"The whole people must take upon themselves the education of the whole people and be willing to bear the expenses of it. There should not be a district of one mile square, without a school in it, not founded by a charitable individual, but maintained at the public expense of the people themselves." -- John Adams

"No money shall be drawn from the treasury, for the benefit of any religious or theological institution." -- Indiana Constitution Article 1, Section 6.

"If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilisation, it expects what never was and never will be...nor can they be safe with them without information. Where the press is free and every man able to read, all is safe." – Thomas Jefferson

Sunday, May 6, 2012

For Sale $1 -- Closed Schools: UPDATE!

Today's Fort Wayne Journal Gazette's editorial page commented on the problem I mentioned in a post last Wednesday, For Sale $1 -- Closed Schools.

$273,000 boondoggle
For taxpayers who live within East Allen County Schools, state legislators’ rush to expand charter schools without considering the consequences of their actions is a problem costing more than $273,000. The school district should be receiving $189,000 for selling the building, and now must also spend more than $28,000 a year for at least three years to maintain the empty building. Incredibly, school officials must pointlessly wait, as the law requires, for the unlikely opportunity to give the building away.

Lawmakers’ cluelessness about the effect of their actions would be comical if the result were not so costly and unfair.

In 2011, the General Assembly adopted a law that requires public schools to make closed school buildings available for a charter school to buy or lease for $1 – for at least four years after they close. That law threatens East Allen’s plan to sell the closed Monroeville Elementary School to the local Catholic diocese to become the new home of St. Joseph Elementary.

No charter school has come forward to request the Monroeville building – and indeed, few charters exist in such rural Indiana locations. Yet the law appears to prohibit the sale.

House Speaker Brian Bosma wrote that law. After learning of the Monroeville building, he said, “It would seem under these circumstances that people should be able to get together and come to a reasonable conclusion that serves children.”
Bosma's comment, “It would seem under these circumstances that people should be able to get together and come to a reasonable conclusion that serves children” actually means that he doesn't care, because he and his "reformer" buddies in the governor's mansion and the Indiana DOE (as well as the Republican caucus, legislatures around the country, the White House and the US DOE) aren't really interested in helping local school corporations or the children who attend them. Their goal is to replace public schools with privately operated publicly funded charter schools and private schools. Every thing they've pushed for in the last few years works toward that goal.

Is this an "unintended consequence?" It would be nice if it was because then it would just be people who really meant well, but made a mistake that can be corrected. Truthfully, though, I don't think so. I don't think they will correct this mistake because it does just what they want it to do. I think the consequences were understood. Do away with public schools...or, at best, leave them for the poor and the hard to educate...devalue teachers...drain money away from public schools and open the flood gates (no pun intended) so the "edupreneurs" can make a buck and fill the coffers for their campaign contributors...who, with the help of the SCOTUS, can remain anonymous.

I'd love to be proven wrong.

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Stop the Testing Insanity!


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3 comments:

Horace Mann said...

Your post is the truth. Keep spreading the word in Allen County, Stu.

Jesse Turner said...

Selling our public schools is surrender not reform. Selling them for a dollar is a crime. Judas took 30 silver pieces and sealed the deal with a kiss. The only thing missing in this betrayal is the kiss to privateers. Maybe that is done behind close doors?
Keep telling it like it is!

Stu said...

@Horace, Sometimes it's frustrating...is anyone listening other than those who already know? My former colleagues in our local district are just so overwhelmed trying to keep their heads above water. They can't always see the forest from the trees...60 hour weeks at school and stealing a few hours for their families.

@Jesse, the school was closed because of low enrollment. We could have rearranged the district to keep it open, but I understand the reasons for closing an underutilized school...especially in difficult economic times. The state of Indiana, otoh, is run by ALEC purchased politicians just like Michigan, Wisconsin, Ohio and Florida. Privatization and union busting is a priority.