Charter Schools & "Choice": A Closer Look
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Legislators Rob Public Schools to Pay Privately Run Charters

Legislators Rob Public Schools to Pay Privately Run Charters | Charter Schools & "Choice": A Closer Look | Scoop.it

"The Florida Legislature, particularly the House, is hell-bent on pushing its charter school facility funding and expansion agenda at the expense of the state’s traditional public schools.

 

Let me be perfectly clear. I don’t oppose charter schools. In fact, I’ve been very supportive of them.  While in the Legislature I voted for legislation that promoted choice within the public school system, such as magnet schools, charter school conversions and career academies.

 

One of the initial selling points of charter schools was that they could operate less expensively. Start-up charter schools boasted that they could provide space to meet our growing student population in overcrowded schools. They rented inexpensive space in empty strip malls and storefronts, saving taxpayers by delaying the need to expand existing schools or to build new ones.

Initially, I shrugged off complaints from education professionals as irrational fear that charters were a devious way to dismantle public education and to gradually privatize it. It took me a while to realize that the proliferation of charter schools was meant less to strengthen our public schools than to divert public dollars to individuals who wanted to tap into the state’s multibillion-dollar education budget.

 

The savings once promised was replaced by requests for more funding.  The limit for expanding charter schools was lifted. Charter School Districts popped up and wrestled authority away from locally elected school boards.

 

There are good charter schools and bad ones — same as traditional public schools. The difference is that we have less control over charter schools, even though we fund them.  When a charter school closes its doors — sometimes with no notice — our traditional public schools have to absorb the students who find themselves suddenly without a school.

 

What’s the legislative response to this lack of accountability for the growing number of charter schools?  Is it more oversight? Nope. The response — particularly in the Florida House — is more money and more autonomy.

 

This year there are several bills — along with budget recommendations—that benefit charter schools at the expense of our traditional public schools.

 

To start, the House proposes capital outlay funding of $90 million for charter schools and only $50 million for the rest of Florida’s traditional public schools. The Senate — at least for now — recommends the same $50 million for our traditional schools but zero for charters.

In addition to lopsided funding, state Rep. Erik Fresen, R-Miami, wants to significantly change how public schools use tax dollars to fund construction projects. In HB 783 he reins in what school districts can spend on capital projects while making it easier for charter schools to get funding.

The bill requires locally elected school districts to give charter schools a share of their local property tax dollars while also lowering the charters’ eligibility requirements, making it easier for more to qualify.

To be clear—the state is dictating not only how any state dollars are used but also how local tax dollars are used.  Wouldn’t the Legislature be incensed and screaming about states’ rights if the federal government did the same to them?

A few interesting points to ponder.

--Charter schools are privately managed but publicly funded.

--There are 251,000 Florida students in charter schools and 2.7 million in district-run schools.

--There are 650 charter schools and more than 3,600 traditional public schools.

--The Legislature has funded $326 million for charter school facilities and $109 million for traditional public schools over the last five years.

--Since 2000, charter schools have received $760 million from state taxes for facility funding. The Associated Press found that as much as $70 million of that has gone to charter schools that have closed.

--Legislators pushing the bills and funding have close ties to charter schools, creating potential conflicts of interest.

Since Florida’s school districts were starved for capital funding in the 2011-12, 2012-13 and 2013-14 school years, they had to come up with local revenue sources—including property taxes, local sales tax and bonding—to fix their deteriorating buildings. Now the Legislature wants them to share those dollars too.

But wait, there’s more.

HJR 759 by state Rep. Manny Diaz Jr., R-Hialeah, and SJR 976 by state Sen. Kelli Stargel, R-Lakeland, would place a constitutional amendment on the ballot creating a state-appointed board that could authorize, operate and control Florida’s charter schools. Currently, that authority belongs to locally elected school boards, as charters are considered public schools.

 

Perhaps this is where some term-limited legislators hope to land. No doubt it will carry an attractive salary and benefits package.

 

Paula Dockery is a syndicated columnist who served in the Florida Legislature for 16 years as a Republican from Lakeland. She can be reached at PBDockery@gmail.com.

 

For full post, click on title above or here: 

 

 

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Charter Schools & "Choice": A Closer Look
This collection has been created to raise awareness about concerns related to the privatization of public education. The page also serves as a research tool to organize online content. The grey funnel shaped icon at the top (in the 'Desktop View' mode) allows for searching by keyword (i.e. entering K12 Inc, KIPP, TFA, Walton, Rocketship, ALEC, Koch, or 'discipline', etc.) will yield specific subsets of articles relevant to each keyword).  For posts related to TFA, see http://bit.ly/TFA_Files. For posts related to Rocketship, see http://bit.ly/Rocketship_Files. For posts related to KIPP, see http://bit.ly/KIPP_Files, and for posts related to the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), see http://bit.ly/ALEC_Files.  Readers are encouraged to explore additional links for further information beyond the text provided on the page. [Note: Views presented on this page are re-shared from external websites.  The content does not necessarily represent the views nor official position of the curator nor employer of the curator.]  For critical perspectives on the next wave of privatization poised to take over public services, see the page on Social Impact Bonds and 'Pay For Success' programs: http://bit.ly/sibgamble. For additional education updates, see http://EduResearcher.com [Links to external site]
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National NAACP Board Approves Resolution Calling for Moratorium on Charter School Expansion [Full Resolution Included]// EduResearcher

National NAACP Board Approves Resolution Calling for Moratorium on Charter School Expansion [Full Resolution Included]// EduResearcher | Charter Schools & "Choice": A Closer Look | Scoop.it

For full post, click on title above or here: https://eduresearcher.com/2016/10/21/naacp/ 

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Three Learn4Life charter school sites will be shut down on judge's order // San Diego Union Tribune

Three Learn4Life charter school sites will be shut down on judge's order // San Diego Union Tribune | Charter Schools & "Choice": A Closer Look | Scoop.it

https://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/news/education/story/2019-06-11/judge-orders-shutdown-of-some-learn4life-charter-schools 

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Underpaid, Undertrained, Unlicensed: In Palm Beach County’s Largest Charter School Chain, 1 in 5 Teachers Weren’t Certified to Teach // Palm Beach Post

Underpaid, Undertrained, Unlicensed: In Palm Beach County’s Largest Charter School Chain, 1 in 5 Teachers Weren’t Certified to Teach // Palm Beach Post | Charter Schools & "Choice": A Closer Look | Scoop.it

By Andrew Marra

"Renaissance Charter Schools grew into Palm Beach County’s largest charter school chain with seven years of promises about cutting-edge classrooms and innovative teaching.

But as the schools market themselves to parents with personalized lessons and extended school days, their classrooms are staffed with an extraordinary number of temporary and uncertified teachers, a Palm Beach Post investigation found.

Renaissance’s six Palm Beach County schools reported last year that more than a quarter of their full-time instructors were low-paid substitute teachers – more than 30 times the state average for traditional public schools and charter schools.

At least 20 percent of the schools’ teachers were not certified by the state to teach, The Post found, even though state law generally calls for public school teachers to be certified.

