KIPP Texas plans on opening a new high school in San Antonio next school year.  The public charter school network said KIPP Somos Collegiate will open with a 160-student ninth-grade class and add a grade each year. The school will open at 731 Fredericksburg Road, just east of Beacon Hill Academy, but will eventually relocate to a permanent facility. While no location is finalized, the school will likely stay within Loop 410 on the Northwest Side, the school's founding principal said. view article arw

Repost! - K12 INC., THE controversial for-profit virtual charter school operator, plans to pivot its entire platform to career education and has laid the groundwork to offer the new programs in 40 states over the next three years.  "This is a pivot, absolutely," says Kevin Chavous, president of academics, policy and schools at K12. "We were the first ones to do the online education in a big way. Now, this is a pivot where we have a laser focus on academics and student growth, but the corresponding focus on [career] gives kids more opportunity than they otherwise wouldn't have. view article arw

Charter schooling has long been buffeted by conflicting pressures: the desire to protect the autonomy that allows an array of diverse and vibrant schools to flourish, and the concern that a lack of oversight will give license to grifters and mediocrities. The crucial task of securing one and protecting against the other has been given to charter school authorizers. Full disclosure, I’ve spent close to a decade serving on the board of directors for the National Association of Charter School Authorizers (NACSA), an outfit charged with promoting quality authorizing. The challenge: “Quality authorizing” can become an excuse for micromanagement. After all, the easiest thing in the world is to insist on one more thing that someone else should do or one more rule that they should follow.  view article arw

The privatization movement used to operate in stealth. It used to pretend to have grassroots support. Those days are over. As the public catches on to the empty promises of the charter industry and its intention to undermine democratic institutions, the charter funders have created a SWAT team to infiltrate targeted cities across the nation, promote charter schools, and buy their school boards. These guys are not the Red Cross or the Salvation Army. They are paid vandals, on a mission to destroy public schools. They are out to destroy not just public schools, but local democracy. They should be ashamed. Usually, it is illegal to buy elections. This so-called City Fund brashly announces that it has raised nearly $200 million—with more on the way—to disrupt public schools and buy elections. How is this legal? view article arw

Trustees for Longview ISD will consider a plan for its charter schools following a public hearing Monday night. The district partnered with nonprofit organization East Texas Advanced Academies in June to operate and manage several campuses. Board members voted Wednesdayto expand the charter roster to seven of the district’s 13 schools. view article arw

I previously reported that Arizona legislator Eddie Farnsworth was making a bundle by selling his for-profit charter chain to a nonprofit charter chain for millions of dollars, and that he had selected the members of the board of the new nonprofit and would get a contract from that board to manage the charter schools. All in all, a triumph of self-dealing.  Now new details have emerged about what a sweet deal this is for Mr. Farnsworth. view article arw

Facing a possible state freeze on the expansion of charter schools and state plans to review those that already exist, students, teachers, faculty and others staged a march through the streets last month to highlight future potential threats. Charter school advocates believe the review may be an excuse to eventually cut back or even do away with character schools in the state. The march started at BelovEd School on Grant Street and went to the Team Walker Center where state officials were taking public input about the future of charter schools, not just in Jersey City and Hudson County, but throughout the state. view article arw

Journalists are told to “follow the money,” and it seems only fair the same adage be applied to education. A new report from the School Choice Demonstration Project at the University of Arkansas does just that, comparing the levels and sources of funding between traditional public schools (TPS) and charter schools in some of our nation’s largest metropolitan areas. Faithfully following the money, the authors finding a whopping $5,835 annual advantage for each TPS student. view article arw

The Unity Charter School suddenly closed, without any advance notice to parents, students, or teachers. Parents at Unity Charter School are having to look for new arrangements for their children after the school suddenly closed Thursday and is being foreclosed on. Parents received an automated message Wednesday evening reporting that there would be no school Thursday, due to circumstances beyond their control. Calls and emails to the school on Thursday received no response. A bank foreclosed on the property for nonpayment on the mortgage. The property will be auctioned off in a few weeks. School leaders had some personal financial issues involving misuse of school funds that turned up in an audit last year, but none rose to the level of criminal acts. view article arw

A nonprofit organization will operate and manage seven Longview ISD campuses after trustees voted Tuesday to modify its charter school partnership. In June, the district partnered with East Texas Advanced Academies, a nonprofit organization registered to Hearne ISD Superintendent Adrain Johnson, to operate and manage charters at several campuses. Longview ISD started exploring the Senate Bill 1882 Innovative Partnership in early January, spokeswoman Elizabeth Ross said. view article arw

Open enrollment charter schools, which last year received up to $2.5 billion in taxpayer funds in Texas, are immune from a law that all public schools must follow, requiring them to make public the terms of important contracts. “Charters are just not held as accountable as we are, and any time they bring up accountability for charters in [the] legislature, there is an element that steps on it,” said Troy Reynolds, an educator and advocate for Texas public schools.  The provision requires that public entities report all contracts that must be approved by a governing board or that are worth more than $1 million. view article arw

Longview ISD trustees will consider adding J.L. Everhart Elementary to the district’s charter school roster this morning.  In June, the district partnered with East Texas Advanced Academies, a nonprofit organization, to operate and manage charters at several campuses.  Trustees also are set to officially transfer existing charters for Bramlette and Ware elementary schools and East Texas Montessori Prep Academy to the nonprofit organization.

