Achievement First/ConnCAN, Charter Schools, Education Reform, Jumoke Academy, Malloy, Poverty, Special Education, Stefan Pryor Achievement First, Charter Schools, ConnCAN, Education Reform, Malloy, Stefan Pryor
Bruce Baker is a professor at Rutgers’ Graduate School of Education at Rutgers. He is considered one of the nation’s foremost experts on school financing. He has written extensively on the subject, including serving as a lead author of the definitive graduate text book called Financing Education Systems. He is also the author of a blog called School Finance 101.
A couple of days ago Baker posted a “MUST READ” article on his blog that drives home one of the most important points Wait, What? readers have been learning about over the past year.
Charter schools cream off the students. They cream off students because they are trying to get the “right students” so that can “produce higher standardized test scores” so they can continue to mislead government, foundations and wealthy donors to give them money.
Then, when their test scores come out, they completely fail to explain that those scores are not a product of the quality of the education these schools provide, but are a direct result of selective, discriminatory enrollment policies they have and their increasingly well-known system of forcing out (often called migrating out) those students that won’t produce the results they want.
While Baker’s latest blog looks at charter schools in multiple states, the Connecticut data he presents makes the strongest case yet for the intentional fraud being perpetrated on Connecticut’s public schools, our students, teachers, state government and taxpayers.
You can read Backer’s full article here (see link), but the key Connecticut findings are as follows;
Using data from the State Department of Education and the NCES Common Core, Baker summed the “total number of public & charter school enrolled children by City (school location in CCD) and the total numbers of free lunch, ELL and special education enrolled children.”
Here is a chart highlighting the data – and once again – the data makes the situation absolutely clear.
We know the greatest predictors of standardized test score performance are poverty, language barriers and special education needs. We also know that in case after case after case after case, Connecticut’s charter school educate children that are less poor, have far less language barriers and need fewer special education services.
CLICK ON THE CHART TO OPEN IN NEW WINDOW SO YOU CAN GO BACK AND FORTH BETWEEN TEXT AND CHART:
In fact, Connecticut’s charter schools are particularly brutal on locking out students who are not fluent in English – which are usually the children who come from homes where English is not the primary language.
If Charter schools educate children who are less poor, have fewer language barriers and few special education needs, they will, by default, end up with high standardized test scores.
So what has Governor Malloy, Education Commission Pryor, the Connecticut Board of Education and the Connecticut General Assembly done?
They have given more funds to those that are discriminating while making things worse for the schools that are actually trying to what every child deserves under the Connecticut Constitution – a few, high quality, public education.
As Dr. Bruce Baker puts it, “In a heterogeneous urban schooling environment, the more individual schools or groups of schools engage in behavior that cream skims off children who are less poor, less fewer language barriers, far less likely to have a disability to begin with, and unlikely at all to have a severe disability, the higher the concentration of these children left behind in district schools.(see for example:http://schoolfinance101.wordpress.com/2012/08/06/effects-of-charter-enrollment-on-newark-district-enrollment/).
Baker goes on to speak the absolute truth when he said, “…with independent charter expansion, districts lose the ability to even try to manage the balance. Sadly, what may initially have been conceived of as a symbiotic relationship between charter and district schools is increasingly becoming parasitic!
In a “competitive marketplace” of schooling within a geographic space, under this incentive structure, the goal is to be that school which most effectively cream skims – without regard for who you are leaving behind for district schools or other charters to serve – while best concealing the cream-skimming – and while ensuring lack of financial transparency for making legitimate resource comparisons.”
Baker calls the impact the “Collateral Damage of the Parasitic Chartering Model” and writes, “In previous posts I showed how the population cream-skimming effect necessarily leads to an increasingly disadvantaged student population left behind in district schools. High need, urban districts that are hosts to increasing shares of cream-skimming charters become increasingly disadvantaged over time in terms of the students they must serve.”
Baker’s post goes into far greater detail.
He uses the data to explain and highlight the problem.
It is an issue Wait, What? readers know well.
And if the policies are left unchanged, it will be the legacy that haunts Governor Malloy and those who support the discriminatory policies that are undermining our schools and destroying our public education system.
Read the full post here: http://schoolfinance101.wordpress.com/2013/02/16/from-portfolios-to-parasites-the-unfortunate-path-of-u-s-charter-school-policy/
Charter Schools, Connecticut Council for Education Reform (CCER), Corporate Viewpoint, Education Reform, Family Urban Schools of Excellence (FUSE), Jumoke Academy, Malloy, Standardized Testing, Stefan Pryor, Wendy Lecker Charter Schools, Connecticut Council for Education Reform, Jumoke, Malloy, Stefan Pryor, Wendy Lecker
Will someone speak up for Latino students?
