurance etc should be taught as part of basic well rounded education. And so should trigonometry. Some of the earliest math discovered was trig. When taught propermy it’s a great way to learn logical deduction

  • Dr. Rrrrrobotnik

    Not to quibble, but this problem goes a lot deeper than just Betsy DeVos, and almost everyone comes in for a bit of blame. Public school funding has been tied since basically forever to property taxes, but only in the last half-century did we actually become mobile enough to start choosing school districts and where to live based almost solely on the quality of school.

    But it wouldn’t be a truly American problem without race becoming involved. White flight in the 1950’s, combined with white parents recoiling from desegregation, fueled the self-segregation into richer public schools or simply private schools. The flight of property taxes, and thus funding, turned our public schools into the ridiculously unequal and borderline segregated form they are today. Conservatives actively encouraged it, and not a few white liberals did so quietly, since it would be their kids who benefitted.

    And so public schools became a byword for minorities and poor education, as well as a convenient strawman against which the private and charter school system could pit themselves. And has led us to this. We’ve had the opportunity to change the property-based system before, many times, but we didn’t, because people with money and their kids benefitted.

    • DesertedPictures

      States, or perhaps the federal government, should take over full funding for all schools. It only takes some small income tax-increases. And you can do away with property taxes….

      Better education leads to more tax income in the future anyway.

    • Lance Thrustwell

      No question, DR. The main problem being, of course, that this seems to be anything but a sincere effort to acknowledge that historical pattern and correct the problem.

    • Toomush_Inferesistance

      Oh, hell – there’s way more blame to throw around. As somebody who endured some Education Department classes back in the seventies, it was already appalling how awful both the training and the trainers were, at any local university. We know, today, how to teach, and how to teach well. But, between the purveyors of crappy educational products, and the crappy administrations who buy them, hire and fire, and the crappy school boards who just have no clue, we’ll never teach well again….

    • Spotts1701, Nothingburger Chef

      And when they aren’t divided along racial lines, there is disparity between “rich” schools and “poor” ones. It says something when a significant chunk of Title IX enforcement deals with how to prevent schools with better parental resources from creating headaches for school Districts in terms of equity.

    • doktorzoom

      Bingo!

    • Thiazin Red

      Its also insane that we allow people to vote on whether schools will get the money they need to operate.

    • Rags

      It’s racism all the way down.

    • Resistance Ftr PuckStopsHere

      Look, I agree with everything you say, but you have GOT to find a way to say it while working in a few more words like “shit” and “goddamn” and “fuck these guys” for readability.

  • FDRliberal

    The United States is in profound crisis, without a doubt, being run by a deeply disturbed madman, it’s vulnerabilities and weaknesses exposed. Since Congress won’t do it’s duty, Trump and his gang will continue to destroy the US and weaken it every day.

    https://twitter.com/ShaunKing/status/917242074809978880

  • Anna Elizabeth

    OT – I just finished the 1964 film Fail-Safe again. The scariest movie I know of.

    “Katie…the dream…the Matador…it’s me. Me. Me.”

    I’m in tears. 53 years later, and we still live on the brink of destruction, driven by madmen and machines.

    • LiberalANDProud

      Go to the virtual bar and have a virtual drink. You’ll feel virtual better.

      • therblig

        are you virtual signaling?

  • LiberalANDProud

    Ahhhh, the blossoming of youth, the anticipation, the exhilaration of your first virtual handjob.

  • Joe Beese

    Damon’s got some splainin’ to do!

    Though the New York Times has been widely celebrated for its article exposing decades of sexual-harassment accusations against Harvey Weinstein, one journalist claims the paper sat on an earlier article detailing the producer’s misconduct. Sharon Waxman, founder of the Wrap, writes that her own investigate reporting, which took her on an international trip to uncover rumors of Weinstein’s sexual misconduct, was cut from the Times in 2004 under pressure from several Hollywood elites. Waxman alleges in the Wrap that Matt Damon and Russell Crowe called her “directly” to dispel the reports she was following about Miramax’s Italian head Fabrizio Lombardo, who was allegedly hired “to take care of Weinstein’s women needs.” She says that because of their influence, and interference from Weinstein, whose company was a big advertiser in the Times, the article was edited to remove the more salacious details.

    https://www.thecut.com/2017/10/damon-crowe-reportedly-helped-kill-nyt-weinstein-article.html

    • WotsAllThisThen

      How could Meryl Streep let him do that??? For shame…

    • Three Finger Salute

      Ugh. Shame on you Mmmmmmatt Daaaaamon. You too, Gladiator.

