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

Inspire Charter Schools does not inspire confidence in its academics, its finances, or its integrity. Inspire makes money by getting state money to underwrite home schooling, with state-subsidized field trips and lots of folderol. Things got so bad that the Inspire chain was kicked out by the California Charter Schools Association, the powerhouse lobbyists for the charter industry. There is just so much embarrassment that the CCSA can tolerate and this is one of those rare occasions. In the past, CCSA has defended criminal charter operators, but drew the line at Inspire and called for an independent audit of its financials. view article arw

William J. Gumbert has been writing a series of articles about charter schools in Texas, which are undermining the state’s underfunded public schools and do not perform any better than public schools. Texas Charter Schools – Perception May Not Be Reality view article arw

Rio Grande Valley, Texas – IDEA Public Schools is excited to announce that, in addition to 100 percent of the Class of 2019 gaining admission to college, as of today, 100 percent of graduates have matriculated to college. Since 2007, IDEA has achieved a nearly perfect college matriculation rate as it pursues its unwavering commitment of College For All Children, ensuring graduates are prepared to succeed in college, career, and life.  The network has maintained these extraordinary results as it has grown to serve more than 53,000 students, across 96 schools in Texas and Louisiana, since 2000—more than any other charter school network during this time period. view article arw

Most parents have taught the lesson of morality to their children by referencing the “Golden Rule”: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”. However, within the walls of the Texas Legislature a “Demoralizing Rule” is more applicable: “Do unto others as private donors and special interests want you to do”. This is certainly the case with the State’s public education policies that provide “privately-operated charters” (“charters”) with taxpayer funding to operate separate schools in local communities. As a result, the State is unilaterally forcing local taxpayers to fund 2 separate public education systems – a system of locally governed, community-based school districts and a system of State approved, privately-operated charters. view article arw

Nearly 10 county school boards in Florida recently took collective action to pursue a case against privately-operated-owned charter schools in the Florida Supreme Court.  These public school systems that serve tens of thousands of students oppose the dreaded HB 7069 legislation, which the neoliberal governor of Florida, Rick Scott, signed into law in 2017. view article arw

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf (D) has been making charter-school supporters in his state mighty unhappy. The charter sector in Pennsylvania has long been beset by fraud and a lack of transparency and accountability. In fact, in 2016, the state’s auditor general called the state charter law the “worst” in the nation. view article arw

Anew federal report released Wednesday offers crucial statistics about one of the most fiercely debated topics in education: school choice. Politicians and advocates have called for moratoriums on creating new charter schools, and they were raised as one of the first K-12 topics in the Democratic debates — even if most of the candidates avoided the issue. The report, from the National Center for Education Statistics, offered hard numbers on choice. It studied changes in enrollment in traditional public schools, charters and private schools, as well as homeschooling trends, including information on achievement and parental choice and satisfaction, over the past two decades. view article arw

Steven Miller of the Texas Monitor reports on the perks for charter executives in Texas. If you are a charter bigwig or spouse, you can fly first class, a privilege not available to public school employees. Charter executives are exempt from the rules that apply to public schools. Yet they deign to call themselves “public schools” without surrendering their perks. view article arw

Longview ISD held a meeting Monday to discuss a possible transition into district-wide charter classes. Senate Bill 1882 allows districts to have non-profit charter schools take over public school campuses. Some members on the Longview ISD school board believe the change could have a benefit for students and add more funding from the state. view article arw

Every fall, we are treated to a wave of feel-good back-to-school media coverage. Now there’s a new fall tradition—puff pieces about new charter schools.  Whether the charter is opening in Holyoke or Buffalo, Costa Mesa or Tulsa, Moultrie or Philadelphia, or all over North Carolina, these stories seem like marketing coups for the PR departments of their respective charter schools.   The pieces often begin with a picture of happy students and parents. They may tell the story of the charter’s “struggle” to get its doors open, and generally include plenty of material from interviews with key charter leaders.  view article arw

Mississippi’s first rural charter school was founded to promote a college-bound mindset and address historically “abysmal educational outcomes” for area students, according to The Hechinger Report. view article arw