Hallandale Beach Blog -A common sense public policy overview offering a critical perspective on the current events, politics, govt., public policy, sports scene and pop culture of the U.S., South Florida and Europe, especially the UK and Sweden. In particular, Broward & Miami-Dade County, and the cities of Hallandale Beach, Hollywood & Aventura. Trust me when I tell you, this part of Florida is NOT the Land of Lincoln. Pictured in upper-left is Hallandale Beach's iconic beachball-colored Water Tower on State Road A1A; September 2008 photo by me, South Beach Hoosier. © 2013 Hallandale Beach Blog, All Rights Reserved.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

SaveHallandale.com deconstructs the myth of the might of Peter Deutsch's Ben Gamla Jewish Charter School and reveals its true purpose

Today, SaveHallandale.com deconstructs the myth of the might of the Ben Gamla Jewish Charter School political machine that employs whatever tactics it needs to get what IT wants, whether by self-evident intimidation, threats or the very worst sort of pandering and condescension, regardless of what the people of Hallandale Beach want, especially the parents of HB school kids.

Yes, creepy and impudent Peter Deutsch & Co. are finally starting to get the kind of public opprobrium they've richly earned thru their own noxious words and actions, and I have to tell you, it fits them like a glove!


As I've often remarked on this subject here on the blog over the past two years, it's a pity that the South Florida news media was asleep at the wheel all year, and never bothered to notice this issue in a serious way, even while they did a decent job of covering the charter school trying to shoe-horn their way into one particular incompatible neighborhood in Coral Gables, a compelling story I posted here.

Actually, I seem to recall that it was mostly Carli Teproff of the Miami Herald, alone, since I never once saw a story on Miami TV newscasts about it.


But being a resident of Hallandale Beach means the South Florida new media looks at you -and what happens here- askance, as they generally ignore what happens here unless it creates problem of some sort for others living outside of this small community.


More often than not, that consists solely of
something awful happening on1-95, the western border of the city, that stops traffic, like Wednesday's high speed police chase from Miami that ended there.
http://www.miamiherald.com/2010/11/18/1931294/police-chase-in-miami-ends-with.html

But if you prick us, do we not bleed?

Aye, there's the rub!


We do, but the sleepwalking South Florida news media merely ignore it.


To them, it's an inconvenient fact, another story among so many that they'll ignore and toss into that ever-growing of stories that were worthwhile but ignored nonetheless.


To many though certainly not all people opposed to the Ben Gamla Hebrew Charter School -a high school, mind you- trying to shoe-horn itself into a single-family middle/upper-class residential neighborhood in northeast HB, is NOT all that different than developers who want to put huge condo towers on the perimeter of an existing golf course, and not only ruin the views and neighborhood, but also ruin the quality of life in the immediate area which already has F-rated roads as measured by FDOT.


We saw that effort with the Diplomat LAC fail for many similar reasons, not the least of which was that they could NEVER ever male a solid argument that it would do both the neighborhood and the greater HB community any good.

But it would make them a LOT of MONEY.


And so it is with Peter Deutsch and the Ben Gamla folks, who can make an argument for why it's good for them, but not for the neighborhood that ALREADY LIVES THERE, and the rest of the city.


The kind of sheer arrogance that HB citizen taxpayers have suffered under Peter Deutsch and his Not-So-Merry and equally arrogant BG parents the past two years is the sort that Once Upon a Time in the West, got you and your family exiled, and banned from proceeding further
on a large wagon trail traveling West thru hostile Indian Territory.

You were left with whatever you brought -and maybe some additional supplies if someone had some pity for you- and were told in no uncertain terms that you were on your own.

You no longer had the backing and protection of the larger assembled community.
You were judged an outlier because your behavior and words were judged so egregiously anti-social and harmful that the society that existed amongst the families headed West wanted nothing to do with you.

Well, 2010 Hallandale Beach isn't exactly 1850's Nebraska, Kansas or Colorado in the wintertime, and Peter Deutsch actually lives most of the month in Israel with his wife and family, NOT in South Florida, so the metaphor, admittedly, isn't a perfect one.

Still, it gets the point across: prickly Peter Deutsch and his brood of self-righteous parents need to get the sort of social ostracism they've richly earned.

Towards that end, in the near future, I will likely be posting some of the video I've shot of them the past two years at the two required 'Community Meetings' that Peter Deutsch had the nerve to publicly admit that he would NEVER have held if the city didn't require it.


Fortunately for all involved, he WAS required, and he did us the honor of telling the truth that one time so that we all knew what sort of character we were actually dealing with.

You see, despite all the evidence to the contrary, because of who he was and still is, some South Florida media folks -and perhaps even some of you blog readers out there- evinced an attitude that all but said that residents of HB were exaggerating what was actually happening. Nope, we didn't need to, the reality was bad enough.
Seeing was believing.


