June 2019

JUN 30, 2019 – Oklahoma Watch Response to Epic Commentary

Last week, Epic Charter Schools issued a lengthy commentary on our reporter Jennifer Palmer’s story, “Former Epic Teachers Describe Pressure to Manipulate Enrollment.” Most of the commentary was written by two former journalists now employed by Epic.

As executive editor of Oklahoma Watch, I want to emphasize one point above all others in response: We absolutely stand by our story and the facts presented.

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JUN 29, 2019 – Alma d’Arte sacks principal after a rocky year

Through the year, the arts-based charter school saw a decline in enrollment amid changes of disciplinary policies, felony embezzlement charges brought against former staff members (which, for two, were later dismissed), and an ongoing dispute with the state Public Education Commission over insufficiencies in the school’s services for special needs students.

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JUN 27, 2019 – Einstein charter network failed to give students required state social studies exam

Einstein Charter Schools failed to give state-required social studies exam to its middle school students this spring, an error that will negatively affect the charter schools’ state performance scores, according to a spokeswoman for the Louisiana Department of Education.

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JUN 27, 2019 – BREAKING: Pueblo principal and executive director arrested

News 5 Investigates has learned Logan Gogarty, who serves as the principal, executive director and founder of a new charter school in Pueblo District 70 is off the job before the 2019-2020 school year begins. Court records show Gogarty has been arrested and charged with criminal mischief and harassment.

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JUN 26, 2019 – Former Epic Teachers Describe Pressure to Manipulate Enrollment

Administrators at Epic Charter Schools have been allowing, encouraging or pressuring teachers to manipulate students’ enrollment for years in order to improve employees’ bonus pay, according to at least seven former teachers.

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JUN 26, 2019 – Protestors voice concerns with charter schools

People gathered outside James Irwin Charter Elementary school to protest Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos who visited the school Wednesday morning.

Many of them voiced concerns about the growing number of charter schools nationwide. 

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JUN 27, 2019 – Chicago Virtual Charter School CEO On Paid Leave As CPS Watchdog Investigates Questionable Spending

The CEO of Chicago Virtual Charter School is in deep trouble, and others could be too, amid investigation into questionable spending.

Class might be over for the summer, but officials at the Chicago Public Schools continue to study what went on at Chicago Virtual Charter School during the 2018-19 school year.

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JUN 26, 2019 – Florida flunks oversight of charter schools

Florida just got a report card on the state’s oversight of charter schools. The state flunked.

We will note up front that the report came from the National Education Association. The teachers union has developed an adversarial relationship with charter schools — for good reason. What began as a movement to complement public education has become a movement to privatize it.

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JUN 25, 2019 – Should Philly sell a neighborhood school to the charter company running it?

Critics worry a sale like this could leave the district stranded if the charter school ever folds. Some also oppose, on philosophical grounds, the idea of a charter network owning a building that city children are assigned to attend.

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JUN 24, 2019 – Oakland: Ex-American Indian Public Charter School director gets probation in grant fraud case

 In a plea deal with prosecutors, an author and former Oakland charter school director was sentenced to one year of federal probation for a charge of falsifying grant applications for his school.

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JUN 23, 2019 – State refiles theft charge against former charter school director

The ousted director of the now-defunct Halau Lokahi Public Charter School has again been charged with one of four felony theft counts that had been dismissedbecause the state Attorney General took too long to take the case to trial.

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JUN 22, 2019 – Teachers at Detroit’s Hamilton Academy say they won’t receive last paycheck as school closes

Hamilton Academy, a charter school run by Educational Partnerships Incorporated, is closing. 

Several teachers there said they were told just four days before the end of school year, that they would not receive their last paycheck. 

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JUN 21, 2019 – West Side Summit school closes due to low test scores

West Side Summit, a public charter school established six years ago to help bridge the achievement gap for students living in St. Paul’s West Side, announced Friday that it is closing at the end of the month due to poor scores.

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JUN 21, 2019 – New Orleans high school says 87 seniors can’t graduate after grade-fixing scandal findings

Nearly half of the senior class at John F. Kennedy High School was not eligible to graduate this year, even though dozens of those students walked across the stage at a commencement ceremony held in May, officials with the New Beginnings Schools Foundation said Friday.

