Family Affair

Political scientist Maurice Cunningham says the campaign to lift the cap on charter schools in Massachusetts is driven by GOP operatives and a handful of wealthy Republican families…

EduShyster: Ads in support of Question 2, the ballot initiative that will dramatically expand the number of charter schools in the Bay State, are running during the Olympics, and come with the tagline: *more money for public education.* I was prepared to give them a gold medal for, um, dexterity, but since the ads are being produced by the team that made the infamous Swift Boat ads that cost John Kerry the 2004 presidential election, I suspect there’s plenty more where that came from.

Maurice Cunningham: I think we can expect some rough stuff. This is a Republican effort, it’s a big money effort, and it’s a conservative effort. That’s where they tend to go.

EduShyster: There’s a well-funded effort underway to paint the campaign to lift the charter cap in Massachusetts as a progressive cause. But what you’ve found in your research is that this is basically a Republican production from top to bottom.

Cunningham: That’s right. There are a handful of wealthy families that are funding this. They largely give to Republicans and they represent the financial industry, basically. They’re out of Bain, they’re out of Baupost, they’re out of High Fields Capital Management. Billionaire Seth Klarman, for example, has been described as the largest GOP donor in New England, and he gives a lot of money to free market, anti-government groups. Then on the campaign level, you have Republican strategist Will Keyser who certainly knows his stuff, and Jim Conroy who certainly knows his stuff. They know how to make something look like a grassroots campaign that really isn’t.

EduShyster: By *make something look like a grassroots campaign that really isn’t,* what you really mean is that this is an entirely community-driven, grassroots campaign, correct?

Cunningham: No. There is no grassroots support behind this campaign whatsoever. What do we look for to measure grassroots support? We look for a campaign’s ability to find people who will essentially volunteer, who feel strongly about an issue and are willing to do the work that a campaign needs done. Two examples: signature collecting and canvassing door to door. Great Schools Massachusetts isn’t able to do either one of those things. When they had to get signatures in 2015, they wound up paying $305,000 to a signature gathering firm. And that’s because they don’t have people who are strong believers who will go out on the street and volunteer and be passionate and do the things that people do when they really care about an issue. Or look at Democrats for Education Reform. When they backed Dan Rizzo in the special Senate election earlier this year, they had to pay for canvassers because they don’t have people who feel strongly enough about the positions they take. The idea that these are community groups is completely manufactured.

EduShyster: Readers of this blog will recognize the name Families for Excellent Schools, a New York group that set up shop in the Bay State in 2014, and which counted our Republican Secretary of Education James Peyser as its *uncle* until about 15 minutes ago. But *families* in this case literally refers to six families.

Cunningham: The same small group of families that gave to the ballot committee, which is now Great Schools Massachusetts, gives to a private foundation called Strategic Grant Partners year after year. Strategic Grant Partners is at the center of this whole thing, and it’s where you really see the longer term view taking shape. Joanna Jacobson, who founded it, understands strategic vision and marketing. She comes from a corporate background; she has a Harvard MBA and was the president of Keds. Jim Peyser is a central figure when you look at who was involved, both as a board member of Families for Excellent Schools and in his former capacity as a managing partner of New Schools Venture Fund. They’ve been at this for several years now—much longer than most people are aware of.

*Secretive cabal* and democracy don’t go together—they just don’t. And if you say *let’s sacrifice democracy so we can have better schools,* that imperils us going forward.

EduShyster: Is it really so bad if a secretive cabal hatches a strategic plan and marshals millions of dollars from untraceable sources if it means more Great Schools™?

Cunningham: I think it’s terrible for democracy. *Secretive cabal* and democracy don’t go together—they just don’t. And if you say *let’s sacrifice democracy so we can have better schools,* that imperils us going forward. Supreme Court justice Louis Brandeis once said that we have to make a choice. *We may have democracy, or we may have wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can’t have both.* To me this campaign is about democracy vs. unlimited wealth.