    • Creepoman

      Judging by the current qualifications, it looks like Weinstein might have a future in the White House.

  • WotsAllThisThen

    Why it almost seems one could make more money from an online charter school that is a flop, than one that is successful.

    https://static.rogerebert.com/uploads/review/primary_image/reviews/great-movie-the-producers-1968/hero_EB20000723REVIEWS087230301AR.jpg

    • Joe Beese

      As Pauline Kael wrote in her review of that movie, Mostel was a stage actor who did not scale down his effects for the movie camera.

  • Monsieur_Grumpe

    This lady has no clue about what a public school needs. She grew up rich and went to private schools all her life. I thought the wing nuts eschewed the elites.

    • OrG

      Nope.They’re lying.

      • ahughes798

        They love the elites. They all think they’re going to be there, someday.

  • Gayer Than Thou

    Does watching college wrestlers satisfy my online P.E. requirement?

    • Anna Elizabeth

      For one of your arms it does, anyway.

      • OrG

        Both if you’re ambidextrous!

        • thixotropic jerk

          Just avoid catching any online herpes gladiatorum and you’ll pass with flying colors!

    • LiberalANDProud

      Gladiator movies for extra credit.

    • Khavrinen

      I dunno, do you feel satisfied?

  • TheGrandWazoo2

    Somehow I don’t think this opening up of the US Treasury to private enterprise is going to work out for most of us.

    • WotsAllThisThen

      Yeah but Mnuchin and his wife get to fuck on a pile of gold in Fort Knox.

      • thixotropic jerk

        Ewwww! “Have you at long last no sense of decency Wots???”

  • Bub, the cynical zombie

    This is what home schooling does for people:
    https://twitter.com/KrangTNelson/status/916426658617454592

    • Dr. Rrrrrobotnik

      What the fuck do they actually think they’re trying to prove? Because all of those things were done by Democratic *conservatives*. Hell, read the Confederate Constitution, it’s the modern-day GOP’s goddam wishlist.

      It’s like they just spew bullshit out of their mouths just to exhaust us into not talking anymore. They aren’t even interested in the words making sense.

      • TJ Barke

        Gish gallop.

  • ManchuCandidate

    Waiting for the inevitable Porn Hub High where the on line three B’s are
    ‘bullshit, ‘burnin’ tax payer money and ‘bating.

  • OrG

    These people are hell-bent on ruining anything good about this country.

    • GoutMachine

      And they’re pretty masterful at it. We’ve been on such a race to the bottom …

      • Three Finger Salute

        #ThanksReagan

  • Mr. Blobfish

    I want to know what her angle is. How does she profit from all this? Is she getting paid now or is she setting herself up for future grifting?

    • Creepoman

      d.) All of the above

    • House0fTheBlueLights

      I want to know this about any billionaire who wants a government position. The kickbacks must be incredible because why the hell else would they do this?

    • She owns interests in online charter schools, as the article notes.

      She’s literally writing herself government checks.

      Come the Revolution…

  • Three Finger Salute

    Betsy Wetsy got chased out of Ontario recently. Good. You don’t mess with teachers, let alone Canadian teachers. They may seem all nice and friendly and polite and cuddly like Ewoks at first, but denigrate or otherwise mess with their profession, and you’ll be sorry.

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/58d1910ce35f31115ef60db68217550a0b1246b3ad4167ec530af36854587e69.gif

    Yup, is OK to chase away ferrin hosers trying to start the War of Southern Aggression. The boss said so.

