Rolling Stone article sending shock waves throughout higher education America.
To see my School Reform Resource Page, see www.arightdenied.com. To be added to my school reform email list, email me at WTilson at tilsonfunds.com.
The wrongs described in Rolling Stone are appalling and have caused all of us to reexamine our responsibility to this community. Rape is an abhorrent crime that has no place in the world, let alone on the campuses and grounds of our nation's colleges and universities. We know, and have felt very powerfully this week, that we are better than we have been described, and that we have a responsibility to live our tradition of honor every day, and as importantly every night.
As you are aware, I have asked the Charlottesville Police Department to investigate the 2012 assault that is described in Rolling Stone. There are individuals in our community who know what happened that night, and I am calling on them to come forward to the police to report the facts. Only you can shed light on the truth, and it is your responsibility to do so. Alongside this investigation, we as a community must also do a systematic evaluation of our culture to ensure that one of our founding principles– the pursuit of truth – remains a pillar on which we can stand. There is no greater threat to honor than secrecy and indifference.
I write you today in solidarity. I write you in great sorrow, great rage, but most importantly, with great determination. Meaningful change is necessary, and we can lead that change for all universities. We can demand that incidents like those described in Rolling Stone never happen and that if they do, the responsible are held accountable to the law. This will require institutional change, cultural change, and legislative change, and it will not be easy. We are making those changes.
From: Jalen Ross, Student Council President <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Fri, Nov 21, 2014 at 5:33 PM
Subject: Rolling Stone Must Unite Us, Not Divide Us
I can't tell you how many times I've heard the question, "If we can expel people for cheating on a test, why can't we expel someone for rape?" As someone who has worked on sexual assault prevention and adjudication during her time at U.Va. and as a survivor myself, I feel the deep frustration the apparent paradox generates. And yet, I've come to understand that the seemingly obvious answer—expel them, duh—is constrained by a whole host of federal legislation and precedent. It's not about U.Va. It's about our national system. Many of us live in the glorified legal fiction of "Law & Order: SVU." The realities are far more complex, and sadly, far more bleak. I want to take this opportunity to clarify the frustration with a cursory legal overview of the problems institutions like U.Va. face when confronting the conflict between Title IX and due process.
As the Columbia University student tells it, the encounter was harmless fun: A female freshman invited him into her suite bathroom, got a condom, took off her clothes and had sex with him. But as that young woman later described it to university officials, the encounter was not consensual. The university suspended him for a year.
He felt the outcome was unjust, but he did not know what to do about it. His lawyer, Andrew Miltenberg of Manhattan, did.
Invoking Title IX, the federal gender-equality statute that is typically used to protect the rights of female students, he sued Columbia, saying his client had been "discriminated against on the basis of his male sex."
At a moment when students who have been sexually assaulted are finding new ways to make their voices heard, and as college officials across the country are rushing to meet new government standards, a specialized class of lawyers is raising its voice, too. They are speaking out on behalf of the students they describe as most vulnerable: not those who might be subjected to sexual assault, but those who have been accused of it.
Dozens of Harvard Law School faculty members are asking the university to withdraw its new sexual misconduct policy, saying that it violates basic principles of fairness and would do more harm than good.
"Harvard has adopted procedures for deciding cases of alleged sexual misconduct which lack the most basic elements of fairness and due process, are overwhelmingly stacked against the accused, and are in no way required" by the federal anti-discrimination law, known as Title IX, they wrote in an op-ed article signed by 28 current and retired members of the Harvard Law faculty and posted online by The Boston Globe on Tuesday night.
"It's a totally secret process, in which real genuine unfairnesses can happen, and it's so airtight that no one would know," Janet Halley, one of the professors who signed the article, said Wednesday.
At a September 2013 investment conference, hedge-fund manager Whitney Tilson cited K12's recruitment methods as one reason why he was shorting its stock, along with weak test results and high student turnover. In a short sale, investors sell borrowed shares, and profit when a stock falls by buying cheaper shares that are returned to the lender.
Three weeks later, shares fell 38 percent in one day because of an announcement about weaker enrollment. Tilson, the managing partner of New York hedge fund Case Capital Management, said one of his funds made $500,000 from the decline in K12 shares.
As a former board member of the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools, Tilson is an unlikely opponent of K12, he said.
"I'm not against charter schools, I'm not against for-profits, I'm not against online," he said in an interview. "I'm just against all of those things run amok."
In a statement, the company said most of Tilson's analysis was "incorrect or tainted" because he "economically benefited from a negative report."
Of course you've heard of the notorious criminal Jesse James , but you may not be familiar with Baker Mitchell. He's a businessman who has figured out a completely legal way to extract millions of dollars from North Carolina in payment for his public  charter schools.
I read on the internet that Mr. Mitchell is the salt of the earth, a successful entrepreneur from Texas who decided to devote his retirement years to improving the lives of disadvantaged children, when he might have chosen to go fishing and play golf. He's a "Liberty Leader" who uses "his energy and charitable dollars to change education for the better — to drive education paradigms back to more traditional, classical methods with their proven records of accomplishment and success." All that must be true because I read it on the internet. 
