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A week in the charter school universe…

If you don’t follow charter school goings on worldwide (and for your sanity, I kind of want to suggest you don’t), you’d be forgiven for thinking that there’s just the odd blip here and there. But, to be honest, it’s more like a volley of blips coming thick and fast. In fact, if blips were locusts, we’d have a plague on our hands.

Take just this week’s revelations, for example…

Nga Parirau Matauranga Trust (NZ)

  • David Seymour confirms that as yet not a cent of the $5.2 Million the failed Northland charter school received has been recovered. The school was open for just one year.

Waipareira Trust (NZ)

  • Waipareira Trust pulled out of charter school negotiations in part because Government refuse to include the Treaty of Waitangi in the contract. (What’s that again, how ACT say this is all for the benefit of Maori students…)

The E Tipu E Rea Trust (NZ)

  • This new body is set up by government to promote and support charter schools and given half a million dollars without even going to tender. (Very expensive cheer leading.)
  • Apparently it’s a charity, so it’ll have charity tax exemptions.

Academy Transformation Trust (England)

  • Ian Cleland, chief executive,”…spent £3,000 of taxpayers’ money on first-class rail travel, while dining expenses racked up on his taxpayer-funded credit card include a meal with other staff at Marco Pierre White totalling £471, and the Bank restaurant in Birmingham, at a cost £703.45″ Yes, teachers eat this way all the time in the staff room. More Moët anyone?
  • He also leased a XJ Premium Luxury V6 Jaguar car and put his wife on the insurance, clocking up £3,000 in service bills alone. Because what head teacher doesn’t need a Jag?

NET Academies Trust (England)

  • Maxine Evans spent over £9,000 on executive taxis to travel between schools (and they have been sometimes made to wait outside, meter running, for the duration of her visit!)

Paradigm Trust (England)

  • An OIA shows that the Trust pays for broadband at CEO Amanda Phillips’ holiday home in France. (Clearly it’s hard to afford when one only earns £195,354 (NZ$400k) a year.)

Gulen/Harmony Charter Schools (USA)

  • Charges filed against them alleging  US$18M fraud (One of a raft of scandals related to the Gulen charter school chain over the years)

Michigan study (USA)

Ohio Department of Education invoiced (USA)

  • Diane Ravitch reports that Geneva Area City Board of Education invoiced the Ohio Department of Education, stating that “[o]ver the past 16 fiscal years, $4,265,924.70 has been taken away from Geneva Area City Schools via State Foundation Settlement deductions and sent to under-performing charter schools.”

Cabot Learning Federation (England)

  • Bath-based school is closed due to insufficient students, leaving current students without a school. Parents were not consulted.
  • The school was inspected in May and judged to be inadequate.

Lilac Sky Schools Academy Trust (England)

  • The Trust decides it doesn’t want to run the schools any more and looks to find someone new to take over. (Like passing on a franchise…)
  • The BBC reports: “In November, the Regional Schools Commissioner’s Office issued a pre-termination warning notice to the trust over “unacceptably low” standards at Marshlands Academy in Hailsham.”
  • The BBC also reports: “The commissioner said the number of pupils reaching level four or above in reading, writing and maths had fallen by 20% and was “significantly below the floor standard”

Oh I could go on… this is but a drop in the ocean… but you get the idea.

The charter schools movement is not about education – it’s about privatisation and diversion of funds. As always, I ask you to follow the evidence and follow the money.

~ Dianne

Featured Image courtesy of pixtawan at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Sources:

Taxpayers fund large wages and lavish perks of academy school chiefs , The Guardian, Published online Sunday 24 July 2016

Trust given $500,000 charter school contract without going to tender, NZ Herald, published online 

Are charter schools making the grade? – The Nation, TV3, Saturday 23 Jul 2016 10:34 am, retrieved 9.38pm 25/7/16

Charter school a waste of public money – PPTA, Radio NZ, published 7:19 pm on 28 January 2016, retrieved 9.31pm 25/7/16

Gulen-led schools in Texas accused of $18M fraud, World Bulletin, published 15:14, 12 July 2016 Tuesday, retrieved 9.46pm 25/7/16

Parents at Bath Community Academy say school has failed their children and failed them, Bath Chronicle, published July 23, 2016, retrieved 9.59pm 25/7/16

Who is benefiting from the education reform movement?