EduShyster: Massachusetts is no stranger to divisive education ballot initiatives backed by wealthy businessmen. There was the measure that eliminated bilingual education back in 2002. Coincidentally, it was also the work of a Republican and also called *Question 2.* What’s different about the campaign to lift the charter cap?

Cunningham: We’re in the Citizens United era now, and that’s true nationally and here in Massachusetts. I think the application of a huge amount of money from a very small group of people who hide pretty well, that’s new. A good deal of this campaign is *off the books*—at least so far as campaign finance disclosure goes. I always look to see who the contributors that are listed at the end of the ad. Look at those contributors and see if you can figure out who the heck any of those people are—and you can’t. Basically you have what is a Russian nesting doll problem here.  These people hide because they know that if voters recognize who is really behind this ballot question, they’ll be less likely to support it.

EduShyster: I thought you were going to say that what’s different is that this time it’s about the kids…

Maurice *Mo* Cunningham is a professor of Political Science at UMass Boston and a long-time commentator on Massachusetts politics. He blogs at MassPolitics Profs.

Like my work? Donate to my PAC. Note: I won’t tell anybody 😉

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28 Comments

  1. I believe this except for the notion that there are no moneyed Democrats involved. The partisanship we’ve come to believe in (whether true or otherwise) in most areas of American politics is truly non-existent when it comes to public education policy. Both parties have been disgustingly ignorant and greedy, happy to see our public schools destroyed and replaced by for-profit “education” institutions. Both sides have supported charters, though relatively few Democrats have yet to come out in open support of vouchers. If we don’t bring about a Bernie Sanders revolutionary take-over of the Democratic Party, however, it doesn’t take a Nostradamus to predict that the Democrats, too, will be nearly 100% in the pockets of the hedge-funders and billionaires pushing towards vouchers and charters, particularly for “colored” and poor folks.

    It may be different in Massachusets, but if so, they’re the exception, not the rule.

    1. Moneyed democrats abound too of course. They just haven’t started supporting the campaign financially yet. Next disclosure is due on September 9, and if they haven’t gone the dark money route, you should see more democratic backers writing checks. Check back here in a few weeks!

  2. I get the impression that the other side of the ballot question effort, the “Save Our Public Schools” campaign, is largely backed by private 501(c)(5) corporations.

    One of their representatives approached a Democratic party group that I’m a part of, attaching their four-page flyer, and requested the opportunity to make a presentation.

    I deferred to others to make a decision about a possible presentation, while pointing out some erroneous aspects of their campaign materials. They indicated that my message had caused considerable discussion, but hemmed and hawed about the data, unwilling or unable to effectively defend it as accurate… or, apparently, change it. I see it there still.

    They reiterated a desire to make a presentation, said they could bring some youth leaders along with them, to which I responded in part:

    “I am guessing that there’s a fair amount of overlap between the students you mention and the students who testified at the Boston City Council hearing regarding charter schools last December. A very impressive bunch of bright, committed youth. I was however disappointed to see that they in many cases were relying on, and promoting, incorrect data. Makes me wonder whether rather than your making a presentation [we might join with other Democratic party groups] to develop a “Facts First Workshop”… We could invite your team, including those students, Meira Levinson and other interested academics, MTA and BTU reps, QUEST folks and charter school advocates, DESE data specialists, a Bump staffer, MASC and Boston Opportunity Agenda staff with the focus not on arguing the politics but just getting a set of hard facts that we all can all agree on as valid, another set that are being used that we agree should be discarded as invalid or misleading. And a third set that are questionable, with the arguments for and against their validity laid out as clearly as we can.”

    Don’t you think that was a good idea, Jennifer? Mo? We could perhaps revive it. Make it happen. The Save Our Public Schools folks, et al never again responded.

    1. I happen to think the entire ballot question is a monumental waste of money – whichever side the money is coming from – especially at a time when students in Boston are having to give up electives, lose teachers and programs. But big difference here is that there is no “dark money” behind Save Our Public Schools. You may not like the fact that the unions are bankrolling this but they’ve put their names on it, and, more importantly, union members voted to increase their dues to pay for the campaign.

