J.C. Huizenga Crows About The Success of National Heritage Academies Fleecing Michigan Taxpayers

Tuesday , 15, September 2015 6 Comments

J. C. Huizenga recently commented on the 20-year history of his for-profit charter school chain, National Heritage Academies, in an MLive.com article. He claimed their success came from superior academics and being financially strong. There’s so much more to National Heritage Academies, how they started, how they really make their money to be financially strong, and their affiliation with Religious Right organizations.

Huizenga mentions being on the board of TEACH Michigan in the 1990s. TEACH Michigan and TEACH Michigan Education Fund were both formed to change education law in the state of Michigan. Established in 1989 by Paul DeWeese (Yes, THAT Paul DeWeese), both organizations were organized and operated by people associated with Michigan Family Forum – the state branch of Focus on the Family, Mackinac Center, Richard McLelland, former governor John Engler, with plenty of DeVos, Prince, Meijer, M.J, Moroun money to fund them. This group is responsible for changing the Michigan State Constitution to allow for-profit charter schools to take money from real public schools in Michigan. Back in the 1990’s, DeWeese likened reforming education in Michigan to competing car companies selling cars because cars are just like schools and all you have to do to know if you’ve picked a good school for your children is kick the tires.

All of the records from TEACH Michigan, now Partnership for Learning, are archived at the Bentley Historical Library at the University of Michigan. Permission to view the records may only be granted by Paul DeWeese.

Huizenga’s financial success comes from the outrageous million dollar rents charged to National Heritage Academies’ 47 schools in Michigan for the buildings they lease. These schools are all K-8, which is cheaper to operate than high schools. For every $7,000 per-pupil tuition grant National Heritage Academies receives from the state, only $5,000 is spent on teaching students. Remember, for-profit charter schools have to make a profit before educating students.

How about J.C. Huizenga’s claim that National Heritage Academies are academically superior? out of the 47 for-profit charter schools operating in the state of Michigan, only 7 out-perform real public schools in Michigan. another 22 perform at the same level as the state’s real public schools. The rest perform far below public school rankings.

National Heritage Academies are part of the Religious Right’s efforts to eliminate public schools in Michigan. When Huizenga says, “we’ve gotten results,” what he really means is, “I’m getting fabulously rich not only collecting people’s garbage, but shoving garbage schools down the taxpayers’ throats.” Since the first days the Religous Right schemed to destroy public education, J.C. Huizenga was right there with them, doing his part.

6 thoughts on “ : J.C. Huizenga Crows About The Success of National Heritage Academies Fleecing Michigan Taxpayers”
  • Glenn Ikens says:

    Keep up this excellent reporting, Up North Progressive! No one else is exposing this story. The union of greedy of capitalism and the religious right in our charter system is a major threat to quality public educations for our students.

    • Kara B. says:

      I agree. I once worked for this company for three years in Ohio as a teacher and couldn’t be happier to be back in a public school that is getting results without the high stress NHA puts on it’s teachers and administrators all coming from corporate. The corporate world and educational world should never combine – this is a perfect example, but, as long as they have the $$$, they’ll never go away…. someone should really research the turnover rates in these NHA schools. Within three years, almost the entire staff was new (most teachers hired have < 2 years experience). Young teachers are being eaten alive – chewed up and spit out. I've never been happier to be in a public school setting where the word "fairness" comes into play not only for students and families…. but the staff working 50+ hours a week, dedicating themselves to better the education world.

      • Mike Reade says:

        Thanks for sharing. I am not a teacher, but send my son to a public school and see the hard work you guys put in every day. Frankly, it is absolutely despicable that there is a lobbying group that spends hundreds of millions of dollars yearly attacking schoolteachers, of all people.

      • Glenn Ikens says:

        Kara, I have several colleagues now teaching in the public school where I work, and they tell the very same story you tell. These schools are exploiting teachers, students, and parents for profit. They are not public education innovators; they are entrepreneurs looking for easy profits at the taxpayers expense. And the greatest victims are the students who put their trust in these scoundrels to provide a quality education.

  • Tom says:

    Thanks for exposing the truth about the destruction for profit of our public school system. I for one do not want my taxes going to pay these thieves! How can we stop it??

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