Corporate reform group overlooks the truth in effort to bolster charter schools.
Rae Ann Knopf, the Executive Director for the Connecticut Council for Education Reform recently took issue with a commentary piece written by Wendy Lecker (recent commentary) that was published in the Stamford Advocate and Connecticut Post and then reposted here at Wait, What?
The Connecticut Council for Education Reform (CCER) is a business group that was one of the biggest supporters of Governor Malloy’s” Education Reform” proposal. The organization’s board of directors is made up of a number of corporate executives including the Presidents, CEO or COOs of United Illuminating, First Niagara Bank, The Travelers, Nestle Waters North America, the Connecticut Business & Industry Association and the Retired Chairman & CEO of The Hartford.
In her commentary piece, Wendy Lecker reminded readers that as part of Malloy’s education reform effort, Hartford’s Milner School, a school where 40 percent of the students go home to households where English is not the primary language, was given to a nearby charter school management organization Family Urban Schools of Excellence (FUSE), despite the fact that FUSE has never had a non-English speaking student attend their Jumoke Academy schools.
Rather than devote the time and resources to help the Milner School succeed, Malloy’s Commissioner of Education gave the school, the students and millions of taxpayer dollars to a private entity that has no experience teaching bi-lingual students. Not surprisingly, according to a recent report to the State Department of Education, the Jumoke Academy has failed to take the necessary steps to strengthen its bi-lingual program and the number of students attending the Milner School has dropped.
The Connecticut Council for Education Reform’s Rae Ann Knopf came to the Jumoke Charter School’s defense writing, “Observing that enrollment at Milner, a school partnering with Jumoke Academy, has gone down, Ms. Lecker writes, “we can already see that Jumoke’s Milner is not the same as last year’s Milner.” (see Knopf’s response here)
Knopf adds, “Well, we certainly hope not. Over the last three years at “last year’s Milner”, students scored an average of 32.8 on the School Performance Index (SPI). Put in lay terms, that means most Milner students were not even scoring at the “Basic” level on their CMTs. In contrast, Jumoke students scored a three-year average SPI of 80.1 (which is close to the statewide achievement target of 88). That score indicates that many Jumoke students had “Advanced” and “Goal” CMT scores. As measured by test scores, students at Jumoke were more than twice as successful as students at Milner. There’s nothing unreasonable about the hypothesis that a partnership between Milner and Jumoke should advance student learning at the former Milner School.”
Once again, the education reformers will go to any length, even misrepresent the facts, to defend their school privatization agenda.
Rae Ann Knopf claims, “As measured by test scores, students at Jumoke were more than twice as successful as students at Milner.”
Even the education reformers recognize that the three most powerful factors determining test scores are poverty, language barriers and the number of students who need special education services
So what are the facts?
|Percent of Students not fluent in English
|Percent of Students going home to non-English speaking households
|Percent of Students with special education needs
|Percent of Students qualifying for Free or Reduce Lunch
So if the students attending the Milner School are significantly more poor, have far greater language barriers and a far greater number need special education services, is it surprising that test scores are lower at Milner than at Jumoke?
Of course not!
So do you then give the Milner School, its students and its taxpayer funds to a school that doesn’t have any experience with a major portion of the community?
Of course not! Unless you are part of Governor Malloy’s education reform plan.
And what happens when you transfer all that money to an entity that doesn’t have any experience?
According to the Commissioner’s Network Midyear Operations and Instruction Audit for the Thurman Milner School;
Four months into the year, Jumoke still hadn’t hired a bi-lingual teacher
And “Some teachers described an ELL push-in model and others describe a pull out model, so it is assumed that both approaches are used. While classroom teachers have had training in instructional strategies to use in teaching ELL students, some report that they could use more training in that area.”
One in five Jumoke-Milner students are not fluent in English and 40% of the students go home to households that don’t speak English and Jumoke still hasn’t hired a bi-lingual teacher and the teachers report that they DON’T KNOW if the Jumoke Administrators are using a “push-in or pull out” model of teaching English Language Learners?
Not only is CCER’s Executive Director overlooking the facts by defending the Jumoke Academy but the Commissioner’s Network Program and Governor Malloy’s education reform plans are failing to provide the most vital services to the children of the Milner School and especially the schools large Latino population.