Just who benefits from the education reform movement? In countries with charter schools and academies, exam passes and PISA scores have gone down. Teachers’ working conditions have worsened. But someone must be benefiting otherwise why would reformers be pushing so much money into lobbying politicians to open even more charter schools?

With that in mind, ponder this list:

swag bag

 

Sir Bruce Liddington, former Permanent Secretary at the Department for Education and head of the Academies Division.He was one of the chief architects of the Academies Programme before sliding seamlessly into the private sector to pocket £300,000 (NZ$600k) pa. salary plus benefits as CEO of EACT Academy chain (England). Source

 

 

 

swag bagFormer teachers from the Horizon Science Academy Dayton High School in Dayton testified at the board’s monthly meeting in Columbus about years of misconduct. Some said they had been afraid to come forward before finding new jobs.”

““I know of one student who failed the 7th grade and then had to repeat the year with the agreement with (an administrator) that she would be promoted to the 9th grade if she passed 7th grade during the second attempt. She indeed completely skipped 8th grade and all associated curriculum,” [testifying teacher] Kochensparger said.”  Source

 

swag bag

 

Kings Science Academy, England, was last year investigated and ““serious failings” were found in the school’s financial management with allegations that £80,000 worth of public money had not been used for its intended purpose”. Source

 

 

swag bag

 

“COLUMBUS, OH—A federal grand jury has indicted four people, alleging that they offered and accepted bribes and kickbacks as part of a public corruption conspiracy in their roles as managers and a consultant for Arise! Academy, a charter school in Dayton, Ohio.”  Source: FBI Press Release, June 2014

 

 

swag bag

 

Michael Gove (ex UK Education Minister)’s favourite Academy chain, run by Haberdashers’ Aske’s Federation Trust, is in the middle of a £2m (~$4m NZ) fraud investigation.  The Guardian reports “The alleged fraud, which comes after Haberdashers’ Knights Academy was judged by Ofsted in November to have “serious weaknesses”, is likely to raise questions about the freedom given to academies.”

 

 

swag bag

 

Charter School Fraud Totals $30 Million, Education Groups Launch State-by-State Investigation: “the Center for Popular Democracy, Integrity in Education and ACTION United released a report titled “Fraud and Financial Mismanagement in Pennsylvania’s Charter Schools” that exposes at least $30 million lost to waste, fraud, and abuse in Pennsylvania since the passage of that state’s charter school law in 1997 and was the subject of a Philadelphia Inquirer exclusive

 

 

swag bagThe “Charter School Vulnerabilities to Waste, Fraud and Abuse” report focused on 15 states representing large charter markets, out of the 42 states that have charter schools.

Drawing on news reports, criminal complaints, regulatory findings, audits and other sources, it “found fraud, waste and abuse cases totaling over $100 million in losses to taxpayers,” but warned that due to inadequate oversight, “the fraud and mismanagement that has been uncovered thus far might be just the tip of the iceberg.” Source 

 

swag bag

 

Academy hear teacher, Sir Greg Martin’s pay jumped by 56% last year giving him him a total salary package of £229,138 (~ NZ$460k).  “Sir Greg is the executive head of Durand Academy in South London.

The National Audit Office said there were a ‘large number of conflicts of interest’ in the way the academy was managed.” Source 

 

 

swag bag

 

A study of KIPP charter schools found that they receive “‘an estimated $6,500 more per pupil in revenues from public or private sources’ compared to local school districts.” But only a scant portion of that disproportionate funding – just $457 in spending per pupil – could accurately be accounted for “because KIPP does not disclose how it uses money received from private sources. Source

 

 

swag bag

 

The director of the now-closed New Hope Institute of Science and Technology charter school in Milwaukee, was convicted in federal court of embezzling $300,000 in public money and sentenced to two years in prison.  She spent about $200,000 on personal expenses, including cars, funeral arrangements and home improvement.