If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Dating back to 1954, the Better Business Bureau used this catchphrase to alert the public to shady business practices.  In the new era of school choice, this catchphrase can be used to alert the public about misleading business practices by charter schools in order to protect our most prized possessions — our children. view article arw

Imagine that a school district notifies parents that they must take their child to a location 60 miles from home for testing. Transportation will not be provided; parents are responsible for ensuring that their children arrive every day at their assigned testing site for up to a week, until all exams are complete. Families with multiple children may need to travel every day for two or three consecutive weeks, depending on the kids’ grade levels and the tests they must take. This may require making hotel arrangements and requesting leave from employers to ensure their child is present each day. view article arw

School choice, privately-operated charter schools and tuition-free public schools are words commonly used by the financial elite, political policy foundations and our elected representatives to describe the current education reform movement. In more transparent terms, the words refer to the orchestrated efforts to “privatize” the public schools in local communities, without the consent of taxpayers. To incorporate private enterprise into the Texas public school system, the State has created two separate education systems to operate in local communities from the same pool of taxpayer funding: locally governed, community-based school districts and State approved, privately-operated charter schools. The State’s unilateral decision to approve privately- operated charter schools to use tax dollars to operate separate schools within the boundaries of community-based school districts has imposed a system of “Local Taxation Without Local Representation” upon local taxpayers and local communities. view article arw

When something sounds too good to be true, it probably is.  Dating back to 1954, the Better Business Bureau used this catchphrase to alert the public of shady business practices.  In the new era of school choice, this catchphrase can be used to alert the public of misleading business practices by charter schools in order to protect our most prized possessions — our children.  Every year, certain charters tout a 100 percent college acceptance rate as their major marketing pitch to lure parents away from traditional public schools. view article arw

Orleans Parish schools Superintendent Henderson Lewis Jr. on Monday announced his plan to close four charter schools where he had already halted enrollment. The news comes days after the state Department of Education released annual school ratings. Last week, Lewis said he planned to recommend closing Edgar P. Harney Spirit of Excellence Academy, saying the charter school’s governing board repeatedly failed — at a level he had never before seen — to comply with state and district policies and laws. And over the past few months, he strongly hinted that Medard Nelson Elementary School, William J. Fischer Elementary School and McDonogh 32 Elementary School would close at the end of the school year. Closing those four schools is exactly what he recommended on Monday. Last week, as school grades loomed, parents wondered whether their schools would close. State ratings weigh heavily in Lewis’ decision which directs the annual New Orleans’ annual charter school shake-up. Nelson, Fischer, and McDonogh 32 had all had F’s for several years in a row. view article arw

Over the last decade, the charter school movement gained a significant foothold in New York, demonstrating along the way that it could build fruitful alliances with Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and other prominent Democrats. The movement hoped to set a national example — if charter schools could make it in a deep blue state like New York, they could make it anywhere. view article arw

This is the final installment in Sue Legg’s series about twenty years of school choice in Florida. She is the former education Director of the Florida League of Women Voters and was assessment and evaluation contractor for the Fl. DOE for twenty years while on the faculty at the University of Florida. She writes: Twenty Years Later: The SociaI Impact of Privatization view article arw

From its founding in 2013, International Leadership of Texas has often bucked conventional charter school wisdom, expanding at an unprecedented rate and educating students in large, newly constructed facilities.  In the coming months, the state’s fastest-growing charter network, home to about 5,450 students in Greater Houston and another 13,000 throughout Texas, will break another barrier.  Texas leaders are orchestrating the issuance of up to $400 million in bonds — believed to be the largest such single-year transaction in U.S. history for a charter school — to purchase 13 campuses across the state this year, fulfilling long-held plans to take ownership from developers who constructed the buildings. view article arw

Seeing San Antonio Spurs great David Robinson on campus at IDEA Carver isn't particularly unusual for students.  "Since I've been here for a long time, when he comes to the school someone will say, 'I just saw David Robinson in the hallway,' and I'm like, 'That's the sixth time that's happened," senior Evelyn Biddy said. "It's not that big of a deal because he is just a normal person and he doesn't think he's all that."  A new program designed to cultivate student leaders through personal mentoring sessions with Robinson represents a whole new level of engagement with the Hall of Fame center who has worked to emphasize the value of education and leadership. view article arw

California, with 39.5 million people, and Texas, with 28.3 million, are two of America’s four majority-minority states, the other two being Hawaii and New Mexico. As such, the education systems’ effectiveness in the two most diverse states that 1-in-5 Americans calls home is of vital interest to the rest of the nation. Because of the high stakes involved in public education—student achievement as well as billions of dollars ($72.6 billion in taxpayer dollars were spent in California in 2016 and $45.9 billion in Texas) the rhetoric surrounding the issue tends to obscure facts on the ground—by design. view article arw