If that is what the Connecticut Council for Education Reform considers a success, it is a sad day in Connecticut.
Charter Schools, Education Reform, Malloy, Stefan Pryor, Tom Foley Charter Schools, Education Reform, Jeb Bush, Malloy, Stefan Pryor, Tom Foley
Last September, former Governor Jeb Bush, chairman of the education reform group, Foundation for Excellence in Education, came to General Electric’s corporate headquarters in Fairfield to “share the Florida education reform story and give support to education reformers in the Constitution State.”
Other speakers included Tom Foley, former and future gubernatorial candidate and founder of the Connecticut Policy Institute and Patrick Riccards, the now former CEO of ConnCAN.
Pushing his education reform agenda, Bush called for ending teacher tenure, implementing teacher evaluations and compensation based on standardized test scores and utilizing alternative paths to certification/licensure.
Most importantly Bush called for the expansion of charter schools.
As Bush told the audience, “If Florida can do it, every state can.”
Many of the education reform proposals Bush championed were actually part of Governor Malloy’s education reform bill, and although legislative Democrats made some changes, the majority of the concepts made it through the process and became part of Connecticut’s new education reform law.
Malloy, like Bush, has also been pushing to expand funding for charter schools. In fact, although state funding for public schools has remained relatively constant since 2008, funding for charter schools has been one of the fastest growing areas of the budget. In fact, despite a $415 million deficit this year and more than a $1 billion projected deficit next year, Malloy’s budget already has built-in increases for charter school funding, on top of the increase they got this year.
In state after state, the charter school industry’s agenda has become increasingly clear.
In some states, including Florida, concerns about the impact of charter schools has been growing. Using their “application process” and their ability to “out-migrate” students who don’t fit the definition of good students, charters are notorious for creaming off the best students.
Not only do they sweep targeted student populations out of the local schools, but they siphon off scarce resources. Public schools end up with significant on-going expenses, insufficient funding and the appearance of being inefficient as their per-student costs grow, since most school activities and services must be maintained despite lower numbers of students.
As states recognize the negative impact charters have on local public schools and taxpayers, some charter companies are finding it harder to get their expansion plans approved.
Charter schools have even be rejected in Florida.
So how is Jeb Bush, Michelle Rhee and the charter school industry responding to the fact that some charter school proposals are being rejected?
Bush’s Foundation for Excellence in Education recently wrote,
“…Tennessee is headed in a better direction. It is contemplating an independent board to approve charters. This follows the recent denial of charter school applications based solely on protecting the turf of existing public schools.
The school districts are fighting this idea, arguing for local control of public education.
Of course they would like to pick and choose the location of charters to fit within the framework of their existing schools, giving them control of where choice and competition occurs. This pretty much negates the concept. History is not on their side as the free market plays a growing role in education and successful charters open up franchises in other states.”
So faced with the refection of some charter school plans, the neoconservative answer is – do away with local control.
It is not enough that charter school supporters are already disproportionately represented on many state and local boards of education.
It is not enough that the charter school industry is spending record amounts lobbying for their agenda, as they did on behalf of Governor Malloy’s education reform bill here in Connecticut.
It is not enough that the charter school industry is already engaged in “pay to play” strategies like their big fundraiser for Governor Malloy’s political action committee last May.
It is not enough that those who support charter schools provided the lion’s share of the $562,000 plus that was spent last fall in support of Mayor Bill Finch’s failed attempt to do away with an elected board of education in Bridgeport and replace it with one appointed by himself.
Just as with their warped definition of advanced capitalism and free market competition, these education reformers are constantly working to change the rules to further their financial interests and escape any accountability to taxpayers, parents and the students that they say that they care so much about.
We haven’t seen this latest corruption of democratic ideals in Connecticut – yet – but you can be sure that if the charter schools don’t get what they want from the State Board of Education, Governor Malloy and the Connecticut Legislature, we’ll see more and more proposals allowing charter schools to side-step the fundamental concepts of local control and governance.
For an excellent commentary on this issue, see what fellow pro-public education blogger Bob Sikes has written at the blog, Scathing Purple Musings. The article can be found at: Jeb Bush’s Foundation Wants Florida to Ignore Crony Capitalism on Charter Schools.