At one Renaissance school west of Lantana, more than a third of the teachers had no state certification last year, while at another campus west of West Palm Beach nearly a quarter had none.

The reliance on long-term substitutes can save money at Renaissance’s six county schools — which educate 4,600 students from West Palm Beach to Wellington — since their substitutes earn less than permanent, certified teachers.


It can also boost profits for the management company that operates the schools, Charter Schools USA, which hires the teachers and charges a management fee that can increase as the schools’ finances improve.

But the use of uncertified teachers — most with little to no formal training or teaching background — denies students access to lessons by trained and experienced educators, something experts say can harm students’ ability to learn.

It also violates Renaissance’s vows to the county school board that it would not employ teachers who lacked certification. Though generally prohibited by state law, using uncertified teachers long term is permissible under a loophole for substitutes."...

 

For full post, please visit:

https://www.palmbeachpost.com/news/20190530/underpaid-undertrained-unlicensed-in-pbcs-largest-charter-school-chain-1-in-5-teachers-werent-certified-to-teach/1

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Los Angeles Charters Suspend Black and Disabled Students at Higher Rates // Capital and Main 

Los Angeles Charters Suspend Black and Disabled Students at Higher Rates // Capital and Main  | Charter Schools & "Choice": A Closer Look | Scoop.it

This story is part of our “Grading Charter Schools” series examining the impact of privatized education in California.

 
"School suspensions are out, restorative justice is in. At least that’s the case at the Los Angeles Unified School District and wherever schools are struggling to shift from the harsh, zero-tolerance discipline of the past to a less punitive, problem-solving approach. Restorative justice de-emphasizes punishment and instead aims to repair the damage that is done when, for example, a child disrespects a teacher, or a student starts a fight. The goal is to have misbehaving students think about their negative behavior and hear directly from the person that they hurt—often in what’s known as a harm circle — about how they were affected and what can be done to fix the situation and the relationship.

22 L.A. charters — nearly all of them in high- poverty neighborhoods –accounted for 42% of the charter schools’ nearly 3,700 suspensions last year.

 
The shift comes 20 years after the fatal shootings at Columbine High School in Colorado, after which many schools turned to “no excuses” discipline policies to stem violence. While such policies haven’t stopped school shootings, they have been profoundly damaging to some students – particularly African-Americans and those with disabilities. According to researchers at the University of California and elsewhere, students from these two groups have been suspended at far higher rates, with consequences that can last a lifetime – making school discipline a civil rights issue.

 

A classroom at Green Dot’s Ánimo James B. Taylor Middle School. (Photo: Robin Urevich)

Kids who are suspended are more likely to lag behind in schoolwork and to drop out of school. Even more consequentially, some are swept along the “school to prison pipeline,” whereby kids who are suspended from school are more likely to get in trouble with law enforcement.

Under pressure from education activists and federal civil rights officials, LAUSD, the nation’s second-largest school district, has slashed suspensions in its traditional schools.

Crete Academy in South Los Angeles, an elementary school serving homeless students, suspended about one in 10 of its students last year.

 
Most Los Angeles charter schools have also curbed suspensions, but they have been slower to let go of the practice entirely, and a handful still send students home at sky-high rates.

Charter schools, which enrolled more than 110,000 LAUSD pupils in 2017-18, suspended them at about twice the rate of traditional schools in the district. Twenty-two L.A. charters — nearly all of them in high-poverty neighborhoods –accounted for 42 percent of the charter schools’ nearly 3,700 suspensions last year. Specifically, charters suspended students with disabilities at nearly four times the rate of traditional schools, while African-American students were suspended at almost three times the rate they were on non-charter campuses.

Indeed, Crete Academy in South Los Angeles, an elementary school serving homeless students, suspended about one in 10 of its students last year, making it the highest-suspending primary school in the district and number seven on last year’s list of the highest-suspending charters."...

 

For full post, please visit:

https://capitalandmain.com/charter-schools-remain-slow-to-reform-punishment-bias-0522 

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Finding: Charter Covered Up Misconduct

Finding: Charter Covered Up Misconduct | Charter Schools & "Choice": A Closer Look | Scoop.it

"The Achievement First (AF) network covered up a principal’s aggressive interactions with students over the years, an investigator concluded in a newly released report detailing failures of leadership.

 

Last October, Principal Morgan Barth grabbed an Amistad High School student who was trying to leave his office, tugging the young man’s left arm, jerking it behind his back and then shoving him into a corner.

The charter network’s administrators disciplined Barth with only a verbal reprimand and a refresher course in how to restrain and deescalate."...

 

For full post, please visit:

https://www.newhavenindependent.org/index.php/archives/entry/achievement_first_coverup_morgan_barth/

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CRPE Briefs Distort the Debates about the Fiscal Impact of California Charter Schools on School Districts // National Education Policy Center

CRPE Briefs Distort the Debates about the Fiscal Impact of California Charter Schools on School Districts // National Education Policy Center | Charter Schools & "Choice": A Closer Look | Scoop.it

BOULDER, CO (May 30, 2019) "The Center on Reinventing Public Education (CRPE), based at the University of Washington, Bothell, recently released a series of three policy briefs on the financial impact of charter schools on nearby school districts in California. The briefs are intended to inform ongoing debates over charter school financing and expansion in the state of California.


After reviewing all three, Professor Bruce D. Baker of Rutgers University found that they failed to accurately or fully apply the relevant research and data. The resulting briefs, while raising and attempting to address important issues, erroneously minimize the likely fiscal impacts of charter growth.


The first brief, Charter Schools and District Enrollment, attempts to minimize the import of the considerable role played by charters in districts’ enrollment loss, offering up the non sequitur that enrollment loss can arise from other sources as well. The brief’s assertion that charter enrollment growth bears little blame for district enrollment decline is not correct. It is, and has been for some time—whether in districts with declining, stable, or growing overall student enrollments.


The second brief, Do Charter Schools Cause Fiscal Distress in School Districts, contends that serious fiscal problems in school districts is most often caused by financial mismanagement and has no relationship with charter enrollment share. The brief relies on overly simplistic comparisons of charter enrollments and county-assigned “fiscal distress” classifications to conclude that there is no association between charter enrollments and fiscal distress. The contention here is that there can’t be an illness if the patient isn’t dead. In order to rely on this problematic approach, the brief erroneously dismisses a significant, more rigorous, detailed, peer-reviewed, and published body of research that illustrates the fiscal impact of charter schools on host districts, and how those fiscal impacts may lead to fiscal stress.


The third brief, Do the Costs of California Charter Schools Outweigh the Benefits, presents itself as an analysis of costs and benefits. But it merely touts the benefits of charter schooling as tangible while being entirely dismissive of numerous known and often measurable costs.


Taken together, the briefs are useful only in pointing to some important issues that policymakers should consider; their analyses of those issues are, however, generally superficial and misleading.