  • TheGrandWazoo2

    If you think it’s bad in this country now, just think how bad it will be when the generation starting school right now is brought up on right wing propaganda posing as education is supporting/controlling the narrative.

    • House0fTheBlueLights

      We’re already there. What do you think the explanation is for the Freedom Caucus and red state legislatures, not to mention judges who got their law degrees at Liberty U.

      • mfp, all 6s&7s&9s

        aka ‘reagan babies’

  • TJ Barke

    Most corrupt admin ever.

  • mailman27

    OT: Jerry Jones the execrable excuse for a sportsball owner has announced (undoubtedly w/out talking to the coaching staff) that he will bench any player who takes a knee. I am BEGGING Zeke Elliott & Dak Prescott & Dez Bryant to take a knee. Your move, Jerry.

    • PubOption

      I used to live in Irving,Texas. Jerry wanted the city to opt out of the DART transit system, and give him the tax money levied for transit, so that he could build a new stadium. The proposition was defeated in a referendum and so Jerry moved to Arlington, which wasn’t part of the DART system, while Irving got much-improved public transit. I have hated Jerry Jones ever since.

  • Khavrinen

    ‘Virtual charters,’ you say? And ‘DeVos has investments in them,’ you say?

    Yet another instance where “It’s Just a Coincidence” seems like a much more appropriate slogan for the Trump administration than “Make America Grate Again”.

  • DirtyHippyLiberal

    So many questions…How does this even work for pre-literate kids? Like, up to 2nd or 3rd grade where most are able to read sort of reliably?

    Up until around 5th grade, at least, children cannot stay home all day and “school” themselves while mom and dad are working. What about those kids?

    Kids need to learn and often it is a good relationship with a teacher that motivates them to learn. This is gross and stupid, much like DeVos herself.

    • Rocket Pony Ron

      It was one of my teachers who took the trouble to get me to the library and get me my first library card. Had it been up to my ‘parents’ I might not have got one until I was a teenager – and able to ride my bike there myself.

  • House0fTheBlueLights

    While the online charters are required to be nonprofits…“many have ties to for-profit companies that aggressively push the
    schools’ interests”

    I call this the “Woolly Pockets Business Model.” Woolly Pockets is a for-profit company that makes these vertical garden systems for schools (vertical gardens, by the way, are bullshit when not done at an industrial level). They got a patent, formed the company, and then created a “foundation” which raises money as a 501-c-3, and then gives “grants” to schools to buy, you guessed it, Woolly Pockets.

    It’s fucking brilliant.

    • h4rr4r

      How are vertical gardens at small scale bullshit? Are they not a good example? Do they not work as well?

      Serious questions. All I know about anything similar is having netting hanging in front of some windows and cucumbers climbing it.

      • ahughes798

        They can be successful, but they’re best used for lettuces, and maybe short carrots, and radishes. You’re probably not going to be able to feed your family with the results, but I’ve had good luck with lettuces and greens.

      • House0fTheBlueLights

        What woolly pockets and other vertical systems do is put the actual planting substrate on a wall–tipping the garden sideways so to speak. They’re really hard to maintain if you don’t have an automatic watering system. You have to keep replacing or replenishing the soil (like constantly), or rely on fertilizer. They can work, but you have to be really really committed. For that level of effort it’s better to go hydroponic. (I’ve done a lot of teaching on household-scale agriculture). I guess it’s fun for kids, but I don’t see how it teaches them anything.

        The type of vertical growing you’re talking about–using structures to encourage plants up instead of out–is different, because the plants are rooted in natural soil (or the equivalent in a raised bed or large pot). This is more a space-saving or aesthetic choice.

        • h4rr4r

          Thanks!

          I was not aware there was a difference. I over winter some plants inside and am looking into hydroponics for fun. One of my coworkers is strongly suggesting aeroponics.

          • House0fTheBlueLights

            There are some really interesting non-manufactured ways to do hydroponics as well (i.e. cobbling together low-tech items). Although those tower things are pretty cool. Also, if you’re ever flying through Chi, there’s a large hydroponic garden at O’Hare Airport where they actually grow the lettuce–they harvest it I can’t remember who for, but it’s a legit farm.)