      I like your idea. Though I suspect that the magical evening of “fact getting” you envision will be interrupted again and again by the big messy business of politics and democracy. As it should be!

  3. EduShyster: “Political scientist Maurice Cunningham says the campaign to lift the cap on charter schools in Massachusetts is driven by GOP operatives and a handful of wealthy Republican families in Massachusetts”
    (…)
    “Edushyster: But what you’ve found in your research is that this is basically a Republican production from top to bottom.

    “Cunningham: That’s right. There are a handful of wealthy families that are funding this. They largely give to Republicans and they represent the financial industry, basically.”

    I just tried replicating Cunningham’s search for Public Charter Schools for Mass, 2015 Year End Report, which he primarily relies on here: http://blogs.wgbh.org/masspoliticsprofs/2016/7/15/great-schools-or-great-scheme/
    That’s the article that Jennifer/EduShyster links to above at “your research”.

    The search results are readily available, without any heavy duty flashlights, here:
    http://www.ocpf.us/Reports/DisplayReport?menuHidden=true&id=571639#schedule-a

    I started looking at donations to political candidates made by the listed five-figure donors, proceeding alphabetically. I put a (D) for a recipient Democratic politician, (R) for a Republican, while eliminating duplicates for individual politicians, e.g., if the donor gave four or five times to a particular Democratic politician, there’s only one (D). And I just examined the first page of each donor’s results at the Office of Campaign and Political Finance. The dollar figure is just the amount that was given to the Public Charter Schools campaign. This is what I found:

    Donor: J.B.: $40,000
    Recipients: Public Charter Schools for Mass, (D), (D), Committee for Charter Public Schools, (D), Democratic State Committee, MA, (D), Democratic State Committee,(D),(D),(D), Democratic State Committee, (D),(R),(D),(R),(D)

    Donor: R.B.: $10,000
    Recipients: (D),(D),(D),(D),(D),(D),(D),(D),(D),(D),(D),(D),(D),(D),Committee for a Democratic Senate Pol Action Comm.,(D),Neighborhoods United Independent Expenditure Political Action Committee (a PAC for a (D)),(D),(D),(D),(D),(D),(D),(D),Democratic State Committee,(D),Committee for Charter Public Schools,(D),Democratic State Committee(D),(D),(D),Democratic State Committee

    Donor: D.D.: $10,000
    Recipients: Public Charter Schools for Mass,(R),(D),(D),(R)

    That’s as far as I got. Enough for me to wonder whether it’s really true to say “that this is basically a Republican production from top to bottom.” (Quite possibly it’s closer to true for the middle and bottom of the alphabet).

    1. Cunningham was looking specifically at the funders who seeded this effort – the littlest Russian doll, if you will. He compared the list of regular donors to Strategic Grant Partners and noticed that the same small list of names appeared again as the first funders of the ballot committee, whose donations would be used, first to start up an off shoot of Families for Excellent Schools here, then to hire signature gatherers. Which is how he reached the conclusion that the architecture of this effort can be traced back to a small group of Republican-leaning families. And of course the people running the campaign are Republicans as well – not entirely a surprise given that charter expansion is a top priority of Governor Baker and his “brain,” James Peyser. Cunningham is NOT arguing that the campaign has no wealthy democratic backers behind it. As he put it “there are big names and big finance behind this.” But the foundation of this, including the establishment of the super PAC that’s swelling with bipartisan love as I type, is the work of GOP operatives. And the ads that are imploring voters to vote yes on Question 2 for “more funding for public education” are the work of a conservative media outfit responsible for bringing down not just one but two democratic presidential candidates from Massachusetts.

      I’m looking forward to the next campaign finance report due on September 9th!