Denis Smith worked for many years for the Ohio Department of Education. When he retired, he was employed in the office that oversees charter schools. He has written many articles about the scams and frauds that charter operators get away with in Ohio, as well as some that they don’t get away with. He wrote me recently to say that the five most common words in charterdom are: view article arw

City welcomes new charter high school

November 0108:25 AM
 

School officials on Tuesday officially welcomed the public to the city’s newest high school, the Mid-Valley Academy Charter High School-Brownsville, a community-based alternative education school at 944 E. Los Ebanos Blvd. The school prides itself on taking a family oriented, student-centered approach to academics, Superintendent Frances Berrones-Johnson said. Classes began in August. Tuesday was the grand opening and ribbon-cutting ceremony. view article arw

Laura Chapman, tireless researcher, did a cursory scan of the abundance of billionaire cash flowing into charter schools, enhanced by another $400 million from the U.S. Department of Education. There are literally dozens more foundations and organizations pouring money into the charter industry, such as Reed Hastings (Netflix), Eli Broad, Michael Bloomberg, John Arnold (ex-Enron), Michael Dell (computers), the Fisher Family (Old Navy, the Gap), and many more. view article arw

Tyler Classical Academy continues to grow, and a new high school is in the works to accommodate its climbing enrollment. The open-enrollment charter school, at 3405 E. Grande Blvd., has been in its current location for about two years, moving there after previously renting space from the Stepping Stone School. The new new high school is being built on the Grande Boulevard campus. It currently enrolls about 450 students in grades K through 10, and will add a new class next year. The first round of graduates will get to spend a year in the new $6 million, 37,000-square-foot high school after it opens in August. view article arw

Derek Black, a Law professor at the University of South Carolina, attended the Network for Public Education conference in Indianapolis and left convinced that the privatization movement is not going to survive. Read it all. It is an uplifting take on the future. He writes: view article arw

School started Oct. 1 at Blossoms Montessori School, located at 3700 Louetta Road, Spring, a representative said. view article arw

This article by Tom Ultican tells the sordid story of rich elites who have cynically decided to destroy public education in San Antonio.  They have cumulatively raised at least $200 million to attract charter operators to San Antonio, a figure which includes funding by the U.S. Department of Education and local plutocrats. The lead figure is a very wealthy woman named Victoria Rico, who sits on the boards of multiple charter chains. Rico and her friends have decided to re-engineer and privatize public education in San Antonio. Rico is working closely with Dan Patrick, the State’s lieutenant governor, who loves vouchers, hates public schools, and was the Rush Limbaugh of Texas before winning election to the State Senate. view article arw

Interesting article but I have lots of questions - js  This year, half the juniors at KIPP Renaissance High School in New Orleans are also freshmen at New York’s Bard College. They’re being taught by Bard faculty, all of whom have Ph.D.s, for free, on a Bard satellite campus set up on the high school’s top floors.  Unlike applicants to Bard’s traditional liberal arts college, interested KIPP sophomores don’t need to show a high grade point average or college entrance exam score. Instead, they participate in a college-style seminar where they can display their intellectual curiosity and motivation. view article arw

The superintendents of the region's two largest school districts called Tuesday for a “community conversation” about the impact of charter schools’ growth on traditional public school systems. They said recent losses of students to charters had hurt their enrollments and budgets to a degree that prompted both to seek a local government response.  In a meeting with the San Antonio Express-News Editorial Board, Northside Independent School District’s Brian Woods and North East ISD’s Brian Gottardy suggested city and county governments can and should take action to slow or control charter school expansion. view article arw

Carl Cohn is one of the most respected educators in California. He has been a teacher, principal, and superintendent. He led Long Beach, where he earned a reputation as a calm problem solver. I got to know him when he was superintendent in San Diego, and I was researching the first district to embrace and impose top-down Corporate Reform. After voters booted out the Reformers, Carl was brought in to restore calm and trust. When Carl Cohn speaks, I listen. In this article, he tells the public what is at stake in the contest for Superintendent of Public Instruction in California. view article arw

The French School of San Antonio, originally set to open this fall, delayed its start date because of challenges securing a facility.Co-founder Katia Edrenkina told the Rivard Report that she and her business partner, Estelle De Oliveira, had to “make a tough call” to not open the school this year when Northeast Baptist Church backed out of a leasing agreement before it was signed. view article arw

VIDOR — Tropical Storm Harvey flooded two Vidor ISD schools, and the fate of those campuses was unknown.  We are now learning that FEMA has said yes to Vidor ISD to build a new school to replace the heavily-damaged Oak Forest Elementary School.  The federal government will fund the majority of the cost to replace the elementary school. view article arw

Scott Maxwell of the Orlando Sentinel writes here about a voucher school that is a sham, but the state doesn’t care. Does anyone in Florida care about accountability for taxpayers’ money, or about the quality of education? I urge you to subscribe to the Orlando Sentinel to follow its fearless coverage. I did. And remember, when you read this story, that this is what Betsy DeVos describes as the “best” state because she wants everyone to follow Florida’s example of charters, vouchers, and no accountability for public dollars. view article arw