Find the review, by Bruce D. Baker, at: http://nepc.colorado.edu/thinktank/ca-charters"

 

 

 

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Public School’s Switch to Charter Allows Epic to Operate Rural District // Oklahoma Watch

Public School’s Switch to Charter Allows Epic to Operate Rural District // Oklahoma Watch | Charter Schools & "Choice": A Closer Look | Scoop.it

 

By Jennifer Palmer

"To save his financially imperiled school district, Panola Superintendent Brad Corcoran in 2017 pitched a plan to convert the traditional public district into a charter school. 

In becoming a charter, Panola Public Schools would turn over its management to a company affiliated with Epic Charter Schools, the largest online school in the state. The school board agreed. 


The Epic-related firm contributed $100,000 toward Panola’s debt as part of the agreement. That company manages the small district for a more than 10 percent cut of its funding.  Panola’s high school students now have the option to attend most classes online from home.

 
The deal was unprecedented. Not only was it one of the first conversions-to-charter in the state, it allowed Epic’s company to operate a school and gain many benefits denied other charter schools: It could tap into and spend local property tax revenue to cover costs of student transportation, school buildings and sports facilities, like traditional school districts.
 

And Epic didn’t stop at Panola.

 

Leaders at Norwood, another small district nearly 100 miles north of Panola in the town of Hulbert, say Epic came to them last year with a nearly identical proposal to convert the school to a charter managed by Epic. Epic planned to consolidate the Norwood and Panola districts, said Norwood Board President Danny Shoemaker.

 

But in December, the Norwood board rebuffed the proposal.

 

“It (the Epic proposal) would not benefit our students, and we’re there for the kids,” Shoemaker said, adding he was grateful their situation wasn’t as dire as Panola’s. He questioned Epic’s motives, suggesting they were more about profiting through its management affiliate. “This was more to line somebody’s pockets,” he said.

 

Epic officials have denied they put profits over education quality and say their school’s rapid growth is proof that their online and blended models meet families’ needs. Shelly Hickman, a spokeswoman for Epic, said Panola and Norwood are examples of how Epic tries to make different learning models work together to serve all students.

 

But as a business, Epic continues to explore ways of accelerating its growth. Combined, its own two schools — Epic virtual and Epic Blended in Oklahoma City and Tulsa — enrolled at least 23,000 students this year. A fourth blended center is expected to open this fall near Rose State College in Midwest City. To attend, Epic students have to live in the same county as a blended center, and the Panola school is their first foray into rural Oklahoma.

Epic’s school in California is also expanding, now enrolling students from five of the state’s most populous counties. And an Epic-related company is in contract negotiations with Pulaski County Schools in Arkansas.

In the midst of that growth, Epic has drawn more scrutiny from lawmakers, the public and state and federal investigators, the Tulsa World reported."...

 

For full post, see: http://oklahomawatch.org/2019/04/27/public-schools-switch-to-charterallows-epic-to-operate-rural-district/ 

 

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What is ALEC? The Most Effective Organization for Conservatives, Says Newt Gingrich // USA Today

What is ALEC? The Most Effective Organization for Conservatives, Says Newt Gingrich // USA Today | Charter Schools & "Choice": A Closer Look | Scoop.it

By Yvonne Wingett Sanchez and Rob O'Dell 

"The American Legislative Exchange Council became the nation’s best-known "model"-bill factory over its four decades by providing more than fill-in-the-blank legislation. 

 

The industry-sponsored group has weathered controversy and flourished because it also offers conservative Republican elected officials a social network, access to campaign donors and a blueprint for how to accelerate their political careers.

 

The networking takes place at ALEC's annual meetings, where the group fetes and entertains lawmakers and their families. Relationships are forged over drinks and dinners, where lawmakers sit alongside conservative luminaries and corporate chiefs. 

 

“What ALEC does is more than provide the model bills, they provide relationships,” said Alexander Hertel-Fernandez, an assistant professor at Columbia University who has studied the influence of ALEC and other conservative groups on state legislatures. “They approach you when you are first elected and build these enduring social connections with you.” 

 

By the end of each ALEC conference, attendees leave motivated to evangelize for conservative policies and equipped with ready-made legislation."...

 

For full post, see: 

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/investigations/2019/04/03/alec-american-legislative-exchange-council-model-bills-republican-conservative-devos-gingrich/3162357002/ 

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 Legacy Academy Notice of Violation w Exhibits 12.6.18 // Charter School Authorized by Santa Clara County Office of Education is now closed as of March 15th, 2019 

Selected quote:

 

"II. VIOLATIONS
SCCOE hereby notifies Legacy that Legacy has engaged in fiscal mismanagement, is in violation of the law, specifically the Charter Schools Act of 1992, and has committed a material violation of the conditions, standards, or procedures set forth in its Amended Charter, including the FAMOU. Each of these matters constitutes cause for revoking Legacy’s Amended Charter if not remedied in accordance with this NOV. (Ed. Code § 47607(c).)"...

 

Update: Legacy Academy has closed as of March 15th, 2019. The file above documents financial mismanagement and other issues at the root of the charter school closure. Click on the title or arrow above to download. 

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You elected them to write new laws. They're letting corporations do it instead // An investigation by USA TODAY, The Arizona Republic and the Center for Public Integrity 

You elected them to write new laws. They're letting corporations do it instead // An investigation by USA TODAY, The Arizona Republic and the Center for Public Integrity  | Charter Schools & "Choice": A Closer Look | Scoop.it

By Rob O'Dell and Nick Penzenstadler,

"Each year, state lawmakers across the U.S. introduce thousands of bills dreamed up and written by corporations, industry groups and think tanks.

 

Disguised as the work of lawmakers, these so-called “model” bills get copied in one state Capitol after another, quietly advancing the agenda of the people who write them. 

 

A two-year investigation by USA Today, The Arizona Republic  and the Center for Public Integrity reveals for the first time the extent to which special interests have infiltrated state legislatures using model legislation.

 

USA Today and the Republic found at least 10,000 bills almost entirely copied from model legislation were introduced nationwide in the past eight years, and more than 2,100 of those bills were signed into law. 

 

The investigation examined nearly 1 million bills in all 50 states and Congress using a computer algorithm developed to detect similarities in language. That search – powered by the equivalent of 150 computers that ran nonstop for months – compared known model legislation with bills introduced by lawmakers. 

 

The phenomenon of copycat legislation is far larger. In a separate analysis, the Center for Public Integrity identified tens of thousands of bills with identical phrases, then traced the origins of that language in dozens of those bills across the country.

 

Model bills passed into law have made it harder for injured consumers to sue corporations. They’ve called for taxes on sugar-laden drinks. They’ve limited access to abortion and restricted the rights of protesters. 

 

In all, these copycat bills amount to the nation’s largest, unreported special-interest campaign, driving agendas in every statehouse and touching nearly every area of public policy. 

 

 

The investigation reveals that fill-in-the-blank bills have in some states supplanted the traditional approach of writing legislation from scratch. They have become so intertwined with the lawmaking process that the nation’s top sponsor of copycat legislation, a member of the Pennsylvania General Assembly, claimed to have signed on to 72 such bills without knowing or questioning their origin.

