Charter Schools & "Choice": A Closer Look
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#CyberCharters: Widespread Reports of Trouble // EdWeek

#CyberCharters: Widespread Reports of Trouble // EdWeek | Charter Schools & "Choice": A Closer Look | Scoop.it

"A Colorado cyber charter school with a 19 percent graduation rate. An Ohio cyber that inflated student attendance by nearly 500 percent. A Pennsylvania cyber founder who siphoned off $8 million in public money, including $300,000 to buy himself an airplane. A Hawaii cyber founder who hired her nephew as the athletic director – for a school with no sports teams.

As part of an eight-month investigation into the poor academic performance and financial mismanagement of full-time online charter schools, Education Week reviewed hundreds of news stories and dozens of state audits and reports dating back to the early 2000s.

Together, these accounts raise a critical question: What would persuade state lawmakers to bring greater accountability to the nation’s troubled cyber charter sector?

 

DISCLAIMER: In preparing the information included in this interactive map, the Education Week Library sought accounts from established news organizations and documents from state agencies that reported poor performance and/or mismanagement by full-time online charter schools. The list included here is representative, but not comprehensive.

Arizona
News Links:

"Arizona online schools are rapidly expanding enrollment," Arizona Republic (12/10/2011)
"Arizona nonprofit schools’ ties to for-profits raise flags," Arizona Republic (12/13/2011)
"Arizona taxpayers fund firms to run online schools," Arizona Republic (12/13/2011)
"Experts: Online schools in dire need of oversight," Arizona Republic (12/15/2011)
"Brewer vetoes Arizona online-education bill," Arizona Republic (5/14/2012)

State Audits & Reports:

"Performance audit: Technology assisted project-based instruction program" (October 2007)


California

News Links:

● "Cyber classrooms," San Diego Union-Tribune (11/10/2002)*
"Virtual charter school network making a profit at the expense of California schoolchildren, study finds," East Bay Times (2/27/2015)
"California’s attorney general is investigating the online charter school industry," Buzzfeed (11/2/2015)
"California Virtual Academies: Is online charter school network cashing in on failure?," San Jose Mercury News (4/16/2016)
"K12 Inc.: California Virtual Academies’ operator exploits charter, charity laws for money, records show," East Bay Times (4/18/2016)
"K12 Inc: California Virtual Academies defend online charter schools as model of school choice," The Humboldt Beacon (4/19/2016)
"California attorney general probe leads to $168.5 million settlement with for-profit online school operator," San Jose Mercury News (7/8/2016)
"Online schools: Susan Bonilla shelves bill after interest groups water it down," San Jose Mercury News (8/30/2016)

State Audits & Reports:

"Settlement agreement and release, State of California v. K12 Inc." (7/8/2016)

* This article is not publicly available online.


Colorado

News Links:

"Online schools flunk audit," Denver Post (12/11/2006)
"Oversight yet to catch up with Colorado’s burgeoning online schools," Denver Post (10/1/2011)
"Online K-12 schools failing students but keeping tax dollars," I-News Network/Education News Colorado (10/2/2011)
"Investigation finds lax oversight of online K-12 schools," I-News Network/Rocky Mountain PBS (10/2/2011)
"Achievement drops when K-12 students switch to online schools," I-News Network/Education News Colorado (9/4/2013)
"Online regulation bill quickly killed," Chalkbeat (3/16/2015)

State Audits & Reports:

"Report of the state auditor, online education, Colorado Department of Education, performance audit" (November 2006)
"Online education reports," (2007-2014)
"Summary report for online schools and programs," Submitted by Office of Blended and Online Learning of the Colorado Department of Education to the state board and state House and Senate’s education committees (June 2014)


Florida

News Links:

"Bush, cabinet reject appeal by cyber high to reopen in Orange," Orlando Sentinel (8/14/2002)
"Seminole pulls plug on cyber school," Orlando Sentinel (8/28/2002)
"Mavericks’ high schools hope to profit from education – But at what cost?," New Times Broward-Palm Beach (12/29/2011)
"PBC Charter school leader accused of steering money to his own company," Palm Beach Post (10/15/2015)
"One Broward County charter school plans to close, another may be forced to shut down," Sun-Sentinel (3/14/2016)
"Pinellas board appears ready to close three troubled charter schools," Tampa Bay Times (5/10/2016)


Georgia

News Links:

"Odyssey School's charter renewed; State board gives approval for it and cyber partner," Atlanta Journal-Constitution (7/10/2009)
"Cyberschool decision due; Commission weighs benefit for Georgia of more virtual classrooms," Atlanta Journal-Constitution (6/18/2010)
"Georgia DOE blasts Georgia Cyber Academy, threatens to pull charter in report," Atlanta Journal-Constitution (11/20/2012)
"State Department of Education praises Georgia Cyber Academy’s progress on special ed," Atlanta Journal-Constitution (12/4/2012)
"Charter school prolonged a painful choice," Atlanta Journal-Constitution (12/18/2015)
"Georgia’s largest online school paid millions, earns a D," Atlanta Journal-Constitution (7/24/2016)
"Georgia lacks clear policy for counting online attendance," Atlanta Journal-Constitution (8/10/2016)

State Audits & Reports:

"Study of virtual school performance and impact," Conducted by Public Impact and the National Association of Charter School Authorizers, Commissioned by the State Charter Schools Commission of Georgia (2015)
"Georgia virtual charter school report," Georgia Department of Audits and Accounts Performance Audit Division (2016)


Hawaii

News Links:

"Charter school stands accused of nepotism," Honolulu Star-Advertiser (12/5/2010)
"Exclusive: AG raids charter school, seizing records, computers," Hawaii News Now (12/17/2013)
"No criminal charges filed against sisters," Honolulu Star-Advertiser (10/29/2015)


Idaho

News Links:

● "Virtual school bailout OK’d; Senate also says yes to changes for charter schools," Idaho Statesman (3/17/2004)*
"A charter for conflict," Lewiston Morning Tribune (6/13/2004)
"Education in uproar," Lewiston Morning Tribune (7/11/2004)
"Idaho not tracking how online schools spend public money," Moscow-Pullman Daily News (4/6/2008)
"Shawn Vestal: Idaho results show that in many cases, virtual education doesn’t deliver," Spokesman-Review (1/28/2016)

State Audits & Reports:

A descriptive analysis of Idaho virtual charter school student academic performance from 2004 to 2009," Idaho Department of Education / REL Northwest (January 2010)

* This article is not publicly available online.