  • therblig

    but long term, how does an undereducated, unskilled work force make money for these motherfuckers? all the jobs will be moved overseas and all that’s left will be an angry rabble that will eventually turn on them. and many, if not most of them, will have guns.

    • SeekingCovfefeBarbie

      That’s why they need to take their healthcare, food stamps, housing and Medicaid away from them. They’ll either die or be too weak and sick to do anything about it. The ones left over will go to private prisons and be hired out as slave labor.

    • An uneducated work force does not complain does not rally believes what they are told does not unionize doesnt seek workers rights…shall i go on?

      • Boscoe

        No, they just eventually turn into angry mobs and revolt. But it doesn’t surprise me that republicans wouldn’t have learned that lesson from history.

    • natoslug

      Easy-peasy: Once enough of the workforce is unskilled and undereducated, wage laws can be changed, and the jobs can move back.

      • Rocket Pony Ron

        ‘Grandpa, tell us again how people used to make $7.45 an hour? It must have been Paradise!’

  • Anna Rompage

    Seeing that I just had a very lengthy argument with an old classmate that is highly educated, who was trying to say “black athletes shouldn’t protest the anthem & racism, because there’s black on black crime”, I’m not sure anything will save this country at this point….

    • thixotropic jerk

      You can always ‘splain to them that that “black on black crime” trope is complete BS: “what about white on white crime, hennggghh?” Because people tend to crime on people they live near, racial statistics about who crimes who is a very red and dumb herring: “While it is true that the overwhelming number of black people who are murdered in the United States are killed by other black people, it’s also true, according to the FBI’s 2014 Uniform Crime Reports, that about 82% of white American homicide victims were killed by other white people.”
      Got that from a CNN article (I know I know PHAKE NOOSE!!!)

      • Bitter Scribe

        If one of their relatives were injured or killed unjustly by a policeman, I doubt they’d be mollified by “but criminals kill people all the time.”

    • Boscoe

      What does “black on black crime” even have to do with systemic racism and police murdering unarmed black men and getting away with it?

      • Anna Rompage

        exactly…

    • natoslug

      Truncheons. Truncheons will save this country at this point. Lots and lots of truncheons. It doesn’t hurt that it’s a fun word to say, either.

      • Sakonyachen

        I prefer GULAG!!!, but truncheon is a good word too.

  • Debra Dassow

    Virtual Varsity Basketball?

  • Ducksworthy

    Republican policies are all based on the principle explained by the old gangster in Godfather I. Whereever there is public money flowing, you gotta let the gangsters “wet their beaks”.

  • chascates

    I’m surprised she hasn’t tried to lower the age you can leave school to 12 or so. What these people want is a return to feudalism.

    • thixotropic jerk

      “We’ve come for your liver! brains!”

    • phoenix00

      Leaving school would not be profitable!

  • Carpe Vagenda

    and speaking of the unspeakable Michigan GOP (I am not soiling the open thread with this filth)

    https://twitter.com/Eclectablog/status/917377646086053888

    • Parakeetist

      WTF WTF

  • leemoder

    Dammit, Dok. Now I gotta break out the Cowboy Bebop dvds.

  • Big Puppy Resists

    I am honestly flabbergasted that we, as a nation, have lost our support for public education. Education was always the way up for whoever took advantage of it. I haz a serious, serious sad.

    • Jonny On Maui

      When stupidity and willful ignorance are rewarded…

      • thixotropic jerk

        …And an Orange Weasel that loves itself very much…

    • Cat Cafe

      We haven’t really. This is the result of a decades-long campaign, skillfully and deviously fought, by the far-right wing. A stupid population is one that can be made to vote against its own interests, can be easily misinformed. They have an active interest in demonizing public education, in brutally defunding public education (this has been going on since Reagan was Governor of CA–in fact it was essentially one of his marching orders), and now, demonizing the idea of being educated, and certainly demonizing teachers. It’s horrifying. You can’t have a successful country with a stupid, sickly, ill-informed, uneducated citizenry. They know this and they don’t care. But too many people sit silently by, as they destroy us from within.

