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As we see here the schools that are being built in the school building funding will most likely be public schools turned to charter schools as O'Malley and MD neo-liberals work to privatize K-12 just as they did our public universities. We have Wall Street on steroids in MD as handing schools over to charter businesses is not public schooling....it is simply a step to making that school a business. Think Wall Street will teach children to their benefit? Think profit will outweigh quality for these students?
We have a neo-liberal capture of the democratic party that looks at handing public assets like schools to national charter chains working for profit-making a good thing. That is what is happening in Baltimore as a charter school structure being built in Balt by an almost completely business -oriented Baltimore School Board will be expanded to all school systems in Maryland. So, if you think this charter as business school will stay with the lower-class students....it will be expanded to all K-12 in MD.
In NYC where Baltimore gets its education policy all schools slated for rebuilding/new building was turned to charter and now parents, students, and teachers are fighting to close what is for the most part bad performing charters. Here in Balt almost all charters are failing in student achievement so they policy is bad. We need people fighting this charter movement!
Construction begins on Monarch Global Academy in Laurel
By Sara Toth, firstname.lastname@example.org 2:35 p.m. EDT, October 21, 2013
After a year delay, construction has begun on the new Monarch Global Academy Public Contract School in Laurel.
A groundbreaking ceremony is scheduled for Monday, Nov. 4, at the 8.5-acre lot on Brock Bridge Road, and officials expect the school to be completed and ready for students in August 2014.
The school, which will accept 474 students its first year and as many as 740 by 2015, will alleviate overcrowding at Brock Bridge, Maryland City and Jessup elementary schools, all in Anne Arundel County.
The K-8 school will have an International Baccalaureate curriculum at the elementary level, and center on informational technology with an international focus in the upper grades.
Work on the school has been a long time coming, delayed because of difficulties between the nonprofit Children's Guild Institute — which runs several Monarch locations — and developer Polm Cos. The Laurel Monarch Academy was supposed to open its doors to students this year, but the developer has having difficulty securing money and permits for the school. The property was sold to the Children's Guild last month, and the guild is moving forward in building the school on its own.
"We are very excited to be able to bring this unique and enriched learning experience in a brand new school building to children in Laurel," Children's Guild President and CEO Andrew Ross said in a release announcing the groundbreaking. "We would like to thank (developer) Richard Polm for helping to make it financially feasible for the Children's Guild to purchase the land on which to build this new school."
Corporations Advise School Closings, While Private Charters Suck Public Schools Away
Sunday, 17 February 2013 12:56 By Kristin Rawls, AlterNet | News Analysis
A pedestrian passes University City High School, which may be closed due to budget cuts, in Philadelphia, Dec. 19, 2012. The U.S. Department of Education is investigating complaints that plans to close public schools in Philadelphia and other cities discriminate against minority students, as well as those with disabilities, an Education Department official confirmed on Jan. 28, 2013. (Photo: Mark Makela / The New York Times)
On Dec. 13, 2012, Philadelphia became the latest major American city to recommend sweeping school closures for the next academic year. Under this new proposal, a total of 37, or about 16 percent, of the district’s 237 public schools will be shuttered this June. That’s down from the 40 schools the city designated for closure back in May, but still represents an unprecedented move in Philadelphia’s history. The School Commission Reform, an outside body appointed to govern Philadelphia schools, has scheduled its final vote for March 7.
Overall, 44 schools will be affected by the shakeup: Of the 37 to be closed, three will relocate by merging with other Philadelphia schools. Beyond this, seven other schools will face major restructuring – i.e., though these school programs will remain intact, the schools themselves will be uprooted and moved to other buildings, merged with other schools, and/or forced to add or subtract grade levels. About 15,000 students will be affected by the proposed changes. And though official numbers have not been released, hundreds of teacher and staff layoffs are also expected.