Indiana

News Links:

"Star Watch: Cyberschools multiply, but scores fall short," Indianapolis Star (7/15/2012)
"Rapid growth, rising debt mark Indiana Cyber Charter School," Evansville Courier & Press (6/4/2014)
"Lawsuit: Virtual charter school owes $600K for services," Indianapolis Star (8/11/2014)
"Virtual charter school shuttered over financial, management issues," Evansville Courier & Press (6/17/2015)
"In danger of closure, virtual charter surprises state board by transferring students to sister school," Chalkbeat (9/7/2016)


Maine

News Links:

"Those helping write virtual school policy positioned to profit from it," Portland Press Herald (9/1/2012)
"Multinational giant set to run first virtual school in Maine," Portland Press Herald (3/15/2014)
"Maine’s new virtual charter school sees 25% enrollment drop since opening," Portland Press Herald (1/6/2016)


Massachusetts

News Links:

"Massachusetts Virtual Academy gets low marks for student progress," The Republican Newsroom/New England Center for Investigative Reporting (12/16/2012)
"As state’s first virtual school grows, so do concerns," WBUR (10/1/2015)


Michigan

News Links:

● "Offering more choices?; House education committee holds hearing on online charter schools," Pioneer (1/27/2012)*
"Three years later, jury still out on Michigan's cyber school expansion," Bridge Magazine (10/22/2015)
"4 Grand Rapids schools, 2 charters make state list of low-performers," MLive (9/2/2016)

* This article is not publicly available online.


Minnesota

News Links:

"Arguments heard by education commissioner on BlueSky investigation," Pioneer Press (12/21/2011)
"BlueSky online school rebounding after state effort to shut it down," Pioneer Press (4/27/2013)

State Audits & Reports:

"In the matter of the termination of the existing contract between BlueSky Online Charter School and Novation Education Opportunities," Minnesota Office of the Attorney General (February 2011)


Nevada

News Links:

"Beacon Principal Praises Graduates for Overcoming Odds," Las Vegas Review Journal (6/13/2014)
"Nevada panel weighs closure of several virtual schools, criticizes student performance," KSNV NBC Las Vegas (4/25/2016)


New Mexico

News Links:

"2 Santa Fe charter schools rejected," Albuquerque Journal (9/21/2012)
"Skandera OK’s virtual school," Albuquerque Journal (1/31/2013)
"Bill bans firms from running public schools," Albuquerque Journal (2/13/2013)
"Senator seeks AG’s opinion on whether Skandera actions stray from state law," Santa Fe New Mexican (3/20/2013)
"State lawmakers take a closer look at virtual charter schools," Santa Fe New Mexican (9/16/2016)

State Audits & Reports:

"Virtual education and cyber learning: overview of 2012 through 2014 LESC interim reports," State of New Mexico Legislative Education Study Committee (6/25/2015)
"Performance, cost, and governance of selected charter schools," New Mexico Public Education Department report to Legislative Finance Committee (1/18/2016)


North Carolina

News Links:

"Virtual charter school seeks state response," Charlotte Observer (5/4/2012)
"Two virtual charter schools on track for North Carolina," Charlotte Observer (12/17/2014)
"NC virtual charter schools see high withdrawal rates," WUNC (1/7/2016)
"NC virtual charter schools off to rough academic start," News & Observer (9/1/2016)

State Audits & Reports:

"Report to the North Carolina General Assembly: virtual charter school study," Public Schools of North Carolina, State Board of Education (4/15/2014)


Ohio

News Links:

● "Charter school owes state $48,000 for ineligible students," Associated Press (9/2/2003)*
"Charter schools falling short on audits," Columbus Dispatch (7/26/2005)
"Miscounted students; state owes $263,000 to online school," Columbus Dispatch (4/4/2006)
"Online schools get millions in public support," Cleveland Plain Dealer/State Impact Ohio (9/30/2012)
"Taxpayers’ $1.2 million propped up owner’s 2nd charter-school bust," Columbus Dispatch (11/19/2013)
"E-school to repay Ohio for missing students," Columbus Dispatch (3/1/2016)
"Online school enriches affiliated companies if not its students," New York Times (5/18/2016)
"ECOT sues to block effort to track log-ins of students," Columbus Dispatch (7/8/2016)
"State may force ECOT to pay back 60% of taxpayer funds," Columbus Dispatch (9/27/2016)
"Eschools say they will appeal audits determining inflated attendance," Columbus Dispatch (10/4/2016)

* This article is not publicly available online.


Oklahoma

News Links:

"Virtual school says funding blocked," Tulsa World (8/13/2010)
"University of Central Oklahoma pays $60K to exit charter deal," The Oklahoman (3/1/2011)
"Millions in state aid go to online charter schools in Oklahoma," The Oklahoman (12/30/2013)
"State moves to shut down virtual charter school," Oklahoma Watch (7/11/2016)
"State says 3-year-old probe into virtual school still continues," Oklahoma Watch (7/14/2016)


Oregon

News Links:

● "Oregon virtual charter school faces loss of funds," Associated Press (9/6/2006)*
"Lawmakers loosen admissions for online charter schools as state’s largest such school graduates biggest class," Oregonian (6/24/2011)
"Gresham-Barlow academy gives students an online alternative to traditional school," Oregonian (2/1/2013)
"Oregon's largest charter school miseducated student for years, graduated her unable to read or write," Oregonian (1/21/2013)
"David Sarasohn: Virtual charter school uses smaller district for bigger money (Opinion)," Oregonian (9/12/2015)

State Audits & Reports:

"Online charter schools: policy issues," Oregon State Board of Education Policy Brief (August 2007)

* This article is not publicly available online.