      • Up In Smoke O’hontas

        You nailed it up top. Also note that lacking science based sex ed and a proliferating “culture of life” (vomit) yields many uneducated young parents who are trapped in a cycle of poverty in order to make sure basic needs are met (kind of). Which ensures a heavily stressed, angry, and politically distracted population who don’t have the luxury of asking questions. This shit is a feature, not a bug.

      • NellCote71

        I totally agree with everything you wrote. And although I respect those advocating that we start at the grassroots to vote in progressives at the school and local level, that ship has sailed. The conservatives and evangelicals saw that opportunity in the ’80s during Saint Ronald’s reign. And now we see the results.

      • Bitter Scribe

        And don’t forget the completely selfish side of it: “Why should I pay to educate someone else’s brats?”

        • Rocket Pony Ron

          Gods, I hated having to deal with the cottage owners Up North. They complained ENDLESSLY about their property taxes, mostly because there were school taxes included. ‘Why should I pay school taxes in two places?’ they’d whine. Oh, I dunno, you bought (or inherited) a piece of property worth a couple of MILLION dollars. You use our roads and docks and such. A couple of hundred dollars a year probably isn’t gonna break the bank. If you’re unhappy feel free to sell it to someone else.

        • Cat Cafe

          Ah yes, the tired nonsense from people using an electrical grid, cell phone network, roads, bridges, safe food, safe meds, safe airways, etc etc all paid for BY SOMEONE ELSE

          • Sakonyachen

            Especially since they miss the fact that vouchers for private schools come from government money. I pointed this out to my anti-gummit dad and he decided he doesn’t like charter schools. For a conservative, he’s dangerously attached to critical thinking. He just needs a little help now and then.

          • Remember when Obama tried to make that point? Good times, good times.

      • Sunhead

        Idiocracy is not a documentary… yet.
        The GOP wants a population of ignorant serfs to serve them and service their mansions. Like the Feudal lords of old.
        Mostly the political class wants a population that is easy to lie to and not prone to remembering what they said last week, let alone last year. One that is not prone to critical thinking and asking questions more complicated then ‘Where do I go to buy more beer.”
        Australia, the USA and the UK have spent decades demonising teachers as failures. Everyone has heard something like, “Those that can do, those that can’t Teach” and endless complaints about holidays and working hours of Teachers. Education is something that is not encouraged or held in high regard it is elite and elitist. It is seen as a cost centre not a profit centre. An expensive indulgence not essential to a Democracy.
        It is an essentially Socialist view that every child deserves to have the same opportunities to excel and contribute to society. It is the antithesis of the Calvinism.

        • Sakonyachen

          It’s already having the desired effect in my district. We are the “premier district”(don’t ask me what that means, I don’t see it) in Illinois, and yet we can’t staff our kitchens because we don’t offer the same wage as Walmart and the local McDonald’s, soon to be Target as well.

          The bored housewife and retired grandmas that look to make some easy cash see an overworked, bitter bunch of hags and they don’t stay long. It’s not because they’re awful people, it’s because they work understaffed indefinitely and make a shit wage. All to keep our classroom size down. Our custodians are leaving for Amazon. We have some of the highest property taxes per district in the state. We can’t pay our workers, and they move teachers around like they’re playing timed chess to get rid of them before tenure or to push the elder teachers onto IMRF and off their budget.

          The district is going downhill to the point that my wife thinks the positive if her daughter decides to go live with her dad at 14 is she’d get a better education. The district was why we moved here. I own a house in the next county where I would make more money if I had the same job. I have to rent it out so we can live here. But we get nothing that resembles a better education than I could give her homeschooling.

  • Jonny On Maui

    If we, as liberals, do one thing next election, it should be to take over and control every school board in the country.

    • Wookie Monster

      We need to take control of all the state governments as well.

      In Pennsylvania, while the charters fro the brick and mortar cyber charter schools are issue by the local school boards, the charters for cyber schools are issued by the State Department of Education.