There is nothing democratic about how this happened to the City of Brotherly Love. Though officials gave lip service to the idea of “parental empowerment” through “school choice,” in the end, parents had no role in deciding what policies would be enforced. Everything was outsourced. As a Pew study reports, the city consulted with “URS Corp., a California-based engineering design firm, and DeJong-Richter, an Ohio-based company that specializes in school-closing issues” to come to its final consensus. Though town hall meetings were organized between 2010 and 2012 to hear citizen concerns, the closures, relocations and reconfigurations were ultimately decided by the consulting firms, with no serious input from locals.
This is how DeJong describes its contributions to the situation in Philadelphia on its Web site:
DeJong-Richter is assisting the District in creating a plan for more efficient use of facilities that better align demographics and curriculum. The School District of Philadelphia, like many urban districts across the country has experienced loss of enrollment in some regions and experienced tremendous growth in others. The long-range facilities planning process will review current and future enrollment/population trends and align this with programmatic and facility data that will lead to more efficient use of educational facilities in the District. This process will potentially engage thousands of community members in the City of Philadelphia.
Minus the jargon: The citizens of Philadelphia paid DeJong-Richter to provide consultants who studied Philadelphia school enrollment patterns, took note of low-enrollment and low test scores, and informed Philadelphia officials which school closures could save the city the most money. According to Education Week, “Officials project that the moves would save the district roughly $28 million in personnel and maintenance costs next year, with those savings recurring in future years.”
What Education Week and DeJong-Richter fail to mention is that enrollment in Philadelphia’s public schools is not low by happenstance. Yes, enrollment islow --about 70,000 students under capacity, by some estimates. But this is not an accidental occurrence. So where have all the children gone? Simply put, to (largely unproven) charter schools. And as more traditional public schools are closed, expect even more charters to take their place.
As is happening in virtually every major urban area in the United States, non-union charter schools are popping up across Philadelphia, and in the name of “school choice,” enticing parents to pull their children from under-funded traditional schools and place them in charters instead. Though there is no evidence that charter schools are the panacea they promise to be, they continue to sprout up -- helped along by investments from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, among other education reform funders. For example, in early December, just days before the proposed school closures were announced, the Gates Foundation announced new plans to award Philadelphia about $2.5 million in charter school funding – specifically targeted to help the city replace closing schools, and ostensibly, save money.
But as parent-organizer* Helen Gym points out in the Washington Post, the savings achieved by these closures amounts to just one percent of the school district’s overall budget. She explains:
It’s worth remembering that in the spring, the School Reform Commission [the group of governor-appointed officers who make financial decisions about the Philadelphia school district] authorized an unprecedented expansion of more than 5,000 charter seats at a projected cost of $139 million over five years – at a time when Chief Recovery Officer Tom Knudsen threatened that schools may not even open in September. Among the expansions were a 1,400-student high school for Performing Arts Charter, even though the district already has four performing arts high schools drawing from a citywide population. Charters with school performance index figures that ranked them among the worst in the district received five-year renewals and expansions. In fact, of the 26 charters up for renewal last spring, the SRC voted to close just three, and two are appealing.
So if this isn’t actually about reducing the school district’s bottom line, what’s pushing the move towards charters? Could it be the substantial amount of money to be made by individuals, private management companies and others through charterization?
Thanks to a little discussed law passed in 2000, at the end of Bill Clinton’s presidency, banks and equity funds that invest in charter schools and other projects in underserved areas can take advantage of a very generous tax credit – as much as 39% -- to help offset their expenditure in such projects. In essence, that credit amounts to doubling the amount of money they have invested within just seven years. Moreover, they are allowed to combine that tax credit with job creation credits and other types of credit, as well collect interest payments on the money they are lending out – all of which can add up to far more than double in returns. This is, no doubt, why many big banks and equity funds are so invested in the expansion of charter schools. There is big money being made here -- because investment is nearly a sure thing.