So Mr. Mitchell, now 74, moved from Texas to North Carolina and opened some charter schools to help children. He now has four and has been talking about opening more.
And why wouldn't he? Even though none of his publicly-funded schools is set up to run 'for profit,' about$19,000,000 of the $55,000,000 he has received in public funds has gone to his own for-profit businesses, which manage many aspects of the schools. That information, and more, can be found in Marian Wang's brilliant reporting for Pro Publica.
Here's a short excerpt:
Every year, millions of public education dollars flow through Mitchell's chain of four nonprofit charter schools to for-profit companies he controls.
The schools buy or lease nearly everything from companies owned by Mitchell. Their desks. Their computers. The training they provide to teachers. Most of the land and buildings. Unlike with traditional school districts, at Mitchell's charter schools there's no competitive bidding. No evidence of haggling over rent or contracts.
The schools have all hired the same for-profit management company to run their day-to-day operations. The company, Roger Bacon Academy, is owned by Mitchell. It functions as the schools' administrative arm, taking the lead in hiring and firing school staff. It handles most of the bookkeeping. The treasurer of the nonprofit that controls the four schools is also the chief financial officer of Mitchell's management company. The two organizations even share a bank account.
Pro Publica reports that Roger Bacon Academy rents land, buildings and equipment from Coastal Habitat Conservancy LLC, which Mr. Mitchell also owns. Until last year, he also sat on the charter school Board of Trustees.
Mr. Mitchell seems to have experienced a learning curve. At first he billed his own charter schools for only two line items: 'Building and equipment rental' and 'Management fees,' for a total of just $2,600,878 in FY2008 and $2,325,881 in FY2009.
But apparently he was learning how the system works. In FY 2010 he added an innocuous sounding line item, "Allocated costs," for which he billed $739,893, cracking the $3,000,000 barrier.
In FY2011 he added more line items:
Staff development & supervision: $549,626
Back office & support: $169,357
Building rent-classrooms: $965,740
Building rent-administration offices: $82,740, and
Miscellaneous equipment rent: $317,898.
The grand total for FY2011 was $3,712,946.
Jesse James was shot by a member of his own gang; if he were alive today, he might be dying from envy.
Mr. Mitchell broke the $4,000,000 barrier in FY2012, when the same line items totaled $4,137,382.
According to the audited financial statements for FY2013, Mr. Mitchell's companies received $6,313,924, as follows:
16% management fee: $2,047,873
Administrative support: $2,796,943
Building and equipment rental: $1,474,108
Dig into the audited statements (here and here) and you get some idea of where the $6,313,924 did not go. For example, the schools spent only $16,319 on staff development , which works out to less than three-tenths of one percent. They report spending just $28,060 on computers and technology, which is also about three-tenths of one percent.
Are you curious to know where the money comes from? In FY2013 Mr. Mitchell's schools collected nearly$9,000,000 from North Carolina and the federal government. Local school districts paid Mr. Mitchell's schools anywhere from $4095 to $1,712,328, depending upon the number of students from that district.
Don't forget charitable contributions. Mr. Mitchell's schools report receiving a whopping $93 in donations.
Of course the entire $15,000,000 that has gone to Mr. Mitchell's companies has not been profit; surely there were legitimate expenses, such as building maintenance, insurance, utilities and so forth. That's a logical leap, but we have to infer because he does not have to disclose spending. These are public dollars (all but that whopping $93 donation), but the public has no right to know how its money is being spent because the charter schools aren't actually spending the money; his for-profit businesses are. Non-disclosure is fine with him, as Pro Publica reported.
Baker Mitchell is a politically connected North Carolina businessman who celebrates the power of the free market. Every year, millions of public education dollars flow through Mitchell's chain of four nonprofit charter schools to for-profit companies he controls.
Now, a new working paper suggests that schools in Los Angeles often wind up putting children of color in classrooms with teachers who have less skill and experience than those who teach their white classmates.
The differences were slight -- enough to move the average black, Hispanic or Asian student one or two percentiles lower on standardized tests -- but statistically significant. Harvard University's Thomas Kane, one of the authors of the paper, already made some of the results public while testifying in the Los Angeles case, Vergara v. California.
The impassioned debate over tenure and compensation for teachers has continued in the months since the ruling. Just this week, the Obama administration asked states to come up with plans for distributing the best teachers equally among students, regardless of race or family income.
In an interview, Kane explained how teachers' contracts can affect where the best ones work. Teachers often don't want to teach in schools in impoverished neighborhoods, because the job is so much more exhausting than in schools where the students come from happier homes and are generally better behaved.
In a district such as Los Angeles, teachers with seniority might have a contractual right to transfer to a post of their choice. Younger teachers who are just learning the profession end up working with poorer students, who are also often students of color.
"Our schools serving our most disadvantaged students are the places where novice teachers get hired and broken in," Kane said. "Once they develop some experience, they move to other schools."
Figuring out what to do about that is a problem that no one has quite been able to solve. The administration's notice to states this week offered little in the way of specifics about how to get the best teachers to where their talents are needed most.
Like many economists, Kane feels that skilled teachers who work in disadvantaged neighborhoods should be paid bonuses to encourage them to stay, but identifying the best teachers poses additional questions.