Sunday, May 18, 2014

Stats on People Who Push Making Money Off Public Schools

From Diane Ravitch:  The trade journal Alpha recently reported that the hedge fund industry’s top 25 earners collected $21.15 billion, a whopping 50 percent over their total the year before.

A hedge fund manager in 2013 needed to take in $300 million just to make the top 25. Ten years ago, in 2004, an aspiring hedge fund kingpin only had to grab $30 million to enter the industry’s top 25 elite.

But the real enormity of America’s annual hedge fund jackpots only comes into focus when we contrast these windfalls with the rewards that go to ordinary Americans. Kindergarten teachers, for instance.

The 157,800 teachers of America’s little people, the Bureau of Labor Statistics tells us, together make about $8.34 billion a year.  

Hedge fund America’s top four earners alone last year grabbed $10.4 billion.

From Moyers & Company's Sam Pizzigati:

Hedge fund billionaires are indeed investing colossal millions in charters, educational entities — often tied closely to for-profits — that take in public tax dollars but operate independently of local school board oversight.

Hedge fund manager cash has gone both to individual charter schools directly and into political war chests to support candidates who want to see charter networks expanded. Thanks to this cash, charters have become a major fact of American educational life, with a “market share” that rivals traditional public schools in many big cities.

Also in that landscape: plenty of high-return investment opportunities for hedge fund managers. A federal tax break known as the “New Markets” tax credit lets hedge funds that invest in charters double their money in seven years. Charters have become, notes one education analyst, “just another investor playground for easy money passed from taxpayers to the wealthy.”

The final indignity? The families of those kindergarten teachers who make less in a year than the average top 25 hedge fund manager makes in 15 minutes pay a greater share of their incomes in taxes than hedge fund moguls pay on theirs, thanks largely to a notorious tax code loophole — known as carried interest — that Congress has not yet seen fit to plug. 

It's also important to note that our Legislature gives many tax breaks to huge companies like Boeing, Microsoft and Amazon.  So those companies don't pay their fair share of state taxes. 

As well, some don't get taxed by the City of Seattle for impact fees from their expansion.  (Impact fees would likely allow a downtown school to coming into being much faster.) 

And yet, you still hear Gates and Bezos complain about Washington state's public education system.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...


We recently (Nov 2013) went thought a OSPI citizen complaint (CC) process 13-60 for reference. We prevailed in stopping the school from using studies skills class as a dumping ground for students with IEPs unless agreed to by the parents.

In September per the district we had to revoke services for our son until a ruling on the CC was completed.
Since we prevailed in the ruling we moved to reinstate his IEP (a normally quick process). To date (130 days) we still don't have him back on his IEP and now the district is taking us to court over asking for an Independent Evaluation (IEE) to take place. This means he went the entire school year without services.

The district spends over 3 million dollars annually on outside legal services when in most cases they are in the wrong. Why would the legal dept waste money like this?

Maybe there something else going on here.

In our case they should have just reinstated an existing valid IEP using our IEE from the UW and other outside professional experts thus avoiding spending money on outside legal services.

Instead they choose to hire an outside firm (CURRAN) and pay thousands of dollars in fees, BTW the firm happens to be the one where the current special ed lawyer Andrea Schiers worked before taking the job at the district.

The District’s Ethics Policy does prohibit an employee from participating in decisions that could benefit a firm or employer that he/she was employed with in the preceding year. It also prevents employees who have a financial interest with a firm from participating as well. Employees must disclose their relationship with firms when they are involved in decision making on contracting with those firms.

This is definitely suspicious and could explain why the district legal dept. spends so much money annually.

I hope you find this information compelling enough to pursue your own investigation, there are thousand of students suffering in bad system that needs someone to daylight the issue.

Sincerely,

--Michael

Melissa Westbrook said...

Michael, it is probably cheaper to wait for a single parent to sue than to fulfill the IEPs. I hate to say that but it likely the truth.