Education historian Diane Ravitch, a former assistant secretary of education under the first President Bush, was once an advocate of school choice and charter schools. But Ravitch changed her mind after following the money trail behind the charter movement…
All posts tagged "charter schools"
The charter school movement in Ohio has to contend with a rash of failing schools in Columbus. Of the 17 that failed last year -- an unprecedented number, according to the Columbus Dispatch -- nine only managed to remain open for a few months before failing, leaving students scrambling to find a new school.
Since 1997, 29 percent of Ohio's charter schools have closed, the Dispatch reported. The median life of an Ohio charter school is four years.
A handful of large corporate charter school operators appear to be responsible for wide swaths of the problem. For example, The Talented Tenth Leadership Academy for Boys and the Talented Tenth Leadership Academy for Girls closed in October after inspectors at the schools discovered that students faced unsanitary conditions and poor management. Both schools were operated by the North Central Ohio Educational Service Center.
"Meals were not served at regular times and often were purchased at fast food restaurants," Richard Ross, Ohio's state school superintendent, noted in an announcement closing the schools. There are reports of several significant fights, thefts and property damage. ... They did not ensure the safety of the students, they did not adequately feed the students, they did not accurately track the students and they were not educating the students well. It is unacceptable and intolerable that a sponsor and school would do such a poor job. It is an educational travesty.”
The North Central Ohio Educational Service Center also sponsored 21 other community schools in Ohio. In 2013, the firm attempted to open 16 community schools, including six schools that failed to open or closed within a few weeks of opening. Four more NCOESC schools should never have opened, according to Ross, as they were closed or not renewed by other sponsors. At least four schools are suffering from fiscal problems.
Several of the firm's schools owe Ohio money for funding received based on inflated enrollment estimates, the release said.
Corruption at Pennsylvania’s largest cyber-charter school as founder charged with funneling $8 million into private account
For the last decade, cyber charter schools have been springing up all over the country. Cyber schools give classes over the Internet to students in grades K-12, who get their education entirely online instead of…
The nation's largest non-union teacher association on Thursday attacked a new bill in the Tennessee legislature for a provision that would prohibit the state's charter schools from hiring too many legal immigrants, in what at least one conservative group apparently views as part of its ongoing crusade against Muslims.
The bill, due to be voted on next week, is known as the Putting Tennessee First Act. It requires that all charter schools in the state disclose all sources of private and foreign funding, and specifies that the state may not approve schools that are staffed in excess of 3.5 percent by immigrant workers on H1B or J1 visa programs.
Speaking to Raw Story on Thursday, Gary Beckner, executive director of the Association of American Educators, lashed out at the bill as unnecessary and counterproductive, insisting that lawmakers focus on educational innovation over restrictions targeting immigrants.
"Any proposal to limit foreign-born workers is counterproductive to the mission of charters as a whole," he said. "Not only would this provision limit the field in terms of staffing but the reporting requirements of this bill are an unnecessary burden. We are at a crossroads in American education. We must focus our efforts on clearing the path for innovation and creating a system that works for students and teachers alike."
Similarly, the largest non-union teachers group in the state, the Professional Educators of Tennessee, also criticized the bill's limits on immigrants.
"I don't know how you measure that," Dr. J.C. Bowman, the group's executive director, told Raw Story. "That may be difficult, particularly if you're talking about schools in Hispanic communities. And you might even run into schools where teachers are coming from other places like China or Germany. German influence in east Tennessee is expanding as well... If they create a German language [charter] school, that may be a difficult issue to address. I wouldn't personally affix a percentage to [the bill]."
He added that other measures in the bill, like requiring schools to disclose all private contributions, foreign and domestic, is a positive proposal, but he lamented that the bill unfortunately seems to be "targeting particularly schools for Muslims or other Middle Easterners."
The bill is being promoted by The Tennessee Eagle Forum, a conservative group that bills itself as a "pro-family" leader. The group has in recent years crusaded against American Muslims in public life, and lobbied in 2011 for a bill that initially sought to label all followers of Islam as "terrorists."
That bill, called the Material Support to Designated Entities Act, would have classified followers of Islam as "terrorists" because some Muslims adhere to Sharia law, a system of religious edicts that, among other things, asks Muslims to commit to regular prayers, certain dietary habits and other religious practices.
Under fire from religious and civil liberties groups, lawmakers ultimately removed the most controversial controversial religious content from the bill. It passed in May of last year.
"It makes you wonder if there's something in the water in Tennessee, with all that's going on down there," Ibrahim Hooper, communications director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, told Raw Story. "The original anti-Sharia bill would have made it illegal to be a Muslim in Tennessee. Thank God that was ultimately changed."
Hooper also said that he believes the Putting Tennessee First Act "obviously targets Muslim charter schools, which I might add, do not even exist in Tennessee."
The Material Support bill's sponsors -- Rep. Judd Matheny (R) and Sen. Bill Ketron (R) -- are also behind the Putting Tennessee First Act, which similarly makes no reference to any religion but seemingly accomplishes the aim of keeping foreigners away from Tennessee children.
The Tennessee Eagle Forum, Rep. Matheny and Sen. Ketron did not respond to multiple requests for comment.
Photo: Ryan Rodrick Beiler, Shutterstock.com.
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