2/1/2018 – How Public Schools Became The Koch Brothers’ ‘Lowest Hanging Fruit’

THIS WEEK: DeVos Lawsuit … 9,000 DACA Teachers … Puerto Rico Shock Doctrine … Super Bowl Teachers Strike … College Funding Lags


How Public Schools Became The Koch Brothers’ ‘Lowest Hanging Fruit’

By Jeff Bryant

“GOP fat cats who make up the powerful donor network led by billionaire industrialist Charles Koch recently met in California and declared their intention to ‘fundamentally transform America’s education system,’ including the K-12 sector. ‘The lowest hanging fruit for policy change in the United States today is K-12,’ said one of the attendees … It would be a shame, and ultimately a tragedy, if Democrats let them pick it.?”
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Education Secretary Betsy DeVos Is Sued Over Sexual Assault Guidance

The New York Times

“Victims’ rights and women’s rights groups sued Education Secretary Betsy DeVos … saying that rules that she issued last year to guide campuses on how to manage sexual assault complaints violated federal law and discriminated against accusers … Guidance issued by Ms. DeVos in the fall had had a ‘chilling effect’ on campus sexual assault investigations … Accusers have been less inclined to pursue sexual assault cases, and colleges have demonstrated a lack of urgency and clarity in pursuing them … DeVos rescinded Obama-era guidance on how colleges should manage the investigations under Title IX, the federal law that prohibits sex discrimination and governs the rules on investigating sexual assault on campus.”
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Nearly 9,000 DACA Teachers Face An Uncertain Future


“Of the 690,000 undocumented immigrants now facing an uncertain future as Congress and President Trump wrangle over the DACA program are about 8,800 school teachers. The real possibility that they’ll be deported if the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program is allowed to expire has put enormous stress on them … School districts in Texas and across the country have hired teachers covered by DACA on the condition that they renew their work permit every two years, as the program requires. But last September, after President Trump announced he was shutting down DACA, these teachers suddenly found the safety and security the program had offered up in the air.”
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Puerto Rico Proposes Hundreds of School Closures, With Many Students Looking To U.S. Mainland


“Puerto Rico’s governor has proposed closing more than a quarter of its public schools as the island struggles to recover from the devastation of Hurricane Maria … The proposal follows a string of school closures meant to help quell the island’s years-long economic crisis … an estimated 14,000 Puerto Rican students have turned to the mainland U.S. for educational opportunities … About 90% of the island’s schools were up and running as of last month, though some schools remained without power.”
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St. Paul Companies Are Spending Their Tax Breaks On Super Bowl Sponsorships. Teachers Are Crying Foul.

The Intercept

“With more than a million people headed to the Twin Cities … for the Super Bowl, local corporations, St. Paul school district officials, and civic leaders are bracing for … the first teachers strike in St. Paul in over 70 years … The argument the teachers are making in their contract negotiations is … the school district’s financial situation can never really improve until corporations start paying their fair share … Teachers are focusing on the companies that make up the founding sponsors of the Super Bowl Host Committee – companies the union says have avoided paying $300 million in state income taxes over the last five years alone … Only 7 of the 25 Super Bowl Host Committee founding partners donated to the St. Paul public school district last year – for a total of $1.1 million. All 25 companies, by contrast, paid $1.5 million to be founding Super Bowl partners.”
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Public Universities Struggle As Ohio, Other States Put Brakes On Funding

The Columbus Dispatch

“Across the country, state funding for higher education grew by just 1.3 percent from 2017 to 2018, a sign that states are struggling to sustain revenue streams needed to support colleges and universities … The increase in state support was the lowest in the past 5 years … Nearly a third of the 50 states reported decreases in higher-education funding in fiscal year 2018 … In some states, lawmakers have made decisions to decrease or maintain taxes rather than increase them to support areas such as higher education … There also have been downturns in economic sectors on which some states are more dependent, such as the energy industry … State leaders often feel obligated to direct available revenue to other areas … The slowing state support comes as higher-education institutions continue to face pressure about the cost of college and students’ ability to repay loans.”
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