Pennsylvania

News Links:

"Cyber-charter suit is a 'smear campaign,' founder says," Philadelphia Inquirer (9/7/2001)
"Cyberschool is cautionary tale," The Morning Call (5/13/2002)
"Zogby said to be in line for job at for-profit schools firm," Philadelphia Daily News (11/27/2002)
● "Court rules online school must close; Einstein Academy told to shut doors next month," Evening Sun (5/15/2003)*
"Devon charter founder sues parents," Philadelphia Inquirer (2/3/2009)
"Probe found no record of grant money," Philadelphia Inquirer (8/5/2009)
"PA Auditor General: Taxpayers overcharged $365 million annually for charter schools," The Morning Call (6/21/2012)
"Auditor General uses PA Cyber finances to illustrate need for change," Beaver County Times (12/7/2012)
"Ex-workers claim operator of cyber charters played games with enrollment figures," WHYY/Newsworks (1/21/2013)
"Rising Pa. cyber charter costs fuel push for statewide reform," WHYY/Newsworks (5/23/2013)
"Feds: PA Cyber Charter School founder Trombetta schemed to steal $1 million," Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (8/24/2013)
"Donations from ex-cyber school raise concerns," Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (9/1/2013)
"Lawyers in Brown’s fraud case defend her multiple salaries," Philadelphia Inquirer (12/7/2013)
"Ex-CEO of cyber school wants evidence thrown out in fraud case," Associated Press (6/5/2014)
"After 3 years of fighting charges, PA Cyber founder admits tax fraud," Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (8/24/2016)

State Audits & Reports:

"Pennsylvania charter school accountability and transparency: time for a tune-up," Pennsylvania Department of the Auditor General (May 2014)
"Charter and cyber charter education funding reform should save taxpayers $365 million annually," Pennsylvania Department of the Auditor General (6/20/2012)
"The Commonwealth should revise its charter and cyber charter school funding mechanisms," Pennsylvania Department of the Auditor General (September 2010)

* This article is not publicly available online.


Tennessee

News Links:

"Tennessee legislative committee kills bill to close Tennessee Virtual Academy," The Commercial Appeal (2/12/2013)
● "Virtual school hits bottom, gets reprieve," The Tennessean (8/25/2013)*
"Court: TN Virtual Academy can remain open," The Tennessean (6/12/2015)
"Virtual academy improvement deadline unclear," WBIR (8/16/2016)

State Audits & Reports:

"Virtual education report," Tennessee Department of Education (2015)
"Virtual schools in Tennessee," Tennessee Comptroller of the Treasury, Offices of Research and Education Accountability (March 2016)

* This article is not publicly available online.


Texas

News Links:

"3,500 students navigate virtual classrooms at 3 Texas public online schools," Dallas Morning News (11/7/2010)
"Education Inc.," Texas Observer (9/6/2011)
"Virtual schools; not so virtual loophole," Texas Observer (10/10/2011)
"Virtual schools see numbers increase, along with questions," Amarillo Globe-News (6/7/2012)


Utah

News Links:

"Private company could cash in on online charter school," Salt Lake Tribune (10/6/2007)
"Utah charter schools under new performance scrutiny," Salt Lake Tribune (5/27/2013)
"Audit finds poor oversight of Utah schools' online education," Salt Lake Tribune (2/27/2014)
"Two Utah charter schools dumping vendor of online programs," Salt Lake Tribune (5/9/2014)
"Highest, lowest-performing Title 1 schools in Utah identified," KSL.com (12/26/2014)
"State announced high- and low-performing Title 1 schools," KSL.com (10/1/2015)

State Audits & Reports:

"Performance audit 2013-02, distance and online education programs in Utah schools," Utah State Board of Education (2/7/2014)


View the full list of news stories Education Week collected. Please send additional accounts, reports, and responses that you believe merit inclusion to library@epe.org.

Source: By Maya Riser-Kositsky, Benjamin Herold, and Arianna Prothero, Education Week | Design & Visualization: Sumi Bannerjee, Nina Goldman"

 

 

For original post, see: http://www.edweek.org/ew/section/multimedia/cyber-charters-widespread-reports-of-trouble.html 

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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).  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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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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Why Doesn't KIPP Sign Agreement To Abide By Conflict of Interest Law? (Government Code 1090) 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=90LAsBgh6Fg&feature=youtu.be 

 

"The above video includes excerpts from the Santa Clara County Board of Education meeting on November 1st, 2017 where KIPP refused to sign a Memorandum of Understanding indicating that it would abide by Government Code 1090 related to conflicts of interest. The final board vote was 5 to 2 to deny the petition at the County level. This decision was overturned by the State Board, which rubber-stamped the charter on March 14th. 

 

Government Code 1090 is stated here: https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/codes_displaySection.xhtml?lawCode=GOV&sectionNum=1090

 

For more information, see:

The Business of Charter Schooling: Understanding the Policies that Charter Operators Use For Financial Benefit // National Education Policy Center http://nepc.colorado.edu/publication/charter-revenue

KIPP's Efforts to Keep the Public in the Dark While Seeking Millions in Taxpayer Subsidies // http://sco.lt/7pxYg5  via Center for Media and Democracy https://www.prwatch.org/news/2016/04/13096/exposed-cmd-kipps-efforts-keep-public-dark-while-seeking-millions-taxpayer 


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


The Failure of Policy Planning in California’s Charter School Facility Funding https://www.inthepublicinterest.org/report-the-failure-of-policy-planning-in-californias-charter-school-facility-funding/ 

 

Charter School Vulnerabilities to Waste, Fraud, and Abuse: Federal Charter School Spending, Insufficient Authorizer Oversight, and Poor State & Local Oversight Leads to Growing Fraud Problems in Charter Schools // http://sco.lt/5Mkurh 

 

Letter from East Side Union High School District to State Board of Education Encouraging Denial of KIPP: http://sco.lt/7WhGQT 

 

“KIPP” Keyword Search Subset of posts from Charter Schools & Choice: A Closer Look collection: https://www.scoop.it/t/charter-choice-closer-look?q=KIPP 

 

Charter Schools & Choice: A Closer Look
http://bit.ly/chart_look 

 

Is Charter School Fraud The New Enron? 
https://eduresearcher.com/2017/03/16/charter-enron/ 

 

School Privatization Explained
https://eduresearcher.com/2017/04/24/privatization-explained/ 

 

NAACP Statement and Resolution Calling for a Moratorium on Charter School Expansion https://eduresearcher.com/2016/10/21/naacp/   

 

For update, see: 
https://eduresearcher.com/2018/03/13/denykipp/ 

 

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Investigation of Clayton Valley Charter High School Extended, Referred to District Attorney // East Bay Times

Investigation of Clayton Valley Charter High School Extended, Referred to District Attorney // East Bay Times | Charter Schools & "Choice": A Closer Look | Scoop.it
"After a contentious discussion that lasted roughly two hours, the Contra Costa County Board of Education decided Wednesday night to continue investigating the possible misuse of funds at and alleged mismanagement of Clayton Valley Charter High School in Concord.
 

