I read so much school reform industry marketing malarkey now that I have a request for reformers. Read a book. Find a new word. I am bored silly with “our failed and failing public schools.” There are other words one can use to discredit and defame public schools. “Failing” isn’t your only option. If you must do this, and you must, because you’ll never get all those public schools properly privatized and profitable without “our failed and failing public schools” swallowed whole and repeated by dopes, switch it up a little. My suggestions are “deficient” or “unsuccessful.”
Speaking of deficient, let’s check in with the latest school reform scam which is how charter operators have manipulated state law to create new statewide appointed boards to authorize charters. Charter schools in Indiana were barely regulated under the old laws, but the operators found even that incredibly lax regulatory environment too burdensome, so they set up an appointed state board to rubber stamp whatever they feel like doing when they drop into a new market:
The legislation that created the Indiana Charter School Board two years ago received only one Democratic vote – from Rep. Mary Ann Sullivan, a self-proclaimed education reformer. That’s because school reform is about politics, not students. All of northeast Indiana’s GOP delegation voted to approve the state board, a poorly disguised end-run around the stricter standards now being used by Ball State University and the Indianapolis mayor’s office in their authorization reviews.
If charter schools don’t perform well, they will be closed, supporters of Indiana’s charter school law claimed. Well, not so much: ¬Meet the Indiana zombie schools. Try to shut them down for poor performance and they just keep going.
Gary’s Charter School of the Dunes is among the seven schools whose charters have been revoked by their authorizer, Ball State University. The charter school filed an appeal, with a hearing set for April 24, but the Times of Northwest Indiana reported last week that Calumet College of St. Joseph will take over as sponsor of the school.
Got that? Ball State acting as state regulator revoked the charter. So what does a charter operator do? He simply relies on the new state law he wrote and goes to a private entity for a new charter.
Meanwhile, Timothy L. Johnson Academy, a Fort Wayne charter also tapped for closing, has made a pitch to the East Allen County Schools board to grant a charter. Imagine Schools Inc., the for-profit company that runs two schools in Fort Wayne and two in Indianapolis, had three of its charters revoked. But the company now is “actively looking for another entity to grant it new charters.”
Imagine filed paperwork with the Indiana secretary of state’s office to establish an Imagine Academy for Boys Inc. and an Imagine Academy for Girls Inc., both at the current address of the Imagine Indiana Life Sciences Academy West in Indianapolis.
Charter School of the Dunes is another school that seems to be more about real estate than education. In spite of its faltering achievement record, the school somehow secured financing to build a new $13 million school, according to StateImpact Indiana’s Kyle Stokes.
Another Gary charter slated for closing, LEAD College Prep, got the go-ahead from a Lake County judge to lease a vacant Gary Community Schools building for $1 a year.
How do lawmakers justify ordering a public school district to lease a building to a competitor with a lower achievement record? It’s certainly not about accountability, but the reformers no longer talk about accountability – now it’s all about choice.
The charter supporters clearly saw that they weren’t going to be able to keep charters open and establish more under the terms of the original charter bill. The law granting independent colleges and a statewide charter board the authority to grant charters gives the zombie schools the breath of life, at taxpayers’ expense.
Bill Gates wrote an op ed recently where he was very upset about how his ideas on standardized testing and teacher evaluation were being misinterpreted by state lawmakers. The thing is, I no longer give a shit if his abstract intentions were good. Time to look at reality.