Not like the movies?

Where they open a charter school, and everyone lives happily ever after?

WASHINGTON — When it comes to charter schools, the bad ones stay bad and the good ones stay good, according to a report on charter school growth released by an influential group of Stanford University scholars on Wednesday.

“There are very predictable lanes on quality, and once you get into a lane, a new school tends to not move very much,” said Macke Raymond, the economist in charge of the university’s Center for Research on Education Outcomes institute and an author of the report. “High stays high and low stays low.”

The report, “Charter School Growth and Replications,” found that, with some exceptions, charter schools that start strong are likely to stay that way, just as low-performing schools usually remain at the bottom. The study ranked charter schools within five levels based on performance, and found that 80 percent of schools in the bottom level during their first year remained there for five years. Similarly, 94 percent of schools that started at the top remained there. The only schools that changed levels were elementary schools and those in the second-lowest group, with half becoming worse and half becoming better.

“Substantial improvement over time is largely absent from middle schools, multi-level schools and high schools,” the authors wrote. “Only elementary schools showed an upward pattern of growth” if they started out in the bottom two levels.

Bus driver killer is survivalist wingnut

Color me shocked. Thank God he got to exercise his Second Amendment privileges, huh?

MIDLAND CITY, Alabama — Ronda Wilbur described for reporters today the building of a bunker and the beating of her dog, she says at the hands of Jimmy Lee Dykes, 65.

Dykes is a suspect in shooting and killing a school bus driver on Tuesday in Dale County, taking a 6-year-old autistic child hostage, and retreating to his property and a bunker there. Wilbur says she believes Dykes was building a safe place and had spoken against the government.

Wilbur also says Dykes was due in court on a menacing charge that involved an argument with his neighbors over incursions onto his property. Wilbur claims Dykes beat her dog with a lead pipe, inflicting injuries that led to the animal’s death.

[…] According to law enforcement sources, the 6-year-old boy being held hostage is autistic, and also requires medication. That medication was allowed to be delivered to him, authorities said. The suspect reportedly has no ties to the little boy.

Sources tell the suspect is a Vietnam veteran looking to gain attention to “air his grievances.” The Southern Poverty Law Center said today that Dale County Sheriff’s Investigator Tim Byrd told SPLC’s “Hatewatch” that Dykes has “anti-America” views. They described him as a “survivalist” with ties to the anti-government movement.

Debtor’s prison

It’s what America is turning into — again. GO read the history and ask yourself if we have what it takes to fight back, as Americans did in the past:

Today, we have entered a new phase. What might be called capitalist underdevelopment and once again debt has emerged as both the central mode of capital accumulation and a principal mechanism of servitude. Warren Buffett (of all people) has predicted that, in the coming decades, the United States is more likely to turn into a “sharecropper society” than an “ownership society.”

In our time, the financial sector has enriched itself by devouring the productive wherewithal of industrial America through debt, starving the public sector of resources, and saddling ordinary working people with every conceivable form of consumer debt.

Household debt, which in 1952 was at 36% of total personal income, had by 2006 hit 127%. Even financing poverty became a lucrative enterprise. Taking advantage of the low credit ratings of poor people and their need for cash to pay monthly bills or simply feed themselves, some check-cashing outlets, payday lenders, tax preparers, and others levy interest of 200% to 300% and more. As recently as the 1970s, a good part of this would have been considered illegal under usury laws that no longer exist. And these poverty creditors are often tied to the largest financiers, including Citibank, Bank of America, and American Express.

Credit has come to function as a “plastic safety net” in a world of job insecurity, declining state support, and slow-motion economic growth, especially among the elderly, young adults, and low-income families. More than half the pre-tax income of these three groups goes to servicing debt. Nowadays, however, the “company store” is headquartered on Wall Street.

Debt is driving this system of auto-cannibalism which, by every measure of social wellbeing, is relentlessly turning a developed country into an underdeveloped one.

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde are back. Is a political resistance to debt servitude once again imaginable?

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