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AP Exclusive Billionaires fuel US charter schools movement

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first_imgSEATTLE – Dollar for dollar, the beleaguered movement to bring charter schools to Washington state has had no bigger champion than billionaire Bill Gates.The Microsoft co-founder gave millions of dollars to see a charter school law approved despite multiple failed ballot referendums. And his private foundation not only helped create the Washington State Charter Schools Association, but has at times contributed what amounts to an entire year’s worth of revenues for the 5-year-old charter advocacy group.All told, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has given about $25 million to the charter group that is credited with keeping the charter schools open after the state struck down the law, and then lobbying legislators to revive the privately run, publicly funded schools.It’s an extreme example of how billionaires are influencing state education policy by giving money to state-level charter support organizations to sustain, defend and expand the charter schools movement across the country.Since 2006, philanthropists and their private foundations and charities have given almost half a billion dollars to those groups, according to an Associated Press analysis of tax filings and Foundation Center data. The review looked at 52 groups noted by a U.S. Department of Education website as official charter school resources in the 44 states plus Washington, D.C., that currently have a charter law, as well as the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools.Most of the money has gone to the top 15 groups, which received $425 million from philanthropy. The Walton Family Foundation, run by the heirs to the Walmart fortune, is the largest donor to the state charter advocates, giving $144 million to 27 groups.“We ought to be paying more attention to who these organizations are, and what kind of vision they have, and what drives them. A lot of these organizations have extraordinary influence, and it’s often pretty quiet influence,” said Jon Valant, an education policy expert at Brookings.Charters aren’t subject to the same rules or standards governing traditional public schools but are embraced by Gates and other philanthropists who see them as investments in developing better and different ways to educate those who struggle in traditional school systems, particularly children in poor, urban areas. Studies on academic success are mixed.The charter support groups, as nonprofits, are typically forbidden from involvement in political campaigns, but the same wealthy donors who sustain them in many cases directly channel support to pro-charter candidates through related political action committees or their own contributions. In one indication of the philanthropy’s success in asserting its priorities, Georgia’s lieutenant governor was recorded saying he was motivated to support school choice laws to curry the Walton foundation’s favour for his gubernatorial campaign. The Walton foundation has denied any connection to the candidate.Nationwide, about 5 per cent of students attend charters. They have become a polarizing political issue amid criticism from some, notably teachers unions, that they drain resources from cash-starved schools and erode the neighbourhood schooling model that defines communities.The Walton foundation notes the groups it funds have resources that often pale in comparison to the war chests of teachers unions, the usual foes in their battles over state education policy.“The philanthropic support is essential for a small group of schools” that represents disadvantage families without their own political power, said Robin Lake, director of the Center on Reinventing Public Education, a University of Washington-affiliated think-tank that has in the past been funded by the Gates foundation to support charter schools and traditional school districts working together.But John Rogers, an education policy expert and UCLA professor, said it’s a problem for democracy that billionaires who back a certain model of education reform can go toe-to-toe with a critical mass of professional teachers.“A handful of billionaires who are advancing their vision of education reform is very different than having 200,000-some odd teachers across the state representing their understanding of public education through their union representation,” Rogers said.In California, the Waltons are the biggest backers of the powerhouse California Charter School Association, which has gotten more than $100 million since 2006 with support coming also from Gates, Michael and Susan Dell and the Mark Zuckerburg-backed Silicon Valley Community foundations.“We’re proud of our partners and very open about our desired outcomes, and that is, honestly, access to more better schools,” said Marc Sternberg, who leads the Walton foundation’s education program.Sternberg said the foundation doesn’t set the agenda but wants to empower the local vision, which has included the charter association’s fight for more money and access to public school buildings through lawsuits against Los Angeles Unified, the country’s second-largest school district. The California charter group said it works aggressively when painted into a corner.A political arm of the association also has been a force in Golden State politics. It’s now focusing on pushing pro-charter candidates in the November election, including former charter schools executive Marshall Tuck for state schools superintendent, and a number of legislative seats.In Washington state, charter skeptics say Gates single-handedly propped up the entire charter school network. He gave at least $4 million to help pass a state charter school law, though the concept had failed three times at the ballot. Voters eventually approved a charter school law in 2012, making Washington one of the last states to adopt the schooling model.After the state’s highest court ruled in 2015 that the charter law’s funding model was unconstitutional, the Gates-backed state charter group shepherded almost $5 million to keep the lights on at six charter schools and urged legislators to pass a new law. In 2016, its political arm called Washington Charters Action was created, and an affiliated political action committee has already given small amounts to dozens of state lawmakers up for election this fall.Today, the state’s teachers union is challenging the second version of the law. The Washington Educators Association’s spokesman Rich Wood said the charter group inserted itself into the case after the union sued the state.The Washington charter group — and all the charter schools in the state — wouldn’t agree to be interviewed. The Gates foundation said in a statement it is not involved with the lawsuit but values the association’s technical work helping charter schools blossom.Some critics say money can define the advocacy itself, so not all charter support groups accept money from the billionaire philanthropists.A second statewide charter support organization in California, the Charter Schools Development Center, relies on programming fees to preserve its independence, according to director Eric Premack.Though the two California charter groups share many similar values, Premack said, they’re on different sides of the testing issue: how to and how much to use test scores to determine educational quality. Premack said he rejects test-based accountability — embraced by the California Charter Schools Association and many of its business mogul donors — as antithetical to the charter movement’s innovative spirit.“You often find them being close political bedfellows — if not the same — who support high-stakes testing,” Premack said.___Associated Press journalist Larry Fenn in New York contributed to this report.___Follow AP Education Reporter Sally Ho on Twitter: https://twitter.com/_SallyHolast_img read more

