The Great Online School Scam

February 2108:33 AM

In a 2013 interview with Philanthropy Magazine, DeVos said her ultimate goals in education reform encompassed not just charter schools and voucher programs, but also virtual education. She said these forms were important because they would allow “all parents, regardless of their zip code, to have the opportunity to choose the best educational setting for their children.” Also in 2013, one of the organizations that she founded, the American Federation for Children, put out a sharply critical statement after New Jersey’s school chief, Chris Cerf, declined to authorize two virtual charter schools.  view article arw

The Academy is now accepting applications for grades first through eighth for the 2018-2019 academic year. Application forms can be found at the Coahoma ISD website at Completed forms can be submitted online or brought to the CISD Administration Office, 600 N. Main Street, Coahoma. Applications must be submitted no later than 4 p.m. Friday, Feb. 23, 2018. view article arw

After decades of growth, enrollment is declining at San Antonio’s second largest school district. This school year, the North East Independent School District saw its biggest drop yet: almost 1,500 students. At a school board meeting Monday night, district officials said the size of the loss took them by surprise, and they need to find a way to stem the tide amid increasing competition from charter schools. view article arw

Victory Prep North, an in-district Houston ISD charter school, will close on Friday due to financial issues, forcing about 300 students to relocate to campuses in the middle of the semester. The charter's executive director, the Rev. Lisa Berry-Dockery, said unexpectedly low enrollment following Hurricane Harvey led to a budget shortfall at the school. "We had students who simply did not return or did not enroll," Berry-Dockery said. Tyrpically "around Labor Day we see a huge boost in enrollment, and we did not receive that because of the hurricane." view article arw

A free day at the aquarium! For Marcey Morse, a mother of two, it sounded pretty good. It was the fall of 2016, and Morse had received an email offering tickets, along with a warning about her children's education. view article arw

Laura Chapman writes: “I think that charters, along with public schools are becoming captives of the tech industry with online education misrepresented as personalized. There is an effort to deschool education altogether by making everything a matter of choice from a menu of options leaving brick and mortar schools at the margins. Among other tools for moving in this direction are per-pupil cost analyses that include proportionate costs of buildings, maintenance, transportation and so on for specific grades, subjects, and levels of staffing.  view article arw

The recent defeat of legislation that would make charter schools accountable and transparent, AB 1478, established definitively that charter schools are private businesses, not public schools.  All public schools must comply with the Brown Act, the California Public Records Act (PRA), or the Political Reform Act of 1974, which make their spending and operations transparent to the public. The charter lobby insists that there are merely bureaucratic burdens and that charters must be free to operate without any public transparency, as private businesses do. view article arw

Dozens gathered Wednesday night in College Station as staff from the International Leadership of Texas held the first two of several information sessions scheduled over the next two months. The meetings are designed to inform local families about the academic possibilities at College Station's first internationally focused charter school. view article arw

The national charter movement grew because people from diverse perspectives agreed on the need for a new form of public school free of bureaucratic and union constraints. As political scientist Stephen Page observed, the movement consisted of left-leaning educators supported by right-wing money. view article arw

The time is running out to enroll students in Dallas Independent School District’s Specialty and Choice school programs for the 2018-2019 school year. One academy, in particular, offers students free access to college. However, some Dallas ISD staff members said enough eligible students are not taking advantage of the unique program, especially in southern Dallas. The staff is working to turn that around. view article arw

Austin-area charter school enrollment has reached an all-time high of 25,400 students, eight times more than a decade ago. Local charter schools now educate about 12 percent of Travis County public school students. Statewide charter school enrollment has nearly hit 273,000 students, about 5 percent of the students in Texas. New charter-friendly Texas laws and programs will likely push those numbers even higher. view article arw

San Antonio Independent School District is contracting with a New York-based charter school organization to run one of its elementary schools next school year. view article arw

San Antonio Independent School District trustees voted Monday to pursue a partnership to let a New York-based charter school network operate one if its lowest-performing campuses, Stewart Elementary, this fall.  If a contract is later signed to govern the unusual arrangement, Democracy Prep Public Schools, a charter network that boasts high performing schools in low-income neighborhoods, would hire its own teaching staff, possibly choosing from current personnel, officials said. view article arw

COLUMBUS, Ohio— As one of the nation’s largest online charter schools faces the possibility that it could abruptly close after this week, students like Isabella Aquino who have found a haven in the Ohio e-school face uncertainty about how they would continue their education.  “I have no idea,” said the 16-year-old junior, who takes some college classes and is disinclined to brick-and-mortar schools because of their less flexible scheduling and her past experiences, including with a teacher who she says bullied her over her Christian beliefs. view article arw