 

For lawmakers, copying model legislation is an easy way to get fully formed bills to put their names on, while building relationships with lobbyists and other potential campaign donors.

 

For special interests seeking to stay under the radar, model legislation also offers distinct advantages. Copycat bills don’t appear on expense reports, or campaign finance forms. They don’t require someone to register as a lobbyist or sign in at committee hearings. But once injected into the lawmaking process, they can go viral, spreading state to state, executing an agenda to the letter. 

 

USA TODAY’s investigation found:

• Models are drafted with deceptive titles and descriptions to disguise their true intent. The Asbestos Transparency Act didn’t help people exposed to asbestos. It was written by corporations who wanted to make it harder for victims to recoup money. The “HOPE Act,” introduced in nine states, was written by a conservative advocacy group to make it more difficult for people to get food stamps.

 

• Special interests sometimes work to create the illusion of expert endorsements, public consensus or grassroots support. One man testified as an expert in 13 states to support a bill that makes it more difficult to sue for asbestos exposure. In several states, lawmakers weren’t told that he was a member of the organization that wrote the model legislation on behalf of the asbestos industry, the American Legislative Exchange Council."...

 

For full story, visit

https://www.usatoday.com/in-depth/news/investigations/2019/04/03/abortion-gun-laws-stand-your-ground-model-bills-conservatives-liberal-corporate-influence-lobbyists/3162173002/ 

 

For more on ALEC's involvement in charter school legislation, visit: http://bit.ly/ALEC_Files 

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How Teach for America Evolved Into an Arm of the Charter School Movement // ProPublica

How Teach for America Evolved Into an Arm of the Charter School Movement // ProPublica | Charter Schools & "Choice": A Closer Look | Scoop.it

"Documents obtained by ProPublica show that the Walton foundation, a staunch supporter of school choice and Teach for America’s largest private funder, was paying $4,000 for every teacher placed in a traditional public school — and $6,000 for every one placed in a charter school."...

 

https://www.propublica.org/article/how-teach-for-america-evolved-into-an-arm-of-the-charter-school-movement 

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Asleep at the Wheel: How the Federal Charter Schools Program Recklessly Takes Taxpayers and Students for a Ride // Network for Public Education 

Asleep at the Wheel: How the Federal Charter Schools Program Recklessly Takes Taxpayers and Students for a Ride // Network for Public Education  | Charter Schools & "Choice": A Closer Look | Scoop.it

To view report on ScribD, click title above or here: http://bit.ly/charter_report 

_____________________________

 

To download Executive Summary, visit: 
https://networkforpubliceducation.org/asleepatthewheel/ 

 

To download full report click here: 

https://networkforpubliceducation.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/Asleep-at-the-Wheel.pdf 

 

See also the Washington Post writeup about the report here.

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Dr. Julian Vasquez Heilig Press Conference Remarks on Charter School Accountability and Moratorium Bills

Dr. Julian Vasquez Heilig’s remarks about California charter school accountability bills- AB1505, AB1506, AB1507 and SB756

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DGNH1G0N6zM

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Privatization of Public K-12 Education: Racial Disparities in Politics, Power, Policy, and Practice // Prepared for Race Equity through Prevention Workgroup, Santa Clara County Juvenile Justice Sys...

To download, click on title or arrow above. File is a pdf with live links to cited documents. Selected/related links are below:

 

Privatizing Schooling and Policy Making: The American Legislative Exchange Council [ALEC] and New Political and Discursive Strategies of Education Governance // Educational Policy http://epx.sagepub.com/content/early/2014/04/28/0895904814528794.abstract 

 
Cashing In On Kids: 172 ALEC Education Bills Push Privatization in 2015

https://www.prwatch.org/news/2016/03/13054/cashing-kids-172-alec-education-bills-2015

 

How Online Companies Bought America’s Schools
https://www.thenation.com/article/how-online-learning-companies-bought-americas-schools/

 

The Profit Motive Behind Virtual Schools in Maine

www.pressherald.com/2012/09/01/virtual-schools-in-maine_2012-09-02

 

K12Inc: California Virtual Academies’ Operator Exploits Charter, Charity Laws For Money, Records Show

https://www.mercurynews.com/2016/04/17/k12-inc-california-virtual-academies-operator-exploits-charter-charity-laws-for-money-records-show/

 

Enrollment in California Public Versus Charter Schools https://www.cde.ca.gov/ds/sd/cb/ceffingertipfacts.asp

 

Santa Clara County Office of Education Annual Charter School Databook

https://www.sccoe.org/supoffice/charter-schools-office/Documents/2016-17%20Charter%20School%20Report%20Final.pdf

 

Death By A Thousand Cuts: Racism, School Closures, and Public School Sabotage // https://www.j4jalliance.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/J4JReport-final_05_12_14.pdf

 

IES National Center for Education Statistics: Percentage of Public School Students Enrolled in Charter Schools, By State (2014)

https://nces.ed.gov/fastfacts/display.asp?id=30

 

Center for Media and Democracy Publishes List of [2,200]+ Closed Charter Schools (with Interactive Map) http://sco.lt/6KOm6z

 

The Perfect Storm: Disenfranchised Communities [Video] https://vimeo.com/161523742

 

“School Closure Playbook” – [Video]

https://vimeo.com/120338240

 

Charter School Closure Leaves Parents Scrambling For Alternatives

http://www.sacbee.com/news/local/education/article199107149.html

 

The Continuum of Structural Violence: Sustaining Exclusion Through School Closures http://sco.lt/9IcTKb

 

KIPP Refuses Agreement To Abide By Conflict of Interest Law: Gets Approved By State Board of Education

https://eduresearcher.com/2018/03/13/denykipp/

 

How Did The State Board of Education Vote on Controversial Charter School Petitions? https://eduresearcher.com/2018/09/07/how-will-state-board-of-education-vote-on-controversial-charter-school-petitions/

 

Separate and Unequal: The Problematic Segregation of Special Populations In Charter Schools Relative to Traditional Public Schools // Stanford Law and Policy Review http://nepc.colorado.edu/blog/are-charters-beacons 

 

Charter Schools, Civil Rights, and School Discipline: A Comprehensive Review: The Center for Civil Rights Remedies (UCLA)

https://www.civilrightsproject.ucla.edu/resources/projects/center-for-civil-rights-remedies/school-to-prison-folder/federal-reports/charter-schools-civil-rights-and-school-discipline-a-comprehensive-review/losen-et-al-charter-school-discipline-review-2016.pdf       

 

Are California’s Charter Schools The New Separate But Equal “Schools of Excellence”, or Are They Worse Than Plessy?

https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=3128802

 

How Privatization Increases Inequality: Section 5: Privatization Perpetuates Socioeconomic and Racial Segregation // In The Public Interest

https://public.tableau.com/profile/civil.rights.project.at.ucla#!/vizhome/CostofCASuspensions/DistrictDash

 

NAACP Resolution Calling for a Moratorium on the Expansion of Charter Schools [Original] https://eduresearcher.com/2016/10/21/naacp/

