Friday, January 8, 2016

Memphis Lift, Sift, and Grift

Ever since Bush's corrupt bag man at ED, Rod Paige, paid out millions in federal grants to the Black Alliance for Education Options to promote vouchers, both governments and corporations have leaned on black astroturf groups to push the corporate reform school catalog of bad ideas.  

One such group of black mercenaries is the corporate-funded Memphis Lift, which uses white charter empire cash to pay locals in Memphis to go door to door among residents of the poorest communities to recruit for the corporate charters, which are lined up for their piece of the ASD action as public schools are shut down.  

Since early 2015, Memphis Lift has been been lubricated with stipends funneled by John Little through his Strategies Redefined, LLC, which was formed in December 2014.  Little receives cash to disperse to his bad news crews in Memphis from the Tennessee Charter School Association, which is kept flush with tax-sheltered dollars from the nation's richest venture philanthropists.

A few weeks back the Shelby County Schools decided to stop sharing student demographic data with ASD, which had been sharing Memphis student addresses and phone numbers with Memphis Lift.  At first the ASD appeared ready to accept this decision, since the information could be obtained through the TN Dept. of Education.  

In the past few days, however, it has become clear that the ASD will now use Governor Haslam's muscle to try to force Shelby County to give up the information so that Memphis Lift can continue  the anti-public school campaign in Memphis.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Details on ASD's Rigged Takeover of Memphis Schools

from the Commercial Appeal:
Less than 1.5 percentage points — That's the margin by which the Hillcrest High School Neighborhood Advisory Council gave charter network Green Dot Public Schools approval to take over their school next year under the state-run Achievement School District.

Less than half of one percentage point — That's the margin by which the charter could have failed had the ASD not deleted sections of one of the six evaluations, citing a lack of concrete evidence to justify low scores.

Two out of six — That's how many of the Hillcrest neighborhood council members gave Green Dot at least a 50 percent score, the threshold needed for the charter network to take over.

One out of four — the lowest possible score a Neighborhood Council member could give the charter operators on each section of the evaluation. There was no option to give zero points.

The ASD released the councils' original evaluations to The Commercial Appeal Monday, after several NAC members raised questions about whether the decision was ever truly in their hands.

This year's ASD charter matching process, which will result in four schools converting to charters next year, was billed as a step up from previous years in both transparency and community involvement. The power would rest with the Neighborhood Advisory Councils, with at least half the members being parents, who would have the chance to interview the charter operators, tour existing schools in the ASD under that charter network and review and grade each charter's application.

While all of that happened, several NAC members in a news conference Monday referred to the process as "a scam" and said it was designed just to look like the community had a say. . . .