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JUN 20, 2019 – BESE votes to close charter school, Laurel Oaks Academy

The Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) announced on Thursday, June 20 the closing of two charters schools: Laurel Oaks Academy in East Baton Rouge Parish and Smothers Academy in Jefferson Parish.

BESE says Laurel Oaks had “serious violations of law and policy related to governance, finances, and special education.”

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JUN 19, 2019 – Who decides whether charter schools open in Pa.? Not just your local school district.

The charter school proposed for West Philadelphia had failed to submit a fully developed curriculum. Its management company hadn’t demonstrated that the schools it runs should be replicated, according to the school district.

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JUN 19, 2019 – Charter School Lawsuit That Alleged Problems Settled, Audit Not Finished

A lawsuit that alleged problems and potential criminal activity at a local charter school has been settled.

In court records viewed by LevittownNow.com this week in Doylestown, the lawsuit had been marked “settled, discontinued, and ended without prejustice” as of last month. No details on what caused the case to be settled or what the settlement entailed were made public.

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JUN 18, 2019 – Utah boy sues Soldier Hollow Charter School, saying it ignored ‘red flags’ before his principal raped him on a field trip

He was 10 years old when his charter school principal took a group of students on a trip to the bowling alley as a reward for doing well in class.

But the principal, Charles Weber, ended up violating the fifth grader. He took him to the bowling alley restroom, the boy says, and raped him.

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JUN 17, 2019 – Three East County charter schools forced to close

Nearly 1,000 students left without answers after three charter schools forced to shut down.

In a lawsuit filed by the Grossmont Union High School District in 2015, a judge ruled against the charter schools in Lemon Grove, El Cajon and Lakeside demanding they shut their doors June 28 for good.

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JUN 16, 2019 – Voucher, charter school advocates won’t reveal current donors

You may have seen this pro-school vouchers television ad recently, in advance of Monday’s 8:30 a.m. reconvening of West Virginia’s special legislative session on education.

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JUN 16, 2019 – ‘Home school charters’ let families use state dollars to buy Disneyland tickets, horseback riding lessons and more

Proponents say these charters help them tailor education to their children’s interests. Critics say education dollars should be used for education.

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JUN 16, 2019 – Fourth Family Joins Lawsuit Against Duluth Edison Charter Schools

A fourth family has joined a federal lawsuit that accuses Duluth Edison Charter Schools of racial discrimination, court documents say.

According to court documents, the student, who is biracial, attended North Star Academy for kindergarten. The student was removed at the start of the following year due to safety concerns.

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JUN 14, 2019 – ‘It’s just no, no, no’ | Chavez Prep teachers fighting for transition assistance as school shuts doors for good

Cesar Chavez Prep teachers and staff are facing at least six weeks without pay or health insurance when their school closes.

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JUN 13, 2019 – Arizona charter school operators agree to pay back $180K spent on sports tickets, personal care

A married couple who run financially struggling East Valley charter schools have agreed to repay the state $180,000 after using those funds on tickets to professional sporting events and other personal expenses. 

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JUN 11, 2019 – Somerset Prep DC Public Charter School accused of inflating school grades to pass students

Nearly 400 middle and high school students finished their last month of classes at Somerset Prep DC Charter School.

Some of the people teaching them to believe a large number of those students didn’t deserve to graduate and accuse their own principal of inflating their grades. 

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JUN 12, 2019 – Sex offender working at Springdale school arrested

Mark Joseph Sullivan, 27, had been working at the Don Tyson School of Innovation, which teaches students in grades six through 12, the TV station reported. He’d reportedly gotten a cleaning and maintenance job through Labor Finders, an employment agency.

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JUN 14, 2019 – Orleans School Board Considers Revoking Charter Over Grade-Inflation, Altered Public Records

The Orleans Parish School Board is considering revoking the charter for John F. Kennedy High School at Lake Area because of multiple allegations of students’ grades being inflated and public records being changed.

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JUN 11, 2019 – Parents vent charter school frustrations after many students retained

Angry parents spoke their minds Tuesday evening at a public feedback meeting held at Advantage Charter Academy. Three weeks ago, the parents of about 100 students were notified they would be retained but the school quickly reversed their decision.

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JUN 10, 2019 – Parents react to sudden closure of Kent charter school

Families are scrambling to pick up the pieces and figure out what went wrong after Excel Public Charter School and Destiny Charter Middle School, both part of the multi-state Green Dot charter chain, announced they are shutting down this month due to low enrollment.