A recent audit by the county found that the married former top leaders of the school made almost $850,000 in less than two years before leaving in the spring, secretly hired people and created positions without the school board’s approval.

 

Among the staff recommendations at the county office of education was to refer some issues — including the salaries of former executive director David Linzey and his wife, Eileen Linzey, the former chief program officer — to the district attorney’s office to potentially evaluate whether any use of funds violated the law.

 

“The individual and combined salary of the (executive director) and his wife appear to represent the potential for the substantially improper use of charter school funds for the personal benefit of any officer,” a staff memo to the board said.

 

David Linzey’s salary totaled $312,212 annually for managing the school — a salary that county education staff said exceeded the pay of most superintendents in Contra Costa County who oversee more students, schools and staff than Clayton Valley. Eileen Linzey, who was hired to fill the other top job at the school in early 2017, was paid a yearly salary of $223,392 — also more than what most of the county’s superintendents make.

 

The audit also found that Eileen Linzey was hired without the school posting the job internally and externally and noted that she reported to the executive director, her husband. However, Clayton Valley’s board members have disputed that, saying she reported directly to them.

 

An amendment to David Linzey’s contract added health benefit payments and a car allowance to his base salary, prompting county staff to recommend submitting a compensation summary to the California State Teachers’ Retirement System to determine if benefit “spiking” — using benefit payments to boost the overall salary base in an effort to raise the retirement payout — had occurred.

 

In an email, David Linzey issued a statement saying, “CVCHS fully complied with all laws regarding the contracting of its administrators. CVCHS complied with the Brown Act as well as The Political Reform Act, which charter schools are required to follow. CVCHS followed all conflict of interest policies. The staff and administration of CVCHS worked very hard to produce the outstanding results CVCHS posted throughout the years and the Board rewards hard work with good compensation.”

 

Also to be referred to the district attorney’s office was the hiring of Concord City Councilman Ron Leone for an “assistant superintendent” position at the school.The position was created and filled without board approval or job posting, the audit found. Leone took the job in December 2017 through the first half of 2018 for $681 a day while running for county superintendent of schools. After failing to win the seat in the June primary, Leone resigned from the position."..

 

For full post, see:

https://www.eastbaytimes.com/2018/10/18/county-asks-for-further-investigation-of-clayton-valley-charter-including-possible-review-by-the-district-attorney-2/ 

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Closing Schools: Privatization Disguised as 'Accountability'

Closing Schools: Privatization Disguised as 'Accountability' | Charter Schools & "Choice": A Closer Look | Scoop.it

"Closing schools not only has a negative impact on student performance but also creates hardship for communities already struggling with disinvestment."...

 

https://neatoday.org/2015/12/15/closing-schools-privatization/ 

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Sackler Applies OxyContin Marketing Lessons to Charter School Movement // Non-Profit Quarterly

Sackler Applies OxyContin Marketing Lessons to Charter School Movement // Non-Profit Quarterly | Charter Schools & "Choice": A Closer Look | Scoop.it

By Steve Dubb

"Last month, we covered a New Yorker story about the Sackler family, the nation’s 19th wealthiest family, with assets of $13 billion. The Sacklers have made much of their fortune through ownership of Purdue Pharma, a business that produced, sold, and popularized OxyContin, a drug that has led to over 200,000 deaths and counting. The Sacklers are getting more attention for their ownership of the Purdue Pharma company now, but they have long been known for philanthropy that has supported many museums and universities.

 

But as Sarah Darer Littman writes in AlterNet, the Sacklers’ philanthropic influence can also be found in charter schools. Jonthan Sackler, nephew of Purdue Pharma founder Arthur Sackler, is “a major funder of charters and an extensive network of pro-charter advocacy groups.”

 

Sackler, Littman adds, is “a well-known name in the education reform movement.” In 2005, Sackler founded the charter school advocacy group ConnCan (the Connecticut Coalition for Achievement Now). In 2011, Sackler helped found a nationwide group, 50CAN, which seeks to bring the Connecticut model to all 50 states; Sackler is a member of their board. Littman adds that Sackler is broadly invested in the charter school movement, noting,

 

"He is on the Board of Directors of the Achievement First charter school network. Until recently, Sackler served on the board of the New Schools Venture Fund, which invests in charter schools and advocates for their expansion. He was also on the board of the pro-charter advocacy group Students for Education Reform.

 

Through his personal charity, the Bouncer Foundation, Sackler donates to the above mentioned organizations, and an ecosystem of other charter school promoting entities, such as Families for Excellent Schools ($1,083,333 in 2014$300,000 in 2015 according to the Foundation’s Form 990s) Northeast Charter School Network ($150,000 per year in 2013, 2014 and 2015) and $275,000 to Education Reform Now (2015) and $200,000 (2015) to the Partnership for Educational Justice, the group founded by Campbell Brown which uses “impact litigation” to go after teacher tenure laws. Earlier this year, the Partnership for Educational Justice joined 50CAN, which Sackler also funds ($300,000 in 2014 and 2015), giving him a leadership role in the controversial—and so far failing cause—of weakening worker protections for teachers via the courts."

 

But it’s not just money that Sackler contributes. Littman writes that Sackler brings the “same influence techniques Purdue used to promote painkillers … to expand charter schools.”

 

Littman observes, “Just as Arthur Sackler founded the weekly Medical Tribune, to promote Purdue products to the medical professional who would prescribe them, Jon Sackler helps to fund the74million.org, the ‘nonpartisan’ education news website founded by Campbell Brown. The site, which received startup funding from Betsy DeVos, decries the fact that ‘the education debate is dominated by misinformation and political spin,’ yet is uniformly upbeat about charter schools while remarkably devoid of anything positive to say about district schools or teachers’ unions.”

 

A key Sackler strategy for promoting drugs, Littman observes, was vertical integration. Littman cites a memo that staffers for Tennessee Senator Estes Kefauver wrote in the 1960s:

 

“The Sackler empire is a completely integrated operation in that it can devise a new drug in its drug development enterprise, have the drug clinically tested and secure favorable reports on the drug from various hospitals with which they have connections, conceive the advertising approach and prepare the actual advertising copy with which to promote the drug, have the clinical articles as well as advertising copy published in their own medical journals, [and] prepare and plant articles in newspapers and magazines."

