The Thursday line | Arkansas Blog

Thursday, September 29, 2011

The Thursday line

Posted By on Thu, Sep 29, 2011 at 5:00 PM

It's open. Final words:

* CHARTER SCHOOLS NEED NEW NAME: Another day, more evidence that charter schools are not the panacea that the Billionaire Boys Club would have you believe. Some say they should be called corporate schools, or franchises. Check these comments from a Western Michigan professor who SUPPORTS charter schools but isn't impressed by results (which have some familiarity in Arkansas, right Luke?):

Western professor Gary Miron, who is nationally known for his charter school research, told the committee that the schools have strayed far from their original intent of being innovative, locally operated alternatives to traditional schools.

“They've gone away from those original charter ideas to the point that they should probably be called 'corporate' schools or 'franchise' schools instead,” Miron told the senators. “I like charter schools. I like the notion of charter schools. But what we're talking about now is something that is very different. We need to go back to the original intent and goals.”

Miron said for-profit management companies dominate the charter landscape, and exercise such control over schools that local boards of education overseeing the schools have difficulty expressing authority or autonomy.

Miron said that while traditional schools tend to be segregated, but charters have “accelerated” the segregation on terms of race, class, special needs and language.

He said research shows there are few charter schools that show students performing higher than nearby districts.

* SUPREME COURT JUSTICE PREDICTS WIN FOR OBAMACARE: Retired Justice John Paul Stephens, citing precedent, predicts health care reform law will be upheld. Stephens, of course, wasn't winning many in his final days as the right-wing became ascendant. Precedent counts for nothing to this bunch. And if you haven't read Jeffrey Toobin in the New Yorker on the expectation that Clarence Thomas will join his wife Virginia Thomas' well-paid attack on health care reform, read it now.

* GET HEALTHY/SHUT DOWN GOVERNMENT: Health and Human Services Secretary Katherine Sebelius was in Little Rock today. She participated in a "summit" on ways to encourage healthier kids; said Arkies shouldn't be nervous about health exchanges, and answered the latest round of questions stirred up by the anti-abortion crowd, this one that Notre Dame is fearful that it might have to provide birth control pills to students and employees under its healthcare plan. A fight over contraception, by the way, is one small piece of overreaching legislation by the House Tea Party Republicans to cripple all the parts of government they don't like and it shut it down if they don't get their way. Ask Tim Griffin about gridlock and who's responsible.

* STEPHENS SMACKDOWN: Righthaven, the Stephens Inc.-financed and Walter Hussman-backed copyright troll, has lost yet another round in federal court, this time in Colorado. Judge said Righthaven abused copyright law and ordered it to pay fees of opposing party.

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