      1. Again, this is the Cunningham posting you linked to at “your research” where he provides a “small list of names”.
        http://blogs.wgbh.org/masspoliticsprofs/2016/7/15/great-schools-or-great-scheme/
        Cunningham cites 13 individuals and starts at “K” for Klarman noting that he’s a Republican donor. And also ends at “K” for Klarman.

        OCPF gave me the listing in alphabetical order, including the very same 13 individuals, all listed alphabetically among sundry other smaller donors, and I started at the top of the alphabet of five-figure donors. You see what I found. Lucky I stopped where I did. I now see that unbeknownst to me, a Republican-leaner was up next. Phew.

        Please shelter any kids or tax attorneys in your area from Cunningham’s postings; the kids may be frightened and confused as they watch Cunningham sturdily crushing Russian dolls together, as he refers to “Public Charter School for Growth’s” expenditures.

        There’s a “Public Charter Schools for Massachusetts” and also a “Strong Economy for Growth”. I think he intended to refer to the former.

        And the tax attorneys may be startled to see him strew the tax code to the winds. He writes: (http://blogs.wgbh.org/masspoliticsprofs/2016/8/2/hidden-money-behind-great-schools-strategic-grant-partners/):

        “An important limitation on a 501(c)(3) is that it is barred from political activity.”
        […]
        “Educators for Excellence and OneGoal are 501(c)(3)s and should not be involved in politics, but their roles in Massachusetts bear watching as well.”

        Warming up for that magical evening of fact-finding, I find those statements on the weak end of the supported-by-persuasive-evidence spectrum.

        In respect to 501(c)(3) organizations that are classified as “public charities”, according to NonProfitVote:
        “The most important thing a 501(c)(3) nonprofit should know is that the IRS considers activity on ballot measures a lobbying activity – not electioneering. A 501(c)(3) may work for or against ballot questions up to normal lobbying limits. The IRS makes this distinction because advocacy on ballot measures is an attempt to influence a proposed law or policy – not the election or defeat of a candidate.
        […]
        “If your nonprofit has chosen to measure its lobbying under the so-called 501(h) expenditure test, it has clearer guidance and can do more lobbying. Under this expenditure test, you can spend a certain percentage of your annual budget (as much as 20% for small organizations, less for larger groups) on efforts by you or your members to directly influence the outcome of a ballot question or legislative vote.”
        http://www.nonprofitvote.org/nonprofits-voting-elections-online/ballot-measures/

        In respect to 501(c)(3) organizations that are classified as “private foundations”, they are also allowed to lobby/participate in ballot question campaigns… but they would incur a significant excise tax on those expenditures which would normally persuade them to avoid such activity.
        https://www.irs.gov/charities-non-profits/private-foundations/lobbying-activity-of-section-501-c-3-private-foundations

        1. While you’re digging around, how about looking into the list of sponsors that appear at the end of the Yes on Two ads. I’m helpfully supplying the list and am hoping you have better luck than I did figuring out who is actually paying for these.

          Paid for by Great Schools Massachusetts. Top contributors: Great Schools for Massachusetts; Education Reform Now Advocacy, Expanding Educational Opportunities, Families for Excellent Schools-Advocacy, Strong Economy for Growth.

          Wait – there’s a Great Schools Massachusetts AND a Great Schools for Massachusetts???

          1. “AND a Great Schools for Massachusetts???”
            Likely nestled inside each other, eh?

            I’m guessing, Jennifer, that you are aware of the WGBH/NECIR effort to investigate ballot question spending?

            Perhaps the group might, at its next meeting, start with the question you pose. And then move on to the, perhaps harder, one of deciphering the exact nature of the relationships (including fiscal) between the teachers’ unions and the grassroots groups with which it so closely intermingles.

            Might require scheduling additional meetings. Glad to have your support for the FactsFirst meeting I suggested. You think we can get WGBH as a venue? Perhaps get some NECIR folks as judges?

            I do commend the Mass Teachers Association for the fact that one of its core claims about budgetary impacts is rated “technically true” (albeit “misleading and “false”) by the Ballotpedia fact checking team.