 

KIPP Refuses To Abide By Conflict of Interest Code; Gets Approved By State Board of Education: https://eduresearcher.com/2018/03/13/denykipp/

 

[Link no longer active – this was original document for State Legal Counsel’s opinion that a “charter school is subject to” government code 1090]

https://cde.app.box.com/v/SBE2018MARCH/file/282675343163

 

Charter School Vulnerabilities to Waste, Fraud, and Abuse
http://populardemocracy.org/sites/default/files/Charter-School-Fraud_Report_2017 

 

Rocketship Pushes Expansion Despite State Denials and Strong Community Opposition // https://eduresearcher.com/2016/03/09/rocketship-pushes/

 

John Danner (Co-Founder of Rocketship) Why Blended Schools Are “Whales” In The Ed Institutional Context Quote: “Schools like Rocketship will be a great way to test and validate products and we are happy to do it…” https://beyondschools2.blogspot.com/2012/

 

New Orleans Charter School Problems Exposed at NAACP Hearing

https://eduresearcher.com/2017/04/29/nola-charter/

 

“Blended Learning: A Wise Giver’s Guide to Tech-Assisted Teaching” // Philanthropy Roundtable (formerly chaired by B. Devos) // http://www.philanthropyroundtable.org/file_uploads/Blended_Learning_Guidebook.pdf

 

Breaking Point: The Cost of Charter Schools For Public School Districts

https://www.inthepublicinterest.org/report-the-cost-of-charter-schools-for-public-school-districts/

 

Education School Dean: Urban School Reform Is Really About Land Development (Not Kids) // https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/answer-sheet/wp/2013/05/28/ed-school-dean-urban-school-reform-is-really-about-land-development-not-kids/?utm_term=.ef77a9f69fd5

 

Charter Schools, Race, and Urban Space: Where The Market Meets Grassroots Resistance // http://sco.lt/6vGDMf

 

Spending Blind: The Failure of Policy Planning In California’s Charter School Funding  // https://www.inthepublicinterest.org/wp-content/uploads/FINAL_ITPI_SpendingBlind_April2017.pdf

 

A Comprehensive Guide To Charter School Closure

http://sco.lt/80B85Z

  

San Pablo Rocketship Appeal to State Board in Sacramento (Video with evidence of expanding gaps) https://www.youtube.com/watch?list=PLgIRGe0-q7Safim1TwdTNlcV7auIbigPr&v=uHpH63PsXKs

 

Cybercharters Have An Overwhelmingly Negative Impact

http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/DigitalEducation/2015/10/CREDO_online_charters_study.html 

 

Virtual and Blended Learning Schools Continue to Struggle and Grow

http://nepc.colorado.edu/newsletter/2016/04/virtual-schools-annual-2016

 

Red Flags Known and Overlooked With State Board Votes On San Jose Charter Schools // https://eduresearcher.com/2018/01/18/charter-red-flags/

 

How Will State Board of Education Vote on Controversial Charter School Petitions? // https://eduresearcher.com/2018/09/07/how-will-state-board-of-education-vote-on-controversial-charter-school-petitions/

 

Understanding Policies that Charter Operators Use for Financial Benefit

https://nepc.colorado.edu/publication/charter-revenue

 

New Report Uncovers Systematic Failure by California Charter Schools to Meet Local Control Obligations https://www.publicadvocates.org/uncategorized/22875/

 

KIPP subset of posts on Charter Schools & “Choice”: A Closer Look page:

https://www.scoop.it/t/charter-choice-closer-look?q=kipp 

 

Rocketship subset of posts on Charter Schools & “Choice”: A Closer Look page // https://www.scoop.it/t/charter-choice-closer-look?q=rocketship

 

For more with current updates, please see:

http://bit.ly/chart_look 

http://bit.ly/privatization_explained

http://bit.ly/naacp_resolution

 

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California LLC pays $7M for BNA area charter school: Rocketship now owns property from which its academy operates // Nashville Post 

California LLC pays $7M for BNA area charter school: Rocketship now owns property from which its academy operates  // Nashville Post  | Charter Schools & "Choice": A Closer Look | Scoop.it

Staff Reports

"A California entity has paid about $7.06 million for the airport-area property from which its charter school Rocketship United Academy operates.

The seller was CA Nashville 320 PPB LLC, which paid $1.5 million for the 2.3-acre property in December 2014. That LLC is affiliated with Santa Monica, California, Turner Impact Capital, which bills itself as a socially responsible company.


San Jose-based Rocketship Public Schools is the new owner, having acquired the site via an LLC. In addition to Nashville and the Bay Area, RPS operates schools in Milwaukee and Washington, D.C.

 

The address is 320 Plus Park Drive, with Nashville International Airport (BNA) located about two miles to the east of the site.

 

Of note, Bostwick Laboratories once owned the property, having paid $2.06 million for it in January 2008 in the early days of the Great Recession. That entity in 2017 filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization. Shortly thereafter, Memphis-based Poplar Healthcare bought the bulk of Bostwick’s assets.

Rocketship United Academy offers grades kindergarten through fourth and is home to about 550 students, according to the school’s website."

 

For original post, visit: 

https://www.nashvillepost.com/business/development/commercial-real-estate/article/21071908/california-llc-pays-7m-for-bnaarea-charter-school

 

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$50 Million in State Funds Reportedly Stolen in Charter School Scheme // ABC News San Diego 

$50 Million in State Funds Reportedly Stolen in Charter School Scheme // ABC News San Diego  | Charter Schools & "Choice": A Closer Look | Scoop.it

By Zac Self, SAN DIEGO (KGTV) 
"An Australian national and his Long Beach business partner are accused of siphoning more than $50 million from the State of California in a years-long charter school scheme.

 

According to the San Diego District Attorney, the pair sought out small school districts with limited experience in oversight and proposed they start online charted schools to earn more public funds.


Sean McManus, 46, and Jason Schrock, 44, the CEO and president of A3 Education, along with nine other people named in the case have been indicted in San Diego County.

Criminal counts include conspiracy, misappropriation of public funds, paying for student information and conflict of interest.

 

A year-long investigation uncovered a massive scheme in which McManus and Schrock told subordinates and co-defendants to open a total of 19 charter schools in both San Diego County and statewide, according to the DA.

The charter schools are listed below: 

  • Valiant Academy San Diego
  • Valiant Academy Los Angeles
  • Valiant Academy Santa Barbara
  • CA STEAM San Bernardino
  • CA STEAM Sonoma
  • CA STEAM Sonoma II
  • CA STEAM Santa Barbara
  • Uplift California Monterey
  • Uplift California North
  • Uplift California South
  • Uplift California Santa Barbara
  • California Academy of Sports Science
  • California Academy of Sports Science Fresno
  • California Vanguard Fresno
  • University Prep
  • University Prep Fresno
  • University Prep San Bernardino
  • California Prep Sutter K-7
  • California Prep Sutter 8-12

“These defendants engaged in a devious, systematic public corruption scheme on the backs of students, their parents and the public that over time diverted millions of taxpayer dollars into their own pockets,” District Attorney Summer Stephan said. “Our team of investigators and prosecutors uncovered widespread misappropriation of public funds that extends across the state.”