Budget Cuts, Charter Schools, Education Reform, Malloy, Stefan Pryor, Steven Adamowski, Windham Charter Schools, Malloy, Stefan Pryor, Steven Adamowski, Windham
If Windham’s state senator, state representative and other elected officials don’t move quickly to intervene, Windham, Connecticut is on-track to become to the first Connecticut community in which local elected official and parents lose complete control of their community’s public education system.
In addition to the steps already taken by the State Department of Education and its “Special Master, plans and proposals are quickly moving forward that would effectively undermine or destroy a public school system that provides public education services to about 3,500 Connecticut students.
While state and local taxpayers would still be on the hook for paying the costs to educate Windham’s students, Windham’s parents and voters would be shoved aside to make room for the education reform advocates who are engaged in a wanton attempt to grab more and more public resources.
Like other communities with high rates of poverty, significant numbers of non-English speaking students and relatively high numbers of students who need special education skills, standardized test scores in the old eastern Connecticut mill town were low.
The question wasn’t whether something should be done to improve educational programs in Windham; the question was what should be done.
In an attempt to garner additional financial resources for their community, State Senate President Don Williams and State Representative Susan Johnson joined forces to push through legislation allowing the State Board of Education to install a “Special Master” to oversee Windham’s school system, along with an additional $1 million a year in funding to help improve Windham’s public schools.
While the motivation behind the move was sound, the resulting outcome was hardly the best course of action for Windham’s students, parents, teachers or taxpayers.
Governor Malloy’s State Board of Education appointed former Hartford Superintendent of Schools, Steven Adamowski, to serve as Special Master of Windham’s schools and put him in charge of the extra funds.
The first allocation of those funds went toward his salary of $225,000 a year. Add in $22,000 for health benefits, $16,000 for workers compensation and professional liability insurance, equipment, travel and a personal secretary working in his Hartford office and more than $350,000 of the initial $1 million in public funds was already gone.
Over the past year, the “Adamowski Approach” has taken shape.
Of the initial $2 million (the additional state support for year one and year two), more than $750,000 has gone to Adamowski or his personal staff. About $50,000 was skimmed off by State Education Resource Center (the contracting entity the state used to side-step bidding requirements) for “indirect costs” and another $95,000 went to SERC for a Positive Behavioral Intervention Program for Windham.
That doesn’t even cover SERC’s “administrative costs” to oversee the contract, Then there was $5,000 for consultants for fiscal process planning, $100,000 for consultants for planning, $75,000 for consultants for “benchmarking” activities, another $45,000 for more consultants for planning, $11,000 for Talent Recruitment, $20,000 for stipends and signing bonuses, $10,000 for some feasibility study, $10,000 for school choice materials, $20,000 for extra communications services, $27,500 for school governance consultants, $70,000 for a new communications officer and the list goes on and on.
In fact, it is hard to determine whether any of the extra taxpayer funds went to anything that directly benefits the needy children of Windham.
But the waste of $2,000,000 in taxpayer funds on high paid staff and consultants is only the tip of the iceberg.
The Windham budget itself has seen a shift to more administrators and fewer educators as Adamowski and his entourage have swept into control.
And just when it seemed it couldn’t get any worse, the senseless effort to reduce the role of local elected officials and parents, while increasing the role of consultants and education reform companies, has suddenly taken a giant step forward.
In fact, over the past few days, the “end-game” for the Windham education reformers has become increasingly and painfully clear.
This isn’t about the children of Windham. This is about the growing privatization of public education in Connecticut. The new name of the game is – how much public taxpayer funds can we grab before anyone stops us.
Last week we learned that an organization, ironically called “Our Piece of the Pie, Inc.,” is proposing to open a charter high school in Windham, despite the fact that Windham already has a high school and a new magnet school that is almost ready to open.
Our Piece of the Pie Inc. is a Hartford youth development agency that has run a limited training program called “Pathways to Success” since 2005. However, their experience running a broader, more comprehensive school-based program only began in 2009 when Steven Adamowski – then the superintendent of schools in Hartford – suddenly allowed them to open a program there. The school has an enrollment of 102 and hasn’t been open long enough to reveal whether they have any ability to tackle the challenges of a broader school program or one in which fifty percent of the students go home to households in which English is not the spoken language.
The charter school application that Our Piece of the Pie, Inc. has submitted to the Malloy Administration also claims that they have a program in Bloomfield, Connecticut. Only by footnote do we learn that their “Bloomfield School” just opened in 2012 and has an enrollment of six students —- 6 students!
Meanwhile, despite the fact that Windham already has a “dual-language” English language program as part of its elementary schools, the lure of additional state funds is helping attract all types of new entities and organizations to claim they are ready to run charter schools.