            With a series of edits, other elements of the campaign materials may clear that same bar.

            BTW, who do you think would be more amenable to a fact-finding meeting? Those favoring or opposing the ballot question?

          2. I was thrilled to hear about the investigation that WGBH is doing into ballot question spending. Having seen this play out in other states, it’s clear that real investigative heft is needed to un-nest this level of nesting. And even that isn’t always enough…

            I’m looking forward to the FactsFirst meeting(s), especially as we get into the meaty issues that never seem to get addressed: like “are charter schools public?”

            In the meantime, don’t forget that the three legged stool of charter school expansion still has a third leg coming up: the lawsuit alleging that the charter cap is depriving students of their civil rights. The SJC will rule shortly on whether the case is going to go forward – and, if it does, the discovery process should be replete with the sorts of facts you crave. I noted that at the last hearing, the pro-charter lawyer was waving around a copy of Sam Tyler’s study that found that charter expansion hadn’t hurt Boston financially. I’ll be curious to see if he’s updated his argument to reflect Tyler’s latest statements which seem to be warning of an “end of days” for the Boston Public Schools, or if he’s going with the Question 2 ad tagline that more charter schools mean more funding. Only time will tell!

          3. Alas, the supporters of the other three legs of the three-legged stool of charter school expansion have no love for the forth leg! Why, you ask? Because it would be bad for the economy and also schools. If it sounds like my fingers are tittering as they type this, that’s because they are 🙂

          4. Oooh, that’s only one dude, Peyser, voicing opposition. And his boss, Baker… “has twice passed on opportunities to declare his opposition to the tax amendment.”

            I think if the charter cap lift passes, the case will become far more persuasive for passage of the millionaire tax constitutional amendment. There’ll be lots of independents far more willing to have tax dollars flow towards schools if there’s some “reform” in the mix. And along the same lines, I would guess that Baker would be significantly less likely to fight that revenue generator vigorously, if at all.

          5. I’m up in Maine w/ out TV, cell or internet so by the time you shared Master Kerr’s op-ed (note that this is different than an article), the Globe had already run this piece on the dark money behind the ballot initiative, including that pouring in from Education Reform Now, the parent of Democrats for Education Reform, which is Master Kerr’s employer. And then yesterday, this little tidbit from the Globe, acknowledging that the “watchdog” group, whose claim that charters have had no financial impact on the Boston Public Schools, has been cited everywhere, can’t take a position on Question 2 because of, wait for it…, financial impact. Last but not least, the rare entry this AM of an actual peer reviewed study into the debate: http://www.bostonglobe.com/news/politics/2016/08/23/charter-schools-boost-test-scores-nothing-else/D6F7vTwLTqYnBJyeupoODK/story.html

      2. “Last but not least, the rare entry this AM of an actual peer reviewed study into the debate”

        Below is from my response to Dr. Ravitch when she asked me if I had read that study by Dobbie and Fryer (http://kevanharris.princeton.edu/sites/default/files/wdobbie/files/texas_charters.pdf)… Pls let me know if you disagree with my conclusion…

        Obviously, it is of at least some minor interest that “no-excuses” charter school students seemed to earn a little more ($1,200/year for those who attended charter in grades 1-12?) at ages 24-26 than their peers, even when you consider: 1) that their rate of 4-year college attendance is increased (which would shift labor market activity later, especially if it took them more than 4 years to graduate) and (2) that all data for earnings outside the state of Texas itself was ignored as not readily obtainable. Hopefully, some stuck around here after picking up a graduate degree in Boston at age 25.7.

