Bloom Academy, a school by a New York City educator, wants to focus on underprivileged children and children who don't speak English as their first language. view article arw

A former student alleged that KIPP co-founder Mike Feinberg sexually assaulted her under the guise of a medical exam, and a former KIPP employee said he offered her money in exchange for sex, according to a court filing by the KIPP charter school network.  The filing offers new details on the sexual harassment and abuse allegations that led to Feinberg’s firing last year, a move that shocked many in the charter school movement. The motion, filed in November, asks for the dismissal of a defamation suit Feinberg filed against KIPP, the country’s largest nonprofit charter network. view article arw

Valerie Strauss on New NPE Report

December 1108:40 AM
 

Valerie Strauss reviews “Still Asleep at the Wheel” here. She begins: “More than 35 percent of charter schools funded by the federal Charter School Program (CSP) between 2006 and 2014 either never opened or were shut down, costing taxpayers more than half a billion dollars, according to a new report from an advocacy group that reviewed records of nearly 5,000 schools. view article arw

The Bob Hope School will receive $15 million in funding for expansions, repairs and a new high school, after the Jefferson County Commissioners Court on Tuesday gave County Judge Jeff Branick the authority to approve a tax-exempt financing agreement. The Hughen Center, parent company of the Port Arthur-based charter district, will borrow the money under the agreement, which is a “conduit issuance of debt,” Branick said. Under the agreement, a third party, the Newark Cultural Education Facilities Finance Corp., will borrow the money from the First Financial Bank and then give the funds to The Hughen Center. view article arw

The superintendent of the New Orleans’ all-charter school district recommended the closure of two charter schools that received a grade of F, but parents and students turned out at the Orleans Parish School Board meeting to demand that the board override his decision and keep their schools open. Students, parents and leaders of two Orleans Parish charter schools turned out by the dozens on Thursday night to protest Superintendent Henderson Lewis Jr.’s decision to pull the school’s charters, prompting the president of the Orleans Parish School Board to say he’s considering a board vote on overriding the decision. view article arw

Starlee Coleman, CEO of TCSA and John Armbrust, CEO and Founder of Austin Achieve Public Schools honored the Lt. Governor for his hard work and dedication to public school students in Texas by presenting him with the 2019 Charter Champion award. Lieutenant Governor Patrick is one of our greatest champions at the Texas Capitol.  view article arw

After families and staff from two F-rated charter schools with unknown fates packed an Orleans Parish School Board meeting Thursday to make emotional appeals to stay open, Orleans Parish School Board President John Brown Sr. promised to carefully review NOLA Public Schools’ Superintendent Henderson Lewis’ recommendation not to renew the schools’ charters. Mary D. Coghill Charter School and Joseph A. Craig Charter School each received an F rating from the state this fall in a critical high-stakes year for the charters — when their contracts are up for renewal. The NOLA Public Schools district requires charter schools to meet certain academic and operational standards to remain open. Lewis has recommended the two charters not be renewed.  view article arw

When Jenn Smith enrolled her daughter at BASIS Texas, a network of high-performing charter schools in San Antonio, she thought her curious fourth-grader would love it. But her daughter, Ella, was reading at a second-grade level and struggling on spelling tests. Smith asked BASIS to find out whether her daughter had a reading disability. view article arw

After years of trying to get her son extra help to deal with his short attention span, Britany Miller had high hopes at YES Prep, a popular network of charter schools in Houston that says it’s “redefining what’s possible in public education.”  She was drawn to the promise of charter schools, a small but rapidly growing segment of the public school system that market themselves as being more innovative and less bureaucratic than traditional public schools.  But when she met with school officials in 2017 to discuss her son’s attention deficit disorder, Miller said she was told a falsehood — that charter schools don’t have to offer special accommodations to students with learning disabilities. view article arw

An open call for partners to manage Longview ISD campuses as charter schools should be coming soon.  Craig Coleman, chief innovation officer for the district, said Longview ISD soon will be issuing an open call for partners to manage possible Senate Bill 1882 schools, because the partners will need to be in place when the application to the Texas Education Agency is filed by its due date of March 31.   A mandatory letter of intent for districts wishing to pursue partnerships to make campuses charter school was due to TEA on Friday. School board president Ginia Northcutt said Tuesday the district was planning to submit a letter before the deadline. view article arw

When Mr. Metcalf’s seventh-graders at Chandler Preparatory Academy drift off task, he calls out, “Students, what are we here to do?” They answer: “We are here to learn to love what is beautiful.”  A drilled call-and-response is a common technique at charter schools, but this one is unique to Great Hearts Academies, America’s seventh-largest charter school network, with 30 classical schools in Arizona and Texas serving 18,000 students. view article arw