Find Your Fit comes to Dr Kearney Middle School

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first_imgChristina Cressman, a tour presenter with WorkBC Find Your Fit says the program goes to different schools all around British Columbia, two schools a week, travelling to 40 cities.Cressman said, “We come into the schools and set up for the whole school day and then stay open for the community session from 3 to 7 p.m. and we have about 12 different stations here. The stations show them an idea of different careers”.Some of the stations included a 3-d printer, carpenter’s table, computer programing and even a flight simulator.Students were also given the opportunity to use an Ipad station to access software that displays an up-to-date list of careers currently available in B.C.“The main goal of this event is to get students thinking about post-secondary and what they want to do with their lives once they’re done school,” said Cressman.The program started in October and finishes up in March. FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – Students were given the opportunity to explore career paths at the ‘Find Your Fit’ event at Dr. Kearney Middle School on Friday.The event offered a wide range of hands-on displays featuring many career possibilities.Hosted by WorkBC, the event aims to get students enthused about the workforce. For more information on Find Your Fit, you can visit https://www.workbc.ca/Jobs-Careers/Find-Your-Fit-Tour.aspxlast_img read more

Taapsee to work in supernatural thriller

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first_imgMumbai: Filmmaker Anurag Kashyap and actor Taapsee Pannu are coming together again for a supernatural thriller. The yet-untitled film will be produced by Sunir Kheterpal for Azure Entertainment and will be shot in November and December this year. It is slated to release in 2020. “I always knew I will work again with Anurag considering the experience I had during Manmarziyaan but didn’t know it will happen so soon,” Taapsee said in a statement. Also Read – Hilarie Burton, Jeffery Dean Morgan tie the knot”Sunir and I have also been discussing on working on more subjects together since quite some time and this was an immediate ayes’ for all of us on board. I am looking forward to this film as I have not explored supernatural genre in Hindi films as yet,” she added. At the moment, Kashyap is busy exploring locations for setting of the film as the place where the movie is set is integral to the supernatural theme. “Taapsee keeps me on my toes and she is on a mission to push me to take on challenges. She threw this one at me and I am taking it on. I have never done anything like this before so I am looking forward to it,” Kashyap said. To this Kheterpal said: “It is a delight to package this subject with supremely talented combination of Anurag and Taapsee. We have been brought together by superlative material and it is going to be an exciting journey owing to the genre and the talent attached to the film.”last_img read more

