August 2021

AUG 31, 2021 – Chester Upland’s new receiver is supported by a charter that sought to take over district schools

In a developmentthat appeared to take state and school district lawyers by surprise, a Delaware County judge has appointed a new receiver to oversee the Chester Upland School District who is favored by a charter operator that recently sought to take over district schools.

The judge’s selection of Nafis Nichols, the chief financial officer for the city of Chester, over Michael Pladus, a retired superintendent nominated by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, has worried teachers and community members concerned about further erosion of a district already heavily dominated by charters.

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AUG 27, 2021 – ‘It’s scandalous’ — virtual charter schools have received the same amount of pandemic aid as schools with physical classrooms

While many schools scrambled to shift to online classes last year, the nation’s virtual charter schools faced little disruption. For them, online learning was already the norm. Most have few physical classrooms, or none at all.

Yet when Congress sent $190 billion in pandemic aid to schools, virtual charters received just as much as any other school because the same formula applied to all schools, with more money going to those in high-poverty areas, an Associated Press investigation found.

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AUG 20, 2021 – Tennessee Using $14.4M of $64M COVID Education Funds Toward Charter Schools

Tennessee Governor Bill Lee’s long-held agenda to advance school choice options for families received a major monetary boost last year: nearly $64 million in discretionary pandemic education money, the Associated Press reported.

While Congress sent states billions of dollars meant to help them create safe schools during the pandemic, Lee instead contributed millions to charter schools that operate under the radar of public oversight. More than $4 million went to create new charters slated to open next year, though it could take longer.

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AUG 21, 2021 – Legal review: Some New Mexico charter school admission policies may be discriminatory

A private law firm’s partial review of charter school admissions practices found some state-funded institutions in New Mexico are violating state rules by requesting information about prospective students’ special-education needs.

Leaders of a few charter schools cited in the report were surprised to learn about the violations and quickly altered their applications for lottery-based enrollment to remove questions deemed discriminatory. The error was an oversight and not intended to discourage students from applying, they said.

Other administrators defended their practices, however, arguing their schools provide a rigorous curriculum that may not be appropriate for some students with special needs.

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AUG 19, 2021 – After complaint, NC education chairman discloses ties to charter school

One of North Carolina’s highest-ranking education policymakers has failed to disclose that his wife serves on a state-funded charter school board, according to an ethics complaint filed this week.

State legislators and other public officials are required to file new forms every year disclosing personal business and financial interests. In those forms, known as statements of economic interest, officials must also include their spouses’ or family members’ affiliations.

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AUG 17, 2021 – Another Lincoln Academy administrator departs before charter school’s first day of classes

A week after the man who was hired to be The Lincoln Academy’s first principal left his post, Adams Publishing Group has learned the charter school’s director of finance and operations also resigned earlier this month.

Lincoln Academy CEO Kristi Cole confirmed Gregory Gurley resigned effective Aug. 1.

According to earlier information provided to Adams Publishing Group by the academy, the chief operations officer was to be paid $135,000 with $5,000 for moving expenses. Cole confirmed that was Gurley’s position.

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AUG 13, 2021 – Paulo Freire Charter School staff picket, file labor charges

Unionized staff at the Paulo Freire Social Justice Charter School will picket Saturday in front of their school amid uncertainty over the coming school year after management’s decision to let go of over half of the school’s teachers this summer.

Organizers with the school’s staff union are set to protest in front of the school against school’s board of trustees. It will be the second time the union pickets in front of the building after dozens marched in front of the school in June over the mass nonrenewal that month of all 13 teacher contracts that expired this year — an action they say represents a pattern of targeting union activists.

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AUG 11, 2021 – Visalia charter school curriculum pulled days before start of school year

Parents and teachers said Visalia Unified trustees sent a message to its Global Learning Charter administration Tuesday night: ‘We don’t trust our teachers.’

In a 4-3 decision, Visalia Unified voted against the renewal of Newsela, an educational application used since the charter school began.

“My disappointment with the decision of some board members to cancel Newsela cannot be understated. Newsela is supported by our district office, our school site council, our teachers, and our families, and the board’s action is egregious and unprecedented,” Principal Karin Aure said Wednesday morning.

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AUG 10, 2021 – Appeals court gives mixed ruling on N.C. charter school’s rule requiring girls to wear skirts

Charter Day School, a public charter school in Leland, North Carolina, that serves elementary and middle school students, was sued in 2016 by parents who objected to the dress code. The rules required girls to wear skirts, jumpers or skorts, except on gym days.

In 2019, a federal judge ruled that the dress code was unconstitutional because the charter school should be considered a state actor and that the rule violated the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment.

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AUG 05, 2021 – Can Idaho’s charter schools diversify?

The overall lack of diversity in charters took center stage in 2016, when the Idaho Public Charter School Commission shared with the State Board of Education a clearcut finding: On average, charters underserve the state’s minority and poor students.

Data from an annual statewide report revealed lower average numbers of these and other student subgroups at the state’s then 36 commission-authorized charters compared to their surrounding school districts.

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AUG 06, 2021 – Brunswick Co. health orders charter school to come into compliance with COVID-19 quarantine protocols after 67 positive cases

Charter Day School officials say they “intend to comply” with quarantine and health requirements after the Brunswick County Health Department issued a control measure against the school last week following dozens of positive COVID-19 cases.

As of Monday, health services has been notified of 67 cases of COVID-19 related to a cluster at the Leland charter school.

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AUG 05, 2021 – Sale of Mount Clemens charter school on hold

The pending sale of a charter school in Mount Clemens is apparently on hold as city officials seek additional information about the proposed purchase.

City documents show a nonprofit corporation known as Campus Partners 1 intends to purchase Prevail Academy on Cass Avenue through a $15 million bond issue. The school is currently owned by National Heritage Academies.

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AUG 04, 2021 – New Orleans schools start next week, but 84% of the school buses aren’t licensed

The issue is more than just paperwork, however. Starting in late 2018, WWL found that dozens of small companies hired by charter schools were operating unsafe school buses, employing uncertified drivers and, at times, using uninsured buses to transport public schoolchildren in New Orleans.

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AUG 02, 2021 – Charter School Promoters Loathe Public Authority and Intensify Lawlessness, Threats, and Bully Tactics

Recently in various cities charter school promoters have turned to the courts, legislatures, governors, “commissions,” “review boards,” and other means to say to public school boards: “we don’t care how much you oppose and reject charter schools or how valid your reasons are, we are going to get our way no matter what.

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