 

 

 

swag bag

 

The troubled Hartford charter school operator FUSE was dealt another blow Friday when FBI agents served it with subpoenas to a grand jury that is examining the group’s operations. When two Courant reporters arrived at FUSE offices on Asylum Hill on Friday morning, minutes after the FBI’s visit, they saw a woman feeding sheaves of documents into a shredder.  Source: The Hartford Courant, July 18, 2014

 

 

swag bagAn FBI raid on a charter school in East Baton Rouge is the latest item in a list of scandals involving the organization that holds the charter for the Kenilworth Science and Technology School. … Pelican Educational Foundation runs the school and has ties to a family from Turkey. The school receives about $5,000,000 in local, state, and federal tax money. … the FBI raided the school six days after the agency renewed the Baton Rouge school’s charter through the year 2019.” Source: The Advocate, January 14, 2014

 

 

 

swag bag

 

The head of an an English Academy chain run by Haberdashers’ Aske’s Federation Trust was ordered to repay £4.1m (~$8m NZ) taken fraudulently.

Not a penny had been repaid as of mid 2014.

 

 

swag bag

 

“An academy superhead paid £120,000 (~ NZ$250k) a year has told how he deserves a pay rise because his salary is “low” compared with those in other industries.

Liam Nolan, chief executive of Perry Beeches Academy Trust, Birmingham, said a review should be carried out into senior leadership pay in state schools to make the job more attractive.”

 

 

The list could go on and on and on.  Go do a search for “charter school fraud” or “mismanagement academy” and see the huge raft of worrying reports that come back.

Someone is benefiting from the education reform movement: The big question is, who?

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Further Reading:  http://academiesweek.co.uk/academy-trusts-how-the-big-five-rate/

 

Charter School Fraud and Mismanagement

Charter schools are sold with the promise of innovative teaching, greater freedom, and the magical word “choice”.  And it’s fair to say that in some cases they deliver.  Some charter schools do great things, as do some state schools, so what’s the problem?

Promise v. Reality

The charter school  promise all to often fails to match the delivery.

PR, sound bites and glossy brochures might sell a school as doing amazing things.  The desks might be new, and you might get your uniform paid for or other benefits that individual parents find hard to resist, especially if they are having trouble making ends meet as it is.  And some of those schools will be doing just what they say they are, a good job.

But far too many aren’t, and the level of fraud, mismanagement and dirty doings that is uncovered on a weekly basis is staggering.

In too many cases worldwide, we have seen that corporate greed and money-grubbing individuals use charters as just another opportunity to rort the system for profit.

The truth is, the charter school system is all too often co-opted by charlatans.

Personal Piggy Banks

swag theft moneyRupert Murdoch gleefully declared for-profit public education “a $500 billion sector in the U.S. alone that is waiting desperately to be transformed.”  Be under no illusion, the businessmen and corporates are already poised to cash in on your tax dollars.  They have only one thing in mind – profit.

However, even worse than that is the fact that so much money is stolen or misappropriated.

Between the frauds and the lavish wages, lunches and perks given to certain staff, it’s bewildering how much education money fails to be used for education!

As one observer noted:

It might be an overstatement to say that some operators use charter schools as their own personal piggy banks, but then again a recent corruption scandal…  illustrates just how easy it is for money to flow from charter schools to private individuals.” Source

Indeed, and that flow seems all too often to be more of a flood.

Lessons from Abroad

Let’s focus on the issue of fraud and money mismanagement.

A recent report Charter School Vulnerabilities to Waste, Fraud, & Abuse found that over US$100Million is misappropriated in charter schools in the USA.