And it’s not just U.S. investors who see the upside of investing in charters. Rich donors throughout the world are now sending money to fund our charter schools. Why? Because if they invest at least $500,000 to charters under a federal program called EB-5, they’re allowed to purchase immigration visas for themselves and family members -- yet another mechanism in place to ensure that the money keeps rolling in.
Proponents of education reform insist that investments like these are all about how successful charter schools are, and show how much support they’ve garnered in just a few short years. But it’s hard to take this on faith when there are billions of dollars of profit—and, for some, a path to U.S. immigration—at stake in these investments.
Philadelphia teacher Kathleen Melville of the advocacy group Teachers Lead Philly tells AlterNet that for market-dependent actors like these it’s all about finding “market-based approaches to funding education.” But she doesn’t blame private investors alone for the educational crisis the city now faces. “In Philly, another major cause of our budget crisis (and the resulting closings) has been education budget cuts in Harrisburg,” Melville points out. “Years of inequitable funding and neoliberal policy [have] led us to this point.”
In Philadelphia, Resistance Grows
There are real, documented problems with the quality and exclusiveness of charter education in the United States. But officials and business leaders, who have very little to lose and much to gain, promote them as a silver bullet solution for schools throughout the nation. This is why it’s so important for parents, teachers and students to understand how the money flow is working. Charterization is not motivated by, or necessarily interested in, a just or equitable model for education. The current reformers apply neoliberal business logic to children. And as in business, there are children who lose and children who win in this model.
But Philadelphians are finding ways to fight back. Teachers Lead Philly has been actively providing resources and education to people who want to get involved. And the Philadelphia Coalition Advocating for Public Schools, a group that includes teachers, parents and students, has drafted a plan it is promoting as an alternative to the slated closures. It includes reforms that aren’t being discussed, like “support for struggling schools,” “truly safe schools,” “citywide collaboration,” and “democratic representation” in school governance. Public forums that give families a chance to speak out, meanwhile, attract opponents on a regular basis.
Students are organizing protests on their own, as well. Because they have fewer resources than the billionaires spearheading the charter school effort, they have to find creative ways to get attention. So on January 15, members of the Philadelphia Student Union staged a zombie flash mob called “Student Apocalypse: A Brainless Future.” With Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” blasting, they danced and brandished signs with slogans like, “No education, no life.” According to The Notebook, Philadelphia high school senior Chris Riley said, “This event symbolizes what would happen if they go through with the plan. I want the District to look at us, take a step back, and think.”
None of the closures and incorporations are official yet. But the Philadelphia School Reform Commission, which makes the budget decisions, is comprised of people appointed by pro-charter Pennsylvania Republican Governor Tom Corbett, and millions of tax dollars have already gone to the plethora of outside agencies paid to draft the plan. The truth is that the parents, students and educators of Philadelphia do not have the upper hand, either in funding or public influence. But don’t think they will go down without a fight.
AS YOU CAN SEE FROM THIS ARTICLE, TEACH FOR AMERICA HAS IT'S TENTACLES IN MARYLAND LEGISLATURE. IT IS AN ELITE SCHOOL DEVICE TO CAPTURE PUBLIC SCHOOLS AND DOWNGRADE QUALITY EDUCATION WITH CORPORATE EFFICIENCIES, PREPARING THESE PUBLIC SCHOOLS FOR CORPORATE TAKEOVER. THERE IS A REBELLION IN LOUISIANA AND OTHER SOUTHERN STATES WHERE POLITICIANS FORCED THESE SCHOOLS ON THE PUBLIC WHOLESALE. IN MARYLAND THEY ARE DOING THE SAME, ONLY PIECEMEAL. WE ARE EDUCATING THE PUBLIC AND WILL BE SHOUTING LOUDLY AND STRONGLY AGAINST HANDING PUBLIC SCHOOLS TO WALL STREET!