Co-defendants in the case who worked under McManus and Schrock at the charter schools reportedly failed to disclose their relationship with the men when starting the schools, claiming to be the schools’ leaders.


McManus is charged with 64 counts and is facing more than 40 years in prison if convicted. Schrock is charged with 62 counts and also faces more than 40 years in prison, Stephan said.

 

On top of creating the charter schools, both McManus and Schrock are accused of running another scam that paid athletic organizations for student information.

The pair reportedly paid pre-existing youth programs as little as $25 per student for enrollment documentation and would then enroll the students into a charter school during the summer, collecting roughly $2,000 per student from the state.

McManus and Schrock are then accused of transferring more than $50 million in public charter school funds into companies the pair own or control. Instead of spending the money on education, once the money was in private bank accounts, both men are accused of using the funds for themselves and their families."

 

For original post, please visit

https://www.10news.com/news/local-news/50-million-in-state-funds-reportedly-stolen-in-charter-school-scheme 

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Asleep at the Wheel: How the Federal Charter Schools Program Recklessly Takes Taxpayers and Students for a Ride [Executive Summary]

The document above is the Executive Summary of a report that details the Network for Public Education’s two month examination of the U.S. Department of Education’s Charter Schools Program (CSP).

 

..."Our investigation found a troubling pattern of insufficient applicant review, contradictions between information provided by applicants and available public data, the gifting of funds to schools with inadequate financial and governance plans, a push-out of large grants to the states with little supervision by the department, and the waste of hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars.

 

By comparing claims made by charter grant applicants to information on state databases and school websites, we found numerous examples of federal tax dollars being misspent due to an inattentive process that routinely accepts applicants’ claims without scrutiny.

 

We found that it is likely that as many as one third of all charter schools receiving CSP grants never opened, or opened and shut down. In fact, the failure rates for grant-awarded charter schools in California has reached nearly four in ten.

 

American taxpayers have a right to demand that their tax dollars not be wasted. Tax dollars that flow to charter schools that never opened or quickly close should not be considered the cost of doing business. And a program with a stated commitment to spread “high-quality” schools should not be a major funding source for schools that leave families in the lurch and promote discriminatory enrollment practices that increase segregation and unequal opportunity for students with disabilities, behavioral challenges or English language learner status. We cannot afford to continue to pump hundreds of millions of dollars into a program whose stewards are clearly asleep at the wheel.

 

To download the Executive Summary click on the title or arrow above. 

 

To download the full report, visit: 

http://bit.ly/NPE_charter_report

 

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Murray Charter School to Close Amid Financial Troubles: Board Votes to Officially Close School on August 15th

Murray Charter School to Close Amid Financial Troubles: Board Votes to Officially Close School on August 15th | Charter Schools & "Choice": A Closer Look | Scoop.it

By Simone Francis

"MURRAY (ABC4 News) – A Murray charter school facing financial hardship will close at the end of the school year. 

 

The American International School of Utah Board voted Wednesday evening to officially close the school as of August 15.

School administrators revealed last week that the charter school, located at 4998 Galleria Drive, is in millions of dollars of debt.

"Our school at the very beginning had a very innovative model of a partnership with a management company which our school is actually a majority member of," told Executive Director Tasi Young told parents at a previous meeting. 

 

Young and other administrators blamed the school’s financial problems on what they called exorbitant spending during the first two years of operation.

 

In March, the State Board of Education ordered repayment of hundreds of thousands of grant money for special education programs citing "unallowable expenditures."... 

 

For full post, see:

https://www.abc4.com/news/local-news/murray-charter-school-to-close-amid-financial-troubles/1990705841 

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Eyewitnesses to Charter School Corruption and Disruption: Different Perceptions. One Reality. // Arthur Camins

Eyewitnesses to Charter School Corruption and Disruption: Different Perceptions. One Reality. // Arthur Camins | Charter Schools & "Choice": A Closer Look | Scoop.it

By Arthur Camins

A police officer uses lethal force on an unarmed non-white citizen. One bystander sees police self-defense while another sees racially motivated police brutality. It is an all too common story. Prosecutors and criminal defense lawyers know that a range of race, class, and sociopolitical-influenced perceptions make eyewitness testimony highly variable and often reliable. However, what happened is not just a matter of perception. There is a reality to the dead person’s innocence and the bias that caused it.

 

Reports of corruption and abrupt closing of charter schools attended by predominantly non-white children have become a regular occurrence. For example, its study, Asleep at the Wheel, the Network for Public Education recently chronicled the plethora of problems with charter schools.  They found that the U.S. government has wasted up to $1 billion on charter schools that never opened or opened and then closed because of mismanagement and other reasons. Reports of abusive rigid discipline and high suspension rates are also common.  

 

Charter school advocates are unfazed by such information, while others are appalled. As with eyewitnesses to crimes in which race and class are elements, varying perspectives explain different perceptions. Nonetheless, the disruption to the lives of innocent children, the drained funds from public schools, and the bias that caused it are real.

 

In recent years, people associated with the hedge fund industry, technology titans such as the Gates, Zuckerberg, and Jobs families, and right-wing foundations have all invested financial and political capital to promote charter schools. Their predominant ideological lens– no matter their political party affiliation– is competition and associated risk. That is why the liberal Gates and the conservative Walton families find common cause on charter schools. Long- and short-term triumphs and failures are essential features of their entrepreneurial worldview. Through that lens "start-ups" come and go, IPOs rise and fall, businesses merge, and divisions divested.  Lost jobs and careers are collateral damage–especially when the victims are poor and/or not White. That is their normal. It is the world in which they have triumphed.  They look at the world through the lens of their personal success. The losers in the process are, well–just part of how things get done. They have wealth and power and seek to impose and extend their will and perspective on everything within their reach. The public sector–including schools–is in their way. Increasingly democracy, and with it, government regulation is in their way too. Hence, they favor private over elected school boards. They are a tiny minority, but their perspective has gained bipartisan political and mass-media traction.

Another lens is the common good and its explicit companion, cross-racial unity. It has no wealth and power to extend its reach. However, it has a distinct advantage.  It represents the vast majority of Americans.  The questions you ask frame the answers you get.  Let's ask, "Do you favor single a democratically-governed, high-quality public education system for every child or two taxpayer-funded systems: One privately-governed and another democratically governed?" I haven't seen such a poll, nor have I seen any that ask: “Is it fair to drain money from public schools to fund charter schools?” or “Is it acceptable for schools to frequently open and close?” My best guess is that the stability, the common good, and racial unity will win hands down over the disruptive, market competition, and racially-divisive perspectives.

The coming 2020 state and federal elections will be an opportunity to change direction. However, I don’t expect the candidates who are running for office to shed their pro-charter school biases on their own. I don’t expect them to advocate for an unambiguous common good, racial unity agenda for public education. That will require determined political action.

