Friday, May 4, 2012

More on Eva Moskowitz Charter Scam by Jim Devor

Jim Devor delves further into how the SUNY Trustees handed Eva (and soon to come other charter chains) a gold mine. Or half the mine this time, the rest on layaway. The request for a 50% increase in management fees might have been a red herring to cover up the real intent: replication, which will allow charter chains with political pull to wipe out entire swaths of public schools. In the meantime, the UFT sits helpless, forced by an ideological straight jacket on charters into sitting by while Pacman charters eat the union and the public schools for lunch.

Following Jim is information posted by a group of active parents opposing Moskowitz in Williamsburg/Greenpoint from WAGPOPS.
I think you are quite correct that the merger issues raised at the SUNY Trustees meeting was the real "beast in the jungle" (Moskowitz No Longer Even Pretends it's About Children). 
 Along those lines, I have put together an op-ed addressing that issue. 
-- Jim Devor
While the attempt by Success Academy to increase its per capita management fees by fifty percent was (for the time being) foiled, Eva Moskowitz was typically ungracious in crediting the UFT for her (temporary?) setback.  In reality, her "reversal of fortune" was clearly attributable to the blistering Daily News article by Juan Gonzalez entitled, "Public Kept in Dark about Sweet Deals for Success Charter Network Schools":
Meanwhile, barely noticed by all (except for Lindsay Christ of NY1) was the approval by the SUNY Trustees, at the April 24th meeting, of the merger of five Harlem Success Academies.  Yet, when understood in its larger context, that decision was just the tip of a titanic iceberg.  Likewise, an even more disturbing aspect of the session was the strident advocacy by the Charter School Institute ("CSI")  of "replication" wherein "successful" Charter School operators will be allowed to create new schools with minimal administrative oversight over the application process.

But these are only components of a Master Plan.  The real horror is the overall policy laid out  in the CSI memorandum, dated March 12, 2012, entitled  "Merger and Consolidation of Existing Charter Schools" which can be found at:


As that document makes clear "replication" is NOT merely about   the "cloning" of particular Charter Schools.  Rather, CSI (and hence, SUNY) intends to facilitate, for example, the creation of "feeder school" networks  which will deliberately exclude children not "lucky" or "smart enough" to have been enrolled in one of the select Charter Schools at age five.  Moreover, those networks will not only be allowed - but actually encouraged - to create specialized programs/schools geared to segregating "problem" groups like ELLs, boys and most obviously, Special Ed children.

Meanwhile, extraordinarily complex structures will be created so that different Charter operators, for instance, can consolidate their "scholars" into off location high schools simultaneously operated by differently owned and distinct entities.  As a consequence, when fully operational, no one will then be able to figure out what "Education Corporation" is responsible for which classes.

All the while, each entity will be held "accountable" for itself and itself only. This, of course, is a guarantee of a series of clusterf*&ks of gargantuan proportions.

If you think I'm making this up, take a look at the first two items on the April 17th  CSI memorandum outlining its approval of the consolidation of two sets of charter secondary school programs into separate High Schools located in Community School Districts different from those housing their feeder schools:


If anyone can figure out what this means - especially in terms of the "accountability" of the respective high schools - I suggest you share with us whatever it is you have been smoking.

What this all boils down to is the creation of entire privatized school districts within public school districts.  It is this plan of "educational governance  parasites"  that is publicly endorsed by John White for New Orleans (and throughout Louisiana) and will soon be coming to a city a mere ninety miles from our shores (to wit, Philadelphia).

I have seen the future. It is a system free of pesky "politics". In a nutshell, it is for those who think Mayoral Control is too democratic.  Oh what a Brave New World!  

Jim Devor; President, CEC-15     Follow me on Twitter @JimDevor

The “EDUCATION REFORM” Movement Primer
Mayoral Control - The entire NYC School system is governed by the Mayor and the Panel for Educational Policy (PEP). The PEP is made up of 13 members, the majority 8 of whom are appointed by the Mayor. Those 8 PEP members have NEVER voted against a single initiative the Mayor has put on the table. There is NO democratic check on Mayoral Control. 