In fact, in this case, Elsa Nunez, the president of Eastern Connecticut State University and a senior vice president for the Board of Regent’s state’s college system (the agency that gave out all of those illegal state pay raises), has submitted a plan to open a “dual language” elementary charter school in Windham.
And finally, in perhaps the most incredible development of all, Windham’s Superintendent of Schools submitted a “letter of intent” to make the entire Windham Middle School part of Malloy’s “Commissioners Network Program.”
Although the law is very clear that only the local Board of Education can vote to enter into such a state agreement, Windham’s Superintendent, without consulting the Windham School Board or the local teachers and with no input from Windham’s parent School Governance Council, submitted a request that Windham Middle School be put in the new Network Program — even though such a move would effectively undermine the Windham Board of Education’s ability to manage its own Middle School.
The pattern of behavior and action on the part of the education reformers is disgusting and dangerous.
Taken together, these actions would mean Windham’s entire school system would be under the management, and direction of people with absolutely no connection to the town of Windham.
If there was ever a moment for Windham’s state senator and state representative to stand up for the rights of the people who put them in office, this is that time.
Here is a link to the document related to Windham’s Middle School. Note that the superintendent HAS NOT even communicated with the local board of education or the teachers, despite the fact that the law requires both groups to approve such a plan: http://www.ctmirror.org/sites/default/files/documents/commissionersnetwork_1.pdf
Here is a link to the request by Our Piece of the Pie, Inc. to open a charter school in Windham. Note the utter failure by the applicant to accurately explain their limited experience running a full school program. http://www.ctmirror.org/sites/default/files/documents/3_1.pdf
Achievement First/ConnCAN, Charter Schools, Education Reform, Jumoke Academy, Malloy, Stefan Pryor Charter Schools, ConnCAN, Jumoke Academy, Malloy, New York State Charter Schools Association, Stefan Pryor
Lured by Governor Malloy’s education reform efforts and the prospect of easier access to taxpayer funds, the NEW YORK CHARTER SCHOOLS ASSOCIATION is expanding into Connecticut.
According to a press release issued in Albany, New York, “The New York State Charter Schools Association (NYCSA) today announced that it is growing into a regional organization with the new inclusion of charter schools in Connecticut.”
The release stated that with the “agreement and support of the Connecticut Charter Schools Network (CCSN),” the new expanded association will represent the owners of over 200 charter schools in the two states.
Considering Malloy’s Commissioner of Education, Stefan Pryor, co-founded Achievement First, Inc. the large charter school management company with twenty schools in New York and Connecticut, it was probably only a matter of time before the charter school industry engaged in a more regional approach to push their charter school agenda and to push for more charter school funding.
Since Pryor took over as Connecticut’s Commissioner of Education, Achievement First, Inc., has expanded their programs in Hartford, New Haven and Bridgeport.
While state funding for local public schools in Connecticut has remained relatively constant since 2008, funding for charter schools has been one of the fastest growing areas of the entire state budget.
In fact, despite the colossal budget deficit, Pryor and the State Board of Education recently announced a new initiative to add four more charter schools in Hartford and rumors abound that charter school advocates are trying to get additional state funding for charter schools in Bridgeport, Windham and elsewhere.
Michael Sharpe, who works as the Chief Executive Officer of the Jumoke Academy Charter School in Hartford and the President of Connecticut’s Charter School Network, will now be joining the board of directors of New York’s expanded charter school association.
Although Sharpe’s Jumoke Academy has never served bi-lingual students and only takes a small percentage of special educations students compared to the number served in Hartford’s public schools, Commissioner Pryor, the State Board of Education and the City of Hartford’s Board of Education recently transferred Hartford’s Milner elementary school, with all of its students and taxpayer funds, to Jumoke.
Now the Jumoke Academy at Milner, a school in which almost 50 percent of the students go home to households who speak a language other than English is being run by a company that has never had a Spanish-speaking student.
Meanwhile, the press release quoted the Connecticut Coalition for Achievement Now (ConnCAN), which was founded by Achievement First’s Jonathan Sackler [the same Jonathan Sackler who held a $40,000 fundraiser last May for the political action committee affiliated with Governor Malloy] as saying, ”We welcome [the New York charter school association] and look forward to working with the Network to further ensure that the voices of communities, families and students who demand more quality public school choices are heard loud and clear in Connecticut.”
As if to reiterate the close relationship between Governor Malloy and the charter school industry, the press release concluded with the statement that, “the new organization was also a response to the education reform initiatives pushed last winter and spring by CT Gov. Daniel P. Malloy.”
Achievement First/ConnCAN, Charter Schools, Education Reform, Malloy, Stefan Pryor Achievement First, Charter Schools, Education Reform, Malloy, Stefan Pryor
Remember when Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. spoke out so eloquently against the scourge of “BAD” segregation, while clearly delineating the line between “BAD” segregation and OKAY segregation?
You know, it was back on June 23, 1963, in the Great March on Detroit…
King was speaking to a crowd of more than 25,000 people at Cobo Hall in Detroit.
King explained that unlike OKAY segregation, BAD “Segregation is a cancer in the body politic, which must be removed before our democratic health can be realized.” He said that BAD “Segregation is wrong because it is nothing but a new form of slavery covered up with certain niceties of complexity.” And King added that BAD “Segregation is wrong because it is a system of adultery perpetuated by an illicit intercourse between injustice and immorality.”
Okay, so maybe King didn’t differentiate between BAD segregation and OKAY segregation.
In fact, maybe he made it clear that ALL segregation was bad, but the state of Connecticut and its State Department of Education go where Martin Luther King, Jr. failed to go.
Here in Connecticut we have laws and officially sanctioned policies that oppose one type of segregation and support another type of segregation.
As Wait, What? readers now appreciate, Connecticut’s charter schools, and especially Achievement First, Inc., the large charter school management company co-founded by Stefan Pryor, Governor Malloy’s Commissioner of Education, actively allow, if not promote segregation.
Every single one of Connecticut’s major charter schools is even more segregated than the school districts they serve and charter schools in Connecticut fail to enroll or maintain student populations that include students that are not fluent in English, students who go home to households where English is not the primary language and students who require special education services.
Connecticut’s major charter schools, led by Achievement First, Inc. are classic examples of schools that are segregated.
However, this week we learned, thanks to an article on CT Mirror’s Political Mirror Blog, that as required by state law, the Connecticut Department of Education has informed Bristol, Fairfield, Greenwich, Groton and West Hartford that their education policies have led to segregated schools and they must develop plans to reduce that segregation. see http://www.ctmirror.org/blogs/integrating-west-hartford-public-schools.
State law makes BAD segregation illegal. Connecticut’s municipal state districts are required to “…report their student demographics for each school. If any school has 25 percent more minorities than the district average, the community must submit a plan to address the imbalance within 60 days.”
As the CTMirror blog post explains, “West Hartford — which has 10,500 students — has too many of its minority students attending Charter Oak International Academy and Smith School. About 75 percent of the students enrolled in those schools are minorities, compared to 37 percent of the districts overall minority enrollment.”
According to Connecticut State Statute 10-226, when a board of education is notified by the state Department of Education that there is a racial imbalance in its schools, it must develop a plan to address that imbalance. It can change school district lines within the town or take other actions that will eliminate the imbalance.
Since West Hartford’s minority students disproportionately go to two of the town’s schools, the town must now develop and implement a plan to end that segregation.
So obviously, segregation is bad and state law requires towns to modify policies to end any segregation that exists.
That law is in place because segregation is a violation of our American principles of equality.
And yet at the same time, an official policy of the Connecticut Department of Education not only accepts the segregation that is taking place in Connecticut’s charter schools, but rewards it.
As noted, the data indicates that every single major charter school is MORE RACIALLY IMBALANCED than the town in which they are located.
Achievement First – Hartford, Jumoke Academy, Achievement First – Elm City College Preparatory, Achievement First – Amistad, Achievement First – Bridgeport are all MORE RACIALLY IMBALANCED and all fail to educate their fair share of non-English speaking students, students who come from households in which English is not the primary language and students who need special education services.
But rather than requiring these charter schools to develop plans to address this segregation, Stefan Pryor and this present Connecticut State Board of Education has been rewarding these schools by extending their charters and giving them even more funds.
Pryor and the Board of Education even recently proposed building four more charter schools in Hartford – and this comes after they voted to allow these existing segregated charter charters in Hartford, New Haven and Bridgeport to expand.
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. did not speak about the difference between BAD segregation and OKAY segregation because no segregation should be allowed in the United States of America.
Governor Malloy, Commissioner Pryor and the members of the Connecticut General Assembly need put an end to policies that promote segregation. Nothing short of that should be considered acceptable.
Achievement First/ConnCAN, Charter Schools, Education Reform, Hartford, Jumoke Academy, Malloy, Stefan Pryor Achievement First, Charter Schools, Education Reform, Hartford, Jumoke Academy, Stefan Pryor
What if it became clear that a public school in Connecticut wouldn’t accept many African American children or children from single parent households or children who come from households with same sex parents?
There would be outrage, demonstrations would be held and politicians would act to put an end to the “de facto” discrimination that was taking place in our state.
“De facto” discrimination is where the discriminatory practice isn’t built into the law, but into the practices of government, an organization or society. While the law doesn’t require the discrimination, the discrimination exists nonetheless.
The Jim Crow laws were an example of legal (de jure) discrimination. The segregation and discrimination that continued after those laws were repealed by the 1964 Civil Rights act were proof that de facto discrimination continued long after those discriminatory laws were eliminated.
Here in Connecticut, local public schools MUST provide services to any child who is a resident of that community. They cannot discriminate. (Town borders may create de facto discrimination, but within the town, discrimination is not allowed)
But Connecticut’s charter schools, despite the fact that they also use taxpayer funds, end up with a very select student body.
Connecticut’s charter schools are a very real example that de facto discrimination is taking place right here in our state. Yet, most of our public officials remain silent about this vital issue.
Take at a look at the data
Hartford vs. Charter Schools: Servicing students who are not fluent in the English language:
||Hartford Public Schools
||Achievement First – Hartford
Hartford vs. Charter Schools: Servicing students who go home to households where English in not the primary language:
||Hartford Public Schools
||Achievement First – Hartford
Hartford vs. Charter Schools: Servicing students who have disabilities that require special education services:
||Hartford Public Schools
||Achievement First – Hartford
The data speaks for itself.
It is not complex, but it is shocking and disturbing.
The state of Connecticut, with help from the City of Hartford, is pushing to successfully expand the role of Jumoke Academy and Achievement First – Hartford, yet those two institutions utilize practices that lead to clear “de facto” discrimination against children who don’t speak English, children who go home to households in which English is not the primary language and children who require special education services.
When it comes to the use of public funds, the law and our morality as Americans make discrimination – whether in law or practice – whether “de jure” or “de facto,” totally unacceptable.
So where is the outrage?
Why do the Governor and Connecticut’s Commissioner of Education, along with factions on the State Board of Education and the Hartford Board of Education go unchallenged when the policies they are pushing create clear cut and concise discrimination?
However you explain it, it is an outrage and it must be stopped.
Achievement First/ConnCAN, Charter Schools, Education Reform, Hartford, Standardized Testing, Stefan Pryor, Steven Adamowski Achievement First, Charter Schools, Hartford, Stefan Pryor
What is really going on at Achievement First – Hartford?
One of the most serious criticisms of the charter school industry is that they “cherry-pick” their students. In a world in which poverty, language barriers and the need for special education services are the three greatest factors limiting educational outcomes, charter schools have a lower percentage of poor students, fail to accept and keep their fair share of students who aren’t fluent in English and take far fewer students who need special education services.
Charter schools brag that their students get higher scores on standardized tests, but of course they do, when they fail to take the students who are most likely to need extra help.
The fact is simple and stark; despite a so-called “open enrollment process,” charter schools fail to educate their fair share of students who are not fluent in English, students who go home to households that don’t speak English and students who need special education services.
In addition, a recent review of the public high schools in New Haven versus the two New Haven based charter high schools, both run by Achievement First, revealed that Achievement First HAS AN EVEN WORSE RECORD than the public schools when it came to keeping high school students enrolled.
Now Achievement First is trying to expand in Hartford.
In Hartford, nearly 25 percent of Hartford school students aren’t fluent in English, but when it comes to the students served by Achievement First – Hartford, less than 5 percent face an English fluency problem.
Furthermore, while almost 45 percent of Hartford school students go home to households in which English is not the primary language, less than 5 percent of Achievement First – Hartford’s students go home to non-English speaking households.
And while about 13 percent of Hartford’s students require some sort of special education services, Achievement First – Hartford’s special education population is about half that number, with only 7.5 percent of students requiring special education services.
So how does Achievement First – Hartford manage to duck their responsibility to serve the entire Hartford community?
Part of it is a lottery system that serves to self-select who applies.
What is even more incredible is that Achievement First has an uncanny ability to move out, throw out or drop out significant numbers of students – perhaps it is the students who don’t fit their desired type of student.
According to the most recent report filed with the State Department of Education, as students moved from the 5th grade to the 6th grade to the 7th grade in Hartford, the total number of students increased by 8.9%. However, during that very same period, the number of students who stayed with Achievement First – Hartford dropped by 10 percent, meaning one out of every ten students left Achievement First – Hartford between the 5th and 7th grades.
Even more disturbing was the drop off at Achievement First from the 2nd to 3rd grade.
Over the past two years, more than 11 percent of the Achievement First –Hartford students left or were pushed out after they began the 2nd grade and before they were able to begin the 3rd grade.
The State Board of Education, the State Department of Education and the Hartford Board of Education should place a moratorium on any charter school expansion in Hartford until an independent analysis of Achievement First – Hartford’s policies and practices can be examined.
Achievement First – Hartford should not be able to use taxpayer dollars, and certainly shouldn’t be able to expand, as long as they appear to have policies in place that serve to discriminate against students and families who speak Spanish or face language barriers or discriminate against students who have special education needs.
The data could not be any clearer, Achievement First – Hartford and Hartford’s other charter schools are not serving a major segment of portion of Hartford’s population.
Their actions violate the ethics and morality of public education.
It’s time for politicians and policymakers to determine what is truly happening with Hartford’s charter schools.
If you are a parent or family member who has seen Achievement First’s selectivity at work, please send me your story. The information will be kept completely confidential. Information can be sent to [email protected]. Thank you.
Achievement First/ConnCAN, Charter Schools, Corporate Viewpoint, Education Reform, Malloy Achievement First, Charter Schools, Education Reform, Malloy
At last week’s ConnCAN Block Party (it took place in Greenwich – go figure), Governor Malloy “spoke about the dismal graduation rate in urban districts. He told the crowd that on average, four in 10 students never receive a diploma. ”We cannot compete as a state with the other 49 states, or the rest of the world, when we’re willing to throw away year after year after year, 40 percent of our students in the urban environment,” Malloy said.
Surrounded by charter school supporters, owners and operators, Malloy explained that Connecticut has 31 low-performing school districts that educate 41 percent of the state’s students.
Malloy’s solution, according to a story in the Stamford Advocate, is to “replicate” what the charter schools are doing when it comes to keeping high school students in school.
Do what the charter schools are doing?
Well here are the facts when it comes enrollment decline and dropping out:
New Haven’s public high schools lose 46% of their students between 9th and 12th grade
Amistad Academy, a New Haven high school run by the charter management company, Achievement First, loses 51% of their students between 9th and 12th grade.
And Elm City Prep, another New Haven high school run by Achievement First, will have its first graduating class this year. It looks like it will have lost about 53% of its students between 9th and 12th grade.
The fact that we lose half the students in Connecticut’s urban high schools is a major problem that deserves a lot more attention, but having a Governor who fails to tell the truth in his effort to pander to the charter school industry is hardly the answer.
|Elm City (charter)
|Wilbur Cross High
|Hill Regional Career
You can find the full Stamford Advocate story at: http://www.stamfordadvocate.com/news/article/Malloy-talks-education-reform-4042155.php#ixzz2Ci3X4SuZ
Achievement First/ConnCAN, Bridgeport, Charter Schools, Corporate Viewpoint, Education Reform, Malloy, Mayor Bill Finch Charter Schools, Malloy, Mayor Bill Finch, Residents for a Better Bridgeport
One of the larger individual donors to Residents for a Better Bridgeport, the Political Action Committee behind Mayor Bill Finch’s anti-democracy initiative that went down to defeat in Bridgeport yesterday, is a hedge fund manager named Zachary Zeitlin, a Westport resident who is or was a partner with Silver Point Capital in Greenwich.
In the “small world department,” Zachary Zeitlin is also one of Governor Malloy’s appointees to the Connecticut Board of Regents. Those are the individuals that didn’t realize that only they had the authority to set compensation for the employees at the combined State University and Community College System executive e office and stood by, silently, as Robert Kennedy, the former President of the Board, handed out $300,000 in illegal bonuses.
Zeitlin is a donor to ConnCAN and is a member of the Board of Directors for Domus, a Stamford-based charter school company.
Silver Point Capital manages $800 million dollars’ worth of assets in securities of distressed, large-cap, and Mid-cap companies; bank debts; bonds; and trade claims. They play a particularly major role in the following companies; Delphi, AIG, Sunoco and Torch Energy.
Silver Point Capital has donated about $400,000 to political candidates in recent years.