Teach for America fields political candidates
NPR JULY 23, 2012
Stacey Vanek Smith: Teach for America -- the program that recruits recent college grads to work in underperforming schools -- is making a push into the political arena. Former TFA grads, as they're known, have won seats in state houses and on local school boards.
WPLN's Blake Farmer has more on a tight race in Nashville.
Blake Famer: Teach for America has all the ingredients to become a political powerhouse. There are thousands of bright, young college grads -- often from elite universities -- who can be tapped as campaign foot soldiers.
At a recent candidate forum in Nashville, current and former corps members pass out T-shirts supporting one of their own. Candidate John Haubenreich worked for TFA in Newark, N.J. He’s now an attorney who sees public office as an extension of his time teaching high school English.
John Haubenreich: It’s producing a generation of leaders who know what it’s like to teach in an urban classroom like that.
Teach for America is encouraging its alums to run. In 2008, the organization spun off Leadership for Educational Equity. The separate non-profit prepares former corps members for public office, and it’s had some success in the Colorado and Maryland state legislatures.
Perhaps it was only a matter of time, but now Teach for America is fielding enough candidates that two have shown up in the same race.
Haubenreich: As an official organization, they’re having an interesting policy quandary as to what to do.
In a campaign to unseat Nashville’s school board chair, Haubenreich is joined by Elissa Kim, who taught in New Orleans. She stayed on with TFA and is now the chief recruiter. She’s gotten fundraising help from her TFA colleagues, including the CEO herself. But she downplays the affiliation.
Elissa Kim: At the end of the day, right, like what I’m for are great schools.
Kim is not the first TFA employee to run for school board, but her day job does create a potential conflict. In the more than 40 cities where TFA works, school boards pay the organization to come to town. Kim says she has nothing to do with those contracts.
Kim: Regardless I would recuse myself from any discussion or decision involving Teach for America because Teach for America will stand on its own merits, or not.
So far, the local school system has been impressed with TFA, increasing the number of recruits it hires each year. But hiring more Teach for America alums for public office, that’s up to the voters.
In Nashville, I’m Blake Farmer for Marketplace.
Someone needs to remind Dr. Alonzo that the reason education reform drives charters to underserved communities is that these charters will give these children the resources they need to succeed. As we all knew would happen, after all these charters are set up, the public funding is slowly reduced, negating any claim that the charters are for enhanced learning for the students. What we will see is a slow decline in funding for under-served and disabled children while charter magnates like Dunbar, that service Advanced Placement children of Johns Hopkin's employee families will receive plenty of private funding from private non-profits that can select which schools they will donate, DONATION IN LIEU OF PAYING PROPERTY TAXES FOR THE WEALTHY AND CORPORATIONS.
IT IS AN EMBARRASSMENT FOR ANY ORGANIZATION TO BE INVOLVED WITH THIS OVERT CLASS AND RACE DISCRIMINATION. IT IS A CHILLING LOSS OF PUBLIC INTEGRITY. THEY WILL HAVE COMPANY THOUGH AS CHARTERS INCREASE AND MOVE INTO YOUR MIDDLE-CLASS NEIGHBORHOOD! DON'T THINK NOT. WALL STREET LEAVES NO ASSET UNTURNED.
PLEASE GO TO BALTIMORE EDUCATION COALITION WEBSITE TO SEE WHO IS PUSHING THIS CHARTER SCHOOL MOVEMENT. I tried to attend a meeting of the BEC this week.....I was told it was a meeting of organizations, not community. Remember, this is public education about which we are talking...not really, they are just saying so. The organization is a group of charter school organizations and Johns Hopkins organizations----Hopkins being the driver of charter schools in the state; they love using education as a social engineering tool! So, these under-served families can't catch a break when it comes to receiving resources for quality education. Of course this is all a great part of the reason for the violence and black-market activity that comes when strong education is denied. So with this reduction of per-pupil funding for minorities and disabled we will see some transitional charters close because of lack of funds. I have heard the Mayor plans to close the Freedom Academy downtown. That appears to have been a charter set up to transition families out of under-served schools targeted to become affluent.