High Stakes Testing - Students are taking more tests than ever, with tests that last well over a week for grades 3-8 and more tests promised each year. The “high stakes” of these tests have pro- foundly altered the relationship between children and their teachers, and rewarded the narrowing of curriculum to “teach to the test.” The push for these tests is coming from policy makers, not educators, including Pearson, the for profit company with a $32 million dollar contract (for NY State alone) to administer tests, plus additional profits from packaged curriculums and textbooks. Pearson is being investigated for their illegal lobbying arm. Whenever you hear about “accountability” and “core standards,” these are code words for more and more profitable tests. NYC DOE is now talking about “account- ability” and “core standards” for PreK. 

Charter Schools are privately managed public schools. Any promise a charter school makes in their proposal is meaningless as there is no public oversight for five years until their charters are renewed. NYC has an abominable rate of closing under- performing charter schools (national average: 15%, NYC average: 4%). Charter schools repeatedly promise to enroll English Language Learners and children with special needs, but in our district, we have charters with 0% English Language Learners and not a single charter school having more than 10%. Our neighborhood public schools have as many as 28% English Language Learners. Charter schools do not enroll the same population as our public schools. 

Charter Management Organizations (CMOs) reap big benefits out of public funds for students enrolled in charter schools (Success Academy just applied for an unprecendented raise to charge 15% or $2000 for each child enrolled). These are public funds going into private hands, money that does not go into the classrooms. 

New Market Tax Credits (NMTC) Established in 2000 and available only to privately managed charter schools and not public schools, NMTCs guarantee an investor an average 5% annual return on a loan for 7 years that is above whatever interest rate the charter school pays. If the rate on the loan is only 3-4%, the investor is getting 8-9% annually on a very low risk loan (funded by your tax dollars) when comparable loans out in the market are paying about 2%. The investors in charter schools may have faith in their financial invest- ment, but they don’t put their children in these schools. 

Teach for America is an organization that provides 5 weeks training for college graduates to enter the teaching force. In spite of ALL evidence pointing to experienced teachers (teachers with five and more years of classroom experience) providing the most opportunities for learning in the classroom, the NYC DOE is looking for a cheaper and non-unionized teaching force to replace seasoned teachers. More than 50% of Teach for America graduates leave after two years and more than 80% leave after three years.

Come to the next WAGPOPS! meeting
Saturday, May 12 at 3pm
Ascension Hall (Church of the Ascension) 122 Java Street
between Manhattan Ave and Franklin St

Join WAGPOPS! Williamsburg and Greenpoint Parents: Our Public Schools! (646) 543-4492

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Won't they invite unions though?

From the SUNY charter guidance handbook:

Collective Bargaining Waiver
• Education Law § 2854(3)(b-1) provides that if a school’s enrollment at any point in its first two years exceeds 250 students, all employees of the school are deemed members of a separate bargaining unit of the same employee organization that represents similar employees of the school district in which the charter school is located. The SUNY Trustees can waive this mandate in up to ten schools that it authorizes. At the time of the publication of this Guidance Handbook, four waivers remain available.
• The granting of such waivers is extremely rare and should not be relied upon by the applicant. The proposal must state a compelling reason why the SUNY Trustees should grant the waiver. If the applicant is requesting the waiver, please note that the
SUNY Charter Schools Institute  Guidance Handbook for the January 2012 SUNY Request 15 for Proposals

waiver may not be given to the school until the school’s enrollment actually would exceed the 250 cap in the first or second year of operation. However, if the applicant requests the waiver and the proposal is approved with that request, the applicant will have the assurance in the charter agreement that the waiver will be granted if needed. Even if the applicant requests a waiver an alternative budget reflecting union-scale wages must be included in the event the waiver is not granted. Alternatively, a school design that would not exceed the collective bargaining threshold (complete with alternate budgets) may be provided.
• If a waiver is requested, the applicant will be required to provide a comparative financial analysis of the potential costs of the collective bargaining requirement. The Institute will request such an analysis if the proposal progresses in the review process.