      • Jonny On Maui

        From the bottom to the top…

    • Cat Cafe

      But how? We had a candidate for the LAUSD board this past municipal election who was heavily funded by Betsy deVos-supporting ultra-wealthy backers who also had money in charter schools. They spent literally millions on a vicious, horrendous, ugly smear campaign, blaming the teacher he was running against for literally everything, linking him to terrorism, accusing him of the the worst shit, and sent out huge glossy flyers, sometimes three a day. MILLIONS. I did everything I could, everywhere I could, to speak up against it (even writing to the candidate himself to ask how he could be okay with this). Voter turnout? 11%. In L.A.! Where you can vote by mail! Oh, and he won. He’s on the board now. ELEVEN FUCKING PERCENT. What we absolutely have to do is get everyone else to get off their fat asses and fucking VOTE.

  • Wookie Monster

    About three years ago, I did a research project on science standards in Pennsylvania’s cyber charter schools. So, trust me when I say they’re just as shitty at teaching science as they are reading and math.

    • Wookie Monster

      Success in these schools depends on a child’s ability — or a parent’s
      enforcement — to stay on task with no teacher in the room, researchers
      say.

      This, BTW, was the conclusion of my research as well. If the parents aren’t there to make sure the kids are actually working online, they won’t learn squat.

      • thixotropic jerk

        SHOCKERNOTSHOCKER!!!

  • Arolpin

    You know, I bet if we wanted to, we could make good charter schools, and probably even good online charter schools. We can’t do it for anywhere near the cost per student as traditional public schools, which indicates that maybe the problem isn’t the efficiency of the public schools, but the FUCKING FUNDING.
    Full disclosure: My sister works for K12, as a statistician. She started as a high school math teacher (after teaching in regular schools, then doing alternate schools and on-line classes through the school district). She said it was great for most of her students (actors, a junior NASCAR driver, kids with medical problems that prevented regular school attendance), but kids who weren’t motivated did NOT do well with this program. I personally would have loved something like that, and probably would have gone to college at 16 had it been offered when I lived in the middle of nowhere. (My sister’s supervisor is someone she went to 2nd grade with, still lives in the same very rural area, and also would have done very well with K12.)

  • Viktor

    Online charter school, heck online any school would have been my dream as a teen in the 80’s. Roll out of bed around 12 pm, smoke a bong hit. Go back to bed, wake up at 12:35, smoke a bong hit, throw on a punk lp, do another bong. Toaster oven up some pizza, crank on the computer, play some video games and AIM some girls. Do a bong hit, eat some pizza, etc.. Sign on to school around 3:45 pm. Clock out at 4 pm and go out to drink beer with friends in the park. Then graduate with a virtual diploma. SUCCESS

    • Up In Smoke O’hontas

      That sounds a lot like the alternative high school I attended. 1 to 4 pm, 20 minute hacky sack and smoke breaks every hour, plus I got credit for my hours working at the local “novelty” shop. Somehow I still learned enough to ace the GED exam, go onto college and post grad with high honors.
      Heh, heh, heh, I said “high” honors.

      • Viktor

        Omg me too. My senior year I moved to Cali and attended one, school hours 8-12. and if you were on time mon – thurs, Friday off! School credit included doing PE at home, which was just writing I did jumping jacks down on paper. I did get a real Cali HS diploma, which I showed off to the naysayers and told them to shove it.

        • Up In Smoke O’hontas

          Ha! To be a teen again. I just told everyone, “yeah, well, like high school doesn’t matter, man. Just wait and see what I can do in college.” Of course, being a snotty little shit, I made good on my word and delivered the speech at convocation the year after I graduated with 4.0 GPA written on my best tshirt.

      • Vagenda and Pee-ara

        If only I’d known such a school existed.

        I can’t complain too much though, since in the 1970s, New York suburban school I attended, pretty much everyone, including the teachers, was high.

      • LeighBowery’sLuxuryComedy

        Yep, I went to one of those too. We also had student-run classes.. had to be ‘underwritten’ by a Real Teacher, but allowed us to share knowledge & interests w fellow students. Which is how I got turned on to things like science fiction, underground comix, technical theater, and Hunter S Thompson. Also psychedelics, but hey.

