Charter Schools & "Choice": A Closer Look
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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).  To see all posts related to Rocketship, go to 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: For additional education updates, see [Links to external site]
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Inconsistencies [Rocketship]

Note: The following post is from the website This is a different site with a different author than the charter schools critical perspectives page:

"At, we believe in public accountability.  Accountability is at the core of our shared democratic values.  But when private corporations take over public institutions, we are not sure who is overseeing them and keeping them accountable.  Below you will find a series of inconsistencies from Rocketship.

Broken Promise #1 Rocketship made big performance metric promises in order to get 20 charters approved, promising to relinquish future charters if they didn’t meet their goals.  Not a single K-5 charter has made their goals, but Rocketship continues to grow without relinquishing charters.


Broken Promise #2 Rocketship promises to relinquish charters if districts approved local Rocketships.  San Jose Unified approved a Rocketship, and Rocketship returned the favor by refusing to meet with San Jose Unified, and then letting the local charter lapse.


Broken Promise #3 Rocketship promised the community it would give each school ultimate local control with a stand alone local board.  But less than 2 years later, Rocketship quietly slipped a provision into a material charter revision that stripped all local control, and transferred the power to the national Rocketship board.


Mythbusters busts a list of supposed myths put forward by Rocketship in response to our website.


Inconsistency #1 Jessica Garcia-Kohl provides testimony with inconsistencies to San Jose city council to ensure that Rocketship Brilliant Minds is approved — 6/18/2013.  Ms. Garcia Kohl claims that Rocketship limits school size by ensuring that classroom have no more than a 30:1 student to teacher ratio.  Rocketship’s own documents claim that they target 41:1, and they plan to move to 50:1.

Inconsistency #2:  Jessica Garcia-Kohl claims that Morgan Hill’s Jackson Elementary  is the worst school in Santa Clara County, when in fact it is not, and actually scores higher than Rocketship Discovery and Los Suenos!!   8/28/13.

Inconsistency  #3 Jessica Garcia-Kohl provides inconsistent numbers during the planning commission meeting to make Rocketship test scores look better than they were — 5/8/13.

Inconsistency #4:  Jessica Garcia-Kohl claims that Rocketship is in the top 5% of schools serving predominately low income students — 11/6/13.  Our analysis shows that Rocketship is in the top 25% on average, with 2 of their 5 schools coming at a less than impressive 45%.


Inconsistency #5 Rocketship’s Charlie Bufalino, manager of growth and policy, claims that “978 families in Tamien are on Rocketship’s waitlist”, when Census data from Tamien shows a total of only 745 school aged children.  The 27:1 student to teacher ratio is repeated, inconsistent with Rocketship’s board reports and charter petitions which target a ratio of 41:1." 


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Letter from CA Department of Education to Rocketship on Noncompliance with Terms of Conditions of the Charter Petition // June 5th, 2018

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Letter from CA State Department of Education to Rocketship on Fiscal Concerns with Request for Fiscal Corrective Action Plan // October 4, 2017

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"No meetings to show at this time" Board Documents link from Rocketship Website // [Screenshot taken March 11th, 2019]

"No meetings to show at this time" Board Documents link from Rocketship Website // [Screenshot taken March 11th, 2019] | Charter Schools & "Choice": A Closer Look |

Screenshot taken above is from March 11th, 2019 just days after Rocketship claimed at the SCCOE board meeting that materials related to an accounting gap of $400,000 (owed back to the State Department of Education) were publicly available on their website.

Here is video footage of the Santa Clara County Board of Education meeting on March 6th and March 20th, 2019 


[March 25th] Update: There is one meeting (for March 28th, 2019) listed on the Rocketship BoardDocs page with a brief agenda and no documents attached nor available for public review. 



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SJUSD et al., v. SCCOE and Rocketship 

To download, click on title or arrow above.  Also available online here


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

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

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


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


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


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


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


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

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


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


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


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


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Families Stranded After Rocketship Charter School Fails to Open Ward 5 Location // Washington City Paper

Families Stranded After Rocketship Charter School Fails to Open Ward 5 Location // Washington City Paper | Charter Schools & "Choice": A Closer Look |

By Rachel M. Cohen

"Parents had until May 1 to enroll their children in schools matched through D.C.’s high-stakes school lottery. But families that selected a new Rocketship charter school in Ward 5 were in for a rude awakening: After the enrollment deadline had passed they learned the school they had chosen would not actually be opening. Rocketship, which operates two schools in Ward 7 and 8, had been set to launch its third campus this fall.