For example:

  • Nearly $3 million in unsubstantiated expenses amassed by the Weems Charter School.
  • The director of the now-closed New Hope Institute of Science and Technology charter school in Milwaukee, was convicted in federal court of embezzling $300,000 in public money and sentenced to two years in prison.  She spent about $200,000 on personal expenses, including cars, funeral arrangements and home improvement…

Things are so bad in the USA that the FBI are involved. Just take a look at just some of the cases FBI were involved in during the past year alone:

  • “The troubled Hartford charter school operator FUSE was dealt another blow Friday when FBI agents served it with subpoenas to a grand jury that is examining the group’s operations. When two Courant reporters arrived at FUSE offices on Asylum Hill on Friday morning, minutes after the FBI’s visit, they saw a woman feeding sheaves of documents into a shredder.”—The Hartford Courant, July 18, 2014

 

  • “The FBI has raided an Albuquerque school just months after the state started peering into the school’s finances. KRQE News 13 learned federal agents were there because of allegations that someone may have been taking money that was meant for the classroom at the Southwest Secondary Learning Center on Candelaria, near Morris in northwest Albuquerque … “—KRQE News 13, August 1 2014

 

  • “Wednesday evening’s FBI raid on a charter school in East Baton Rouge is the latest item in a list of scandals involving the organization that holds the charter for the Kenilworth Science and Technology School. … Pelican Educational Foundation runs the school and has ties to a family from Turkey. The school receives about $5,000,000 in local, state, and federal tax money. … the FBI raided the school six days after the agency renewed the Baton Rouge school’s charter through the year 2019.”—The Advocate, January 14, 2014

 

  • “The state of Pennsylvania is bringing in the FBI to look into accusations that a Pittsburgh charter school [Urban Pathways Charter School] misspent tens of thousands of taxpayer dollars on luxuries such as fine-dining and retreats at exclusive resorts and spas.”—CBS News November 12,  2013

 

  • “COLUMBUS, OH—A federal grand jury has indicted four people, alleging that they offered and accepted bribes and kickbacks as part of a public corruption conspiracy in their roles as managers and a consultant for Arise! Academy, a charter school in Dayton, Ohio.” —FBI Press Release, June 2014

 

And it’s not just the USA charter schools that have this problem.

In England, where charter schools are called ‘Academies’, there has also been a staggering number of cases of both poor management and fraud:

  • Just yesterday (31/08/14) another Academy head teacher was arrested on charges of fraud at Kings Science Academy in Bradford. Source
  • Mid August 2014 – Two former bosses at a Lincolnshire academy federation have been charged in connection with alleged fraud.
  • The head of an Academy chain run by Haberdashers’ Aske’s Federation Trust was ordered to repay £4.1m (~$8m NZ) taken fraudulently.  Not a penny had been repaid as of mid 2014.
  • Three Glendene Arts Academy staff arrested over the use of academy resources and payment of the salaries and expenses of staff used by a private company. Source
  • In May, “Auditors warned of a culture of “extravagance” at the heart of the E-ACT group – the second-largest provider of academies in England – that led to hundreds of thousands of pounds being wasted.” Source

What Next for New Zealand?

Overseas charter school chains already have their eye on Aotearoa.* Given the levels of fraud in overseas charters – of which the above list is but a drop in the ocean – how can we ensure our taxes are not squirreled off by the unscrupulous?

Ask yourself:

  • Are our charters set up in such as way as to protect against fraud?
  • What measures are there to protect NZ charter school funds against mismanagement?
  • Are the oversights stringent enough?

I’m sure those running charters honestly are as frustrated by fraud and mismanagement as those who don’t want charter schools at all. The trouble is, the system is set up in such a way that makes them a prime target for rogues of all stripes.

Which begs the question, when it comes to fraud, will New Zealand’s charter school system fare any better than overseas?

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Notes:

KIPP , for example, sent over a representative to meet Hekia Parata and tour New Zealand just as charter schools were being legislated for.

