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Department Of Education Wasted $1 Billion On Failed Charter Schools
”A new report issued by the Network for Public Education provides a detailed accounting of how charter schools have scammed the U.S. Department of Education’s Charter Schools Program (CSP) for up to $1 billion in wasted grant money that went to charters that never opened or opened for only brief periods of time before being shut down for mismanagement, poor performance, lack of enrollment, or fraud. The report also found many of the charters receiving grant awards that managed to stay open fall far short of the grant program’s avowed mission to create “high-quality” schools for disadvantaged students.”

County denies charter renewal petition for Foothill Leadership Academy
“The denial recommendation said FLA’s violations were extensive and ranged from multiple violations of a memorandum of understanding (MOU) between the county and the charter, it’s inability to meet academic benchmarks, and financial mismanagement. In a 30-minute statement, Scott Holbrook, a lawyer hired by the county to review the charter petition identified many of the points individually.

The denial recommendation said at least seven times FLA violated the terms of the MOU during its nearly five-years of operation. The MOU governs FLA’s relationship with the Tuolumne County Superintendent of Schools Office and the Tuolumne County Board of Education and outlines its academic, financial and operational obligations. Any single violation can result in a revocation of the school’s charter by the county board of education.

The county recorded two new MOU violations in March related to special education services and the discovery that 11 charter school employees were paid as independent contractors.”

SB 756 - The Charter Moratorium Bill
It is the intent of the Legislature in enacting this measure to establish a moratorium on new charter schools, to evaluate the effects of the moratorium, and to lift the charter school moratorium upon completion of the evaluation.

It is further the intent of the Legislature in enacting this measure to promote the value that the primary function of charter schools is to establish locally driven pedagogical innovation that supports California’s system of public education and does not replace or undermine it. Establishment of a charter school moratorium provides time to reconsider whether the current regulatory framework for charter schools is promoting this value.


Hear Us Roar: #RedForEd!
”California educators have a long history of standing up for their students, profession, communities and one another. Our movement has drawn tremendous strength from colleagues’ recent actions in West Virginia, Oklahoma, Kentucky, Arizona, Colorado, North Carolina and Washington…But what made (and is still making) #RedForEd in California so potent is a winning strategy based on bargaining for the common good: Giving students the public education they deserve, and educators the tools they need, benefit the entire community, not just our members.”

New Oversight Law Won’t Prevent Charter School Financial Difficulties
Gavin Newsom hailed a new charter school transparency law he signed. Why won’t the law prevent charters from failing?

"Bagley, in an email, said that RVCS, “when it presented its petition to the state, claimed they were ready to fly on their own.

“[RVCS] built their budget on the assumption they’d not be participating in local parcel taxes and in fact they even went so far as to tell the state they were looking to rent space outside of the district’s property. The reality is, their program has been chronically undersubscribed and they’ve had to admit out-of-district students to fill seats.”

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Gov. Newsom signs legislation requiring charter school transparency in California
Underscoring the high priority he has placed on the issue, Gov. Gavin Newsom has signed into law a bill approved by lawmakers at lightning speed that will require more transparency in charter school operations…The new law requires California’s 1,300-plus charter schools to follow the same laws governing open meetings, public records and conflicts of interest that apply to school districts. They include ensuring board meetings are open to the public, providing records to the public upon request and, to prevent personal gain, banning board members from voting on contracts in which they have a financial interest.

No end in sight for nationwide wave of teacher strikes
The state of play: The string of walkouts, introduced by West Virginia educators who led a 9-day strike in February of last year, shows no signs of slowing or stopping. Already this year, there have been strikes in Los Angeles, Denver, and Oakland that have resulted in school district concessions.

The big picture: This movement is evolving into something deeper than mere calls for school funding, teacher wages, and benefits. Demands for smaller class sizes, fewer annual standardized tests, and opposition to the expansion of private-school voucher programs and charter schools have become a rallying cry.

Keys teachers protest over public school funds diverted to charter and private schools
“We need the public to understand that funding is being taken away from our schools to fund private and charter schools. As a public school teacher, you should be upset about this,” Wendi Sullivan, who teaches fourth grade at Key Largo School, wrote in a “call to action” email to teachers late last month.

Charter schools are taxpayer-funded but run by private companies. Gov. Ron DeSantis’ proposed budget is full of incentives aimed at the expansion of charter schools in the state.

With a promise of more money and smaller classes, striking Oakland teachers return to school
Celebrating what they call a victory for educators and students, Oakland, California teachers will be back in class Monday after approving a contract to end a seven-day strike.

Yet their fight isn't over, they said. They will continue to call for more classroom money, an end to school closures in black and Latino communities, and a ban on charter schools, which the teachers union says divert millions from the school district.

CHARTER bill heads to Newsom
As teachers continued to strike in Oakland yesterday, lawmakers in Sacramento sent Newsom a bill that would subject charters to the same open meeting requirements and conflict-of-interest prohibitions that apply to traditional public schools. SB 126 flew through the Legislature after Newsom repeatedly said he wanted a charter transparency bill on his desk; he’ll get his wish while most 2019 bills are still awaiting a first hearing. Politico PRO’s MacKenzie Mays has the breakdown here.

Oakland school district boosts wage offer as teachers shut down board meeting
Talks have gotten a boost from elected officials stepping in to mediate, including Assemblyman Rob Bonta, D-Alameda, and Tony Thurmond, the state superintendent of public instruction.

Also Wednesday, the school board postponed a decision on whether to make nearly $22 million in cuts to the 2019-20 budget, including eliminating central office staff, foster youth case managers, restorative-justice program coordinators and school site security officers.

Oakland Teachers Strike for Better Lives
Meager pay. Crowded classrooms. A ratio of one counselor for every 600 students. The Oakland Education Association says these are just a few of the reasons that its 3,000 members, who have worked without a contract since 2017, are on strike for a third day…The union, meanwhile, blames charter schools for siphoning needed funds away from traditional public schools. According to the OUSD, 13,219 of the district’s 50,119 students attended charter schools during the 2017 to 2018 school year.

Success of Los Angeles Teachers Strike Rocks Charter Schools, and a Rich Supporter
“Carrying protest signs, thousands of teachers and their allies converged last month on the shimmering contemporary art museum in the heart of downtown Los Angeles. Clad in red, they denounced “billionaire privatizers” and the museum’s patron, Eli Broad. The march was a preview of the attacks the union would unleash during the teachers’ strike …”

Los Angeles Teachers’ Strike to End as Deal Is Reached
“…[T]he strike had provided an alternate narrative to the school choice movement that grew up around the idea that traditional public schools were factories of failure that needed to be broken up and rethought.

The deal includes caps on class sizes, and hiring full-time nurses for every school, as well as a librarian for every middle and high school in the district by the fall of 2020.”

Charter Schools Are Pushing Public Education to the Brink
”The costs imposed by charter schools are not only financially burdensome to local public schools; they’re also potentially calamitous to schoolchildren and families.

When charters are closed by the state, as often happens, or when charter operators decide to close on their own, which they have the flexibility to do, the students and their families at least have a public system they can fall back on. This is not something to take for granted.”

Charter Schools Are Not Public Schools
”Why do charter schools and their boosters insist on using the term "public"? Here's what Todd Ziebarth, senior vice president at the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools, told Emma Brown of the Washington Post as he argued that charters are public schools.

And it’s a term that matters, he said: Americans have high regard for the importance of public education, and private schools carry connotations of exclusivity that don’t apply to charters.”