While we are on the subject of the District of Columbia, here’s an interesting tidbit. Despite the drumbeat about “waiting lists,” charter enrollment declined, and enrollment in public schools increased.  The numbers are not large but they seem to reflect a trend. Charter enrollment also declined in Michigan, DeVos’s domain.  Maybe parents are getting tired of schools that open and close like day lilies. There is something to be said for stability and experience. view article arw

A charter school organization is challenging an Oklahoma City Public Schools plan to collect hundreds of thousands of dollars more in charter fees. Families for Excellence in Education Inc. is seeking to block the school district’s plan to raise administrative fees on charter schools from 3% to 5% of their annual state allocation. view article arw

It looks kind of like a design lab for the latest tech company, but the robotics classroom is where young minds are encouraged to design, build, and program machinery.  "I'm thinking surgical engineering, creating robots to help with surgeries." said freshman Kaelen House. view article arw

The change would provide, innovative teaching techniques, International Baccalaureate training, advancements in Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics (STEAM) education as well as career technology education programs.   In an attempt to get feedback, the district held multiple town hall meetings where some teachers, parents and students expressed concern about the charter-based programs. Other concerns include how the programs would be implemented. view article arw

DC Prep CEO Laura Maestas and her colleagues had a lot of explaining to do. More than a dozen Ward 8 residents showed up to the DC Public Charter School Board’s Monday meeting irate. They carried signs that read “#NoDCPreponFrankford!” DC Prep is trying to open a middle school for 4th to 8th graders in Ward 8, likely at 1619 Frankford St. SE, and has enraged nearby residents in the process. The conflict pitted educators against homeowners, charter school heads against its board, and Ward 8 residents against Ward 8 residents. It’s the latest example of how the District’s lack of comprehensive planning for where to build new schools can create disarray.  view article arw

Carol Burris, a veteran educator and now executive director of the Network for Public Education, has conducted extensive research into the federal Charter Schools Program (CSP), which resulted in a report called Asleep at the Wheel. That report documented the waste of about $1 billion in federal funds spent on charters that either never opened or that opened and then closed in short order. At the time the CSP was created by the Clinton administration, there were fewer than 100 charters; the new program was supposed to help start-up charters. However, since Betsy DeVos became Secretary of Education, she has used the CSP as her personal slush fund, lavishing million on established corporate charter chains–especially IDEA and KIPP. view article arw

A recently fired Alabama charter school president is accusing the academy of breaching her contract, supporting a culture of nepotism and discriminating against students with special needs. Former LEAD Academy principal Nicole Ivey is suing Montgomery's first charter, alleging that among a dozen complaints, the school tries to discourage special needs students' enrollment in order to boost revenue and academic achievement. view article arw

Longview ISD trustees will host the final planned town hall meeting on districtwide charter plans at 6 p.m. Tuesday at the Education Support Center, 1301 E. Young St. The district has hosted the meetings to clarify plans on possibly applying to make all its schools charter campuses under Senate Bill 1882.  The bill, passed by the Legislature in 2017, allows public school districts to partner with an outside entity to run campuses. view article arw

Yes Prep Public Schools is adding something new to its curriculum — two elementary schools. view article arw

In her education plan, Elizabeth Warren proposed eliminating the federal Charter Schools Program. This program was started in 1994 to help jumpstart new charter schools at a time when there were fewer than 100 charter schools in the nation. Now there are 7,000. view article arw

YES Prep Public School's third annual Leading Houston Forward Luncheon isn't a frills and thrills kind of event. There's very little air kissing, gushing over corporate sponsors or self-congratulatory remarks.  In many ways, the gathering is all-business. And that's a good thing. view article arw

It’s 7:35 on a September morning, and a DJ is pumping dance music into the thick, humid air. Parents and children, some teenagers and others as young as 4 or 5, emerge from cars that are whisked away by valets. Like celebrities on a red carpet, the families walk through a throng of applauding staff and teachers and pass under an arch of balloons at the door to Washington’s newest private school. view article arw

WASHINGTON — Today, U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos announced a new initiative to promote the creation and expansion of high-quality public charter schools in Opportunity Zones across the United States.  Currently, more than 70% of Opportunity Zones do not have a public charter school option available to students. One-fifth of Opportunity Zone residents lack a high school diploma. By creating and expanding high-quality public charter schools in Opportunity Zones, more families living in economically distressed communities will have access to additional education options that might better meet their child's needs. view article arw

California is paying a high price for its notoriously lax law for authorizing charter schools, which was revised in recent weeks. Tom Ultican sees a striking similarity between the Inspire charter chain, which enrolls home schoolers, and the A3 chain, which went up in flames with a loss to taxpayers of at least $50 million. view article arw

Soner Tarim: Live And In Person.

