Monday, November 29, 2010

DOE Warns Courtney Ross at Ross Gobal Charter: The Real Reformers are Coming, The Real Reformers are Coming

Courtney Sales Ross' Robocall Warning of Anti-Charter School Attendees at Meeting. Ross' charter school was tossed out of Tweed and many consider it in the running for one of the worst schools in NYC with countless principals and other problems. There are stories that Ross is a pal of Joel Klein's wife. He authorized the opening of the school and it has been protected despite the poor results.

Ross is the widow of deceased Time-Warner head Steve Ross, whose bio I read and was a fascinating figure (grew up around Newkirk Ave in Brooklyn- look what his inheritance has unleashed on the world.)

Read Lisa Donlan's account of the meeting as it scrolls over Ross' call to parents to come out. 

Here is the you tube link:

Also see at Norms Notes 

Council for District One On Ross Global Academy charter school DoE authorized charter renewal hearing 11/22/20120

Here is what Lisa wrote that is scrolling:
The unconscionably unfair and undemocratic manner in which last night's public hearing on the Ross Global Academy Charter School charter renewal was conducted, has left grave doubts about the integrity of the DoE's charter renewal process. We have material evidence and 5 eye witness accounts that demonstrate the hearing protocol was not respected and that RGACS commandeered the public hearing to turn it into a pep rally and spectacle, rather than the somber review of the school's merit and progress that a charter renewal hearing is intended to be.

The DoE hearing notice (below) made clear that speaker sign up was from 6:00- 6:30 pm, and the hearing would begin at 6:30pm.

 Yet the RGACS entrance was covered in signs that declared that the hearing doors opened at 4:30.

 Stationed at the entrance, RGA staff in "I Heart RGA" T-Shirts insisted that attendees sign in with them, and give over their personal contact information to RGACS staff.
 I refused to do so, stating that I would only sign in with the DoE as a speaker but the school principal harassed me until I signed in with RGACS.
 Thereafter, the RGACS staff began addressing me by name, and shadowing my movements, in an attempt to intimidate and dissuade me and other parents from participating in the public hearing.

 Most troubling was RGACS's bold act of overtly lining up their own speakers as early as 4:30 pm, such that by 5:30 pm there were more than 50 speakers, and by 5:45 there were well over 65 speakers in "line."

 RGACS staff also wrongly offered to collect written comments from speakers on their index cards. They told attendees that entering the auditorium would nullify their chance to speak, and that only lining up behind the 50 or so parents- to whom snacks, juice boxes and T-shirts had been provided- would allow an attendee an opportunity to speak.
 Furthermore, those of us who waited in the auditorium for DoE's arrival with the real sign up sheet were pushed aside by a gentleman from RGACS with a walkie talkie who blocked all access to the sign up sheet except for his group of 60 odd RGA supporters.

Attendees that arrived at hte hearing shortly before 6 pm were thus placed in the mid to high 60th place on the speaker list, due to this subversion of the sign up process by RGACS.

The DoE Charter School Office staff was duly informed of these antics and agreed they were unacceptable.
 However, the DoE employees refused to do anything to correct their own inability to manage the process, effectively handing over the hearing to the RGACS staff.

At that point 6 of the non RGACS parents and electeds who had come to testify deemed the hearing a farce, and we chose to leave, rather than participate in a tainted hearing.

It is interesting to note that the founder of RGACS, Ms. Courtney Sales Ross was allowed to speak first, and at length. while all other speakers were alloted 2 minutes apiece. Had we deemed to stay through the hearing, those of us with numbers in the high  60's would have had to wait another 2  1/2 hours or more, past 9 or 9:30 pm, in order to speak at a hearing we'd arrived at at 5:30 pm.
I attach here the testimony I would have delivered on behalf of the CEC for District One, and am counting on all those copied here to please ensure that it is registered and duly recorded.