We need to tell them what we want.  As a start, here are a few suggestions:

  • Increase the funding for all public schools to the level of well-resourced suburban schools. (Note: Charter schools are not public)

  • Fund schools through an equitable tax on wealthy individuals and corporations instead of inequitable local real estate taxes.

  • Reduce class size so that students can get the attention they need.

  • Fully fund special education.

  • Increase teachers’ salaries so that they are commensurate with similar professions.

  • Provide teachers with paid time for professional growth and collaboration.

  • Do away with punishment and humiliation by high-stakes test scores.

  • Fund Medicare-for-All, so that every child arrives at school healthy.

  • Fund the Green-New-Deal, so children and their families have a sustainable, equitable future.

School privatization advocates have money. Public school advocates have the majority–If we make demands and vote."

 

Arthur H. Camins is a lifelong educator. He works part-time with curriculum developers at UC Berkeley as an assessment specialist.  He retired recently as Director of the Center for Innovation in Engineering and Science Education at Stevens Institute of Technology. He has taught and been an administrator in New York City, Massachusetts, and Louisville, Kentucky. The ideas expressed in this article are his alone.

 

For original post, see:

https://www.dailykos.com/stories/2019/5/5/1855552/-Eyewitnesses-to-Charter-School-Corruption-and-Disruption-Different-Perceptions-One-Reality 

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Ohio Democratic Party Passes Resolution Opposing School Privatization, Supporting Public Schools

By Diane Ravitch
"The Ohio Democratic Party, aware that some Democrats have supported the privatization agenda in the past, took a strong stand supporting public schools. The resolution specifically rejects the privatization lobbying of ALEC, the Thomas Fordham Institute, Democrats for Education Reform, and TFA.

If every state Democratic Party passed similar resolutions, the candidates would be forced to be equally resolute in support of public schools.


Ohio Democratic Party

Resolution 2019-04 

Opposing School Privatization

  

WHEREAS, over 600 traditional public school districts in Ohio serve more than 1.8 million students; and

WHEREAS, the state of Ohio has the constitutional responsibility to secure a thorough and efficient system of common schools; and


WHEREAS, adequate and equitable funding is required to fulfill the state’s constitutional responsibility to Ohio’s school children; and


WHEREAS, students deserve a quality early childhood and K-12 education, certified teachers who have a voice in the policies which affect their schools, a rich curriculum that prepares students for college, careers, and meaningful participation as citizens; and


WHEREAS, the public school privatization agenda, which includes state takeovers, charter schools, voucher schemes, and a high-stakes test-and-punish philosophy, relies on destructive policies that harm students and blame educators that has proven to be ineffective at bringing efficiency and cost savings to our schools; and


WHEREAS, education profiteers dedicated to the public school privatization agenda and anti-educator initiatives also fund organizations entrenched in their movement to replace district schools with charter and private schools, such as the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), the Thomas Fordham Institute, Chiefs for Change, Teach for America (TFA) and Democrats for Education Reform (DFER); and


THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the Ohio Democratic Party rejects the public school privatization movement and opposes making Ohio’s public schools private or becoming segregated again through the lobbying and campaigning efforts of affiliated organizations like the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), the Thomas Fordham Institute, Chiefs for Change, Teach for America (TFA) and Democrats for Education Reform (DFER); and


BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Ohio Democratic Party reaffirms its commitment to free accessible public school districts which are adequately and equitably funded to guarantee a comparable education for ALL children.


Adopted April 30, 2019"

 

https://dianeravitch.net/2019/05/01/ohio-democratic-party-passes-resolution-opposing-school-privatization-supporting-public-scgools/ 

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Civil Rights Leader Jitu Brown Speaks Out Against Privatization by Charters and Vouchers

Jitu Brown is leader of the Journey for Justice and a national civil rights leader.  In this interview, he explains why he opposes school closings, charter schools, and vouchers, which have been disproportionately imposed on communities of color.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6faHukjHnUw&app=desktop 

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NC Charter School Teacher Taped Student’s Mouth: School Says Action Was Inappropriate But Not Malicious // Raleigh News & Observer

NC Charter School Teacher Taped Student’s Mouth: School Says Action Was Inappropriate But Not Malicious // Raleigh News & Observer | Charter Schools & "Choice": A Closer Look | Scoop.it

By T. Keung Hui

"A middle school teacher at Southern Wake Academy who taped a student’s mouth with masking tape has been disciplined and is still working at the charter school.

In a message sent to parents Thursday, principal David Thomas said the school’s administration quickly and seriously handled last month’s incident by contacting the student’s parents and meeting with the teacher. Thomas said that the teacher’s actions were inappropriate but not of malicious intent.

 

The teacher was placed on a disciplinary action plan for the remainder of the school year, according to Thomas. He did not identify the teacher.

ABC11, which is the News & Observer’s media partner, reported that Thomas said the female social studies teacher was joking around with the student. ABC11 also reported that the teacher said she had great rapport with her students but went too far. Thomas did not immediately return a request for comment Thursday."...

 

For full story, visit:

https://www.newsobserver.com/news/local/article228830074.html 

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Virtual Schools in the U.S. 2019 // National Education Policy Center

To download report, click on title or arrow above. 

Virtual Schools in the U.S. 2019
Alex Molnar, Gary Miron, Najat Elgeberi, Michael K. Barbour, Luis Huerta, Sheryl Rankin Shafer, and Jennifer King Rice

May 28, 2019 
Publication Announcement
"As proponents continue to make the case that virtual education can expand 

student choices and improve the efficiency of public education, full-time virtual schools have attracted a great deal of attention. Advocates contend that this potential for individualization allows virtual schools to promote greater student achievement than can be realized in traditional brick-and-mortar schools. NEPC researchers found, however, that the research evidence does not support this claim.

This three-part brief provides disinterested scholarly analyses of the characteristics and performance of full-time, publicly funded K-12 virtual schools; reviews the relevant available research related to virtual school practices; provides an overview of recent state legislative efforts to craft virtual schools policy; and offers policy recommendations based on the available evidence."

 

Learn More: NEPC Resources on Virtual Education

For full original announcement, please visit: 

https://nepc.colorado.edu/publication/virtual-schools-annual-2019

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Rocketship Warned for Violating Charter with Late Audits, Costly Lapse in Teacher Credentialing // San José Inside

Rocketship Warned for Violating Charter with Late Audits, Costly Lapse in Teacher Credentialing // San José Inside | Charter Schools & "Choice": A Closer Look | Scoop.it

By Jennifer Wadsworth "Rocketship, a publicly funded chain of private charter schools, ran afoul of the law by blowing past deadlines to submit financial audits for two years in a row to the Santa Clara County Office of Education. Per State Ed Code, that alone puts the franchise at risk of losing its charter at all eight schools authorized by SCCOE.

 

Worse yet, a hearing to address the lapse brought another serious violation to light.