        And it was of interest that attendees of religious charter schools fared substantially worse on the authors’ measures of success than those at College Prep or “No Excuses” charters, dragging down average results of “kids will be kids” charters. Not sure if you’ve focused much on those, but if not this seems a good place to start: http://www.dallasnews.com/news/community-news/dallas/headlines/20101122-charter-schools-with-ties-to-religious-groups-raise-fears-about-state-funds_use.ece

        In the same overall context, in addition to Dobbie/Fryer, I also looked at Lovenheim/Willén “The Long-run Effect of Teachers Unions on Educational Attainment and Earnings”: “Taken together, our results suggest laws that support collective bargaining for teachers have adverse long-term labor market consequences for students.”
        https://aefpweb.org/sites/default/files/webform/aefp40/LR%20Union%20Effects%20-%20AEFP.pdf

        And briefly considered Kevin Booker et al “Charter High Schools’ Effects on Long-Term Attainment and Earnings

        “Using data from Chicago and Florida, we find evidence that charter high schools may have substantial positive effects on persistence in college as well as high-school graduation and college entry. In Florida, where we can link students to workforce data in adulthood, we also find evidence that charter high schools produce large positive effects on subsequent earnings.”
        https://cesr.usc.edu/documents/charter_high_school_effects_on_attainment_and_earnings.pdf

        Frankly, add it all up and my response doesn’t deviate far from: Meh

        1. Except for the part where you’re not adding up the growing stack of studies that fall right into the Fryer pile. I know you’re familiar with these as we discussed earlier this summer in response to Jay Greene’s post, which he helpfully titled *The Disconnect Between Changing Test Scores and Changing Later Life Outcomes.* As you’ll recall, he includes a number of studies specific to Boston. Here’s the link if you need a refresher course.

          Once the civil rights veneer has worn off and the outcomes-based arguments fall short, what you’re left with is what’s really been behind the case for privatizing public schools all along: ideology. So fitting that you should find yourself with a “unions are bad” study at the ready!

          btw: I asked Eunice Han about Lovensheim’s research in my interview with her, and why her results are so different from his. She said that the big difference is that he defines unionism and collective bargaining far more narrowly than she does. I think as an experiment you should read both of their studies side-by-side and compare their methodology. That is if you have time, of course!

          1. You seem to believe that the studies that Jay Greene alluded to in that piece effectively substantiated his speculation. I don’t think the authors of those studies would concur. In that blog posting, he specifically addressed three studies.

            1) Greene looked at the West study and concluded that when students rate themselves lower on self-assessments of noncognitive skills that that means they in fact actually do have a “reduction in noncognitive skills”. West et al. had specifically invalidated that as a proper conclusion, stating “More specifically, students attending academically and behaviorally demanding charter schools may redefine upward their notion of what it means to demonstrate conscientiousness, self-control, and grit—and thus rate themselves more critically. In theory, such reference bias could be severe enough to distort the magnitude of any changes in the underlying traits and even to invert their sign.”

            2) In respect to the Angrist study, Greene refers solely to one measure, 4-year graduation rates where charter student performance was relatively weak, while ignoring all the other measures in the study, where the charter school students typically outperformed lottery participant peers. The authors themselves had said that: “Taken together, the estimates reported here show that charter high school attendance generates gains through college preparation and institutional choice as well as in short-run achievement.” Whether one reads just the first several sentences, just the conclusion, or everything in between, it seems pretty obvious that the authors would not concur with Greene’s conclusions.

            3) Finally, in respect to SEED, it would seem hard to draw legitimate inferences about later life outcomes when the study Greene referenced itself stated: “The study followed those students through the 2013-2014 academic year, which means that only a small number of them could have graduated from high school or enrolled in college during the study period. Thus, while improving students’ performance in college is a key goal of SEED’s, it is too soon to assess whether SEED improves students’ postsecondary outcomes.”

            Jennifer: “Once the civil rights veneer has worn off and the outcomes-based arguments fall short, what you’re left with is what’s really been behind the case for privatizing public schools all along: ideology. ”

            Ouch. I’ll comfort myself with these words from that same Angrist study which you seem to believe constitutes some of your most favorable research evidence:

            “Attendance at Boston charter schools increases scholarship eligibility for a mostly poor minority population… Overall, Boston’s charter high schools boost key outcomes for most subgroups, with large effects on at-risk groups, including boys, special education students, and those who enter high school with low achievement.”