Sources:

http://inthesetimes.com/article/17109/the_con_artistry_of_charter_schools

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/wp/2014/05/06/new-report-cites-100-million-plus-in-waste-fraud-in-charter-school-industry/

http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/charterschoice/2014/05/report_documents_100_million_in_charter_school_fraud_in_14_states_and_dc.html

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2699331/Nigerian-accountants-4million-fraud-academies-Gove-hailed-Staff-member-said-spent-cash-extravagant-lifestyle.html

https://saveourschoolsnz.wordpress.com/2014/07/17/yet-more-charter-schools-under-investigation/

http://cashinginonkids.com/blogs/feds-charge-michigan-charter-school-manager-fraud/

http://www.converge.org.nz/watchdog/31/06.html

 

http://nzfirst.org.nz/news/charter-schools-model-gets-failed-mark

 

See also:  The Great City Academy Fraud, by Francis Beckett

 

 

 

The problem is that

Yet more Charter Schools under investigation

fraud

There’s barely a day when more revelations don’t come out of charter schools being investigated, and not a month goes by without fraud being mentioned, and yet New Zealand’s Education Minister is still touting them as a good way forward.  It really does beggar belief.

In the USA this week: “The Ohio Board of Education ordered an immediate investigation of a chain of 19 charter schools in the state today after hearing allegations of test cheating, attendance tampering, sexual misconduct and other misdeeds.

Former teachers from the Horizon Science Academy Dayton High School in Dayton testified at the board’s monthly meeting in Columbus about years of misconduct. Some said they had been afraid to come forward before finding new jobs.”

““I know of one student who failed the 7th grade and then had to repeat the year with the agreement with (an administrator) that she would be promoted to the 9th grade if she passed 7th grade during the second attempt. She indeed completely skipped 8th grade and all associated curriculum,” [testifying teacher] Kochensparger said.”  Source

 

England’s Academies and Free schools are faring no better, again with revelations of shenanigans week on week.

This week’s bombshell is that the former Education Secretary, Michael Gove’s favourite Academy chain run by Haberdashers’ Aske’s Federation Trust, is in the middle of a £2m (~$4m NZ) fraud investigation.

The Guardian reports “The alleged fraud, which comes after Haberdashers’ Knights Academy was judged by Ofsted in November to have “serious weaknesses”, is likely to raise questions about the freedom given to academies. ”

So, both fraudulent and not providing a good education.  Marvellous.  I can see how that’s likely to raise standards and give children better opportunities.

 

Okay, so given that they don’t perform any better than the original systems they replaced AND they are a breeding ground fraud and other goings on, why do politicians still forge ahead with them?  Here Mark Naison explains why charters are so popular with certain groups.  It’s a short but rather good overview and well worth watching:

 

It seems to me that in the mark of the new millennium is that anything is okay if it makes someone money.

 

As Diane Ravitch said: “Sometimes it is hard to believe that anyone cares anymore about old-fashioned things like integrity, honesty, accountability, and transparency…”

 

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Further reading:

http://charterschoolscandals.blogspot.co.nz/

http://dianeravitch.net/2013/12/27/gulen-charter-schools-embroiled-in-international-disputes/

http://www.yorkshirepost.co.uk/news/main-topics/education/free-school-at-centre-of-police-inquiry-holds-meeting-for-parents-1-6727283

http://www.startribune.com/local/blogs/199606941.html

http://charterschoolscandals.blogspot.co.nz/search/label/Fraud%20and%20misrepresentation

 

 

 

The John Banks School for Errant Maori and Polynesian South Auckland Lads (Ltd)

St John of Banks

School Logo?

Dear John,

So yesterday, June 4th 2013, the Education  Amendment Act 2012 was passed and charter schools became legal in New Zealand.  Nice work.

It was a good move to get your pal Catherine Isaac to chair the panel so they could ignore all advice and submissions and push them through.  Clever.

And a big high five for getting The Maori Party to fall for it.  Hahahaha, I did have a good titter at that one.

Somewhere in Epsom...