What all this means for the middle-class who think that social engineering is fine is this: once the number of charters gets large enough for its own school board....which is next, you will see the funding go down further to maximize cost effectiveness and Teach for America employees enter to undermine teacher's unions....not to mention any resemblance of quality education, and then, your politicians will declare that charters are more effective and affordable than public schools in general and .......boom......they declare all schools charter schools. That is the progression....SAY NO TO THESE CHARTER SCHOOLS! YOUR GRANDCHILDREN WILL ASK WHY YOU DIDN'T!
City schools pass 2013 budget Charter schools note per-pupil funding decline
The Baltimore City school board voted Tuesday to pass the district's proposed $1.31 billion budget, which includes a decrease in the per-pupil funding for charter schools.
As the amount spent on students in traditional schools increases, the system's 33 charter schools will see their per-pupil expenditures drop by $257 from 2012, for a total of $9,007. The overall amount for charters, however, has steadily increased as their populations grow.
The charters are funded differently than traditional schools. The schools negotiated to receive in cash what the district spends per-pupil and pay for the bulk of their own central services. For traditional schools, those services are deducted from the overall per-pupil amount.
The per-pupil decrease comes at a time when charters will feel the pain of new reforms in the district, particularly in labor union contracts. For example, while traditional schools are charged the average salary of educators, charters pay the actual costs.
But charter leaders said they are still waiting for answers from the district about how to stop the three-year trend, during which funding for charters has decreased by $400 per pupil, but costs have continued to rise.
"Charter schools are facing a very challenging financial environment," said Will McKenna, principal of Afya Public Charter School.
"Unfortunately we have not been able to get a clear answer from the district explaining this drop, which undermines the financial stability of the schools and unquestionably impacts the programming we have been approved to provide to our students."
Schools chief Andrés Alonso said that the charter's funding formula was applied the same way as in previous years, and that charters are experiencing the effects of rising costs, increasing populations and flat expenditures.
"That is basic math, not the district or the formula," Alonso said. "It's the dilemma in how we are doing business."
Alonso said, however, that the school system is conducting a study that looks at the costs of central office services and expenditures that might allow all schools to receive more funding.
"Every time a school gets less I am troubled, and we need to find a way for that to change," Alonso said.
The system will increase its per-pupil expenditure at traditional schools by 3 percent this year, funding all students at $5,155. Additional funding called "student weights" will also increase for certain groups of students.
Schools will receive an additional $6 for students who score at basic and advanced levels. The weights for students with disabilities, $641, and high school students who receive free and reduced-price lunch, $750, will be maintained from last year.
The overall fiscal 2013 budget will increase by about $1.5 million this year, primarily driven by rising costs associated with pay increases under the system's teachers union contracts. That will mean another year that the district's central office will get leaner, with $13 million being cut from the headquarters budget.
The budgeting process this year, themed "schools-first budgeting," sought to restore the flexibility that schools have lost in their budgeting since 2009, by increasing the amount of money that principals can spend on programming and staff by $11 million.
Still, some schools are awaiting word if they will take other hits to their budgets. Federal funding, which includes Title I money that is given to schools with the poorest populations, is slated to decrease by about $15 million. At some Title I schools, the federal cuts are taking up to a $30,000 toll.
The school system hopes to use money it will save if the state is awarded a waiver from certain No Child Left Behind mandates. The waiver would allow it to drop a tutoring program, Supplemental Educational Services, that officials say costs a lot, but posts little results.
WHEN PEOPLE SAY THIS WON'T HAPPEN IN MARYLAND, I SAY THAT MARYLAND LOOKS MORE LIKE TEXAS AND LOUISIANA THAN IT DOES VERMONT OR OREGON......IT IS HAPPENING!
Public Money Finds Back Door to Private Schools
Niko J. Kallianiotis for The New York Times
Published: May 21, 2012
When the Georgia legislature passed a private school scholarship program in 2008, lawmakers promoted it as a way to give poor children the same education choices as the wealthy.
Related Comparing Major Tax-Credit ProgramsNews, data and conversation about education in New York.
Enlarge This Image Pennsylvania House Republican Caucus LAWMAKER IN THE LIMELIGHT Sam Smith, speaker of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, at a scholarship celebration.
Readers’ Comments Share your thoughts. The program would be supported by donations to nonprofit scholarship groups, and Georgians who contributed would receive dollar-for-dollar tax credits, up to $2,500 a couple. The intent was that money otherwise due to the Georgia treasury — about $50 million a year — would be used instead to help needy students escape struggling public schools.
That was the idea, at least. But parents meeting at Gwinnett Christian Academy got a completely different story last year.
“A very small percentage of that money will be set aside for a needs-based scholarship fund,” Wyatt Bozeman, an administrator at the school near Atlanta, said during an informational session. “The rest of the money will be channeled to the family that raised it.”
A handout circulated at the meeting instructed families to donate, qualify for a tax credit and then apply for a scholarship for their own children, many of whom were already attending the school.
“If a student has friends, relatives or even corporations that pay Georgia income tax, all of those people can make a donation to that child’s school,” added an official with a scholarship group working with the school.
The exchange at Gwinnett Christian Academy, a recording of which was obtained by The New York Times, is just one example of how scholarship programs have been twisted to benefit private schools at the expense of the neediest children.
Spreading at a time of deep cutbacks in public schools, the programs are operating in eight states and represent one of the fastest-growing components of the school choice movement. This school year alone, the programs redirected nearly $350 million that would have gone into public budgets to pay for private school scholarships for 129,000 students, according to the Alliance for School Choice, an advocacy organization. Legislators in at least nine other states are considering the programs.
While the scholarship programs have helped many children whose parents would have to scrimp or work several jobs to send them to private schools, the money has also been used to attract star football players, expand the payrolls of the nonprofit scholarship groups and spread the theology of creationism, interviews and documents show. Even some private school parents and administrators have questioned whether the programs are a charade.
Most of the private schools are religious. Nearly a quarter of the participating schools in Georgia require families to make a profession of religious faith, according to their Web sites. Many of those schools adhere to a fundamentalist brand of Christianity. A commonly used sixth-grade science text retells the creation story contained in Genesis, omitting any other explanation. An economics book used in some high schools holds that the Antichrist — a world ruler predicted in the New Testament — will one day control what is bought and sold.
The programs are insulated from provisions requiring church-state separation because the donations are collected and distributed by the nonprofit scholarship groups.
A cottage industry of these groups has sprung up, in some cases collecting hundreds of thousands of dollars in administrative fees, according to tax filings. The groups often work in concert with private schools like Gwinnett Christian Academy to solicit donations and determine who will get the scholarships — in effect limiting school choice for the students themselves. In most states, students who withdraw from the schools cannot take the scholarship money with them.
Public school officials view the tax credits as poorly disguised state subsidies, part of an expanding agenda to shift tax dollars away from traditional public schools. “Our position is that this is a shell game,” said Chris Thomas, general counsel for the Arizona School Boards Association.
