Monday, April 16, 2012

State Ed Dept Should Be Indicted With Believe's Unsteady Eddie

If a charter school leader were an ax murderer, the State Ed Dept would reauthorize with a slap on the wrist..... channeling my inner Bloomberg (comments on 3020a hearing officers).

What is wrong with this timeline?
  • 2004: Mr. Calderon-Melendez founded Williamsburg Charter High School and became the school's CEO.  
  • 2005:Mr. Calderon-Melendez failed to file taxes despite earning up to $500,000 a year in salary and consultant fees. After receiving a subpoena, he "produced false New York tax returns" for years 2005 through 2008.
  • 2009-10 school year. A state audit found more than $80,000 in overpayments to the network and hundreds of thousands of dollars in mishandled expenses.
  • 2010: The state approved Southside and Northside to join the newly created Believe High Schools Network, which Mr. Calderon-Melendez also headed. ---- Wall St. Journal

I just read the Wall St. Journal article on the indictment of Eddie Calderon-Melendez, who as Susan Ohanian put it:
This is the thug who sent me threatening e-mails after I asked this question. He was notorious for mistreating teachers .

Here's the New York Times opening paragraph:

When state investigators demanded last year to see personal tax returns filed by Eddie Calderon-Melendez, the founder and chief executive of a troubled network of charter high schools in Brooklyn, he produced them. One problem, according to the investigators, was that those state tax returns were falsified and had never been filed.
And here's the kicker: Almost all of the money to operate the three schools came from public financing.
So let me get this straight since I'm on my holding the press accountable kick. The WSJ -- and the NY Times and Gotham and the NY Post -- all write stories about Eddie but NOT ONE OF THEM THINKS TO RAISE THE ISSUE OF WHY THE STATE ALLOWED HIM TO OPEN 2 MORE SCHOOLS 2 YEARS AGO?

Read the WSJ Article in full.

And check out a load of comments (where we have fun with our fave ed deformer Ken Hirsh) at Gotham Schools. Investigation into charter school CEO ends with an indictment.

Here is an email from a teacher at Believe after I broke the $100 a head story that Jenny Medina at the NY Times picked up on (the photo was sent to me anon from someone in the school.)

I am a current teacher at a Believe school

Dear Ms. Ohanian,

Thank you for posting the story "Students at $100 a Head?" from the New York Times blog. I saw your note that the CEO of the school wrote threatening emails after you posted the story.

I am a current teacher at a Believe school, and a commenter on Ms. Medina's blog. I implore you to publish Melendez's comments, or to comment on Ms. Medina's blog. It may seem small or irrelevant to spend more time thinking about this single charter school, but I assure you that it matters to me, my fellow teachers, and most of all, to our students, that Melendez's misdeeds do not continue to go unnoticed.


Louise (not my real name)

See all comments posted at the CityRoom blog

One of the funny comments at the NY Times Cityroom Blog

What can I say about Williamsburg Charter High School that hasn’t already been said about Iraq?

It has been named the “Believe” Network. Who came up with this name? Belief in what? By whom? At best it is an arbitrary title rooted in the presumption that the students are inherently unable to perform. As a result, success is dependent on faith. This is yet another example of framing the problem as a deficiency in these poor black and brown kids and not the irresponsible adults entrusted with their development (achievement gap, anyone? How about addressing the administration gap?).

The school mascot is the Wolverines. Why? No one knows. No one cares. There aren’t even any wolverines in Brooklyn. The closest wolverine is in Canada. How about a relevant mascot? Let’s go Williamsburg Animal Shaped Rubberbands!

Ultimate charity fund-raising event: A roast of Eddie Calderon-Melendez. Charge $50 a plate and invite current and former employees (mostly former). We’ll make enough to cure cancer.

Williamsburg Charter High School has been unfairly compared to the mob in these comments. The mob has consistent leadership.

Believe Network Definitions:

Irony: The network offices have glass walls yet are the least transparent part of the organization.

Sadism: the tendency to derive pleasure from inflicting pain, suffering, or humiliation on other people’s children (e.g. mismanaging a charter school network).

Masochism: the tendency to derive pleasure from one’s own pain or humiliation (e.g. sending your children to your own mismanaged charter school network).

And how can I leave you without a pic of State Bd of Regent Head Merryl Tisch, my favorite candidate for being indicted one day.

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