Extreme overpayment ! Some Texas legislators want these schools.-js -  COLUMBUS, Ohio - Ohio's largest online charter school, the Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow (ECOT), was paid for 9,000 more students than it should have last school year, an Ohio Department of Educationenrollment audit has found.  In a letter to the school today, the department tells the school that it has proper documentation for only 6,300 of its 15,300 students - a 59% gap.  The letter does not spell out how much money ECOT could be forced to return, but with ECOT receiving $109 million last year for the 15,300, $64 million in money is at risk. view article arw

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico education authorities are cutting off authorization and funding for the largest online charter school in the state in response to lagging academic performance among students.  A request by New Mexico Connections Academy to renew its charter for the coming school year has been voted down by the Public Education Commission that oversees charter schools across the state. The Santa Fe-based virtual charter school provides online lessons to more than 1,300 students across the state in grades 4-12. view article arw

CORINTH — Margaret Carter drives 100 miles every day to get to and from her job at Corinth Classical Academy. The fourth-grade teacher calculated her overall mileage since she started at the charter school: roughly 500,000 miles driven in 10 years.  "That's insane," Carter said. "But the drive is the only bad part of my job."  The decision to work at a charter school was a conscious one for Carter.  view article arw

Austin ISD is one step closer to converting Mendez Middle School into an in-district charter. At a November meeting trustees began discussing the possibility of employing Senate Bill 1882 as an alternative to shuttering Mendez, which has repeatedly been assigned an accountability grade of Improvement Required by the Texas Education Agency. After three or more consecutive years of that rating the Texas Education Code requires the state’s commissioner of education to either close the school or appoint a board of managers for the entire district. view article arw

Several charter schools in Texas have some of the state's largest class sizes. A report from the Texas Education Agency said most of the public schools in the state had about 22 students per teacher last school year. view article arw

The College Station school district is working to prepare for the arrival of a kindergarten through eighth-grade campus of the International Leadership of Texas charter school system next fall and the impact it could have on enrollment growth in the years to come.  The topic was discussed at length during the school board's workshop session Tuesday evening as trustees were presented with projections estimating three possible enrollment scenarios for the district alongside its forthcoming neighbor.  Superintendent Clark Ealy said during the workshop it is hard to project how the incoming charter school will affect future enrollment for the district.  view article arw

When the exclusions and exceptions the state grants charter schools are stripped away, Texas charter schools have an average graduation rate almost 30 percentage points lower than the state’s traditional school districts. According to a 2017 report from the Texas Education Agency, just 62 percent of Texas charter school students graduated on time in 2016, compared to more than 90 percent of students from traditional school districts.​ view article arw

CORINTH — Denton and Lake Dallas ISDs joined forces Thursday evening to talk about a potential loss of funding as charter schools continue to grow in Texas.  During a joint meeting with the Corinth City Council, both districts said they stand to lose millions in revenue if charter schools keep opening up. According to Bill Gumbert, the financial adviser for Denton and Lake Dallas ISDs, charter school enrollment is increasing an average of 13 percent each year. Data from the Texas Education Agency shows 14 charter schools currently situated in Denton County. view article arw

Julian Vasquez Heilig spoke at the Journey for Justice National Town Hall in D.C. on December 12. He addressed his remarks to the charter supporters who dismissed claims that charters exacerbate segregation. Specifically, he spoke in response to an article in New York magazine by Jonathan Chait, who said that charters don’t cause segregation, they help its victims.  view article arw

The Ohio Supreme Court said on Wednesday it will not temporarily halt the state's efforts to recoup $60 million from one of the nation's largest online charter schools, which says it could soon be forced to close in the middle of the school year. The state reduced monthly payments to the Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow to start recouping money while ECOT challenges how the Ohio Department of Education tallied student logins to determine the school was overpaid. ECOT has said it will run out of cash and close in early 2018 if the court doesn't intervene, noting that it doesn't have the "safety net" of local tax dollars that traditional public schools receive. The school said such a closure would affect almost 12,000 students and eliminate over 800 jobs. view article arw

An Associated Press article about segregation in charter schools has sparked a stinging backlash from education advocates across the country. The article, which went out wide on the AP wire under the headline “US charter schools put growing numbers in racial isolation,” makes the assertion that charter schools are more likely than district schools to have a 99 percent or higher minority population, which the reporters say correlates to “low achievement levels” for students. view article arw

IDEA Public Schools, a fast-growing Texas charter school network, has named the four principals who will lead its first El Paso campuses. Two are native El Pasoans and two have risen through the ranks at IDEA Public Schools, which operates more than 60 schools in Texas and plans to operate 173 by 2022. Charter schools, which are publicly funded but privately run, have expanded rapidly in Texas. But the movement has been slow to catch on in El Paso. view article arw

The Primrose School of Plano at Headquarters is expected to open in mid-December at 6788 Headquarters Drive in Plano. The 14,000-square-foot facility houses 12 classrooms and four age-appropriate private playgrounds. view article arw