But the news media couldn't even show up, other than Sergy Odiduro of the Sun-Sentinel whose article on this controversy I ran here recently.
http://hallandalebeachblog.blogspot.com/2010/11/another-piece-of-deutschs-ben-gamla-in.html

That Deutsch actually showed us his true lack of character -again- by doing as little as possible to actually engage the Hallandale Beach community, only proved the larger point about what sort of person wants to have some say-so about what sorts of educational opportunities Hallandale Beach kids will have -a loathsome person who threatens city residents in public.

I guess that's just not considered news in South Florida in the year 2010.

Yes, at times it's almost like Deutsch thinks he's won the lottery, and has big plans on collecting some of his winnings in person in Hallandale Beach by way of using one of our nice quiet family neighborhoods as a warehouse for kids from outside of Hallandale Beach, since 90% of them will live outside of this community by his own admission.
He has a very funny way of defining 'community school,' don't you think?

That Deutsch is perfectly willing to do whatever he has to do in order to get his way, regardless of what the people in this community want, whether by threats and intimidation, is no longer subject to question- he will.


But in his efforts thus far, the only convincing argument he's made is that Peter Deutsch is nothing but a self-aggrandizing bully, plain and simple, and the worst sort of bully at that.

One who lacks both the hubris and self-awareness to acknowledge that he is his own worst witness.
Every time he talks, he makes our argument for us.

Naturally, I'm only too happy to lend a hand in painting that public opprobrium on Deutsch and his fellows, and today, I do so by sharing with you the spot-on words of the folks at a newly developed civic group in Hallandale Beach.

SaveHallandale.com is a group that won't lay down for the Peter Deutsches of the world, nor for the anti-democratic and self-serving Hallandale Beach City Hall Crew run by mayor Joy Cooper, or even the rapacious real estate developers and self-serving corporate pimps with legal eagles, who want to steal us blind by putting their hands into the HB till or making life around here even more difficult.

And like me, they are NOT afraid of helping launch a recall of certain City Commissioners, either, for reasons that have already been discussed here at length previously.

SaveHallandale.com
has been sending out informed and pointed fact-filled emails now for a few months and has just created a blog, so today I am going to give those folks a bit of a boost in getting some public awareness by running the entire email I received earler this evening, and trust you readers to have the good sense to frequently go to their sites in the future to keep yourselves inside the information loop.


I will, of course, link to them in the future when it's appropriate, but otherwise, this ought to be the only time I run one of their letters in its entirety.


With a blog and website, it's now much easier than ever to give you a head's up on what SaveHallandale is saying and doing.


-----

Visit our blog @ http://savehallandale.wordpress.com/. All prior emails are there and you can start leaving your comments for other people (besides us) to view.

Word on the street is that the Ben Gamla school application has been pulled again; perhaps Peter Deutsch had a chance to read the latest article by Diane Ravitch, (http://www.dianeravitch.com/vita.html) called “The Myth of Charter Schools” http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/2010/nov/11/myth-charter-schools/?page=1.

In HB that article would be titled “Myth: The Proposed Ben Gemla Hebrew School Is Good For the Local Community". The myth being that the proposed Ben Gamla Hebrew School is a positive for the local community, that it doesn't cater to a small and very specific demographic and that Ben Gamla folks actually care about the non Jewish students currently attending Hallandale schools.

Interestingly, there is an inkling that Mayor Joy Cooper may actually care about the students in which Ben Gamla pushers have no interest.

The Diane Ravitch article discusses the myth of charter school superiority, citing “the idea that teachers are the most important factor determining student achievement” and that there is a relative consensus (that) teachers statistically account for around 10–20 percent of achievement outcomes…..

But the same body of research shows that nonschool factors matter even more than teachers. 60 percent of achievement is explained by nonschool factors, such as family income. So while teachers are the most important factor within schools, their effects pale in comparison with those of students’ backgrounds, families, and other factors beyond the control of schools and teachers.”

The article continues “charter schools were created mainly at the instigation of Albert Shanker, the president of the American Federation of Teachers from 1974 to 1997. Shanker had the idea in 1988 that a group of public school teachers would ask their colleagues for permission to create a small school that would focus on the neediest students, those who had dropped out and those who were disengaged from school and likely to drop out. He sold the idea as a way to open schools that would collaborate with public schools and help motivate disengaged students. In 1993, Shanker turned against the charter school idea when he realized that for-profit organizations saw it as a business opportunity and were advancing an agenda of school privatization.”

