And what if the thing you are lying about hurts the future of children.
One of the issues surrounding the Chicago Teacher’s strike is Mayor Emanuel Rahm’s plan to turn a number of public schools over to charter school management companies.
Governor Malloy’s administration is engaged in a similar strategy here.
In August, as part of his “turnaround” strategy, Commissioner of Education, Stefan Pryor, proposed a plan to hand over the Milner School, which is part of the Hartford Public School System, to Jumoke Academy, a charter school.
The Connecticut State Board of Education approved a plan. Their rational was that, since the Jumoke Academy gets better test scores on the Connecticut Mastery Test, they would do a better job than the Hartford School System has been doing. The “new” school is now being referred to as Jumoke Academy at the Milner School.
The proposal that Commissioner Pryor and the State Board of Education used as the basis for their plan began with the following statement;
“As evidenced by several years of student performance data, Milner Elementary School is one of the lowest performing elementary schools in Hartford and Connecticut. HPS [Hartford Public Schools] proposes to partner with Jumoke Academy, beginning with the upcoming 2012-13 academic year, to replicate systematically at Milner Elementary the comprehensive education strategy developed and implemented successfully at Jumoke Academy…”
The document went on to say, “Jumoke’s comprehensive approach has proven remarkably successful in educating PK-Grade 8 students whose circumstances closely mirror those of the children who currently attend Milner.”
So the Commissioner of Education, the State Board of Education and the superintendent of schools in Hartford are handing the Milner School over to the Jumoke Academy because, they say, Jumoke is succeeding with students “whose circumstances closely mirror those of the children who currently attend Milner” but Jumoke’s education style is working where Milner’s is not.
That statement is an outright lie.
The student body at Jumoke and Milner DO NOT “closely mirror” each other, and there is no indication that Jumoke is prepared or capable of transferring its “education philosophy” to school whose student body is very different.
The Commissioner and every one of those Board members know that the three factors that influence test scores the most are poverty, language barriers and the number of students who have disabilities that require special education services.
When it comes to Jumoke’s takeover of the Milner School, the most disturbing thing of all is that the negative impact will fall most heavily on Hispanic students and those who need special education services.
When it comes to the differences between the two schools, take for example, the percent of students who are not fluent in English:
Jumoke: 0% not fluent in English
Milner 19.6% of the students are not fluent in English
The percent of students who require need special education services:
Jumoke 2.3% require special education services
Milner 11.3% require special education services
The percent of students who go home to households in which English is not the spoken language:
Milner 38.7% go home to households where English is not spoken.
In fact, the populations of these two schools have traditionally been very different.
Percent of Students who are not fluent in English.
Percent of students who go home to households where English is not the spoken language.
Percent of students who require special education services
The data could not be clearer.
Commissioner Pryor and the State Board of Education voted to hand over a Hartford school to a charter school operator who has no experience with bilingual students AND no experience with students who come from households in which English is not the primary language. (Jumoke claims their success is due to greater parent engagement, and yet their plan makes no effort to institute a program to engage parents who don’t speak English.)
And equally shocking is that Jumoke’s experience with students whose disabilities require special education services are virtually non-existent.
Yet Jumoke is taking over a school in which more than one out of ten students needs extra services due to their disabilities.
In a meeting with parents, Jumoke Academy’s CEO, Dr. Sharpe, explained that all special needs children will be served at the new “Jumoke Academy at Milner School.”
As reported by Achieve Hartford, a corporate funded, pro-education reform group, the head of Jumoke Academy explained that he was able to reduce the number of special education students from a 14 percent proportion of the student body down to a level of only 4 percent of the students.
How did Jumoke “reduce” the number of students needing special education services?
Jumoke claimed it was the “preventive actions” they take.
He explained, seeing Kindergarten children arriving with deficits, Jumoke started a Pre-K program, it has hired teachers, social workers, and therapists trained and dedicated to addressing special needs, and it does not over-identify students as having disabilities.
Apparently Jumoke’s ability to drop the number of students needing special services is to intervene at the Pre-K level and “cure” the students whose disabilities require additional services. Plus, he claims, his school doesn’t “over-identify” students as having disabilities.
To claim that he “cures” students at the Pre-K level, students who then no longer need special education services, is absurd and insulting.
Furthermore, to suggest that his screening process identifies fewer students who need services suggests that he is not using the criteria that are required by federal law, an action that would be illegal.
State Officials decided to given the Milner School to a charter school management company, and they did it, they say, because the students are so similar. That is simply a lie.
Jumoke has NO EXPERIENCE with bilingual education and VIRTUALLY NO EXPERIENCE with providing special educations services.
And Jumoke’s explanation for the lack of experience with students with disabilities is either a lie or they are breaking the law.
So once again, when does lying become criminal?
And why is the State Department of Education pushing this outrageous plan.