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JUN 10, 2019 – Charter school operator under fire as it arrives in Nashville

Noble Education Initiative could soon emerge as a key player in the Nashville charter school market, but the Florida-based nonprofit will first have to overcome immediate opposition.

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JUN 07, 2019 – The failures of the Alabama Charter School Commission

The Alabama Charter School Commission is a mess.

And that might be an insult to messes.

Friday morning, the 10-member Commission, which has, apparently, full authority to approve or deny charter schools that suck millions of dollars from our already underfunded Alabama public schools, will meet with just four members in good standing.

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JUN 06, 2019 – Charter School Scandal Suspects Appear in San Diego Court

A network of charter schools in California stole more than $50 million from the state by creating phantom institutions that enrolled unwitting students it found through other schools and youth programs, prosecutors said.

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JUN 06, 2019 – Commencement speech goes viral for criticism of charter school & what happened next

Posted by a former teacher, a viral video shows the moment a student speaker criticized the charter school at a commencement speech, and how the school took action immediately after.

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JUN 06, 2019 – A low-performing virtual charter school seeks permission to grow

Should a charter school that’s performed poorly be allowed to grow?

That’s the question State Board of Education (SBE) member James Ford asked Wednesday during a board discussion about N.C. Virtual Academy’s (NCVA) request to increase its enrollment by 20 percent next school year.

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JUN 05, 2019 – Leadership of troubled D.C. public boarding school votes to close campus

The board of Monument Academy Public Charter School voted Tuesday to close the school at the end of the academic year — a stunning turn for a weekday boarding campus that has attracted big name-donors and received national attention for its approach to educating students who have extensive learning and emotional needs.

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JUN 04, 2019 – State: Foundation acts as ‘alter ego’ for Allentown charter school and must provide information to Morning Call

In a case that could set a precedent for how charter school foundations operate, the Pennsylvania Office of Open Records has ruled that an Allentown charter school must provide The Morning Call with information the newspaper requested regarding the cost of construction of its 1,600-seat gymnasium that opened this year.

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JUN 03, 2019 – Charter school honcho Eva Moskowitz leaked student’s disciplinary record after his mom criticized repeated suspensions, federal investigators find

Success Academy founder Eva Moskowitz violated federal guidelines when she released a young student’s disciplinary record in 2015 as part of a public relations war over the charter school’s suspension policies, federal education officials found.

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JUN 05, 2019 – He’s out. Easton Arts Academy charter school announces ‘departure’ of controversial administrator

An administrator accused in a lawsuit of rigging grades and criticized by teachers for creating a toxic work environment no longer works at Easton Arts Academy, according to an email sent to parents.

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JUN 04, 2019 – Pa. charter-school students lag in math, with cyber results ‘overwhelmingly negative,’ study says

Compared with their counterparts in traditional public schools, Pennsylvania charter school students are making similar progress in reading but faring worse in math, according to a Stanford University study supplying the latest data in the years-long debate over charter performance.

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JUN 03, 2019 – Ex-Gary superintendent Cheryl Pruitt put on leave in Chicago charter school investigation

Cheryl Pruitt, former superintendent of the Gary Community School Corp., is now under investigation in her role as Chief Executive Officer of a Chicago charter school.

Pruitt, serving as CEO of Chicago Virtual Charter School, was placed on paid administrative leave last week pending the outcome of an internal investigation, the CVCS Board of Directors confirmed in a prepared statement.

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JUN 04, 2019 – OCPS chair wants district to investigate Orlando charter school that delayed reporting abuse

Orange County School Board Chairman Teresa Jacobs said in a letter she wants the district to look into options, including in the most extreme case, ending a contract with an Orlando charter school that by its own admission did not notify the Department of Children and Families or Orlando police about accusations that an employee was propositioning students until after conducting an internal investigation. 

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JUN 02, 2019 – Why did a Baker charter school hold back so many kids? Here’s what they say, but questions remain

A local charter school sparked a backlash when it informed many parents that their children would have to repeat their grade level — even if they had good grades in all their courses.

Two days later, Advantage Charter Academy in Baker backpedaled.

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JUN 03, 2019 – Charter schools in NJ move into churches, with room for conflict

Across the country, charter schools struggling to find space have moved into facilities owned by faith groups. In other cases, religious organizations have gotten approval to open charter schools, while promising that the schools will remain secular.

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To view scandals from prior years: