Sarah Lahm writes about education in the Twin Cities of Minneapolis. In this post, she says that Democratic candidates should speak out against nonprofit charters. Charter schools, once the darling of politicians on the right and left, have become a hot potato in the Democratic Party 2020 presidential primary with nearly every candidate voicing some level of disapproval of the industry. A common refrain among the candidates is to express opposition to “for-profit charter schools.” Charter school proponents counter these pronouncements by pointing to industry data indicating only 12 percent of charter schools are run by overtly profit-minded entities, and that most charter schools are overseen by outfits that have a nonprofit, tax-exempt status. view article arw

The problem with charter schools isn’t that they have been implemented badly.  Nor is it that some are for-profit and others are not.  The problem is the concept, itself.  Put simply: charter schools are a bad idea. They always were a bad idea. And it is high time we put an end to them. view article arw

It’s a treat to fly at the front of the plane, where seats are bigger and fares are roughly double the cost of a coach seat. But for the state’s most prolific charter school operator, first-class air travel is allowed. In addition, the company will pay for the travel of employee spouses, family members and “companions” of executives as well.  That’s just one of many illustrations of the different rules that apply to charter schools in Texas compared to public schools, where funding for even the most basic needs always seems in short supply. view article arw

Rhode Island has seen an 11% increase in the number of students applying to charter schools, with only enough spots for about 1,800 this school year. WPRI-TV reports that more than 10,300 students applied for the spring lottery, compared to more than 9,200 students who applied last year for just over 1,700 open slots. view article arw

Liberty Common School in Fort Collins is the first in the state to apply for a waiver to Colorado’s new sex ed law. view article arw

A major agreement aimed at setting stronger standards for charter schools stands to intensify power struggles for seats on the Board of Education in Los Angeles, setting the stage for more contentious and costly election battles between charter advocates and allies of the teachers union, a cross section of education leaders and experts said. Under a compromise announced last week by Gov. Gavin Newsom, local school boards will have more authority to reject new charter school petitions, making their decisions crucial to the growth of the charter sector. The proposed law, which still needs legislative approval, also requires charter school teachers to hold the same credentials as those in traditional schools and attempts to increase accountability for charters — moves touted as better serving students. view article arw

The doors of the newest Primrose School in The Woodlands area have been revolving the past few weeks with four to five families per day interested in visiting the facility for a tour. “Families have been waiting for us to open, and now they’re starting to come in and enroll their children,” School Director Grace Sarman said of the Hughes Landing accredited early childhood education center open to children from six weeks of age to four years old. view article arw

After months of debate and disagreements, the charter lobby and its critics have reached an agreement to reform the current charter law, the first time it has been reformed in 25 years. Both Governors Schwarzenegger and Brown protected the charter industry. Gavin Newsom took an active role in bringing the two sides together. view article arw

Old articel but current topic - js - Proclaiming May 6-12 National Charter Schools Week, President Trump led off a huge public relations campaign by the charter industry to ballyhoo the supposed success of these schools, although that success is a matter of bitter and ongoing dispute. But one outcome these mostly taxpayer-funded but privately-run schools certainly have is that they financially harm the public education system.  “The term ‘existential threat’ is way overused, but charters and vouchers really are a threat to the existence of public education,” Brad Miller tells me. Miller is a highly-rated practicing attorney and a former US House of Representative from North Carolina. While in office, he warned Congress of the risks of the subprime mortgage market in 2004, five years before that market melted and brought about the collapse of the housing loan and banking industry and the Great Recession. view article arw

KIPP New Orleans Schools will run John F. Kennedy High School next school year in the wake of a graduation scandal that left half the Gentilly charter high school’s senior class ineligible for diplomas and many frantically spending the summer trying to earn missing credits, the NOLA Public Schools district announced via email Thursday. “As a district team, we have engaged with students, families, alumni, and other stakeholders to hear their feedback on adopting a new operator for the historic Gentilly high school,” district Superintendent Henderson Lewis Jr. said in the announcement. “In light of recent events at John K. Kennedy High School, I made this decision expeditiously to ensure students knew their future with the school.” view article arw

At least two Waco Independent School District trustees have raised concerns about the school board’s pick for superintendent, including her ability to lead a district as diverse as Waco and her personal and professional ties to board president Angela Tekell. Board members Norman Manning and Stephanie Korteweg both told the Tribune-Herald they worry Susan Kincannon, the Belton ISD superintendent and lone finalist for the open Waco ISD superintendent position, does not have enough experience with a student population that looks like Waco ISD’s. view article arw

For years, traditional public school districts have come to Harrisburg concerned about the costs of charter and cybercharter education. Local property taxes continued to increase, but districts had little to show for it as they were sending that money directly to the charter schools. view article arw