Somewhere in Epsom…

So funny that they forgot that you  said quite proudly on TV that If we continue the bankrupt response of just paying young Polynesian, young Maori men in South Auckland the dole to sit in front of TV, smoke marijuana, watch pornography and plan more drug offending and more burglaries, then we’re going to have them coming through our windows regardless of whether we live in Epsom or anywhere else in greater Auckland.” 

Pfffst, it’s not your fault if they forget stuff like that.

Anyway, I’ve heard that every Maori or Polynesian man in South Auckland is stoked to hear you are so keen to save them, so let’s get cracking and set up this school.

The John Banks School for Errant Maori and Polynesian South Auckland Lads (Ltd)

Now I know what you’re thinking, John.  You’re worrying that you don’t have any background in education.  But it’s okay – you don’t have to been trained in education to run or work in charter schools.  No, nothing at all.  You just have to convince the panel to say yes to your plan, and seeing as we’ve got Catherine and Hekia in our pockets, we’re in!

Lucky that, eh John?

You can make up your own curriculum, your own school day and term times, hire some warm bodies to pretend to be teachers, and make a killing!

I’m thinking we could just print some lesson plans off the internet and get nice looking people to teach those.  That should be quite cheap.

The poor South Auckland lads will never notice, anyway – far too drugged up.  No it’s true, I heard a prominent politician say so on TV.

money showerAww Thanks Di, it’s a lovely idea – but is there any money in it?

Oh yes, John, there really is!

We get a nice handout from the government of hundreds of thousands of dollars to set up the premises – and we don’t have to return a red cent of it if we close the school.  Bonza.

I think we should maybe choose one of those well kitted out schools in Christchurch that are about to become available.  I’ve heard one of them has a $1 million plus upgrade just 2 years ago, and I bet we can get it mega cheap.  We can always say we don’t want them just sitting there like those schools in Invercargill, eh?

What else?  Well the students will be funded as decile 3, and the funding for things like special needs and ICT won’t have to be spent on those things so we can with that whatever we like!  We don’t need to bother with those pesky tricky things Dyslexia or Autism or speaking Te Reo or Samoan or anything.  Yeah, nah, just filter out anyone hard to teach like lots of the US charters do, and we can keep the cheaper kids.  The public system can get the more difficult ones back – that’ll be a hoot.  Take that trained teachers.  Hahaha.

Oh lord, I just thought, what if we get hungry kids?  Can you get your staff to whip up some eggs bene for them to share? No?  Oh man, well best get that Weetbix lined up, then.  But still send the eggs –  we claim that on expenses. I doubt we would we have to declare it, eh?

CBEMoney money money … it’s a rich man’s world

Ooooh I’ve had another great idea…  We could hire ABBA to teach the kids.  Oh, no, sorry I got a bit off track there.

This is what I was really thinking.  Maybe we could call this principal in the UK who used school money to hire her mates, claimed expenses more than once from different organisations, gave contracts to businesses she was close to, and used funds to pay for taxis costing well over $6000.  She’d be able to give us tips for making the most of those tax dollars!

It’s okay, we can do all that and everyone will still think we are fabulous.  I mean to say, that teacher was named head teacher of the year at the 2007 Teaching Awards and appointed CBE, so all good, I’ll get our people to talk to her people.

If she’s unavailable, we could call the Charter Schools guys who conned US$17 million of taxes from Oregon.  They were even more cunning because they pretended their schools were not for-profit (aww bless their faux charitable socks) and “ran a chain of taxpayer-funded charter schools under the guise of a nonprofit named EdChoices, “submitted false, incomplete and misleading records about how many students were enrolled in the schools and how they were spending the state’s money.” ”  Cunning.

shhhhh...

shhhhh…

What if we’re rumbled?

No, don’t worry about what to do if we’re caught out.  When charter school fraudsters are investigated they don’t hang about.  Once the cash cow is rumbled we can just close the school like these guys.  It’ll leave students and teachers with nowhere to go, but overheads gone! Easy!

