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California: The Charter Law is Broken and Adversaries Don't Agree on How to Fix It; by Diane Ravitch

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'This is part 3 of the series about charter school dysfunction in Ca. It traces  the problems, especially lack of oversight, to state law. The billionaires who fund the rapid expansion of charter schools and wish  to eliminate the role of local school boards in authorizing charter schools and transfer that power to a single state charter board. BUT, school boards have been rendered toothless by the law, which allows charters to appeal their rejection at the local level to the county board. If the county board rejects them, they can appeal to the state board, which has been extremely friendly to charters. The Network for Public Education, which is not funded by teachers unions, believes that charters should be authorized ONLY by local school districts to meet their needs, not because an entrepreneur wants a school of his own or because a corporate chain sees a chance to grow.'

Read the rest of the story HERE:

At dianeravitch.net

 

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I began teaching in 1963,; Ba and BS in Education -Brooklyn College. I have the equivalent of 2 additional Master's, mainly in Literacy Studies and Graphic Design. I was the only seventh grade teacher of English from 1990 -1999 at East Side (more...)
 

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Here is part one of a powerful expose of California's "Wild West" charter industry -- first of 3 articles. This 1992 charter law allowed for charter schools to be authorized and overseen by hundreds of school districts. It also allowed for multiple appeals if schools were denied. California law also enables troubled charter operators to escape sanction or scrutiny by moving to school districts more willing to accept them. Clark & Jeanette Parker were charter operators who used all the choices to make millions.The Parkers have used this to their advantage, keeping one step ahead of the regulators." Financial records show the Parkers' schools have paid more than $800,000 annually to rent buildings they own. The charters have contracted out services to the Parkers' nonprofits and companies and paid Clark Parker generous consulting fees, all with taxpayer money, a Times investigation found.'Incredible

Submitted on Saturday, Mar 30, 2019 at 4:32:12 PM

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Susan Lee Schwartz

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and just look at New Jersey and this expose of the taxpayer millions spent on foundering charter schools.

Northjersey.com and USA Today New Jersey are posting a five-part series about how taxpayers are being taken for a ride by the charter industry. Part 2 is about the millions of state dollars spent to bailout a low-performing charter school.

"By 2010, four years after it opened, the Central Jersey Arts Charter School in Plainfield was in trouble.

"The state had just put it on probation for a host of deficiencies, ordering it to limit spending, develop a curriculum and address problems with its board and student achievement.

"Yet little more than three weeks later, a state agency voted to issue bonds that allowed a fledgling nonprofit called the Friends of Central Jersey Arts Charter School to borrow $8.2 million to buy and renovate a building for the school to rent and, one day, potentially own.

"It was a loan whose repayment was based on the tax dollars flowing to the public charter school.

"The Friends quickly ran out of cash, and about six months later approached a different state agency seeking millions of dollars in additional financing to finish the project without explaining why they had come up short. The next year, another $1.7 million in bonds were issued, this time with the federal government picking up most of the interest.

"While the Friends were permitted to borrow nearly $10 million, the school itself was floundering. A financial report covering the 2010-11 school year stated that Central Jersey Arts was "not in good financial condition" and raised "substantial doubt" about its survival.

"The building opened with fanfare as contractors went unpaid. The next year, the school was back on probation, where it stayed until the state shut it down in 2015 for weak finances and "dismal" academic performance but not before dumping more taxpayer cash into a now-defunct for-profit management company in the hope of turning it around.

"This is the story of a charter school that failed, and a building that used up millions in public dollars and continued to receive federal aid long after it was left vacant. It's a story about dubious decisions by multiple state agencies, one that raises questions about the use of public money and the oversight of private groups that own real estate for public charter schools."

The school "churned through teachers and business administrators at an alarming rate...At one point, a janitor was doing the books."

It became difficult to know whether to attribute the school's failure to fraud, theft, or incompetence.

Ultimately, the public money was lost and the education of hundreds of students was squandered.

In this brilliant article, the wisest comment came from a woman who had served as Board president for a time. She said, "You know, the bottom line is greed should not supersede education."

Submitted on Saturday, Mar 30, 2019 at 4:38:13 PM

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