The schools buy or lease nearly everything from companies owned by Mitchell. Their desks. Their computers. The training they provide to teachers. Most of the land and buildings. Unlike with traditional school districts, at Mitchell’s charter schools there’s no competitive bidding. No evidence of haggling over rent or contracts.
The schools have all hired the same for-profit management company to run their day-to-day operations. The company, Roger Bacon Academy, is owned by Mitchell. It functions as the schools’ administrative arm, taking the lead in hiring and firing school staff. It handles most of the bookkeeping. The treasurer of the nonprofit that controls the four schools is also the chief financial officer of Mitchell’s management company. The two organizations even share a bank account.
Mitchell’s management company was chosen by the schools’ nonprofit board, which Mitchell was on at the time — an arrangement that is illegal in many other states.
Yet another charter school chain under investigation.
The Ohio State Board of Education has ordered an investigation into 19 charter schools in the Horizons Science network after allegations surfaced of severe misconduct among school officials at one of the schools in Dayton, according to The Columbus Dispatch.
Four former teachers at the Horizon Science Academy Dayton High School leveled hefty accusations against their ex-employer at the state education board’s monthly meeting Tuesday. Among the allegations they made are:
The school broke standardized-testing protocol;
School administrators suspended two students for sexual misconduct on campus, but lied to the students’ parents about the reason for their suspension;
Officials didn’t punish Turkish students or teachers for bad behavior, even when a Turkish teacher referred to African-American students by racial slurs. The schools, which have a math and science focus, were founded and are managed by Turkish scientists.
The Columbus Dispatch article details other accusations and says this is not the only investigation Horizon Schools has been connected to recently:
Nothing like the “free market” to bring out the best in educational choices.
Seriously? They actually teach that? If slavery was so “good” that whites “envied” the “freedom” of enslaved blacks, why were there so many abolitionists, and why the hell didn’t more whites fight for the right to become slaves instead of freeing them? Oh and racism was “caused” by the very people who fought to end slavery, not the people who fought to justify it? This is some kind of really weird bizarreo world racist stupidity. “The 5,000 Year Leap” and “The Making of America,” shouldn’t be allowed anywhere near a public school history class, for any grade. Either that, or the teachers need to not use them as history textbooks and instead use them as an exercise in critical thinking skills and show their students how to spot nonsensical propaganda.
Elias Isquith has more,
Tea Party activists rally in front of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, June 19, 2013. (Credit: AP/J. Scott Applewhite)
The nonprofit Americans United for Separation of Church and State is calling out one of the oldest public charter schools in Arizona for using two books from crank and Glenn Beck favorite Cleon Skousen that promote racism and a Christian nationalist interpretation of American history, reports the Arizona Republic.
The school, Heritage Academy, is apparently using two of Skousen’s most popular books, “The 5,000 Year Leap” and “The Making of America,” in an attempt to educate its student body of the ways in which America was actually founded by hardcore Jerry Falwell-style Christian conservatives.
This is not the same thing as trying to indoctrinate children, however, claims Earl Taylor, the school’s founder and principal. “Our purpose is not to convert students to different religious views,” Taylor promised. “It is to show them that religion influenced what the Founders did.”
Worse still, some parts of the Skousen books being given to Heritage Academy’s students — and presented as textbooks, rather than historical documents — also depict American slavery in a racist and risibly sympathetic light.
Maine’s first virtual public school will get its curriculum, online learning platform, human resources services and, in some instances, teachers, from a multinational publishing and education services giant headquartered in London.
While Maine Connections Academy may be a first in Maine education, nearly half of the schools in the United States use at least one educational product created by Pearson PLC, the largest education company in the world, with a publishing arm that includes the Financial Times, The Economist magazine and a sizable share of Penguin Random House. Its education services include student curriculum, instructional management and financial software packages.
Pearson’s reach into Maine is now moving to a new level.
Maine’s public school teachers, administrators and school districts widely oppose the new virtual school. Much of the opposition is focused on how the school will be funded. Maine law requires school districts to finance the education of students in the district who choose charter schools, with the charter school getting both state and locally raised money from the school district on a per-pupil basis, usually totaling between $8,000 and $10,000 a student annually
Ochs said his company will charge fees for its services, such as its software platform, courses and support services, and those fees will amount to 55 percent of the total school expenses. In addition, the company will pay for other school expenses, such as teacher salaries, rent and state tests, and will then be reimbursed by Maine Connections Academy. Each student in the program gets a box that contains textbooks, science and art kits, physical education materials and a desktop computer.
School districts are angry that tax dollars will be going to an out-of-state company when the state has failed to adequately fund public schools in Maine, said Connie Brown, executive director of the Maine School Management Association, a nonprofit organization supported by school boards and superintendents. “These companies are going to take public dollars and make a profit on that. And they are going to give children a poor education. It seems like a lousy trade.”