Philippine SC orders release of drug war evidence

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first_imgManila: The Philippine Supreme Court on Tuesday ordered the release of police documents on thousands of killings of suspects in the president’s anti-drug crackdown, in a ruling that human rights groups said could shed light on allegations of extrajudicial killings. Supreme Court spokesman Brian Keith Hosaka said the court ordered the government solicitor-general to provide the police reports to two rights groups which had sought them. The 15-member court, whose justices are meeting in northern Baguio city, has yet to rule on a separate petition to declare President Rodrigo Duterte’s anti-drug campaign unconstitutional. Also Read – Saudi Crown Prince ‘snubbed’ Pak PM, recalled jet from USSolicitor-General Jose Calida had earlier agreed to release the voluminous police documents to the court but rejected the requests of the two groups, the Free Legal Assistance Group and the Center for International Law, arguing that such a move would undermine law enforcement and national security. The two groups welcomed the court order. “It’s a big step forward for transparency and accountability,” said Jose Manuel “Chel” Diokno, who heads the Free Legal Assistance Group. Also Read – Record number of 35 candidates in fray for SL Presidential pollsHe said the documents will help the group of human rights lawyers scrutinize the police-led crackdown that was launched when Duterte came to office in mid-2016, and the massive number of killings that the president and police say occurred when suspects fought back and endangered law enforcers, Diokno said. “This is an emphatic statement by the highest court of the land that it will not allow the rule of law to be trampled upon in the war on drugs. It is a very important decision,” said Joel Butuyan, president of the Center for International Law. “These documents are the first step toward the long road to justice for the petitioners and for thousands of victims of the ‘war on drugs’ and their families,” Butuyan said.last_img read more

Gang of auto lifters who stole vehicles from dark spots busted

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first_imgNew Delhi: Delhi Police on Wednesday said that they have busted a gang who steal vehicles from dark spots of public parking and market areas in city. Police have recovered 15 stolen vehicles from their possession.Police identified the accused as Ravi, Iliyas and Dharambir. They were arrested from the area of Palam Village. During interrogation, it revealed that accused Ravi formed a new gang by the name of “Handi Gang” for stealing Two-Wheelers. Also Read – After eight years, businessman arrested for kidnap & murderHe along with his associates Iliyas and Dharambir has committed several Auto-thefts in the ares of Dwarka, South-West, West, Outer-North and North Distt. During further interrogation, he has disclosed his involvements in several cases of vehicle theft. Deputy Commissioner of Police (South West) Devender Arya said that the gang used to recce dark spots of public parking and market areas and then planned to steal two wheelers which were parked. Also Read – Two brothers held for snatchings”After getting suitable opportunity they used to break open lock with master key or screw driver and start the same without need of key,” said DCP Arya. After committing thefts, they used to park stolen vehicles in open spaces, parking, etc and later, sell it to one Md. Safique of Meerut, who further used to dispose stolen vehicles to Kabari dealers. A team of AATS comprising SI Mahesh, ASI Devender constituted under Inspector AATS Rajesh Malik and overall supervision of ACP Operations South West Distt Satish Kumar made the arrest.last_img read more

No changes needed in citizenship bill if Clause 6 implemented properly: Assam CM Sonowal

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first_imgGuwahati: The citizenship bill does not require any changes if Clause 6 of the Assam Accord is implemented properly, says Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal about the proposed legislation which the top BJP leadership has vowed to bring back if voted back to power.In an interview to PTI, the student leader-turned politician said the bill will be brought after arriving at a consensus with all stakeholders. “It (amending the Act) is not a new thing as amendments were taken up nine times before this also. This is a continuous process since 1950,” he said, adding the BJP will ensure constitutional safeguards to Northeast’s political, cultural, social and linguistic identity. Also Read – Uddhav bats for ‘Sena CM’When asked if the Assam government will request the Centre to make necessary changes in the existing bill to allay apprehensions of the people here, Sonowal said that is not needed if the Clause 6 of the Assam Accord is implemented properly. The Clause 6 of the Assam Accord, which was signed in 1985 after the Assam Agitation of 1979-85, envisages that appropriate constitutional, legislative and administrative safeguards, should be provided to protect, preserve and promote the cultural, social, linguistic identity and heritage of the people of Assam. Also Read – Farooq demands unconditional release of all detainees in J&K”If Clause 6 is implemented in letter and spirit, then the indigenous people of Assam are well guarded and protected. That was the agenda ought to be taken up on priority by earlier governments, but it was never seriously considered, Sonowal said. “Now the prime minister has taken up the matter with sincerity, commitment and dedication. So, I believe once it is implemented, we have nothing to worry. If Clause 6 is implemented, we have no issue with the citizenship bill, even if it comes in the current form, he added. Several groups and parties have opposed the bill, which was passed by the Lok Sabha on January 8 but was not tabled in Rajya Sabha and seeks to provide Indian citizenship to Hindus, Jains, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists and Parsis from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan after six years of residence in India even if they do not possess any document.last_img read more

Despite missing Big Ten Tournament Ohio State womens soccer ready for new

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Senior defender Megan Fuller pursues the ball during a game against Purdue Sept. 29 at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium. OSU lost, 1-0.Credit: Michele Theodore / Copy chiefFor the Ohio State women’s soccer team, the season appeared to be at an end.Held out of the Big Ten Tournament, it looked like the Buckeyes, including the second most successful senior class in program history, had played their last game when they fell to Michigan, 2-0, Nov. 2 in Ann Arbor.But on Monday, OSU found out its season would continue, as the team was awarded a spot in the NCAA Tournament, and all coach Lori Walker can worry about is making sure her team makes it on the bus.“I’m focused on getting on the bus right now, and making sure we have all the players and the pennies and the balls,” the 17-year veteran said Wednesday, referring to making sure all the players, jerseys and soccer balls are packed. “With this group, you’ve got to keep it that simple.”Assuming the Buckeyes, and all necessary equipment, do make it on the bus, they are set to take on Kentucky in Lexington, Ky., at 7:30 p.m. Friday for their first-round matchup.Walker called being selected a “great honor.”“We’re going to go down and play Kentucky as hard as we can,” she added.Senior defender Megan Fuller, part of a 2013 class that ranks second in program history with 55 wins, said it will be important to remember the significance of being selected.“I know it’s the first time for the freshmen, so it’s something new and they’re really excited,” she said. “It’s an experience that not a lot of people get.”This will be Fuller’s fourth consecutive NCAA berth, and the fifth straight for the OSU program.The Buckeyes fell on penalty kicks after drawing, 1-1, against Oakland in the first round of the 2012 edition. OSU made it to the third round in 2011, the semifinals in 2010 and lost in the first round in 2009.For players who were not around for previous tournaments, like freshman forward Nichelle Prince, the tournament represents a chance to make an early mark in their careers.“We didn’t have the best season,” Prince said of the Buckeyes, who finished the year 10-6-3 overall and 4-5-2 in conference play. “This is kind of our comeback and I think we’re all pumped and ready to go.”Prince, who led the team with 12 goals this season, said being held out of the Big Ten Tournament will not give the team a chip on its shoulder, but can still be a motivator going forward.“This is just going to push us to get better,” she said. “We’re mad about not making (the Big Ten Tournament), but this is like a new slate, a new season, so we’re going to come out harder.”While it will be Prince’s first run for a championship, Fuller said she wants to feed on her past chances going forward.The 2011 Buckeyes, who, like their 2013 counterparts, squeaked their way into the tournament, ended up making an inspiring run, Fuller said.“We went to the Sweet 16,” she said. “We were just having fun and playing and scoring lots of goals, so hopefully that’s what happens again.”Walker added that her team could be a group nobody wants to play in the tournament, especially not the other teams in the Big Ten.“We were the team that nobody would want to play again (in the conference),” she said. “It’s a nice compliment, but, at the same time, we didn’t get done what we wanted to get done.“You’ve got to beat the top teams in order to be one of the best teams, and that’s the lesson we’re really trying to spill onto this young program.”If the Buckeyes top Kentucky, they will likely set themselves up for a date with one of the best. OSU would be set up to face off against the winner of two-seed UCLA and San Diego State Nov. 22 in the round of 32. read more