These promotional efforts worked. Art Van Zee, a doctor at Stone Mountain Health Services in Virginia, wrote an article in 2009 for the American Journal of Public Health. The title: “The Promotion and Marketing of OxyContin: Commercial Triumph, Public Health Tragedy.”

 

Among the tactics that led to commercial success, writes Van Zee, was that,

 

"From 1996 to 2001, Purdue conducted more than 40 national pain-management and speaker-training conferences at resorts in Florida, Arizona, and California. More than 5000 physicians, pharmacists, and nurses attended these all-expenses-paid symposia, where they were recruited and trained for Purdue’s national speaker bureau.” In 2001 alone, Van Zee adds, the company spent more than $200 million on marketing, including lavish “branded swag for health care practitioners."

 

Littman points out that “lavish swag” is a mainstay of “the no-expenses-spared charter school rallies. She calls some pro-charter organizations “AstroTurf” groups, because these groups have received millions in support from hedge fund managers.

 

Patrick Riccards, a former CEO of ConnCan, the pro-charter group that Sackler founded in 2005, emphasized the importance of marketing. Riccards told Littman that “ConnCan’s focus was: how does the charter industry continue to grow? Every year, ConnCan’s fight was how do we increase the number of seats, and how do we increase the per pupil expenditure?”

Then there is the case Families for Excellent Schools-Advocacy (FESA) in Massachusetts, which this past September was ordered to pay $425,000—the largest civil forfeiture fine in the 44-year history of the state’s Office of Campaign and Political Finance—for raising campaign funds in a way that disguised donor identity. As part of the settlement, “the group was ordered to reveal the names of its secret donors. Jonathan Sackler,” Littman points out, “was one of them.”     -Steve Dubb

 

For full post, see:

https://nonprofitquarterly.org/2017/11/14/sackler-applies-oxycontin-marketing-lessons-charter-school-movement/ 

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New Report Uncovers Systemic Failure by California Charter Schools to Meet Basic Obligations of Transparency and Accountability // Public Advocates 

New Report Uncovers Systemic Failure by California Charter Schools to Meet Basic Obligations of Transparency and Accountability // Public Advocates  | Charter Schools & "Choice": A Closer Look | Scoop.it

From Public Advocates
"A new report by Public Advocates Inc. uncovers a massive failure on the part of California charter schools to be transparent about how they spend millions of taxpayer dollars to benefit high need students, as required by state law.

 

The report, which is the first systematic analysis of charter school Local Control Accountability Plans (LCAPs) found critical financial and engagement information missing, unavailable, or incomplete at a shocking number of charter schools.

 

Not a single school analyzed for this report properly documented how it was increasing or improving services for high need students, services for which those charter schools received $48.6 million this past year. Even more concerning, two-thirds of that amount was completely unaccounted for. Statewide, charters receive over $900 million annually to increase or improve services for high need students.

 

The report, “Keeping the Promise of LCFF in Charter Schools,” included an investigation 43 schools in Oakland, Sacramento, Richmond, Los Angeles, and San Jose and found that:

 

  • One-third of all charter schools examined had no LCAP online. These public documents were still missing after email requests to the school, its authorizer, and the County Office of Education
  • More than two-thirds of the state funds generated by high need students—over $30 million—were unaccounted for; of the $48.6 million these schools received specifically for high need students in 2017-2018, there was only documentation for $15.8 million in planned spending

  • Only 21% clearly measured how they engaged parents in school decision-making, and only 37% described how community engagement impacted their planning process

  • 91% of charter schools examined serving 15% or more English learners did not post their LCAPs in a language other than English

  • Of the 12 Charter Management Organizations examined in the report and that manage 123 charter schools in multiple cities, 100% adopt LCAPs at a single meeting in a single location, with minimal public comment
 

The report calls for expert oversight and improved support over charter school LCAPs, especially when it comes to transparency for funds designated to improve services for high need students. The report also recommends legislation that would holds charter schools to similar standards of transparency and engagement as public schools."

Click here for a copy of the report
Click here for a list of the charter schools investigated for this report
Click here for a copy of the press release in English
Click here for a copy of the press release in Spanish
Click here to contact Rigel Spencer Massaro, Senior Staff Attorney about the report

  
Related Posts

 

For main post on Public Advocates, see:

https://www.publicadvocates.org/uncategorized/22875/ 

 

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Are California’s Charter Schools the New Separate-but-Equal ‘Schools of Excellence,’ or Are They Worse Than Plessy? Oluwole & Green, 2018

Are California’s Charter Schools the New Separate-but-Equal ‘Schools of Excellence,’ or Are They Worse Than Plessy? Oluwole & Green, 2018 | Charter Schools & "Choice": A Closer Look | Scoop.it

"Abstract
This article explains how charter schools provide California's black and Latino communities the opportunity to create modern separate-but-equal schools of excellence. However, they also pose a danger. Outside entities that prioritize financial gain are also seeking to offer charter schools to black and Latino communities. Unfettered charter school expansion spearheaded by these groups could further drain educational resources, thus creating a situation that would be even worse than Plessy v. Ferguson."

 

Oluwole, Joseph and Green, Preston, Are California’s Charter Schools the New Separate-but-Equal ‘Schools of Excellence,’ or Are They Worse Than Plessy? (February 23, 2018). Journal of Transformative Leadership and Policy Studies (Forthcoming). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3128802


and 
http://www.csus.edu/coe/academics/doctorate/jtlps/issues/7-1/oluwole_jtlps7.1.pdf  

_______________________

Related: https://today.uconn.edu/2018/04/danger-california-charter-schools/ 

“A lack of restrictions in California’s charter school regulations could potentially create a situation that would be even worse than Plessy, as a result of  black and Latino communities losing control of education funding allocated to them,” says Green.

 

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#KIPP Refuses Agreement To Abide By Conflict of Interest Law; Gets Approved By State Board of Education // EduResearcher 

#KIPP Refuses Agreement To Abide By Conflict of Interest Law; Gets Approved By State Board of Education // EduResearcher  | Charter Schools & "Choice": A Closer Look | Scoop.it

[Original Title]: Will KIPP Be Allowed To Bypass Conflict of Interest Law In Its Bid For State Funds?