City Paper first learned about the situation on May 9 after speaking with a Ward 5 parent who was still struggling to find a new school for their child.


The parent, who requested anonymity, says the day after the enrollment deadline passed she received a voicemail from Rocketship telling her to call them as soon as possible. “I called as soon as I got off work and they said the Ward 5 school wouldn’t be opening, that something happened with the building so they can no longer move into the space they had planned,” she says. “They didn’t say why or what the reason was.”


Rocketship had been planning to temporarily lease space in the LAMB Public Charter School building on 18th and Perry streets in Northeast. Children would attend school there for one or two years before Rocketship relocated into a more permanent Ward 5 location.


On May 3, the day after learning her daughter’s school would not open, the parent reached out to MySchoolDC—the agency which handles school choice enrollment—for help finding an alternative. “There was just no level of sympathy for my situation. They didn’t sound overly familiar, there was no sense of urgency,” she says. When the parent pressed MySchoolDC for help, she says she was told that Rocketship was giving all families the chance to enroll in their Ward 7 and 8 campuses.


“But I picked Ward 5 based off proximity to my home, and those other schools were extremely inconvenient,” she says, adding that she also had safety concerns about those options.

After making clear she was not interested in sending her child to a campus far from her home, she says MySchoolDC told her she could always enroll her child in her in-bound traditional public school. But the parent wasn’t satisfied with that choice either. “If I had wanted that then I wouldn’t have gone through the MySchoolDC lottery in the first place,” she says.


The parent had her child on two other Ward 5 charter waiting lists—Yu Ying and Stokes—and asked if MySchoolDC could help her child get into those schools given the circumstances.

“I asked them if there was anything they could do to help students who were displaced and they told me that each school makes their own waitlist decisions and they can’t force any school to let children in,” she says. The parent then called the Public Charter School Board, where she says she was also told that the waitlist situation is out of their control.


More than ten days after getting the news that Rocketship’s Ward 5 campus would not open as expected, the parent was still waiting for waitlist updates and was actively considering private school options.


Joyanna Smith, the Ombudsman for Public Education with the DC State Board of Education, had also been planning to send her son to Rocketship’s Ward 5 campus. Smith tells City Paper that her family didn’t learn the school would not actually be opening until three days after the MySchoolDC enrollment deadline had passed.

“Someone called us to tell us Rocketship would not be opening because of a permitting issue but that we could probably get off the waitlist at Perry Street Prep,” she says. Perry Street Prep is housed in the same LAMB Public Charter School building that Rocketship was set to be in, and Smith will be able to enroll her child in the new school this week.


“I’m glad that we were able to settle things for my child, but in my role as SBOE ombudsman I feel there has been all this miscommunication,” she says. “If we had wanted we could have kept my son in private daycare, but for a lot of families they don’t have those same choices and that’s really frustrating.”


In an interview with City PaperJacque Patterson, the regional director for Rocketship DC, says 44 families had matched with Rocketship’s Ward 5 campus, and 22 families had enrolled. Their enrollment target had been 160 students (100 students in kindergarten through second grade, and 60 3 and 4-year-olds.)

But low enrollment numbers was not the reason why Rocketship decided to postpone opening its Ward 5 school, according to Patterson. He says that even if they had hit their enrollment goals, their temporary building location would have still required far more repairs than they had originally budgeted for.


Rocketship DC signed a letter of intent with Perry Street Prep in April to rent their third floor for the 2018-19 school year. Rocketship officials knew the third floor required a host of repairs, and toured the premises before they signed their letter of intent. Patterson tells City Paper that at the time, they concluded they could handle the scope of needed repairs. But, he says, “in the last two or three weeks” they brought in their own construction workers to assess the facility, and then determined the repairs would cost substantially more than what they had anticipated.