 I look forward to hearing back from all of you exactly the remedies and consequences you will prescribe to ensure that a democratic and safe hearing for this and all charter sitings, revisions and renewals will be the rule, as called for by law.
Without your oversight and correction, the charter hearing process, and thus the results, are a mere sham.

Lisa Donlan
 CEC One

Lisa Donlan also has done some research:

Comparisons of RGACS performance as measured by NYS assessment with peer group schools


It has been widely documented that high needs students do not have access to  charter schools in the same proportions as public schools, especially special education and English Language Learners, so it is important to compare schools with similar demographics, as you will recall from our emails re: Girls Prep achievement/peer group/demographics.

Below I looked at a few schools picked randomly from the DoE progress report " peer group" that RGA is compared with.
Most have many more poor students, especially more "free lunch" eligible students, and none appeared to be clear matches in terms of the same ethnic mix, in my quick and dirty survey.

Please check my work- I just took quick averages, and there could be mistakes in my recording/calculations!
This is a job that could be done thoroughly in a few hours, though.


 32 students at RGA had IEPs ( of which 15 received only SETTS), so 32/190 or 17% of students had IEPs but  17/190 or  
9% = Special education students

Only  1 RGA student/190 classified as ELL= 0.5%

You'd need to compare w/ NYC and District One for benchmarks, for these groups,
ie: District One= 10% LEP in  2006-07

There is no RGA progress report to find comparable peers, but I am sure comparison w/ the schools repeated on the peer lists would show the same patterns below- DEMOGRAPHICS DO MATTER, and RGA is not out performing like schools, only schools with MUCH higher rates of poverty, ELL students and special education students.

NYC                                                             RGA                                               
51% reached levels 3 or 4 in ELA                  60% reached levels 3 or 4 in ELA             
65% reached levels 3 or 4 in Math                76% reached levels 3 or 4 in Math                                      


In 2007-08, only 5 RGA students, or less than  3%, were classified as LEP
while in District One for example 12% of students were LEP

32/268 RGA  students had IEPs, or 11%, but how many were just receiving SETTS?

 in  NYC 14.2% of students were Special Ed students in 2007-08

NYC                                                              RGA                                           Manhattan School for Children
58% reached levels 3 or 4 in ELA                  73% reached levels 3 or 4 in ELA       84% reached levels 3 or 4 in ELA  
75% reached levels 3 or 4 in Math                 83% reached levels 3 or 4 in ELA      88% reached levels 3 or 4 in ELA  

 PS 126 Jacob RIIS                                       PS 122 Mamie Fay                      PS/IS 217  Roosevelt Island
85% reached levels 3 or 4 in ELA                  79% reached levels 3 or 4 in ELA       67% reached levels 3 or 4 in ELA  
85% reached levels 3 or 4 in Math                 96% reached levels 3 or 4 in ELA      84% reached levels 3 or 4 in ELA  

In 2008-09, 40/399 RGA students had IEPs or 10%, 
and 10 students were classified as ELL’s or 2.5% 

District One 12% = ELL 
 In NYC 14.2% =  ELL

NYC                                                                      RGA                                            Manhattan School for Children
70% reached levels 3 or 4 in ELA                  73% reached levels 3 or 4 in ELA             86% reached levels 3 or 4 in ELA  
 82% reached levels 3 or 4 in Math                88% reached levels 3 or 4 in ELA             77% reached levels 3 or 4 in ELA  

Harbor Science/Art CS                                              Ballet Tech                                PS 184 Shuang Wen
73% reached levels 3 or 4 in ELA                  89% reached levels 3 or 4 in ELA             95% reached levels 3 or 4 in ELA  
 96% reached levels 3 or 4 in Math                99.6% reached levels 3 or 4 in ELA          100% reached levels 3 or 4 in ELA  

The same comparison could be done for 2009-10 when the NYS school report cards are made public.

Check out Norms Notes for a variety of articles of interest:

MORE SCANDALS at Norms Notes

Chess Queen Rooked City

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