Thursday, May 3, 2012 5:51 PM
Bloomberg gives $5 million to Baltimore’s Open Society Institute
By: Melody Simmons Maryland Daily Journal
New York Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg gave $5 million to the Open Society Institute-Baltimore on Thursday to help fund a local effort that aims to help keep city teens in school and boost graduation rates. Bloomberg’s gift will help underwrite OSI’s Accelerated Pathways Initiative, part of the nonprofit’s education and youth development project. The Accelerated Pathways Initiative is a five-year program that works with pre-K through high school students to support school reforms, create new schools and foster learning in and outside of the classrooms, OSI officials said. It creates “rigorous, supportive and accelerated high school options in Baltimore that will significantly increase graduation rates and post-secondary success, particularly for the city’s African American male students,” an OSI statement released Friday said. “Mayor Bloomberg shares our deep commitment to ensure that all children have access to a challenging academic program and the encouragement and support they need to graduate well prepared for successful futures,” said Diana Morris, director of OSI-Baltimore, who is also serving as acting executive director of the Open Society Foundations’ U.S. Programs. Bloomberg, a 1964 graduate of the Johns Hopkins University, with a degree in electrical engineering, was visiting Baltimore for the dedication of the $1.1 billion Johns Hopkins Hospital facility Thursday. Part of the new hospital building in East Baltimore, the Charlotte R. Bloomberg Children’s Center, was named in honor of the mayor’s mother. Bloomberg is a major donor to Hopkins. BLOOMBERG IS WALL STREET.
EdWize is a good resource for what is happening in New York City's education reform. It sees itself as a national model and Baltimore's Alonzo comes from this mindset.
Shutting Down Public Voice on Charters Apr. 25, 2012
by Christina Collins EdWize
As originally envisioned, charter schools were supposed to be a way of empowering communities to have a stronger voice in decision-making at their local schools — with community leaders, parents, and teachers on the boards and decisions being made in ways that gave stakeholders direct access rather than layers of bureaucracy.
In New York, however, the expansion and oversight of the state’s charter sector seems to be moving in the opposite direction. As evidence, I encourage a review of yesterday’s decision by one of the state’s charter authorizers to allow the Success Charter Network to merge at least five of its schools (and soon eleven, and likely eventually all forty of their schools) under a single board — essentially creating a new school district run by non-profit corporate leadership rather than public officials or local leaders.
If you haven’t heard much news about this plan, it’s not surprising — while the boards of the network’s schools approved the mergers in February, the DOE didn’t have a hearing to get local input on the proposal until this past Friday (with two days notice) — and didn’t release any of the documents explaining what the mergers would look like. For example, parents in these neighborhoods only recently learned that the merger would include an increase in the Network’s fees from 10% to 15% of each student’s funding (a part of the proposal which is still under consideration by the SUNY Charter School Institute).
What’s worse, at the committee meeting to approve the mergers (which was announced on the institute’s website over the weekend), the committee did not discuss either the statements given at Friday’s hearing or the one submitted by the UFT last Thursday, all of which raised substantive concerns about the impact of the mergers on parent and public voice in their local charter schools. When questioned as to why these statements were not publicly considered before the committee’s vote, their legal counsel stated that the SUNY K-12 Education Committee was not legally obligated to publicly consider any input on mergers or other charter revisions that didn’t come directly from a charter’s district of location.
According to their legal counsel, Chancellor Walcott had decided not to pass on any of the statements made at Friday’s hearing in time for the committee’s meeting. Since no public comments were accepted at the committee’s meeting itself, public input on this incredibly important new merger policy and its first ever implementation was effectively shut out of this decision.
As we expressed in the statement we sent to the committee on Thursday, this series of events sets a terrible precedent for future efforts to comply with the state law’s mandate to effectively oversee charter schools and make responsible decisions about which charter schools and networks have earned the right to expand. The SUNY Board of Trustees should look closely at the way in which today’s decision was made, and should take steps to ensure that this exclusion of public comment from decisions about the state’s public schools does not happen again.
Financial Killings — And Educational Corpses
Dec. 13, 2011
by Leo Casey
Comments Off Filed under: Charter Schools
The front page of today’s New York Times carries a devastating feature portrait of ‘virtual’ schooling, and the K-12 corporation founded by former Reagan Secretary of Education William Bennett which is making a financial killing off of indefensible ‘virtual’ charter schools. This is the unseemly reality of the future of American education advocated by Terry Moe in his Orwellian titled book, Liberating Learning.