MIDLAND, Texas – IDEA Public Schools has announced plans to expansion into the Permian Basin of Texas and that an educator who got her start in the Rio Grande Valley will head the project.  Bethany Solis has been named executive director of IDEA Permian Basin. A product of the Teach for America program, Solis first joined IDEA in 2005 as a second-grade teacher at IDEA Donna.  view article arw

Mike Feinberg, co-founder of KIPP in 1994, was swiftly fired in 2018 after two KIPP graduates accused him of sexual impropriety.  Now Feinberg is suing KIPP.  Valerie Strauss reports:  A founder of the KIPP charter school network who was fired in 2018 after being accused of sexual misconduct is suing the organization, saying the allegations were false and that his career and reputation have been destroyed by the actions of KIPP. view article arw

In a move to open more public charter schools in Alabama, lawmakers quadrupled the amount of money flowing to the state commission in charge of approving them.  Since 2017, the Alabama Public Charter School Commission has received $200,000 to fund the work of the commission, which functions as an independent state agency overseeing the approval and appeal process for charter schools view article arw

Repost!  The Texas Education Agency (“TEA”) has released its 2019 Academic Accountability Ratings for taxpayer funded schools. In this regard, ratings were assigned to both locally governed, community-based school districts and State approved, privately-operated charters that comprise the State’s “dual education” system (see “TXSchools.gov”). In total, 1,089 taxpayer funded entities received ratings from TEA: 1,020 community-based school districts and 169 State approved, privately-operated charters (“charters”). Charters are private organizations that the State unilaterally approves to operate schools in local communities with taxpayer funding. Originally authorized by the Texas Legislature in 1995, the State has provided privately-operated charters with over $20 billion of taxpayer funding to improve student learning in local communities. The “charter promise” was that in exchange for the State transferring the control of local schools to private organizations and allowing charters to be more autonomous with taxpayer funding, charters would produce better student outcomes. view article arw

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — State investigators have raided a vendor for an online Oklahoma charter school whose enrollment, funding and some of its leaders are at the center of an investigation.  Agents from the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation searched the home of a man who runs a nonprofit that works with Epic Charter Schools to provide coaching services for sports. The search warrant affidavit filed Wednesday raises new allegations of embezzlement, forgery and other violations against Epic co-founder and former superintendent David Chaney, chief financial officer Josh Brock, and two present and two former board members. view article arw

Texas: The IDEA Charter FlimFlam

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Betsy DeVos has awarded more than $200 million to the IDEA charter chain to expand in Texas and beyond. IDEA plans to swamp San Antonio, El Paso, and other cities.  IDEA promises that all students will graduate and go to college, but it doesn’t promise that all students will make it to senior year, or that they will make it in college (earlier studies by Ed Fuller, then at the University of Texas, now at Penn State, found that IDEA graduates had high dropout rates from college).  Read this study of IDEA to learn more. view article arw

San Antonio charter schools received grades from the Texas Education Agency on Thursday that evaluate the previous year’s performance and show whether district and campus performance grew, declined, or remained flat.  In most cases, local charter school districts improved year-over-year. However, five charter districts – including KIPP Texas and Great Hearts Texas, which last year operated a total of 10 campuses in San Antonio – received lower grades than in the previous year. Great Hearts Texas fell from an A to a B, while KIPP Texas got a B for the second year in a row. view article arw

On June 10, Azeema Khan and Mir Ali took ownership of The Goddard School of Keller, 8801 Ray White Road, Fort Worth. The year-round school offers child care services for children ages 6 weeks-8 years. 817-428-1093. www.goddardschool.com view article arw

Texas Virtual Academy at Hallsville (TVAH), an online public school program of the Hallsville Independent School District, will welcome back students for the 2019-2020 school year on August 19. TVAH is a tuition-free, public school at home option available to students statewide in grades 3-12. “We are excited to kick off another year of helping our students succeed,” said high school English teacher Stacy Head. “The online classroom lets our students find and be themselves, and our personalized approach to learning means I can provide them with the tools they need to grow.” view article arw

With 10,000 students and $90 million in state funding, the Georgia Cyber Academy should be running at full speed. Instead, it has been hit by legal problems, tech issues and communication problems, leaving parents fuming. view article arw

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — When two tech-savvy Oklahoma men launched their vision for an innovative charter school in 2011 that students could attend from home, the timing was perfect.  Republicans had just extended their majorities in the Legislature, taken control of every elected statewide office and installed a new state superintendent of public instruction who was eager to embrace new ideas.  Epic Charter Schools, which has no schoolhouse and serves pre-kindergarten through 12th grade students who attend online, has exploded in growth in the eight years since it launched and now boasts an enrollment that rivals the biggest districts in Oklahoma.  view article arw