Craig Bellamy believes Wales will qualify for 2020 Euros

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first_imgFormer Manchester City and Wales striker Craig Bellamy has backed his country to qualify for the European Championships in two years time.Speaking to BBC Sport, Bellamy said: “I believe in this group and think they have got one or two tournaments in them,”“I would expect us to qualify for the next Euros.”He also believes that Wales should be developing a stronger ‘structure’ at youth level in order to build teams capable of regularly competing at major tournaments in the future.“I’m more concerned with the next generation than the current one,” Bellamy continued.“How do we get them to become successful because at younger age groups we’re nowhere near qualifying for major tournaments?”“That needs to be addressed, as does our identity to what the senior team plays like.”“We can build a structure but we must have a clear identity. We talk identity and we’re very good at lip service.”Daniel James, WalesGiggs is full of praise for Daniel James Manuel R. Medina – September 10, 2019 According to Wales national team manager Ryan Giggs, footballer Daniel James is unstoppable after he helped his team secure a victory against Belarus.“But do we truly believe in it? I haven’t seen it and that needs to be hit home for us to have a future in the next 10 to 20 years.”The former Blackburn Rover’s star finished by praising the English FA for their current set up and believes the Welsh should look to follow their example going forward.“England have had a lot of success in youth tournaments, winning World Cups, and that tells me straight away they’re heading in the right direction,” he added.“They’re going to have a lot of confidence on the back of that when it comes to senior level.”“The FA are on the right path, they’ve got their act together and that’s what is putting them ahead of most nations.”last_img read more

Report Juventus eye a move for Christian Eriksen

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first_imgJuventus are reportedly considering a move for Christian Eriksen in the January transfer windowThe 26-year-old playmaker’s current deal at Tottenham will expire in June 2020, amid reported interested from Barcelona and Real Madrid.Eriksen recently admitted that he’s unsure whether a new contract is on the table for him at Spurs.Now Tuttosport claims that Juventus will make a move for Eriksen if their bid to re-sign Paul Pogba from Manchester United fails.Romelu Lukaku, Inter MilanLukaku backed to beat Ronaldo in Serie A scoring charts Andrew Smyth – September 14, 2019 Former Inter Milan star Andy van der Meyde is confident Romelu Lukaku will outscore Cristiano Ronaldo in this season’s Serie A.Eriksen has struggled to get back into favour with coach Mauricio Pochettino at Spurs after returning from an abdominal injury in mid-October.The Denmark international has only played 90 minutes of football twice for Spurs since then, but still has no shortage of admirers.Eriksen has managed 57 goals and 73 assists in 239 appearances for Spurs across all competitions since his arrival from Ajax in 2013.last_img read more

Notice Daubenspeck Pond Not Ready For Ice Activity

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first_imgFacebook0TwitterEmailPrintFriendly分享The City of Kenai Parks and Recreation Department say Daubenspeck Pond is not ready for ice activity. We will post a notice when crews determine the ice is safe for us to maintain and you to enjoy. Thank you! Daubenspeck Park Pond is nearly an acre and a half and features two pavilions, bathrooms, and numerous picnic tables. In the winter, the city maintains the pond to allow ice skating and hockey. The rink is a figure-eight course, and open to the public when weather permits.center_img Daubenspeck Pond is located just off Marathon Road, behind Walmart, in Kenai. According to a post on social media on December 26 from the parks department they have been ‘ice checking’ the pond and it’s not ready for any on ice activity.last_img read more