 

Failure to ensure proper teacher credentialing at three of Rocketship’s 13 Bay Area charter schools resulted in a combined $400,000 penalty. In response to deficient compliance audits at Rocketship’s Spark and Alma academies in San Jose and Redwood City Prep on the Peninsula, the California Department of Education will withhold $238,000, $46,000 and $117,000, respectively, from the schools’ next-year budgets.

 

SCCOE trustee Anna Song grilled Rocketship officials at a board meeting last week, asking how a company that makes national headlines for its rapid expansion and ostensibly reformist ambitions could falter on core accountability measures. A similar issue recently arose about an hour north in the Antioch Unified School District, which put Rocketship on notice for failing to submit its yearly site-specific financial audits by the same Dec. 15 deadline required by law.

 

From the dais on March 6, Song reminded the room how Rocketship co-founders Preston Smith and John Danner launched their enterprise here in Silicon Valley, testing their concept of software-assisted learning at local low-performing schools before going on to pioneer a rapid expansion of the charter movement.

 

Preston and Danner had a lofty aim and simple strategy: to boost test scores by slashing labor costs. And Song said they promised to stay accessible to SCCOE, whose historically charter-friendly governing board helped jumpstart Rocketship’s dizzying ascent.

 

“This noncompliance happens,” she granted, “but it didn’t happen to a small charter school where you could expect that oversight could happen. It happened to Rocketship. It happened to Rocketship. … I’m trying to grasp how this big [organization] … who had the audacity to ask for 20 charter schools all at once had this mistake happen.”

 

Rocketship officials characterized the mishap as symptom of the organization’s increasing scale and complexity. In just the Bay Area, Rocketship serves 6,600 students at 13 sites through charters granted by several local school districts. The vast majority of those sites and students are here in the South Bay.

 

“Our failure was breaking your trust in our word and our commitment to comply with the letter of the law and our MOU,” Rocketship San Jose Regional Director Maria O’Hollearn told SCCOE trustees. That she brought to the meeting two C-suite Rocketship officials—namely Chief Financial Officer Keysha Bailey, Chief Talent Officer Lynn Liao—“shows the seriousness of delivering our audits late for a second year,” O’Hollearn added.

 

In an email to San Jose Inside, Bailey echoed O’Hollearn’s remorse. “We deeply regret the delays in our audit but are now 100 percent confident that we have the systems and staff in place to meet our needs as well as ensure we are fulfilling our compliance requirements on time,” she wrote. “Additionally, our auditor has recognized the need to dedicate a larger team and more senior staff to our annual audit moving forward.”

 

SCCOE trustee Claudia Rossi amplified Song’s concerns, which she said call into question Rocketship’s stewardship of public money. “The tardiness of the financials, to me, is suspect because a budget is a living document,” Rossi said. “It’s not something you look at once or twice a year. It is adjusted, revised and presented to the board.”

 

SCCOE Charter School Department Director Khristel Johnson, whose five-member team oversees dozens of charters in addition to Rocketship’s, declined to directly address the late audits or credentialing oversight. But in written responses to questions about Rocketship’s compliance channeled through SCCOE’s communications team, officials said they’re still in the process of gathering information from the charter franchise.

 

“We have asked they submit a reason for the 2017 and 2018 audit delays and the changes they will make to their auditing practices to adhere to the timeline,” SCCOE officials said. “Late audits can be a symptom of systemic issues.”

 

For full article, please see: 

 

https://www.sanjoseinside.com/2019/03/14/rocketship-warned-for-violating-charter-with-late-audits-lapse-in-teacher-credentialing/ 

 

For Rocketship subset of posts/updates, see: http://bit.ly/Rocketship_Files

 

 

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Charter Schools, Academy Schools, and Related-Party Transactions: Same Scams, Different Countries // Green & Connery (2019), Arkansas Law Review

Charter Schools, Academy Schools, and Related-Party Transactions: Same Scams, Different Countries // Green & Connery (2019), Arkansas Law Review | Charter Schools & "Choice": A Closer Look | Scoop.it

"Abstract

Using comparative legal research methodologies, this article attempts to explain why the monitoring systems of U.S. charter schools and England's academy schools (academies) are having such a difficult time regulating related-party transactions. Following an explanation of the methods, Section II investigates the prominent role EMOs and ATs play in the expansion of charter schools and academies. Subsequently, section III examines data on EMO and AT engagement in related-party transactions and presents examples of EMOs and ATs abusing the legality of these transactions. These two sections together demonstrate the need to consider how these organizations are monitored. In Section IV we then analyze the current systems in place to monitor related-party transactions in charter schools and academies and make suggestions for improvement."

 

Keywords: charter schools, academy schools, related-party transactions

https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=3311660 

 

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Rocketship Delta Prep given notice for violating charter, has 30 days to respond // East Bay Times

Rocketship Delta Prep given notice for violating charter, has 30 days to respond // East Bay Times | Charter Schools & "Choice": A Closer Look | Scoop.it

"ANTIOCH — Rocketship Delta Prep has been put on notice for violating its charter by not submitting a financial audit and other documents in a timely manner to the Antioch Unified School District, as required.

 

The Antioch school board voted 4-1 last week, with Crystal Sawyer-White dissenting, to warn Rocketship, which opened in August, that it failed to provide certain reports required by law. The school, which has since submitted some of those documents, now has until March 28 to respond and outline how it’ll remedy the violations.

 

At a recent school board meeting, Rocketship officials blamed the missteps partly on miscommunication and a heavy workload, as well as obstacles in getting a new school up and running by its August 2018 deadline.

 

“We learned a lot about how to best serve our community now and are fully compliant with our MOU (memorandum of understanding),” said Marie Issa Gil, Bay Area Rocketship’s regional director.

 

But school board lawyer Scott Holbrook told trustees they have a responsibility as Rocketship’s overseer to make sure the charter school spends public funds appropriately.

 

“The school has a budget of over $5 million of public monies,” Holbrook said. “You, as elected officials, you are stewards of those monies. You have an obligation to ensure and to monitor the fiscal oversight of this charter school… but the administration cannot do that if they do not get the information from the charter school.”

Holbrook said the charter, which was issued in 2016, included an agreement that it would provide the school district with all necessary documents. A 169-page district staff report indicates some of the missing documents include an end-of-year financial audit, which was due last Dec. 15, proof that its teachers are credentialed, a timely notice of disenrolled students and required reports on special needs students.

 

“We’ve listed a dozen examples that are expected to be complied with — half a dozen they did — but there are still a number in which the charter was not complying with,” Holbrook said. “There is absolutely no excuse for that charter school to present that audit report almost two months late.”

 

What Rocketship Delta Prep did submit was a consolidated audit report of all its 20 schools rather than an individual report, Holbrook said.

 

“We are hopeful that we will not have to do this again,” he said. “If they fail to do that (respond to the notice), in my opinion, they are undeserving of a charter authorized by this district and to carry your brand of the Antioch School District.”...

 

For full post, see: 

https://www.eastbaytimes.com/2019/03/08/rocketship-given-notice-for-violating-charter-has-30-days-to-respond/ 

 

 

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