  • HazooToo

    Motivation is exactly the reason I thank God for public school teachers. I think I’m doing great with the kid’s emotional health and encouraging him to love learning, and I meet with his teachers and Principal fairly regularly throughout the year to keep an eye on his behavioral goals. [/endbrag]. But no way in hell would I be able to keep him on task all day long on virtual classes. I can barely even goad him through homework time. He NEEDS an attentive teacher who can tell the difference between a distracted child and a dull-witted one. There’s a reason they went to school for years to learn how to teach, and it’s not because 3rd grade science is hard. Kids are.

    • georgiaburning

      My 6th grade teacher, Mrs L., was a master at that.

    • Bill Diaz

      Teaching is the most underpaid and under appreciated profession there is. Any moron thinks they can teach and they are shocked to learn that people with a 4 year degree and half a dozen certifications demand being paid more than $30k a year.

      I love teaching, but would never do it again except under my own terms. If charter schools were run by teachers to make schools more effective rather than crooks who want to steal money, they might work.

      Have a great day!

  • willi0000000

    Dok, it’s: Edward Wong Hau Pepelu Tivrusky IV

    • doktorzoom

      You know that, I know that. But the focus groups thought the Roman numeral might scare off parents whose kids hadn’t attended the first three Edward Wong Hau Pepelu Tivrusky Schools.

  • JohnBull

    Learning different languages? I call bull. The reason bilingual education was banned in California for so long is that big business didn’t want tens of millions of bilingual kids communicating with the entire western hemisphere and demanding jobs and wages fitting of their skills. Lots easier to bully a guy to work $7.25 an hour at Walgreens if he’s barely speaking English.

  • willi0000000

    OK, that’s it . . . you all know people who say “i won’t raise kids in an environment like this!” . . . guess what . . . we’re getting killed in elections (and on the streets) because the brain-dead are reproducing like rabbits while people who would make good parents and raise bright children are staying out of the gene pool.

  • SeeTrain65

    Alternate title: “Our Values are Backward.”
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dkHqPFbxmOU

    • House0fTheBlueLights

      It’s so funny but it just makes me want to cry.

  • Rickyphoo

    Because a poorly educated population almost always vote GOP.

  • Relativicus

    “Americans should be very pleased to know that many of my friends are making a lot of money picking over the bones of our public education system.”

    -@RealDonaldTrump

    • kaydenpat

      Yeah we’re ecstatic that Devos is adding to her billions. Helps us sleep soundly every night. Our kids’ education be damned.

  • kaydenpat

    So Americans are okay with dumbing down education for their kids? I get that Devos couldn’t care less about the public education system but where is the outcry from parents?

  • HooverVilles

    So let’s see. Creating an educational system that increases the poorly educated poor, MRA, incel, etc population is Making America Great Again. Got it.
    Good dsylexic doG!
    To use 45’s own highly educated best word;
    SAD!

  • whitroth

    It’s a variant on the so-called “Christian home schooling network”. Hint: no accreditation. College? Christian colleges, only, please….

  • Resistance Ftr PuckStopsHere

    If looking at porno were an on line class I’d have a Doctorate from goddamn Harvard by now. Stay on task without a teacher in the room, indeed.

  • Glenn Rocess

    You’re at least as old as I am but you used an image from Cowboy Bebop? Now I don’t feel so bad about being a middle-aged sorta-kinda otaku!

  • Bill Diaz

    How well a child is educated has little to do with the schools and everything to do with the parent. If the child is an idiot, then the parents are too. A fine example of that is Utah. I dont like religious fanatics or Mormons, but their ability to dominate educational metrics despite spending less on education than anyh other state (per capita) is a tribute to people who give a damn about their children’s educations.

    I came from a great school district and even there it was easy to tell who had parents that gave a damn and who didnt. As a former teacher, that really bothers me how many parents blame the schools for idiot children, when they dont need to look any further than the nearest mirror to find the culprit.

    Have a great day!

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