[3/14/18] Update: The California State Board of Education has voted to approve two KIPP petitions to expand campuses into San Francisco and San Jose despite strong community resistance and knowledge of the charter chain's refusal to abide…

 

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

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Parent Lawsuit Against Success Academy Charter School 

https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/USCOURTS-nyed-1_15-cv-07058/pdf/USCOURTS-nyed-1_15-cv-07058-0.pdf 

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Charter schools are draining California's education funding // via In The Public Interest 

https://youtu.be/T6M7IPJVZEE 

From In The Public Interest

"Charter schools are draining funding from neighborhood public schools in many districts nationwide, leading to cuts in core services like counseling, libraries, and special education. Watch as California’s public school officials, teachers, and students speak out about the growing crisis caused by the state's unlimited charter school growth. See more at http://HowMuchChartersCost.Org  
#HowMuchChartersCost 

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Challenging the Market Logic of School Choice: A Spatial Analysis of Charter School Expansion in Chicago // Farmer, Poulos, & Baber (2019); Journal of Urban Affairs

Challenging the Market Logic of School Choice: A Spatial Analysis of Charter School Expansion in Chicago // Farmer, Poulos, & Baber (2019); Journal of Urban Affairs | Charter Schools & "Choice": A Closer Look | Scoop.it

Abstract

"Corporate education reformers take for granted that market competition in the public schools system will improve education conditions. We conducted a spatial analysis of Chicago Public Schools, examining the spatial features of charter school expansion in relation to under-18 population decline, school utilization, and school closure locations. Our findings indicate that 69% of new charter schools were opened in areas with significantly declining under-18 population and approximately 80% of charter schools were opened within walking distance of closed school locations. Our findings show, contrary to corporate education reform logic, that a competitive charter school market created spatial and financial inefficiencies resulting in school closures and systemwide budgetary cuts primarily impacting distressed neighborhoods. We explain the overproduction of charter schools through the lens of the firm-like behavior of charter school operators driven by a self-interested growth mandate that can undermine the stability of the public schools system as a whole."

 

For link to access:

https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/07352166.2018.1555437 

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Santa Ynez Valley Union High School District Says Charter School Funding Could Bankrupt the District // KSBY

Santa Ynez Valley Union High School District Says Charter School Funding Could Bankrupt the District // KSBY | Charter Schools & "Choice": A Closer Look | Scoop.it

By Melissa Newman

"One Santa Barbara County school district says keeping a local charter school open could cause them to go bankrupt."... 

 

For full story, please see: 
https://ksby.com/news/local-news/2019/02/11/syvuhsd-says-charter-school-funding-could-bankrupt-the-district 

 

 

 

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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 Attorney General Calls for More Charter School Transparency // KQED News

California Attorney General Calls for More Charter School Transparency // KQED News | Charter Schools & "Choice": A Closer Look | Scoop.it

  By Chloe Veltman

"A legal opinion from the office of the California Attorney General saying the state’s charter schools should be subject to the same transparency laws as regular public schools is getting a mixed response.

 

Attorney General Xavier Becerra's non-binding legal opinion finds that California charter schools should have open meetings and make their financials available to public scrutiny.

 

"It's likely to be persuasive to some of the legislators who will be considering potential legislation on issues of conflict of interest and transparency around charter school governance," said California School Boards Association spokesman Troy Flint. "A mantra of the charter school movement is that charter schools are public schools. And if that's the case, then they should be subject to the same laws."...

 

For full story, please visit:

https://www.kqed.org/news/11715137/california-attorney-general-calls-for-more-charter-school-transparency 

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More Than 100 Arizona Charter Schools Are In Danger of Closing // ABC.com 

More Than 100 Arizona Charter Schools Are In Danger of Closing // ABC.com  | Charter Schools & "Choice": A Closer Look | Scoop.it

More than 100 charter schools in Arizona are in danger of closing, due to financial mismanagement, declining enrollment, and mounting debt...

 

For full story, visit:

https://www.abc15.com/news/region-phoenix-metro/central-phoenix/report-more-than-100-arizona-charter-schools-are-in-danger-of-closing 

 

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Los Angeles Teachers’ Strike Exposes Long-Term Corrosive Effects of Charters // Nonprofit Quarterly

Los Angeles Teachers’ Strike Exposes Long-Term Corrosive Effects of Charters // Nonprofit Quarterly | Charter Schools & "Choice": A Closer Look | Scoop.it

By Erin Rubin TruthoutLos Angeles Times, and Washington Post

 

"For the first time in nearly 30 years, over 30,000 teachers, parents, administrators, and support staff from Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD), the nation’s second-largest public school district, went on strike yesterday. The strike comes after months of negotiations failed to achieve an agreement between LAUSD and United Teachers Los Angeles (UTLA), the teachers’ union. According to the UTLA site, their first proposal was offered in January 2017. Demands include:

  • A 6.5 percent salary increase, retroactive to last year

  • Increased funding for support staff such as librarians, counselors, and school nurses

  • Smaller class sizes

  • A moratorium on new charter schools

School superintendent Austin Beutner, a former investment banker, has taken a combative approach as he attempts to control the narrative over the strike.

“Show me the money, because we’re spending all we’ve got,” Beutner said. “If they want a strike, they’ll have a strike.” A statement from the District read, “A strike would harm the students and families we serve and will not help resolve the issues our District faces.” Beutner called the demands that UTLA rescinded “outside the scope of bargaining.” (We are then forced to ask, who defines the scope? Especially since involving teachers in decisions about testing isn’t likely to strain school budgets.). The union, for its part, says there is a budget surplus of over $1.8 billion held in reserves that could fund its demands.

But money isn’t the main matter in dispute, at least not directly. Rather, what led to the strike is the astonishing growth of charter schools. Charter schools, by reducing LAUSD enrollment, reduce taxpayer per-student payments to the district, thereby affecting finances. In the past decade, charters within the boundaries of LAUSD have grown by 287 percent. All told, about 100,000 students have migrated away from public schools in the past 10 years. The loss of enrollment, notes LAUSD high school journalism teacher Adriana Chavira, costs the district $600 million a year.

