In documents filed in court and with the state charter school office, Mack, vice chair Jennifer Winstel and consultants hired by the StudentFirst board say Handford overstaffed the school, put family members on the payroll, failed to pay bills and document expenses, arranged big raises for herself and Moss, and let the school fall into academic disarray.
“Once operations were underway, we met monthly and received glowing reports from the school’s leaders – reports that we would later discover were mischaracterizations at best and outright fabrications at worst,” Mack wrote in his Feb. 19 response to Medley.
The court case is shaping up to be a big hot mess, but there's no doubt the financial stability of the school is in jeopardy. And the way the Legislature has designed oversight for these entities, taxpayers have very little control over how their money is spent.
“We applaud Douglass Academy for giving all area students educational choices, options and opportunities they didn’t have before,” Paige Freeman, area field coordinator for Americans For Prosperity, told a small crowd. “Renovating and revitalizing this building is a gift to the downtown area…It is a true gift, especially to residents in the adjacent lower-income areas, and a true gift to the students.”
Unlike most charter schools, Douglass provides buses and lunches for the approximately 35 students enrolled there. Since charters do not receive state transportation or child nutrition funding, they are not required to offer either services. As guests toured the facility, the word “choice” echoed through the hallways.
Bolding mine. New Hanover County has some 40,000 children under the age of 18, meaning you would need over 1,000 "facilities" of this nature to accommodate all of them. Even just the 1st & 2nd Graders number in the thousands, so I really don't see how this 35 student school gives "all area students" an educational choice. But propaganda like that is what we've come to expect from AFP.
A new report on private schools in North Carolina finds that most of the schools available to voucher recipients are very small, unaccredited religious schools with uncertified teachers, nonstandard curricula and no public accountability. The report, “Characteristics of North Carolina Private Schools,” provides insights into the schools that may be accepting the vouchers.
The report was issued by the Children’s Law Clinic at Duke Law School, based on data from the North Carolina Division of Non-Public Education and an extensive phone survey of those schools.
It's extremely ironic that Republicans harp so much about public schools being "broken" and how they're tired of "throwing good money after bad", and then they turn around and throw money into a collection of schools that have such dubious qualities and shadowy characteristics there's no way to even assess them properly. Here are some numbers to ponder:
Last week, Gov. Pat McCrory and his fellow Republican legislative leaders announced that starting salaries for public school teachers will be raised when the General Assembly goes back into session in a few months. It’s an important boost for young teachers in the state’s public education system.
The cynics among us will say that McCrory’s and the GOP leaders’ move is all about politics. The naïve among us will say that it had nothing to do with the upcoming November elections. But those among us who want to see reforms and improvements to North Carolina’s public education system will say this move is one that has been needed for years in order to address an identified problem among young teachers.
Mixed metaphors aside, this is an issue Democrats may need to take a second look at. As a few folks mentioned on social media, this is actually a victory of sorts. Most of us can agree this move on the part of Republicans would not have happened were it not for the Moral Monday protests and the threat of teacher walkouts that followed. But like most GOP initiatives, the plan itself is seriously flawed and will leave a majority of teachers holding nothing. So, what do we do? If we reject it outright, we're also losing the opportunity to claim it as a victory. If we support it, we're giving both legitimacy and our tacit approval to a flawed and politically-motivated move by the GOP. What say you?
Submitted by scharrison on Sat, 02/15/2014 - 11:29am
Those who do not study history are doomed to repeat its mistakes:
The NC NAACP filed an Amicus Brief Wednesday in the lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of North Carolina’s new private-school voucher program. The brief gives a history of the role private-school vouchers have played in maintaining racially segregated schools in North Carolina.
This Report and the Pearsall Plan were adopted by the General Assembly in 1956. Governor Luther Hudges told the legislators at the opening of the session that “the people of North Carolina expect their General Assembly and their Governor to do everything legally possible to prevent their children from being forced to attend mixed schools against their wishes.” Governor’s Address to the General Assembly, July 23, 1956, 10 Senate Journal.
Regardless of the Republicans' stated motives in creating a dual school system, the end result is a separation of students and their learning potentials and the dilution of resources we as taxpayers set aside for the education of NC's children. And once these institutions are in place, the unfairness lingers:
Gov. Pat McCrory and other Republican leaders will propose Monday a higher minimum salary for North Carolina's least experienced public school teachers as part of a long-awaited proposal designed to improve morale and retention.
The plan, detailed in a document obtained by The Associated Press, would in part ensure all public school teachers make a base salary of at least $33,000 during the 2014-15 school year and at least $35,000 the following year.
Another attempt to divide teachers, by giving entry-level educators a raise while the more experienced ones lose tenure and have to sign short-term contracts. This is not leadership, it's divide and conquer politics. And considering these new teachers will be drawing a bigger paycheck for a few months running up to the election, it might just work.
N.C. Gov. Pat McCrory says North Carolina should pay its technology, math and science teachers more than some other educators. McCrory's remarks came during a brief appearance at the N.C. Technology Association's Outlook for IT event in Charlotte on Friday.
He told the capacity crowd at the Hilton Center City that North Carolina needs to improve the quality of education it provides in the areas of technology, math and science. To do that, he said the state should consider paying higher wages to teachers specializing in those fields.
Hopefully he was just doing what he always does, pander to the crowd in front of which he's standing. Because if he isn't, it proves he's a dunce that has no business setting education policy. No matter how much you pay your STEM teachers, if students don't have a solid grounding in language and reading comprehension, they will be unable to grasp and follow instruction in the technical categories. Education is one of those areas in which "the market" simply has no relevance, but I fear many Republicans don't have the ability to comprehend that.
As the nation’s largest online education company, K12, Inc. runs publicly-funded charter schools in 33 states, a robust business that accounts for 86 percent of the $848 million in revenue the company reported earnings to investors in its 2013 annual report. But with financial success has come criticism for lackluster student performance at several of its schools, including graduation rates of just 22 percent in Colorado and a Florida investigation that found a handful of teachers taught some classes they weren’t certified in.
Reports of poor performance have continued to plague the company, with the Lawrence, Kan. school district cancelling a contract with the company this month after the virtual high school posted a graduation rate of just 26 percent. The other two high schools in the district graduated more than 90 percent of its students.
But what K12 is lacking in capability and effectiveness is more than made up by their skills at manipulating the political process:
State Budget Director Art Pope has told state agencies he wants their 2014-15 spending proposals to be at least 2 percent less than what the General Assembly allocated for next year in the two-year budget approved in 2013. He says savings may go toward salary increases.
This has become standard procedure for Republican leaders in Congress; to make much-needed and often humanitarian spending contingent upon cuts elsewhere. It's a disgusting tactic, which actually serves two purposes: it pits government employees against each other, so they're less likely to be sympathetic to each others' needs, and it also allows the budget-cutter to distance himself from the responsibility for his actions. Or so he thinks. In reality, it sends a very clear message: he has nothing but contempt for all those affected.
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