“The decision we made was that it’d be just impossible to open the school given the amount of construction and repairs that was needed for a one-year lease,” he says. “Even if we had enrolled all 160 children, it would not have been financially responsible and we wouldn’t have been able to provide all the programs and services we needed to.”


Patterson says the school will still be moving into a permanent Ward 5 building for the 2019-20 school year, though a precise location has not yet been finalized. He also says Rocketship worked with every family that had enrolled to help them find a new high-quality school. But the parent City Paper spoke with under the condition of anonymity says they still have yet to figure out what they’ll do next year.


City Paper asked the Public Charter School Board if Rocketship would face any consequence or penalty for its delayed opening. In 2014 the PCSB conditionally approved Rocketship to open eight schools throughout the city.


In a statement, Scott Pearson, executive director of the PCSB, says: “We’re very concerned any time a school fails to meet its charter commitment and that will be taken into consideration next time a school wishes to expand or open a new facility. We are particularly concerned about the students and their families which is why we required Rocketship PCS to work with MySchoolDC to help the affected families find alternate, quality education for this fall.”


Chloe Woodward-Magrane, a spokesperson for the DC Office of the State Superintendent of Education, tells City Paper that this is the second time that a campus has not opened or has delayed opening in the five years that MySchoolDC has been in existence. Catherine Peretti, the executive director of MySchoolDC, tells City Paper that she first learned of Rocketship’s decision to delay its Ward 5 opening on May 3.


City Paper asked Woodward-Magrane what kind of response they’ve received from families left to find new schools. In a statement, she says:

“OSSE and My School DC realize this is a challenging time for families matched with the Rocketship Public Charter School campus in Ward 5. My School DC is working with families enrolled at the Rocketship campus that will not open in order to restore the families to waiting lists of other schools they identified during the lottery process. Rocketship is also providing assistance to help them re-enroll in their current school placement or another Rocketship campus.”


Patterson will be leaving his role as Rocketship DC’s regional director on June 1 to start as KIPP DC’s Chief Community Engagement and Growth Officer. He tells City Paper he will also be joining Rocketship’s board of directors, and that a search to find his replacement is currently underway."


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Second Letter of Concern from CA Department of Education to Rocketship Futuro Following English Learner Focused Site Visit, Requests for Plans to Address Non-Compliance Concerns // May 21, 2018

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: 

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Betsy DeVos Just Gave $12.6 million to Rocketship Charter Schools... // The Progressive

Betsy DeVos Just Gave $12.6 million to Rocketship Charter Schools... // The Progressive | Charter Schools & "Choice": A Closer Look |

By Karen Wolfe

"Silicon Valley-based Rocketship is a charter school chain with a bevy of star backers that’s reported sky-high student achievement and recently landeda $12.6 million grant from Betsy DeVos’ Department of Education. But beyond the hype is a galaxy of problems, including plummeting test scores, litigation and allegations of student mistreatment."


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Rocketship Charter School in Nashville (Achievement School District) to Close Months After Opening // The Tennessean 

Rocketship Charter School in Nashville (Achievement School District) to Close Months After Opening // The Tennessean  | Charter Schools & "Choice": A Closer Look | 

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Rocketship Revenue Bond Offering 

To download full document, click on title above or here: 

According to the following Stradling Attorneys at Law announcement: 
Rocketship Education Finances Charter School Facilities in

California, Wisconsin, and Tennessee

"On February 22, 2017, Rocketship Education and its affiliate, Launchpad Development Company, closed simultaneous issues of charter school revenue bonds in California, Wisconsin, and Tennessee, each underwritten by Stifel, Nicolaus & Company, Incorporated.


The California School Finance Authority issued $23,095,000 in Series 2017A bonds and $3,665,000 in Series 2017B bonds.


The Wisconsin Health and Educational Facilities Authority issued $7,160,000 in Series 2017C bonds and $250,000 in Series 2017D bonds.


The Health and Educational Facilities Board of the Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County, Tennessee issued $7,740,000 in Series 2017E bonds and $250,000 in Series 2017F bonds."... 