          2. As for reading Han side by side with others and in specific reference to your point about Lovenheim, in her Appendix II, Han had largely dismissed Caroline Hoxby’s results that differed greatly from Han’s by blaming it on Hoxby’s “strict definition” of unionism:
            “In contrast to the negative union effects on dropout rates in this study, Hoxby (1996) finds that unionism raises dropout rates for 1970, 1980, and 1990….
            “Hoxby covers districts in all US states, but she measures unionism with a strict definition (CB and at least 50 percent union density). According to my calculation using the SASS panel data, over 20 percent of districts that have less than 50 percent union density reach CB agreements with unions. Her strict measurement of unionism misclassifies these CB districts as non-unionized.”

            However, when one looks directly at Hoxby’s work, one finds she also got similar results with a considerably more permissive measure of unionization and that fact seems not to have been addressed by Han.
            Hoxby: “In this study I will consistently use the strict definition of unionization (collective bargaining, contractual agreement, and 50 percent union membership), represented by the right-hand column of Table I. When I use a more permissive measure of unionization, such as just “collective bargaining is the form of labor relations” (represented by the middle column of Table I), results are similar though attenuated, as expected.”

          3. Great news! Jay Greene has consented to do an interview with me in September. I’ll be talking to him about the disconnect between increasing test scores and later life outcomes (among other things), and will ask him about the Boston research and why he has been dismissive of it. I’m interested in how he views the debate in Massachusetts. As a choice advocate, I’m sure he supports raising the cap, but then again, as a choice advocate, he’s also very aware of how our urban “education market” is coming to be dominated by a single kind of school.

            I’ll ask Han the Hoxby question and will share her response. The mystery, of course, is why, if unions cause drop out rates to rise, would the drop out rate have dropped over the past three decades, even as unionization rates among teachers have increased. I suppose we’ll have to save that particular conundrum for another day!

          4. “will ask him about the Boston research and why he has been dismissive of it.”

            As I’m sure you know, Greene is most optimistic about the results of giving vouchers to families and letting them use those to pay for education at private schools. He sees charter schools as a competitor to that model, one that has gained greater traction and he is, perhaps, a tad over-eager to locate flaws in the charter school model. In that blog posting, he was not dismissive of all the Boston charter school research results, just of every element other than 4-year graduation rates.

            “I’ll ask Han the Hoxby question and will share her response.”
            Thanks though I fear imposing too much on her… If Han doesn’t have it in hand, she may need to request from Hoxby the data substantiating the “similar though attenuated results” that Hoxby vouches for, but doesn’t detail, in her paper.

            “The mystery, of course, is why, if unions cause drop out rates to rise, would the drop out rate have dropped over the past three decades, even as unionization rates among teachers have increased.”

            Global warming? I don’t know. I may need to re-read this and get back to you should I ever get all our variables squared away:
            https://jaypgreene.com/tag/josh-angrist/

  4. this is the conversation within my city ; I am so proud of our Mayor in Haverhill Jim Fiorentini ”
    Marc Kenen, executive director of the charter school association, and Mayor James J. Fiorentini at last night’s Haverhill School Committee discussion of a resolution against lifting the cap, which the committee later approved on a 4-3 vote. [The meeting tape is online. Address available on request].
    Kenan: [2:09:00]:
    We don’t have a traditional school committee like you. Our board of trustees is not elected, like you. It’s an innovative model. It’s a different model, we’re trying something different. [He went on to describe it as similar to the way non-profit boards are chosen.]
    Mayor Fiorentini: [2:28:10]:
    The gentleman that spoke said, “We don’t have an election, we have a new and innovative way of choosing people to run our schools.” Well, we have an innovative way of running them. It’s called “democracy.”

  5. “cost John Kerry the 2012 presidential election”

    great article, informative as usual, just wanted to point this out before some hater noticed it

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