October 1408:40 AM
 

It was Monday, September 30 and right there is front of me, only 25 feet away, stood Soner Tarim, the wizard  of charter schools, all the way from Houston, TX (even thought he said in the meeting he lives in Montgomery).  It was the most recent meeting of the state charter school commission and Tarim was there to first tell the world how wonderful things are at LEAD Academy charter in Montgomery; and then give a progress report on the effort to put Woodland Prep in Washington County.  It was the first time I’d ever seen him in person.  He dodged question after question for at least an hour, apparently suffering from some malady that prevents a person from giving a direct answer to even the most basic of questions.  For instance, when commission member Jamie Ison asked if he lived in Montgomery. he told her he does, which every person in the room knew was untrue.  In fact, the next day LEAD board chair Charlotte Meadows went on a Montgomery talk radio show and said that he lives in Houston.  As this dog and pony show droned on, I suddenly realized I had seen this movie before. view article arw

After three of four planned town hall-style meetings about converting the rest of Longview ISD’s campuses to a private charter school system, two things have become clear: Longview ISD has learned parents and others still have confusion and concerns about the idea, and patrons have learned there are still questions the district can’t answer. view article arw

A statewide group of county superintendents has requested a sweeping state audit to investigate potential fraud by the Inspire home charter school network. The superintendents say they have reason to believe Inspire engaged in fiscal malfeasance, conflicts of interest, manipulation of enrollment and revenue and other improper activity. “The concerns regarding Inspire are pervasive across the state, and require immediate attention to prevent further waste of public education dollars and profiting off state apportionment not used to provide a complete and quality education to the students enrolled in the school,” six county superintendents wrote in a letter last week to the Fiscal Crisis Management and Assistance Team, or FCMAT, the state agency that audits schools for fraud. view article arw

Doral Academy Texas, a public charter school modeled after the Florida-based network Doral Academy Inc., plans to open a school in the Sunfield subdivision of Buda for the 2021-22 school year, though the company is waiting for approval from the Texas Education Agency and does not have an exact location yet. view article arw

IDEA Public Schools plans to improve educational quality in the scientific and technical fields across its campuses through federal funds. The U.S. Department of Education awarded $2.6 million grant to IDEA Public Schools through the Education Innovation and Research program. The U.S. Department of Education announced about $123 million awarded to 41 school districts nationwide, with IDEA Public Schools being one of two entities in Texas to receive the grant, according to a news release. These funds will be used for the Mathways to STEM Success, which promotes science, technology, engineering and math to serve over 43,000 high-need students in grades 6-12 by the end of the five-year grant period, according to the news release. view article arw

Parents and community members attending the largest-yet Longview ISD town hall about a districtwide charter proposal wanted to know Tuesday why the district is even pursuing the charter schools. About 35 people gathered Tuesday at Judson STEAM Academy for the third of four planned meetings to ask questions or voice concerns about the possible move. view article arw

Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza's proposal to expand a charter network to 3,000 students is close to becoming a reality. The Board of Directors for Achievement First charter network voted Monday to add a K-8 school, which would add 1,000 more students. view article arw

The Charter Industry has insisted that charter schools need no regulation, supervision, or oversight so they can have maximum flexibility. But where government money flows, accountability is imperative. The importance of accountability was demonstrated again recently in Dallas, where the CEO of a charter school was convicted of steering a contract to a friend in exchange for a kickback. Donna Houston-Woods, CEO of Nova Academy charter school, was convicted of all four counts against her: three counts of wire fraud and one count of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud. view article arw

Compass Academy Charter School is poised to start construction on the second phase of its building at 5530 Billy Hext Road. The 59,000-square-foot addition will house boys and girls physical education, an athletics section and fine arts with band, orchestra and choir. A commons lunch area, partially indoors and partially outdoors, will be another feature. view article arw

On Thursday, Oct. 24 the Bob Hope Charter school in Beaumont will host an event titled “Boots and BBQ,” to highlight Bob Hope Schools, connect with the community and honor Beaumont Mayor Becky Ames. The charter school, which also has a campus in Port Arthur expanded to Beaumont in 2016. view article arw