We would be investigated, but you could nudge the police not to investigate this one, either.  You seem to be good at that.

Try not to be like these guys, who get caught AND prosecuted, though…

Man alive! Google threw me 2.8 million hits for “charter school fraud” so we’d have to be careful in case anyone is onto this scam.

But no, no, don’t think about that – if anyone tries to get the facts out we can just say it’s all daft leftie mudslinging and get our mate Seal Meat to bash them on his blog.

It’ll be fine – just think of the money!

So what do you think, Banksy?  Shall we do it?  You and me?

The John Banks School for Errant Maori and Polynesian South Auckland Lads (Ltd) ?

~Dianne

So, Charter Schools Are Better, Are They?

Be afraid.  Be very, very afraid.  Charter schools may sound like a miracle from heaven, but a little research shows the truth is not nearly as rosy.

Here’s just a selection of the articles I’ve found that make me concerned about charter schools:

MORE GIRAFFES, THAT’S WHAT WE NEED

“If u posted a blog about the need 4 more giraffes in elementary school lunch rooms, 57 charter advocates would post comments about charters.

Charter cheerleaders are relentless; evangelical soldiers in the reform wars, they are absolutely convinced that charters are laboratories full of innovation and creativity.

And it matters little to them that the vast majority of the evidence piled up on charters shows little to no average effect on student achievement. The beauty of charters, you see, is that the17% of them that do better than pubic schools hold the key to saving our “failing” students. If we can look at these “successful” charters and tease out what makes them so awesome, we can spread the awesomeness around to everyone.As I see it, there are three problems with this argument…”

Read more here

ACCOUNTABILITY – FRAUD, SOLICITING, AND ABUSE?

“A West Oakland church school that makes its students ask for money at BART stations appears to have vastly inflated its enrollment (sic) numbers to collect extra taxpayer funding, some of which goes to a teacher who former students say physically abused them and other children.And for years, St. Andrew Missionary Baptist Church and private school has operated with virtually no government oversight despite repeated red flags. The K-12 school is run by Robert Lacy, 79, a pastor who pleaded guilty in 2007 to theft of government money for taking his deceased father’s Social Security payments.”

Read more here.

COMPARING APPLES AND BANANAS AND DECIDING THE MANGO IS BEST

“It’s New Jersey School Choice Week. Gov. Chris Christie signed a proclamation encouraging all citizens to “join the movement for educational reform.”

Or, at least, his brand of reform, one that includes cutting $1 billion from traditional public schools while spending taxpayer money on independent schools that have somehow failed to enroll New Jersey’s neediest children, those with handicaps, language problems, and very low income…”

Read more here.

OVER-TESTING IS DAMAGING EDUCATION

“Carol Burris, who was recently named to the honor roll as a hero of public education, wrote a letter to President Obama. Carol understands how excessive testing is harming students and demoralizing teachers. She warns the President how this policy–at the heart of Race to the Top–will do increasing damage as it is institutionalized.”

Read more here.

STANFORD UNIVERSITY’S RESEARCH (CREDO)

“The group portrait shows wide variation in performance. The study reveals that a decent fraction of charter schools, 17 percent, provide superior education opportunities for their students. Nearly half of the charter schools nationwide have results that are no different from the local public school options and over a third, 37 percent, deliver learning results that are significantly worse than their student would have realized had they remained in traditional public schools.”

Read more here.

AND FOR HEAPS MORE LINKS SO YOU CAN RESEARCH YOURSELF, MAYBE START HERE…

“Charter schools have taken on an almost mythic quality. Touted by politicians, the subject of Hollywood films, the darlings of Wall Street: listening to the marketing, you would think charter schools were the saviors of American children…”

Read more here.

ARE YOU WORRIED YET?

Little or no accountability, weaker kids dumped, schools as businesses massaging the figures to keep the business going, huge attrition rates, and for all that they still don’t do very well.

Whatever you believe, you owe it to your children and yourself to learn more about charter schools before it’s too late for New Zealand.

~Dianne

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