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Rocketship's Nashville Charter School Application Denied // The Tennessean

Rocketship's Nashville Charter School Application Denied // The Tennessean | Charter Schools & "Choice": A Closer Look |

"Rocketship Education won't be allowed to open another Nashville school through the Tennessee State Board of Education next year. The board voted unanimously to uphold the Nashville school board's decision to deny the charter operator a new school after a review of the application found it came up short in every category. Still, the charter operator plans to continue working with the Achievement School District to open a new Nashville school.

Sara Heyburn, state board executive director, said at a Thursday agenda meeting the application didn't meet or exceed the state's requirements to overturn an appeal.

Heyburn said the review Nashville's decision to deny the charter operator this year wasn't "contrary to the best interests of the pupils, school district, or community." And the state board requires a complete plan for a school, Heyburn said.

"That couldn't be articulated in the application to the review team," she said. The state board has been allowed to overhear charter school appeals since a law was enacted in 2014 as a reaction to Metro Nashville Public Schools' 2012 decision to deny Great Hearts Academies a charter school."....


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California’s Charter School Led CBE Invasion

California’s Charter School Led CBE Invasion | Charter Schools & "Choice": A Closer Look |

By Thomas Ultican

"This January (2016), Fortune Magazine announced that Netflix CEO, Reed Hastings, has launched a new $100-million-dollar fund to support education initiatives and other groups.

The notice goes on to state:

“Hastings is the fund’s sole trustee while Neerav Kingsland, the former CEO of charter school supporter New Schools for New Orleans, is serving as CEO. The fund’s website explains its philanthropic mission: “Currently, too many children do not have access to amazing schools. Our aim is to partner with communities to significantly increase the number of students who have access to rich and holistic educational experiences.”  The “rich and holistic educational experience” is to be delivered by charter schools employing competency based education (CBE).

Competency Based Education

The United States Department of Education promotes and describes CBE:

 “Transitioning away from seat time, in favor of a structure that creates flexibility, allows students to progress as they demonstrate mastery of academic content, regardless of time, place, or pace of learning. Competency-based strategies provide flexibility in the way that credit can be earned or awarded, and provide students with personalized learning opportunities. These strategies include online and blended learning, dual enrollment and early college high schools, project-based and community-based learning, and credit recovery, among others.”


Instead of a structured course with a teacher, students will log into a computer and earn badges for demonstrating competencies in an online environment. “Personalized learning opportunities” is a euphemism for a computer based course delivered in isolation.

It is a terrible idea! The last thing a 21st Century student needs is to be shoved in front of another inert digital device. Students need to interact with “highly qualified” certificated teachers, adults who they can trust. Students need to; measure, calculate, weight, work in small groups, discuss ideas, write, and get professional feedback. Students need structure, stability and direction. None of this is provided online.


Technology in education is more of an expensive mirage than a useful tool and competency based education (CBE) is fool’s gold.


In 2003, I took the state of California’s 52-hour life insurance course. That meant 52 hours of seat time with an insurance industry veteran who made the subject come alive. Today that insurance course is online with an online exam. No real industry context is imparted and cheating on the exam is rampant.


This is the kind of education Hastings and his ilk are vigorously promoting. CBE means lower quality education delivered at great profit to corporate providers and testing companies.

CBE learning is embraced by President Obama, Bill Gates, Eli Broad, Reed Hastings, Education Secretary John King, The Walton family, the new federal education law, Pearson Corporation and many business executives. Few experienced education professionals not profiting from one of these entities support it.


Computers are good at drilling information and conducting fact checks. However, educators have known for more than a century that this kind of teaching is destructive. To create understanding, all of the modes of learning must be actively engaged. Drill and skill destroys the desire to learn and undermines development of creativity.

Big Money Being Poured into CBE

 In 2004, the Don and Doris Fisher Foundation along with the Schools Future Research Foundation each provided $100,000 to start the Charter Schools Growth Fund in Broomfield, Colorado. The Fisher Foundation is based on profits from GAP Inc. and the School Future Research Foundation was a Walton Family Foundation supported fund that seems to have disappeared. The original elected board of directors for the Charter School Growth Fund was comprised of John Walton, Don Fisher, and John Lock.