 

 

For full post, visit here:

https://nonprofitquarterly.org/2019/01/15/los-angeles-teachers-strike-exposes-long-term-corrosive-effects-of-charters/ 

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Second Letter of Concern for Rocketship Futuro Following English Learner Focused Site Visit, Requests for Plans to Address Non-Compliance Concerns 5/21/18

This charter school was approved by the California State Board of Education in March 2016 after having been unanimously denied by district and county level school boards. For more on this chain, see: 

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

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Letter of Concern Regarding the Operation of Rocketship Futuro Academy: Request for Corrective Action and Additional Documentation 2/13/18

This charter school was approved by the California State Board of Education in March 2016 after having been unanimously denied by district and county level school boards. For more on this chain, see: 

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

 

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"Separate and Unequal: The Problematic Segregation of Special Populations in Charter Schools Relative to Traditional Public Schools" // Stanford Law & Policy Review 

"Separate and Unequal: The Problematic Segregation of Special Populations in Charter Schools Relative to Traditional Public Schools" // Stanford Law & Policy Review  | Charter Schools & "Choice": A Closer Look | Scoop.it

"The extent to which special student populations (ELL, Special Education and Economically Disadvantaged) gain access to charter schools is understudied. The new study Separate and Unequal?: The Problematic Segregation of Special Populations in Charter Schools Relative to Traditional Public Schools utilizes state, district, and local level data to understand the enrollment of high-need special populations in charter schools compared with non-charter public schools.

Vasquez Heilig, J. Holme, J., LeClair, A. V., Redd, L., & Ward, D. (2016). Separate and Unequal?: The Problematic Segregation of Special Populations in Charter Schools Relative to Traditional Public Schools. Stanford Law & Policy Review27(2), 251-293.

In this article, we examine the extent to which charters in the state of Texas are serving high needs populations (English Language Learners, Special Education, and low-income students) at the same rates as traditional public schools. We first conduct statewide analyses to compare charter school and traditional public district demographics by locality. We also compare levels of segregation of those populations between traditional public schools by locality and charter status. We then conduct a local-level analyses to understand high-need students demographic patterns within the footprint of a large urban district to evaluate the extent to which students with greater than average instructional needs are served by charter schools in equal proportion to the neighboring public schools. We then conclude by descriptively examining the access and enrollment of high-need students in several popular “exemplar” charters.

Summary of Findings

We find that while Texas charters appear to be demographically similar to traditional public schools at the aggregate, the granularity provided by geospatial analyses demonstrate that charters under-enroll ELL students and special education students relative to nearby non-charter schools. State-level dissimilarity analyses show only modest disparities in segregation and access of high-need students within the Texas charter system compared to traditional public schools. However, local-level descriptive and geospatial analyses of charters in a large metropolitan area shows that there are large disparities in the enrollment of high-need students relative to traditional public schools nearby. (Please click on the article links above for more detailed findings)


Policy Implications

We conclude by discussing implications and recommendations for law and policy. The policy implications that logically emerge from the geographic granularity of these data could either be first-order incremental or second-order substantial. On the one hand, a set of first-order changes to educational policy related to charter schools would seek to take what is in place and make incremental adjustments to policy that aim to better regulate public charter schooling. On the other hand, a second-order change would be an approach that is a substantial departure that would purposefully curtail growth that charters have exhibited over the past two decades."...

 

For full post, see: http://nepc.colorado.edu/blog/are-charters-beacons 

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Educational Inequities in the New Orleans Charter School System // SCOPE Stanford Center for Opportunity Policy in Education 

To download above summary, please click title above or here: 
https://edpolicy.stanford.edu/sites/default/files/docsonly/scope-nola-infographic.pdf 

______________

For more on Stanford Center for Opportunity Policy in Education, please see link at bottom of post. [Selected quotes/links from research page are provided below]

 

"The New Orleans Experiment

New Orleans provides a model for examining the feasibility of a nearly 100% charter, market based system of schools. This is truly an education experiment on a grand scale, and because New Orleans’ system is unique, the nation is watching. How is it working?

A recent SCOPE study examines the New Orleans experiment in terms of the experiences of students and families managing their way through a portfolio of charter schools. Among many findings, the research shows that New Orleans reforms have created a set of schools that are highly stratified by race, class, and educational advantage, operating in a hierarchy that provides very different types of schools and to different types of children. While some have choice; others do not.

The report, “Whose Choice? Student Experiences and Outcomes in the New Orleans School Marketplace,” by Frank Adamson, Channa Cook-Harvey, and Linda Darling-Hammond, and a 12-page research brief are available for free download.

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When States Take Over School Districts, They Say It's About Academics. This Political Scientist Says It's About Race and Power // ChalkBeat

When States Take Over School Districts, They Say It's About Academics. This Political Scientist Says It's About Race and Power // ChalkBeat | Charter Schools & "Choice": A Closer Look | Scoop.it

https://www.chalkbeat.org/posts/us/2018/06/12/state-takeovers-book/ 

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As Fiscal Problems Mount, Celerity Charter Network Closes A School // Los Angeles Times 

As Fiscal Problems Mount, Celerity Charter Network Closes A School // Los Angeles Times  | Charter Schools & "Choice": A Closer Look | Scoop.it

By Anna M. Phillips

"For months after federal agents raided the offices of a Los Angeles charter school network, seizing documents and electronic records, the Celerity Educational Group tried to overhaul its image.

 

The nonprofit cut financial ties with its parent organization and replaced its chief executive. It launched a rebranding effort to distance itself from allegations of financial wrongdoing that have hovered for more than a year.

But in a sign that all is not well, the charter management organization made the decision last week to close one of its seven schools in Los Angeles County: Celerity Rolas, in Northeast L.A.  In a letter to parents, Nadia Shaiq, the group’s CEO, said that Rolas had been unable to attract enough students to justify the costs of keeping it open.

  

“Closing a school is always a disappointment for our entire community,” Shaiq wrote. “But keeping the school without the enrollment necessary for a balanced budget would threaten the overall health of our other schools, impacting students, parents and employees.”

 

A spokesman for Celerity did not respond to requests for comment.

 

Rolas’ closure means that several hundred students will be forced to find new placements — and without much time. The first day of school in the Los Angeles Unified School District is Aug. 14, and many of the deadlines for enrollment lotteries at the most sought-after charter schools have passed. Celerity’s leaders have encouraged families to switch to its school in Glassell Park, Celerity Octavia.

 

The closure is the first public sign that Celerity is under considerable financial strain.

 

In the aftermath of the January 2017 raid and news that the FBI was investigating the nonprofit and questioning its employees, Celerity was thrown into turmoil. The State Board of Education refused to renew two of its charter schools, and although both schools were able to reopen under different names, the network said some its families never came back.

At Celerity Rolas, an elementary and middle school split between two sites — one in Eagle Rock and one in Highland Park — the school needed 435 students to break even, according to the organization’s correspondence with the state. But only 309 students enrolled last year.

 

The loss of students meant less funding from the state. Meanwhile, the organization’s legal fees were rising.

Facing investigations by federal agencies and L.A. Unified’s Office of the Inspector General, the group hired the law firm Gibson Dunn to aid it during the inquiries and help it separate from its founder, Vielka McFarlane, a target of the investigations. Celerity has also continued to pay a separate firm that specializes in charter school law.

 

The group’s most recent financial projections show that while its individual schools are bringing in more money than they are spending, the organization that manages them is on less firm ground.

 

An L.A. Unified analysis described the fiscal condition of the group as weak. Within a year, the nonprofit’s expenses are expected to exceed its revenue by $826,000. Out of its total budget of $5.3 million for the coming school year, the group expects to spend more than $500,000 on legal fees alone.

 

Last month, the organization’s board voted to hire a consultant — Aristos Strategies, run by City Hall lobbyist Gustavo Valdivia — to recruit students and boost enrollment."...

 

For full post, see: 

http://www.latimes.com/local/education/la-me-edu-celerity-rolas-closing-20180725-story.html 

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“Public Education Is Not Your Plaything”: Los Angeles Teachers Strike Against Privatization & Underfunding // Democracy Now

“Public Education Is Not Your Plaything”: Los Angeles Teachers Strike Against Privatization & Underfunding // Democracy Now | Charter Schools & "Choice": A Closer Look | Scoop.it

"Los Angeles public school teachers are on strike for the first time in three decades. On Monday morning, tens of thousands of teachers braved pouring rain on the picket line for the strike’s first day. Some 20,000 people marched through downtown Los Angeles, demanding smaller class sizes, higher pay, the regulation of charter schools and more nurses, counselors and librarians. Over 31,000 members of United Teachers Los Angeles are striking. We speak with Cecily Myart-Cruz, strike leader and National Education Association vice president at United Teachers Los Angeles, and Eric Blanc, a reporter covering the strike for The Guardian and Jacobin. He is author of the forthcoming book “Red State Revolt: The Teachers’ Strike Wave and Working-Class Politics.”"...

 

Selected quote: 

 

"So, the most important thing to understand about this strike, I think, is that, fundamentally, it’s about whether public education will continue to exist in Los Angeles or not.

 

There’s two plans. The plan of—Austin Beutner, who’s the new superintendent, who was imposed by billionaires who bought the 2017 elections, has a plan to downsize the district to push students into charter schools. And the vision of the teachers and parents and the union is contrary, to not only defend, but preserve the schools and make them actually serve the needs of the majority of students.

 

So, what we see by Beutner is fundamentally a push to really dismantle the institution that he’s nominally supposed to be leading. And so, he says that there’s a financial crisis, that he would love to meet the demands of teachers. But we know that there’s actually a $1.86 billion reserve. And so what’s at stake is, he doesn’t want to use that money to improve the schools, because if he were to do that, it would undermine his mission to basically dismantle and privatize L.A. public schools."...

 

For full transcript and interview, please see: 
https://www.democracynow.org/2019/1/15/public_education_is_not_your_plaything 

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“If you close all the public schools in your area, and you pop up two or three charter schools, what is the choice? You have no choice.” - Aliya Moore, Detroit parent and public school activist

https://twitter.com/vicenews/status/1005232319651831814 

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Special Report: The Profit Motive Behind Virtual Schools in Maine // Press Herald 

Special Report: The Profit Motive Behind Virtual Schools in Maine // Press Herald  | Charter Schools & "Choice": A Closer Look | Scoop.it

By Colin Woodard

"Maine’s education commissioner had just returned to his Augusta office last October after a three-day trip to San Francisco where he attended a summit of conservative education reformers convened by former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush’s Foundation for Excellence in Education, which had paid for the trip.

He’d heard presentations on the merits of full-time virtual public schools — ones without classrooms, playgrounds or in-person teachers — and watched as Bush unveiled the “first ever” report card praising the states that had given online schools the widest leeway.

 

But what had Bowen especially enthusiastic was his meeting with Bush’s top education aide, Patricia Levesque, who runs the foundation but is paid through her private firm, which lobbies Florida officials on behalf of online education companies.

 

Bowen was preparing an aggressive reform drive on initiatives intended to dramatically expand and deregulate online education in Maine, but he felt overwhelmed.

 

“I have no ‘political’ staff who I can work with to move this stuff through the process,” he emailed her from his office.

Levesque replied not to worry; her staff in Florida would be happy to suggest policies, write laws and gubernatorial decrees, and develop strategies to ensure they were implemented.

“When you suggested there might be a way for us to get some policy help, it was all I could do not to jump for joy,” Bowen wrote Levesque from his office.

“Let us help,” she responded.

So was a partnership formed between Maine’s top education official and a foundation entangled with the very companies that stand to make millions of dollars from the policies it advocates.

In the months that followed, according to more than 1,000 pages of emails obtained by a public records request, the commissioner would rely on the foundation to provide him with key portions of his education agenda. These included draft laws, the content of the administration’s digital education strategy and the text of Gov. Paul LePage’s Feb. 1 executive order on digital education.

 

A Maine Sunday Telegram investigation found large portions of Maine’s digital education agenda are being guided behind the scenes by out-of-state companies that stand to capitalize on the changes, especially the nation’s two largest online education providers.

K12 Inc. of Herndon, Va., and Connections Education, the Baltimore-based subsidiary of education publishing giant Pearson, are both seeking to expand online offerings and to open full-time virtual charter schools in Maine, with taxpayers paying the tuition for the students who use the services.

At stake is the future of thousands of Maine schoolchildren who would enroll in the full-time virtual schools and, if the companies had their way, the future of tens of thousands more who would be legally required to take online courses at their public high schools in order to receive their diplomas.

 

The two companies have at times acted directly, spending tens of thousands of dollars lobbying lawmakers in Augusta and nurturing the creation of the supposedly independent boards for the proposed virtual schools they would operate and largely control."...

For full post, see: 

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

 

 

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