By Jonny Scaramanga
When Joshua Bass, an engineer, sent his son to iSchool High, a Houston charter school, he was expecting a solid college preparation, including the chance to study some college courses before leaving high school. Instead, the Basses were shocked when their son came home from the taxpayer-funded school with apparently religiously motivated anti-science books.
One of these books blamed Darwin’s theory of evolution for the Holocaust
[Hitler] has written that the Aryan (German) race would be the leader in all human progress. To accomplish that goal, all “lower races” should either be enslaved or eliminated. Apparently the theory of evolution and its “survival of the fittest” philosophy had taken root in Hitler’s warped mind.
Tea party groups over the past few weeks have suddenly and successfully pressured Republican governors to reassess their support for a rare bipartisan initiative backed by President Obama to overhaul the nation’s public schools.
Activists have donned matching T-shirts and packed buses bound for state legislative hearing rooms in Harrisburg, Pa., grilled Georgia education officials at a local Republican Party breakfast and deluged Michigan lawmakers with phone calls urging opposition to the Common Core State Standards.
The burst of activity marks the newest front for the tea party movement, which has lacked a cohesive goal since it coalesced in 2010 in opposition to Obama’s health-care initiative.
The movement has a renewed sense of purpose and energy following revelations that many of its groups were improperly targeted by the Internal Revenue Service, and members consider dismantling what some deride as “Obamacore” their newest cause. Unlike the health-care fight, though, organizers say the Common Core battle is winnable and could be a potential watershed moment.
What’s wrong with local control? Too many school boards are run by zealots - it’s not just Evolution, Climate change, and science - there are also biblical historical revisionists like Barton, Beck, and Heritage.
To see good discussion of several great reasons to have a common core curricula and to avoid masses of home schoolers and charter schools please see the discussion below:
Alabama GOP leaders recently passed legislation giving millions to rich white families with families in charter schools under the disguise of helping poor students in public schools escape “failing” public schools. Read more and share your views at voices.yahoo.com
Among the AFP set, reforming public schools usually means converting them into non-union, privately-run charter schools. Nationally, AFP is a vocal proponent of charters and “school choice.” And at the Michigan citizens training, one of the featured speakers, Norm Hughes, a member of the North Oakland Tea Party Patriots, offered this take on charters:
Kids aren’t going to charter schools if they’re “A” students. They go to charter schools because they’re failing students and, by and large, the charter schools have a higher percentage of poor families, ethnically challenged families…
Ethnically challenged? Hughes did not explain what he meant, but you won’t find that take on charters anywhere in the AFP literature. (Listen here to the audio of Hughes’ comment, grabbed by Progress Michigan, a liberal advocacy group.)
Whatever Holmes’ view of charters, AFP’s agenda in Michigan is cause for concern for Michigan’s public schools and teachers unions. AFP played a central role in ramming through so-called right-to-work legislation for public- and private-sector workers in Michigan in December. Right-to-work legislation is central to AFP’s agenda, and its passage in Michigan, a cradle of organized labor, was a major victory for movement conservatives.
Who Is Fethullah Gülen? Muslim Preacher, Feared Turkish Intriguer and ‘Inspirer’ of the Largest Charter School Network
With the American economy in shambles, Europe imploding, and the Middle East in chaos, convincing Americans that they should pay attention to a Turkish preacher named Fethullah Gülen is an exceedingly hard sell. Many Americans have never heard of him, and if they have, he sounds like the least of their worries. According to his website, he is an “authoritative mainstream Turkish Muslim scholar, thinker, author, poet, opinion leader and educational activist who supports interfaith and intercultural dialogue, science, democracy and spirituality and opposes violence and turning religion into a political ideology.” The website adds that “by some estimates, several hundred educational organizations such as K-12 schools, universities, and language schools have been established around the world inspired by Fethullah Gülen.” The site notes, too, that Gülen was “the first Muslim scholar to publicly condemn the attacks of 9/11.” It also celebrates his modesty.
Yet there is a bit more to the story. Gülen is a powerful business figure in Turkey and—to put it mildly—a controversial one. He is also an increasingly influential businessman globally. There are somewhere between 3 million and 6 million Gülen followers—or, to use the term they prefer, people who are “inspired” by him. Sources vary widely in their estimates of the worth of the institutions “inspired” by Gülen, which exist in every populated continent, but those based on American court records have ranged from $20 billion to $50 billion. Most interesting, from the American point of view, is that Gülen lives in Pennsylvania, in the Poconos. He is, among other things, a major player in the world of American charter schools—though he claims to have no power over them; they’re just greatly inspired, he says.
Even if it were only for these reasons, you might want to know more about Gülen, especially because the few commentators who do write about him generally mischaracterize him, whether they call him a “radical Islamist” or a “liberal Muslim.” The truth is much more complicated—to the extent that anyone understands it.