In 2010, the President-CEO of the Charter School Growth Fund, Kevin Hall, decided to purchase the struggling Dreambox Inc. of Bellevue, Washington for $15,000,000. By then the fund was so large and he could do it. He subsequently invested another $10,138,500 into Dreambox. [data from 2014 form 990]

A recent National Public Radio report on the Rocketship schools reported:

 “Rocketship students often use adaptive math software from a company called Dreambox Learning. The company was struggling when Reed Hastings, the Netflix founder turned education philanthropist and investor, observed it in action at a Rocketship school several years ago. His investment allowed Dreambox to become one of the leading providers of math software in North America, currently used by about 2 million students.”


 Kevin Hall left his $465,000 a year position at the Charter School Growth Fund to join Hastings on the board of Dreambox Inc. This company is now positioned to be the dominant supplier of software products into the CBE market. Pearson corporation has been positioning itself to be the company that tests students and issues completion badges. If the big standardized test goes away, Pearson will do just fine supporting CBE."...


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Letter of Concern from Santa Clara County Office of Education to Fred Ferrer, Board President of Rocketship // January 31st, 2019   

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Letter from CA Department of Education to Rocketship on Fiscal Concerns // June 13th, 2018

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Letter from CA State Department of Education to Rocketship with Request to Address Non-Compliance with Teacher Credentialing and Plan for English Learners // November 1, 2017

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Settlement of Litigation (Alum Rock Union Elementary School District et al., v. SCCBOE et al., re Rocketship) 

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Documents related to lawsuits against Rocketship 

Post on withdrawal of 13 of the 20 charters in Santa Clara County:
Settlement document on withdrawal of charters:
Bymaster/SJUSD Lawsuit against Rocketship:
Text of initial ruling at Santa Clara County Superior Court
6th District Appelate Court Ruling
State supreme court denies appeal, and ruling becomes final:
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SJUSD vs. Santa Clara County Board of Education and Rocketship 

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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 

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


How Online Companies Bought America’s Schools


The Profit Motive Behind Virtual Schools in Maine


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


Enrollment in California Public Versus Charter Schools


Santa Clara County Office of Education Annual Charter School Databook


Death By A Thousand Cuts: Racism, School Closures, and Public School Sabotage //


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


Center for Media and Democracy Publishes List of [2,200]+ Closed Charter Schools (with Interactive Map)


The Perfect Storm: Disenfranchised Communities [Video]


“School Closure Playbook” – [Video]


Charter School Closure Leaves Parents Scrambling For Alternatives


The Continuum of Structural Violence: Sustaining Exclusion Through School Closures


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


How Did The 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 


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


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


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


NAACP Resolution Calling for a Moratorium on the Expansion of Charter Schools [Original]


KIPP Refuses To Abide By Conflict of Interest Code; Gets Approved By State Board of Education:


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


Charter School Vulnerabilities to Waste, Fraud, and Abuse 


Rocketship Pushes Expansion Despite State Denials and Strong Community Opposition //


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…”


New Orleans Charter School Problems Exposed at NAACP Hearing


“Blended Learning: A Wise Giver’s Guide to Tech-Assisted Teaching” // Philanthropy Roundtable (formerly chaired by B. Devos) //


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


Education School Dean: Urban School Reform Is Really About Land Development (Not Kids) //


Charter Schools, Race, and Urban Space: Where The Market Meets Grassroots Resistance //


Spending Blind: The Failure of Policy Planning In California’s Charter School Funding  //


A Comprehensive Guide To Charter School Closure


San Pablo Rocketship Appeal to State Board in Sacramento (Video with evidence of expanding gaps)


Cybercharters Have An Overwhelmingly Negative Impact 


Virtual and Blended Learning Schools Continue to Struggle and Grow


Red Flags Known and Overlooked With State Board Votes On San Jose Charter Schools //


How Will State Board of Education Vote on Controversial Charter School Petitions? //


Understanding Policies that Charter Operators Use for Financial Benefit


New Report Uncovers Systematic Failure by California Charter Schools to Meet Local Control Obligations


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


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


For more with current updates, please see:


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Letter of Concern from CA Department of Education to Rocketship Futuro Academy: Request for Corrective Action and Additional Documentation // February 13, 2018

To download, click on title or arrow above. 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: 


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IRS Files Lien in Nashville Against Rocketship Public Schools // The Tennessean 

IRS Files Lien in Nashville Against Rocketship Public Schools // The Tennessean  | Charter Schools & "Choice": A Closer Look | 

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Charter School Nightmares 

Charter School Nightmares  | Charter Schools & "Choice": A Closer Look |

"Teacher at a *~bAy aReA cHaRteR~*. While I am lucky to get to work with children every day, there is no limit to how awful these privately-owned, racist and exploitative companies can be. I try to take a break from eternally rolling my eyes at these neoliberal a$$holes to write about how removed from reality a charter school can be."


