California: Charter School Lobby Insists that “Public Charter Schools” Are Businesses, Not Public Schools

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Charters: Public Schools or Private Businesses?

It is the intent of the Legislature in enacting this act to do both of the following:
(a) Ensure that charter school governance is transparent.
(b) Ensure that monitoring and oversight of charter schools are conducted to protect the public interest.

-California AB 1478

CCSA.jpgAs recipients of public funding, one would expect that organizations running charter schools would be subjected to the same open government regulations that other government entities, including elected school boards, must follow. While it is not always convenient to conform to the Brown Act, the California Public Records Act (PRA), or the Political Reform Act of 1974, these provisions of California law help ensure transparency to the taxpayers.  Unfortunately, under the state Education Code, the charter industry is currently exempt from following these requirements, leaving parents of students in these schools blind to their operations.

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Tone Deaf: Granada Misses the Point in Promoting its iGranada Program

choice

noun  \ ˈchȯis \

2 : power of choosing

- Merriam-Webster

iGranada-Picture-768x576.jpgMore than 19 months have passed since the LAUSD issued a Notice To Cure to Granada Hills Charter High School, demanding that they abide by their charter and give “first preference for enrollment...to students residing in the former attendance area.” As lawyers wallow through the “formal ‘dispute resolution’ procedure,” students are forced to attend classes supervised by uncredentialed advisors in buildings that need to “be razed given [their] age and condition.” In at least one case, their actions violated the education code which mandates that “students with special needs who wish to participate in independent study to have an individualized education program (IEP) that provides for independent study.”

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LAUSD Board Set to Consider "Holding GHCHS Accountable to Their Charter" Resolution

It’s hard to light a candle, easy to curse the dark instead

- Nightwish

GHCHS_1.23.18.jpgIn order to prevent charter schools from discouraging parents from enrolling children with special education needs, the Office of the Independent Monitor required that the District prohibit them from asking for any special education paperwork prior to enrollment. As originally pointed out in a Uniform Complaint filed on December 21, 2016, Granada Hills Charter High School (GHCHS) has blatantly violated this prohibition for years without any intervention from the LAUSD Charter School Division, the LAUSD School Board, or the State Department of Education. In fact, as the school enrolls students for the next school year, it still requests prohibited documents on three different pages in the enrollment section of its website.

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Make it a Headline When Trump Actually Tells the Truth

Why are we having all these people from shitho**** countries come here?

- Donald Trump

Before the public ever thought that Donald Trump would run for President, he “bought space in multiple New York City newspapers calling for the execution of the five black and Hispanic teens accused of raping a jogger in Central Park.” To this day, he still believes that they “were guilty, despite being officially exonerated by DNA evidence” and the fact that someone else has confessed to the crime. To begin his campaign, Trump descended an escalator before a gaggle of paid “supporters” to announce that Mexico was “sending people that have lots of problems”. Unfortunately, it was not poverty or joblessness that he was concerned about but his false accusation that they were involved disproportionately in drugs, crime, and rape. During the campaign, he called for “a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States”. After Heather Heyer was killed for protesting against white-supremacists in Charlottesville, Trump went off script to declare “that were very fine people, on both sides.” He described any NFL player who would dare to respectfully protest police brutality by kneeling during the National Anthem as a “son of a bitch”. Are we really surprised that he thinks that only white people from rich countries deserve the opportunity to immigrate to our country?

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Whack-A-Mole: The Los Angeles Approach to Charter Regulation

Our oversight is “proactive and responsive.”

- José Cole-Gutiérrez, LAUSD Charter School Division

Last June, I informed the LAUSD School Board that a charter school under their jurisdiction was violating the privacy of their students by publishing “Parent Volunteer Hours” reports on their website that included student names. The charter’s Chief Development Officer defended the practice by saying that even though the list included the names of students and not volunteers, it was “a way to recognize and congratulate those who are involved.” No mention was made of the obvious violation of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).

404.jpg

Clicking the link that used to provide access to the “Parent Volunteer Hours” reports now returns a “404 Page Not Found” error. It is reassuring that going forward the privacy of these students is no longer being violated. However, quietly removing this information from the website does not change the fact that the students’ privacy was already violated. It also leaves questions unanswered, including:

  • The LAUSD Charter School Division (CSD) has stated in the past that “We look at their websites, not only at that time but in their oversight.” