Judge, Jury, Executioner: The Charter School Version of Accountability

“No further action is being taken at this time.”

-Brian Bauer, Granada Hills Charter High School (GHCHS)

It is the expectation of the CSD that GHCHS will provide notice to all affected parents of students in the 2014-2015 graduating class regarding options for reimbursement or other remedy.

-LAUSD Charter School Division

Reasonable efforts to fully reimburse all pupils, parents and guardians who paid a pupil fee include but are not limited to crediting the pupil's school financial account and sending reimbursement by first class mail to the pupil's last known primary address as contained in school or local educational agency records.”

-California Education Code

This is a battle that did not need to be fought. While Granada Hills Charter High School (GHCHS) claims that its “policy is to comply with applicable federal and state laws and regulations”, the fees it charged for last year’s graduation ceremony violated the portion of the education code that states that “a pupil fee cannot be charged” for this ceremony because it is “an integral part of the educational process.” When confronted with their mistake, the school offered me a refund for some of these fees but refused to take corrective action on a school-wide basis. I elevated the complaint to “Executive Director”, Brian Bauer, who denied a violation had occurred but refused to answer any specific questions about his decision. Left with no other options, I filed a Uniform Complaint Procedure form with the school which should have initiated a formal, independent investigation. Instead, Bauer handled the investigation himself and found that there was no wrongdoing.

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Planting a Flag in LAUSD's District 2

To the Parents of District 2:

When was the last time you felt that you had a voice in how the LAUSD is run? None of the seven Board members currently has a student enrolled in the District and cannot empathize with parents fighting to get the best education possible for their children. Those of us with children who require special education services fare even worse as the LAUSD has struggled for twenty years to prove that it no longer needs court oversight to ensure that it provides these students the support that they need. Meanwhile, warnings of an impending bankruptcy have increased as the charter industry, represented by Monica Garcia, diverts education funds from public schools to those that have no public accountability and promote the segregation of the most severe special education students and English language learners.

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“Following up to our email exchange of last week, attached for your reference is a redacted UCP complaint. As you can see, most of the information has been redacted due to confidentiality issues.”

-LAUSD, Office of the General Counsel


After declaring that they had “no further documents to provide”, the LAUSD finally emailed one of the three Uniform Complaint Process (UCP) forms that were filed against Granada Hills Charter High School (GHCHS) during the period of January 1, 2014, through November 2, 2015. Unfortunately, any hope that this represented a decision by the District to be more transparent was quickly dashed when the document was opened. Apparently, they hired an ex-CIA operative to handle the censoring of the document since almost the complete document was marked “redacted.”

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A Parasite In Search of a Host

The ASNC Board moves to send a letter to the LAUSD in opposition to current plan for a Celerity Charter School to move into the Bushnell School.

-Arroyo Seco Neighborhood Council

The charter industry likes to argue that they are providing choices for parents. Unfortunately, this choice is sometimes made at the barrel of a gun as a well-functioning public school can find itself under invasion by a charter that seeks to set up shop, uninvited, on its campus. The LAUSD tells parents that these co-location arrangements are required by Proposition 39. As is often the case with the District’s relationship with charter schools, this explanation does not tell the whole story.

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In teaching today there is NO WAY

There is no way that teachers are ever consulted. It is the book publishers way; the test publishers way; the out of the classroom, the know nothing downtown administrators way.

There is no way for the teacher to put personality into the lessons and instruction.

There is no way to plan the lesson to meet the needs of the entire class.

There is no way to hope for mastery, much less remediation or review.

One size fits all lessons means that there is no way that the needs of all students with various learning modalities with various learning domains are met.

If you had a public education before the test dominated curriculum became the imperative and you ask if your child is receiving the same well rounded, versatile education with some fun included that you had, the answer is NO WAY!

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Obstruction in the "Public Interest"?

At the present time, we have no further documents to provide you and you cannot request over and over that we search and search again and again.  You cannot continue to ask that we provide you with documents that are non-existent, confidential, exempt, or subject to the deliberative process.

-LAUSD, Office of the General Counsel

While students are expected to turn in their homework on time, the LAUSD bureaucracy does not operate under the same rules. Five weeks past the date they had originally promised, the District finally provided their response to my request for “any complaint filed with the LAUSD Charter Schools Division [CSD] about Granada Hills Charter High School along with” their response. To no one’s surprise, the bureaucrats had not used the extra time to make sure that they performed a thorough and complete search.

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It's In The Blood

NY.jpgBuddy you’re a young man hard man

Fighting’ in the street gonna take on the world some day

Blood on your face

You big disgrace

Kickin’ that banner all over the place

-Brian May

It was not easy being a young contrarian. I still remember clearly the day in the second grade when I broke the social rules and played with the girl who had “cooties” as it was my first experience with ostracization. If this was supposed to bring me into social compliance, it did not work. It was not long before punches were being thrown in my direction.

While fighting may get you in trouble in school, not returning a punch was not an option in my house. My dad had grown up on the rough streets of New York City and worked hard to move his family to the suburbs. The lessons that he had learned on those streets were important to him, especially the necessity of standing up for oneself. It was a value I saw him keep throughout his life. He also made sure to install it in his children.

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Exercising The Mandate

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Suckling at the Taxpayer's Teet

The point is ladies and gentlemen that greed, for lack of a better word, is good.”

-Gordon Gekko, “Wall Street”

In 2014, the salary for the highest paid Secondary Principal in the LAUSD was $159,503.88. In fulfilling their “desire to make the GHCHS [Granada Hills Charter High School] Executive Director position one of the top compensated positions in Los Angeles”,  Brian Bauer was paid $211,188 that year for fulfilling the duties of Principal. This was up from $185,000 in 2013. His retirement and health costs added $33,187 in 2014 and $27,122 in 2013 to the school’s expenses. In 2014, this was almost three times the health and retirement cost for the school’s average employee.

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Looking For Solutions, Not To Be Placated

Placate: “to appease or pacify, especially by concessions or conciliatory gestures


Executive Director Brian Bauer’s response to my inquiry fit a pattern that has become distressingly familiar. During my inspection of documents requested under the California Public Records Act, Bauer’s assistant had told me that, under Granada Hills Charter High School (GHCHS) policy, I was not allowed to take pictures of the documents and that only the school could make copies for me. Believing that this did not comply with the Act, I had sent Bauer an email asking if this was actually the school’s policy and, if it was, on what basis had it been decided. Unfortunately, instead of dealing with a problem that should have been easily resolved, Bauer ignored the question and simply pointed out “that GHCHS provided copies of the documents requested free of charge by waiving the duplication costs.” Implied in his response was a belief that by making an exception to the policy he did not have resolve the flaws that existed with this policy. As a result, the school is free to attempt to break the law when the next stakeholder requests information.

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