Sources close to Governor Malloy’s Commissioner of Education Stefan Pryor report that the Charter School loving Commissioner of Education has committed to give Hartford’s Clark Elementary School to Friendship Charter Schools Inc., a major charter school management company based in Washington, D.C.
Malloy’s Commissioner of Education recently announced that he has “accepted” Hartford’s Clark Elementary School into the Connecticut State Department of Education’s “Commissioner’s Network.”
Although the law requires an inclusive “turnaround” process that is supposed to include local parents, teachers, school officials and community members, multiple sources, including one close to Stefan Pryor, report that Malloy’s Commissioner of Education has already decided that the final “Clark School Turnaround Plan” MUST be to hand the day-to-day operation of the Hartford elementary school over to Friendship Public Charter School Inc.
The Friendship Public Charter School chain is made up of six charter schools in Washington D.C. and another four schools that the company runs in Baltimore, Maryland.
Donald Hense, who is the Founder and Chairman of Friendship Public Charter Schools Inc., is a long time charter school advocate. In 2011, Hense was an inductee into “the National Charter Schools Hall of Fame” at the annual meeting of the National Charter Schools Conference.
According to Internal Revenue Service reports filed in 2011, Friendship Charter School Inc. provided Hense with a compensation package of approximately $300,000.
In that year, the company had revenues of $71 million and expenditures of about $67 million. Of its revenue, $60 million came from tuition fees paid by the city governments of Washington D.C. and Baltimore, Maryland and another $9 million came from other government grants.
Like many charter school management companies, the Friendship Charter Schools Board of Directors is made up of corporate education reform industry executives and their allies.
The Friendship Charter School Inc. Board includes Gregory Prince (President, Educational Services Associates), Carol Thompson Cole (President & CEO, Venture Philanthropy Partners), Deborah McGriff (Partner, NewSchools Venture Fund), Chris Whittle (an education entrepreneur who founded the ill-fated Edison Schools and now serves as the chief executive officer of Avenues: The World School, “a planned international system of independent pre-K-12 schools) and Kevin P. Chavous (CEO of the Chavous Group, an education reform consulting and public relations group).
The President of Venture Philanthropy Partners (VPP) not only serves on the Board of Friendship Schools, but the education reform investment company has also played a major role in funding Friendship Schools and its aggressive expansion plans. Venture Philanthropy Partners also invests in a variety of other charter school management companies including KIPP. KIPP owns and operates a chain of 141 charter schools in 20 states.
Friendship Schools is also closely associated with the NewSchools Venture Fund, a corporate funded financial investment company that is “committed to transforming public education through powerful ideas and passionate entrepreneurs.”
In the “small world” department, one the NewSchools Venture Fund Board members includes none-other-than Jonathan Sackler, who played a vital role in the creation of Commissioner Stefan Pryor’s Achievement First charter school management company and is responsible for the creation of ConnCAN and 50 CAN. Sackler and his wife are two of Governor Malloy’s biggest campaign contributors having donated the maximum allowable amount of $10,000 each.
Assuming Malloy’s Commissioner of Education is successful in forcing Hartford to turn Clark Elementary School over to the Friendship Public Charter School Inc.; Hartford will be home to yet another “no excuses” school that is widely known for its harsh disciplinary policies.
One of the Friendship Public Charter Schools made the news in 2012 when a Washington D.C. television station ran the story entitled, “Teacher at Friendship Public Charter School Accused of Taping Visually Impaired Student To Chair; Teacher has been placed on administrative leave.”
According to the media report;
“A teacher at Friendship Public Charter School has been placed on administrative leave after allegedly taping a nine-year-old visually impaired student to a chair.
The alleged incident happened Wednesday afternoon during an after school tutoring program at the Friendship Blow Pierce Junior Academy Campus in Northeast.
Christian Washington, a fourth grade student, says he asked his teacher if he could get up, and when he did for a second time, the teacher first threatened to tape him to his chair, and then did. Washington says he was wrapped with the tape several times around his chest and his legs. He says he was embarrassed.
“She was laughing. Everybody in the class was laughing at me,” Washington says…
No doubt about it, the Malloy/Pryor “we know best” strategy of privatization of our public schools continues to be the cornerstone of Malloy’s education reform policies.