Want to talk to me? Communicate with me on my Twitter account.


More about my school. We have:

  • no cafeteria
  • no school nurse
  • no on-site custodian
  • no school library
  • school is 7:45 - 4 PM (8.25+ hours) daily
  • recess is 15 minutes and running is prohibited
  • lunch is 15 minutes and kids are not allowed to talk during lunch
  • every student (from pre-K to 5th grade) has mandatory computer class for 90 minutes a day" 


Related post documents link where blog is indicated as having been written by teacher at Rocketship 


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Rocketship Notice of Deficiency February 22nd, 2017 

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Nashville’s Charter School Industry Is Unraveling // The Tennessean

Nashville’s Charter School Industry Is Unraveling // The Tennessean | Charter Schools & "Choice": A Closer Look |

"It was just a matter of time before the wheels came off Nashville's charter school industry. This year, it's finally happening.  Advocates for charters — publicly funded private schools — have long argued they’re the best approach for improving K-12 public education. But national research shows, and now a series of new local developments reinforces, that charters are just a collective ruse pushed by special interests trying to privatize our school system.


The latest example is RePublic Schools. In March a federal judge certified a class-action lawsuit brought by Nashville parents who complained their families are being subjected to illegal hardball recruiting tactics by the charter chain.


RePublic allegedly sent text messages to thousands of parents. As it turns out, RePublic harvested student and family contact information from a Metro Nashville Public Schools database, then turned over the personal information to an out-of-state vendor that generated the texts.


Sending unsolicited text messages is a violation of federal law. In their class-action lawsuit, the parents are seeking damages of up to $1,500 per person — leaving RePublic potentially on the hook for millions in penalties.


Of course, the irony here is: RePublic — which boasts it's “reimagining public education” — is at the forefront of a movement that claims students and families are flocking to charters. The reality is: Demand for RePublic is anemic, which is why the chain is sending mass text messages in a bid to draw more students and more public money.


Rocketship is another charter chain that isn't living up to its own marketing hype. Worse, Rocketship is failing some of Nashville's most vulnerable kids and, like RePublic, operating in violation of federal law.


On March 7 WSMV-TV reported that California-based Rocketship isn’t providing legally required services to students with disabilities and English language learners. A report by the Tennessee Department of Education even found that Rocketship is forcing homeless students to scrape together money to pay for uniforms.


Despite failing to serve its current students, Rocketship routinely makes end-runs around the local school board to seek state approval of more charters. That’s because Rocketship’s growth isn’t driven by what’s best for kids but rather by its real-estate deals with Turner-Agassi Charter School Facilities Fund, a for-profit investment fund co-managed by tennis star Andre Agassi.


Finances also are an issue with LEAD charter schools. Tennessee’s Comptroller of the Treasury recently flagged “major issues” in three LEAD charters with operating deficits totaling nearly $2.7 million.


Only after pressure at a January school board meeting did LEAD’s accountants admit that running the chain requires “a significant amount of fundraising and grant proceeds” on top of the public funds it receives.


In other words, contrary to popular myth, charters do not deliver equal educational services at equal or less value than traditional schools.

Despite LEAD’s financial deficits — and the closure of an underperforming school less than two years ago — the chain is now back at the taxpayer trough looking to expand. My view: Enough, already.


Independent studies have found charters are draining resources from Metro Nashville Public Schools at a time when our public schools are showing real promise. Now, the local charter industry is unraveling.


Many people predicted this day would come. We just weren’t sure when.

Will Pinkston represents South and Southeast Nashville on the Metro Nashville Board of Public Education.


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