Monday, December 6, 2010

Ross Global Charter to be Closed Along with 11 Public Schools

Here is the list announced today with more to come tomorrow. Beach Channel knew it was a fait accompli.

Ed Notes had a detailed report on Ross Global Charter which is such a bad school it couldn't be protected due to the relationship between Courtney Ross and Joel Klein's wife - maybe the real reason he is leaving - so he doesn't have to face his wife and Courtney.  


Story at Gotham Schools.

Here is the background with some an interesting robocall from Ross to the parents when the DOE tipped hre off that some activists (Lisa Donlan) might attend a meeting so Ross packed it.

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

More on Ross Global at Norms Notes - and check comments too for a laugh.

Expect another expensive legal battle over this one; clearly Ross can finance it.

Not sure where the WSJ got the facts for this article but CEC 1 came across very different evidence in our searches of DoE and SED accountability documents.

The statements below are all culled directly from DoE/SED official reports, including annual Quality Review reports, Progress Reports, Charter School annual reports, Site visit reports, financial statements, etc

School Instability: high turnover/ low demand

High turnover of leadership:
Since opening in 2006, Ross Global Academy Charter School has had 7 principals in just 5 years, losing 4 in the first year alone.
The first three left before the school was 6months old:

First year Principal/Salary/length of stay

FM/60 days/$53,704
JD/47 days/$24,923 (left before school started)

These changes were NOT communicated clearly to parents, creating confusion and uncertainty among the families that had chosen RGACS.

High teacher turnover:
2006-07=  92%, or 13/14 left

2007-08 = 75%, or 18/24 left

2008-09 = 42%, or14/33 left

During RGACS’s first year (2006-07), teachers reported chaotic working conditions; many quit/were fired in the middle of the year (8 before the middle of the year) and only 1/14 returned in 2007-08.

During the school’s second year, there were documented reports from staff of fear of retribution and exclusion from secret meetings; other complaints ranged from  inconsistent instruction, to lack of data/benchmarks/measures of accountability; from there being  no plan aligning RGA curriculum to NYS standards, to the failure to monitor that curriculum was progressively developing through the grades.

Comparing RGACS with national teacher attrition rates, we see that the RGA rates
 are unacceptably high, indicating serious administrative issues.

Leaving profession, including retirement
Regular public schools: 7.9 percent
Charter schools: 12.5%

Moving (switching schools):
Regular public schools: 7.5%
Charter schools: 11.4%

High student attrition:
 According to the Department of Education, by February 2010, the middle of the 2009-10 school year, some 91 of the 410 students enrolled at Ross Global had left, at a rate of more than 22%.
 (Note- total enrollment was reported as 420 on 1/12/10 by Forbes).

 In 2009-10 more than 100 students transferred out from a total enrollment of 415 students (24%)
 In 2008-2009, the self reported attrition rate = 20.1% (80/399 students left).
In 2007-08 = 24% (64/268 students left)
And 2006-07= 20.5% (39/190 students left). 

Parents cited as reasons for pulling their kids out of RGA: violence/disorder/ curriculum too test focused, and not as elaborate as described in brochures/Summer school cancelled.

Not only it is important to note that these students attrition rate numbers are higher than average attrition rates for other schools, but we must keep in mind the documented positive correlation of student performance and attrition. 
The more a school counsels out  troubled or hard to reach students, students with high needs, English language learners, etc, the more likely the school is to show high performance.

Yet if we look at the attached  analysis of RGA's  performance on the ELA/Math tests  for the past 2 years as compared with the DoE peer schools that most closely matching RGA's demographics, we see that schools with similar demographics largely out performed RGA every year.

Lisa Donlan

High-Profile Charter Becomes Non-Starter


A prominent charter school made the list of underperforming schools that the Department of Education plans to close, and the school said it intends to fight for its survival.
The Ross Global Academy Charter School on the Lower East Side was founded in 2006 by Courtney Sale Ross, the widow of Steven J. Ross, former chief executive of Time Warner.
The school's test scores for 2009 show it's one of the city's three worst-performing charter schools. Only about 30% of its students were proficient in math or English. It has had four principals in five years, and 77% of its teachers and 25% of its students left last year.
In an interview before the DOE's decision, Ms. Ross, 62 years old, said last year's test scores were an aberration and that some of the contributing factors were beyond the school's control. "This was a start-up riddled with turbulence," she said, pointing to the DOE's decisions to relocate the school three times. She added that the school had already begun a process of turnaround with a new principal.
On Monday, the DOE dismissed Ms. Ross's version of the school's tenure. "This was not a one-year problem," the agency said in a statement. "The school has received four notices of concern or deficiency over the past five years. In our review this year, we did not see evidence that these concerns were addressed or that there was a plan in place to address them."
It will now be up to the Board of Regents at the New York State Education Department, which can agree with or oppose New York City's recommendation.
There are nearly 100 charter schools in New York City, and more than 1,500 traditional public schools. While the DOE has shut down dozens of schools in the past several years, it has only closed one charter school. It has given six charter schools less than the maximum five-year renewal terms in the past two years because of poor performance.
"Normally, they don't close a school in this fashion," said Kevin Quinn, a partner at Whiteman Osterman & Hanna and Ross's attorney. He said the DOE has failed to follow its own process in the case of Ross by not giving the school an opportunity to comment on the DOE's recommendation before announcing publicly its intention to recommend that the school be closed. He said he's unaware of the four notices of deficiencies that the DOE claims, but that there was only one notice, and the school successfully challenged it.
"I'm concerned this decision may have been made before they even started the process," said Stephanie Wilson, a Ross board member and parent of a student. She said the school has a strong plan in place for its turnaround. Two weeks ago, Ross held a meeting in which more than 100 parents, teachers and students touted their school to the DOE officials.
Write to Barbara Martinez at

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