Let’s connect these dots shall we?
  • Ben Gamla is a Hebrew charter school whose founder has gone on record that the school was started to serve a very small and specific demographic but we are led to believe it is intended to serve the general community. In fact, by Peter Deutsch’s own admission, less than 10% of the students would be from the local community.
  • Ben Gamla pushers promote the superiority of their teachers as a plus to the less than 10% of community children that might attend but it’s a fact that teacher efforts “pale in comparison with those of students’ backgrounds, families, and other factors beyond the control of schools and teachers”.
  • Mayor Cooper seems to recognize the need to address at risk schools in Hallandale as evidenced by her request that the school district consider spending money “on improving eastern (Broward) schools”. In a letter to School Board Chair Maureen Dinnen, Mayor Cooper stated “We would request that …the eastern (Broward) schools be guaranteed no school closure…” but her vote for Ben Gamla would in fact, result in less students attending local schools which would jeopardize them further. http://weblogs.sun-sentinel.com/educationblog/parents/
  • The Ben Gamla model is in direct opposition to the original intent of charter schools as envisioned by their creator, Albert Shanker.
Additionally, a study by the Center for Public Education “finds that rather than encouraging a race to the top, charter school competition in fact promotes a race to the bottom in the traditional public school system.” The new study evaluates the record of charter schools in terms of academic achievement, racial and economic segregation, and their competitive impact on traditional public schools….“Rather than being a solution to the educational problems faced by low-income students and students of color, charter schools are deepening these problems.”

Table 5: Average charter school performance relative to traditional public schools by state

Source: CREDO (2009)

The study goes on to say “similar to other studies….varied performance results based on students’ location. In relation to their peers in traditional schools, the average performance of charter school students in reading was significantly positive in Arkansas, California, Colorado (Denver), Louisiana, Missouri, and North Carolina. In the District of Columbia, Georgia, Illinois (Chicago) and Ohio, there essentially was no difference between charter students and their traditional public school peers. In Arizona, Florida, Minnesota, New Mexico and Texas, charter school students underperformed when compared with students in traditional public schools.

The math data were similarly varied. Charter students did better than their counterparts in Arkansas, Colorado (Denver), Illinois (Chicago), Louisiana, and Missouri. There was no significant difference in the District of Columbia. In Arizona, California, Florida,Georgia, Minnesota, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio and Texas, charter school students did not perform as well as their virtual twins from traditional public schools.

http://www.centerforpubliceducation.org/site/apps/nlnet/content3.aspx?c=lvIXIiN0JwE&b=5868191&ct=8101759&notoc=1

So what does the promotion of this MYTH mean for HB residents?

It means that the proposed charter school will do absolutely nothing for local residents and their children. It means that all the propaganda put forth by advocates of the school is just that – self serving propaganda.

And it means that rather than be able to rest assured that city commissioners will vote against the school on the very solid grounds that the local infrastructure and the Master Plan do not support it, HB residents must point out all the misinformation and lies people spread in the interest of getting what they want.

Maybe commissioners already realize approving Ben Gamla is political suicide AND bad for the area in general but maybe not. It’s unlikely any of them realizes the political respect that comes with making an easy decision based on facts and then standing by it with conviction but our commissioners don't inspire much faith, do they? Not one fact points to the proposed Ben Gamla Hebrew School being good for this community; NOT ONE.

Hold your elected officials accountable; all over the country people are looking at facts and forcing politicians to change their ways by forcing them out.

Remember to forward this to your friends and neighbors and encourage them to visit the blog at

The study goes on to say “similar to other studies….varied performance results based on students’ location. In relation to their peers in traditional schools, the average performance of charter school students in reading was significantly positive in Arkansas, California, Colorado (Denver), Louisiana, Missouri, and North Carolina. In the District of Columbia, Georgia, Illinois (Chicago) and Ohio, there essentially was no difference between charter students and their traditional public school peers. In Arizona, Florida, Minnesota, New Mexico and Texas, charter school students underperformed when compared with students in traditional public schools.

The math data were similarly varied. Charter students did better than their counterparts in Arkansas, Colorado (Denver), Illinois (Chicago), Louisiana, and Missouri. There was no significant difference in the District of Columbia. In Arizona, California, Florida,Georgia, Minnesota, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio and Texas, charter school students did not perform as well as their virtual twins from traditional public schools.



http://www.centerforpubliceducation.org/site/apps/nlnet/content3.aspx?c=lvIXIiN0JwE&b=5868191&ct=8101759&notoc=1

So what does the promotion of this MYTH mean for HB residents?

It means that the proposed charter school will do absolutely nothing for local residents and their children. It means that all the propaganda put forth by advocates of the school is just that – self serving propaganda.

And it means that rather than be able to rest assured that city commissioners will vote against the school on the very solid grounds that the local infrastructure and the Master Plan do not support it, HB residents must point out all the misinformation and lies people spread in the interest of getting what they want.

Maybe commissioners already realize approving Ben Gamla is political suicide AND bad for the area in general but maybe not. It’s unlikely any of them realizes the political respect that comes with making an easy decision based on facts and then standing by it with conviction but our commissioners don't inspire much faith, do they? Not one fact points to the proposed Ben Gamla Hebrew School being good for this community; NOT ONE.

Hold your elected officials accountable; all over the country people are looking at facts and forcing politicians to change their ways by forcing them out.

Remember to forward this to your friends and neighbors and encourage them to visit the blog at http://savehallandale.worpdress.com.

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