Charter Schools & "Choice": A Closer Look
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The Continuum of Structural Violence: Sustaining Exclusion Through School Closures // Hernandez & Galletta (2015) - Community Psychology in Global Perspective

Abstract
"In this paper we demonstrate the utility of structural violence as an analytical device to make visible intergenerational patterns of exclusion obscured by institutional arrangements initially established to represent and defend community interests. We apply an interdisciplinary critical analysis of the history of economic and social marginalization of neighborhoods to the recent closure of seven neighborhood elementary schools in South Sacramento. By stressing the importance of distribution as an important social arrangement that can cause injury to individuals and populations, we demonstrate how disparate impact, briefly defined as the unequal distribution of resources that affect life chances, has current as well as future effects on households and neighborhoods. We argue that patterns of structural violence are not only contingent upon historical processes but are also embedded prospectively, or in other words, into the future of neighborhood stability. We find that the structural violence continuum is a phenomenon embedded in the past, present, and future in a manner that constrains the inclusion of certain neighborhoods in the social and economic life of urban settlements."

 

Keywords: school closure, economic divestment, desegregation, structural violence

 

https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Jesus_Hernandez4/publication/310465002_The_Continuum_of_Structural_Violence_Sustaining_Exclusion_Through_School_Closures/links/582ee1b708ae138f1c0315ec/The-Continuum-of-Structural-Violence-Sustaining-Exclusion-Through-School-Closures.pdf 

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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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Are Charter Schools Upholding Student Rights? // American Bar Association 

Are Charter Schools Upholding Student Rights? // American Bar Association  | Charter Schools & "Choice": A Closer Look | Scoop.it

By Rosa K. Hirji - 

(Selected quote) 
"...The structures that allow charter schools to exist are marked by the absence of protections that are traditionally guaranteed by public education, protections that only become apparent and necessary when families and students begin to face a denial of what they were initially promised to be their right. The decisions of Scott B. and Lindsey may encourage charter schools to push certain students out and make it easier to deny them the benefits of a publicly supported education.  The perception that charter schools are open to all students is being called into question by increasing evidence that children who are disadvantaged by a disability, poverty, or being a member of a minority group, or who have been accused of an offense, may not have the same access to charter schools as those who are not."... 

 

For full post, please click on title above or link below:

https://www.americanbar.org/groups/litigation/committees/childrens-rights/articles/2014/are-charter-schools-upholding-student-rights/ 

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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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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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Law Enforcement Seizes Records of Closed L.A. Charter School // Los Angeles Times

Law Enforcement Seizes Records of Closed L.A. Charter School // Los Angeles Times | Charter Schools & "Choice": A Closer Look | Scoop.it

By Howard Blume

"Federal law enforcement agents have seized records from the home of the former director of Community Preparatory Academy, a Los Angeles charter school that recently closed amid allegations of fiscal mismanagement.

The raid was carried out Tuesday morning by several agencies working in conjunction, including the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Inspector General, the U.S. Postal Service and the U.S. Secret Service with assistance from the FBI. Also taking part was the Los Angeles Unified School District through its inspector general.

The search warrant is under seal and the target of the probe has not been named, but CPA, as the school was known to many, had a lengthy list of problems. The L.A. Board of Education voted in April to close it at the end of the academic year over the objections of its operators.

 

Supporters of CPA argued, unsuccessfully, that the school was doing well academically and had turned around its management issues. The school district’s charter-school office took issue with this characterization.

 

Academically, the school had a mixed record compared with nearby traditional public schools, with its students performing a little better in some areas and worse in others. And the district was not persuaded that new management had turned the corner.

 

“Throughout the term of the charter, CPA has demonstrated a lack of organizational management,” wrote the district’s charter division in a report to the Board of Education.

The district repeatedly sent warning notices over issues such as minimally qualified teachers, inadequate teacher training, misassignment of teachers outside their subject area and a high ratio of substitutes, the report stated.

Some of the financial difficulties stemmed from a slow start. In the first year of its five-year run, school leaders recruited fewer than 80 students, throwing CPA into deficit spending from the get-go.

 

But the money problems ran deeper, according to an analysis overseen by L.A. Unified charter division Director José Cole-Gutiérrez.

 

During one review, the charter division could not confirm the enrollment of 60 students claimed by the school, raising the question of whether the charter was inflating its enrollment to qualify for more state funding. The charter division also tallied more than $180,000 in spending that was not properly supported or documented.

 

Separately, L.A. Unified asserted that CPA owes the district more than $80,000 for food services the district provided to students.

 

Charter schools are privately managed public schools that are exempt from some rules that govern campuses run by a traditional school district. Charters are authorized by a local district, the county or the state, typically under agreements that must be renewed every five years.

 

L.A. Unified had approved CPA and was responsible both for annual and five-year reviews. When L.A. Unified chose not to renew the charter, CPA could have appealed the decision to the L.A. County Office of Education, but its leaders elected not to do so.

 

This year, CPA served 338 students in kindergarten through eighth grade at two sites, one in Carson and the other on the border of Inglewood and Manchester Square. Calls to both locations Tuesday were not answered. One line was disconnected.

 

Until recently, CPA was managed by Janis Bucknor, and it was her Los Angeles home that was the location of the raid, according to two sources with knowledge of the probe who are not authorized to comment publicly.

 

Bucknor was not part of the delegation that argued in April for saving CPA — she was no longer running the school — but her actions remain under scrutiny. The L.A. Unified charter division singled out $76,985 in payments from the school to the Center for Culturally Responsive Teaching and Learning — which was incorporated by Bucknor — and to Philip A. Bucknor, her husband. These payments reflect inappropriate conflicts of interest, the district concluded.

 

In a response last year, the school defended these payments and other actions, saying in part that CPA’s board of directors had authorized them properly.

 

“At various times Philip Bucknor has provided legal services for CPA,” the school wrote to L.A. Unified. “Those instances are both paid and pro bono. Discussions concerning those services have taken place during board meetings wherein updates on the progress of legal matters have been given. Reviews and approvals of matters concerning those services have also taken place.”

 

Attempts to contact Bucknor and her husband were not successful."

 

For original article, please see: 

https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2019-07-17/law-enforcement-seizes-records-of-closed-charter-school

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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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State Auditor Named Interim Director of Shuttered Utah Charter School // Deseret News

By Marjorie Cortez

"SALT LAKE CITY — Utah State Auditor John Dougall was appointed interim director of the now-shuttered American International School of Utah Tuesday.

 

The Utah State Charter School Board, after meeting in closed session for more than two hours, voted unanimously to remove AISU Executive Director Tasi Young and appoint the Utah State Auditor's Office to see through the closure of the public charter school.

 

Utah State Charter School Board Executive Director Jennifer Lambert said the decision to appoint the state auditor is a first for the board.

 

"We felt that was the best tack to take to be able to get the information to uncover things. If there's potential problems that arise, he has maybe a little more clout to be able to handle some of the issues that they're dealing with at the moment. AISU is dealing with a number of very difficult issues, so we felt maybe he was better poised to handle those issues," Lambert said.

Young, who oversaw the school in its final year of operation, declined to comment on the decision.

 

Earlier in the day, Young told charter school board members that he felt the school did the best it could do and strived to make sure the interests of the school community and educators were served and the "dignity of public charter schools (was) preserved."

 

"I fully understand this may have disappointed people, that other people may have been able to do this better. But I believe we have settled all claims in a way that satisfies all claims in a better position than any court could have allowed if we had to go through a legal process," he said.

 

AISU's board of directors voted in May to close the school amid growing concerns about the school's financial viability, the likelihood of further state scrutiny of its operations and the possibility of additional liabilities.

 

Just eight months ago "it seemed like AISU was … making strong progress and then relatively quickly we became aware of other things, other findings, and it became devastating to us. There were financial obligations that caused the school to eventually close"...

 

For full post, please see: 

https://www.deseretnews.com/article/900079863/american-international-school-of-utah-aisu-charter-assets-state-auditor-interim-director.html

 

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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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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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 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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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.

 

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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$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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Judge Orders Two More Learn4Life Charter School Centers To Close In San Diego // The San Diego Union Tribune

Judge Orders Two More Learn4Life Charter School Centers To Close In San Diego // The San Diego Union Tribune | Charter Schools & "Choice": A Closer Look | Scoop.it
By Kristen Taketa
 

A judge this week ordered the shutdown of two Learn4Life charter school centers in San Diego that serve about 600 students.

 

Judge David Danielsen on Monday granted a motion by San Diego Unified School District to close the two Learn4Life locations operating in the district’s boundaries: Diego Hills Central, a charter school authorized by Dehesa School District, and a resource center for San Diego Workforce Innovation High, a school authorized by Borrego Springs Unified School District. Neither of those schools have active locations in the districts that authorized them...

 

For full post, please visit:

https://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/news/education/story/2019-08-08/judge-orders-two-more-learn4life-charter-school-centers-to-close-in-san-diego

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A recently closed charter school leaves unpaid debts and unanswered questions in its wake // Salt Lake Tribune

A recently closed charter school leaves unpaid debts and unanswered questions in its wake // Salt Lake Tribune | Charter Schools & "Choice": A Closer Look | Scoop.it

"The recent closure of the American International School of Utah— a public-private hybrid charter — has displaced more than 1,300 students and left potentially millions of dollars in unpaid debts, including hundreds of thousands of allegedly misspent special education dollars owed to, but unlikely to be repaid to, the state of Utah.

 

A new board has been established to oversee the nitty-gritty of shutting down the AISU organization. But it says there’s little hope of recovering taxpayer dollars, and it’s unclear who, if anyone, will face consequences from the situation, as virtually no one with direct involvement in the public school was an elected official.

 

On this week’s “Trib Talk," Tribune education reporter Courtney Tanner and Royce Van Tassell, executive director of the Utah Association of Public Charter Schools, join reporter Benjamin Wood to discuss the conditions that led to AISU’s closure and the fallout from its financial mismanagement."...

 

For full post, please visit: 

https://www.sltrib.com/news/2019/07/31/trib-talk-recently-closed/

 

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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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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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Joe Bruno: A Very-Well-Compensated Consultant to Charter Schools // Non-Profit Quarterly

Joe Bruno: A Very-Well-Compensated Consultant to Charter Schools // Non-Profit Quarterly | Charter Schools & "Choice": A Closer Look | Scoop.it

By Rick Cohen

“Paradise in Potomac: Every inch of couple’s estate built for living lavishly,” read the Washington Post headline about the home of Joe Bruno and his wife, Cynthia Marini Bruno, in a society-page style article in the Post’s real estate section.

 

For those of us who don’t often turn to the society or real estate columns lauding the lifestyles of the rich and perhaps-not-so-famous, the description of the Brunos’ abode is otherworldly: the gated entrance with wrought-iron gates tipped with gold, the stone fountain “reminiscent of Villa D’Este near Rome,” the “breathtaking” foyer with a two-story chandelier and an ivory and marble floor, the underground grotto with yet another stone foundation “accessible only from a hidden door in the media room,” high-end furnishings from all over Europe, and our favorite, a painting of Bruno as “The Godfather.”

 

Why should anyone particularly care about the Brunos’ estate? Because the article described Bruno as a consultant to charter schools, specifically as the president of Building Hope, an organization that provides technical and financial assistance to public charter schools.

 

“We’ve had some great parties in this house while our daughters were growing up and with our friends from the charter school world and from the Italian American groups we belong to,” the Ferrari-driving Bruno (he owns two) was quoted to say. “There’s a story behind every painting, every collection and every piece of furniture.”

 

Few people expect the Brunos or others in the nonprofit sector to take a vow of poverty. Nonetheless, the notion of making big bucks from public education strikes some people as plain wrong—and charter schools are parts of public school systems, no matter how much they may be freed from school systems’ managerial and curriculum strictures. In public schools where teachers are frequently working their tails off to educate kids, and in charter schools where teachers often work longer hours but get paid 10 to 15 percent less than teachers in traditional public schools, the idea that charters have helped Bruno build and furnish his 20,000 sq. ft. estate with 11 fireplaces “and so many crystal chandeliers that the Brunos have lost count” seems to be a sore point, especially with families with children in public school districts.

 

It may well be that Joe Bruno earned his wealth prior to becoming a consultant to the charter school world, or perhaps the money for the estate is Cynthia’s (the Brunos previously owned an antique store in Kensington, Maryland). Or maybe as savvy shoppers, the Brunos were able to “gather…the sculptures, sconces and swag for the dozens of rooms in the Bruno home” at IKEA-like bargain prices. Somehow, the fact that their game room “is furnished with a 16th-century liturgical cabinet from an Italian cathedral” convinced us that the Brunos spent money to accumulate material possessions.

 

One of the consistent criticisms of the charter school movement is that nonprofit and for-profit management entities and consulting firms are making healthy incomes from charters. Examining for-profit education management organizations (EMOs), Amy Barat of the Roosevelt Institute raises questions about “public education funding…going to support both an additional school choice option for students in failing schools and the bottom-line of for-profit companies,” which she headlines as “education for profit; the darker side of charter schools.” Hofstra University’s Alan Singer has written extensively of the “big profits in not-for-profit charter schools.” AlterNet’s Kristin Rawls writes about the problem of people earning “big bucks” from managing and advising charter schools.

 

On GuideStar’s excellent database, S. Joseph Bruno is identified as the president of Building Hope, a charter schools facilities fund, which seems to have begun with a grant of $1,422,236 from the Community Foundation for the National Capital Region, according to Building Hope’s first published 990 (a form 990PF because of its lack of a diversity of funders or contributors). The funding of Building Hope and the changes in Bruno’s compensation over the years look to be roughly as follows: [see image above]... 

 

For full post, please visit:

https://nonprofitquarterly.org/joe-bruno-a-very-well-compensated-consultant-to-charter-schools/ 

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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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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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