Reed Hastings is the billionaire founder of Netflix. He is also one of the biggest funders of charters schools. Peter Greene found the phrase that explains Hastings’ philosophy of education: “Stars in every position.”   Hastings has had his hand in many charter pies, from backing outfits like Rocketship and KIPP, as well as serving on the board of California Charter Academy, a chain that collapsed mid-year, leaving 6,000 students high and dry to helping shape charter law in California. Hastings has also had a hand in the launch NewSchools Venture Fund, an investment group that backs ed tech and other edupreneurs. So we’re not talking fringe player here. view article arw

Defensive Charter School Advocates

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Charter schools are privatized arrangements imposed on society by the rich and their retinue. There is nothing public about charter schools. Nonprofit and for-profit charter schools lack most of the features of public schools and typically operate as deregulated businesses.  Calling a charter school public is mainly for the self-serving purpose of illegitimately funneling vast sums of public money from public schools to wealthy private interests who own-operate nonprofit and for-profit charter schools. Charter schools are essentially pay-the-rich schemes masquerading as “innovations” that “save public education” and “give parents choices.” view article arw

If you are a parent residing in an urban or suburban area of Texas, it is likely that you have received promotional materials recruiting your child to enroll at a privately operated, charter school (“charters”). Charters are taxpayer funded, private organizations that the State approves to independently operate schools in community-based school districts. Despite it being your students, schools, tax dollars and communities, the State has unilaterally decided that a “dual education system”, consisting of locally governed, community-based school districts and State approved, privately governed charters, is best for local communities. The State has also conveniently and unilaterally decided to share the public education funding of local communities with privately governed charters. view article arw

Oklahoma’s Epic Charter Schools seems to be as creative in fraud as Ohio’s ECOT Epic gave the State Superintendent $23,000 in campaign donations. The Education Department did not investigate Epic’s fraudulent practices.   view article arw

in 2017, the state of Texas passed a law encouraging school districts to “partner with charter schools as a way to create more high-quality, innovative schools,” writes Aliyya Swaby in the Texas Tribune. Still, the bill that was passed—Senate Bill 1882—did not mandate the use of charters; it did incentivize shifting management of underperforming schools to a partner organization in exchange for additional state funding. view article arw

A private dispute between Georgia’s largest public school and the corporation that serves it has boiled over into public view, alarming parents who wonder whether their kids will be affected when school starts Monday.  The legal disagreement between K12 Inc., a national, publicly traded company, and Georgia Cyber Academy, an online charter school, has even caused the state to issue an ultimatum: K12 has until noon Friday to turn over any student records that might have been seized.  view article arw

Epic’s Texas plan halted

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Epic Charter Schools’ expansion into Texas has been halted just a few weeks before the start of the new school year. On June 5, Epic announced it had a deal with iSchool Virtual Academy of Texas, a public charter school, to offer students there in grades 3-12 its blended learning model. iSchool Virtual Academy’s governing board approved the contract with Epic on June 14. view article arw

Tanaya Washington attended a KIPP Academy in South Bronx, N.Y. and is now an assistant principal at KIPP WAYS Academy in Atlanta. Three of Washington’s five children attend KIPP schools, and she was one of hundreds of KIPP alum who shared their experiences this week at the annual KIPP Summit as the charter school marks its 25th anniversary. view article arw

The Alabama Education Association (AEA) has filed a lawsuit through its members and affiliate in Washington County against Soner Tarim, a Texas-based man seeking to open a charter school in rural southwest Alabama.  Tarim is the CEO of Unity School Services and was the founder of Harmony Schools, a charter school network in Texas.   The lawsuit claims Tarim engaged in fraudulent conduct to conceal the extent of his involvement with the non-profit organization that is allegedly behind the creation of Woodland Prep, a charter school located in Washington County. view article arw

SALT LAKE CITY — More than $415,000 of funds within the State Charter School Board's budget will be set aside to cover state and federal special education funding owed to the state by the now-closed American International School of Utah under a proposal approved Thursday by the Utah State Board of Education.  Work is underway to find other funds to address the obligation, such as the sale proceeds of the school's buses, vans and other assets. view article arw

In 25 years, KIPP has grown from a program for fifth graders in Houston to a national network of charter schools, enrolling over 100,000 students in 20 states and Washington, D.C., including nearly 30,000 students in Texas. As more than 6,000 KIPP teachers and alumni gathered in Houston this week to mark its 25th anniversary, leaders with the charter school are planning more growth, including new campuses and a new focus on graduates.  view article arw

Despite growing popularity among Americans for school choice options, North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper vetoed a bill that would have increased enrollment at two virtual charter schools in the state.  The legislation Cooper vetoed would have authorized the State Board of Education to remove enrollment caps for the charter schools as part of its pilot program.  view article arw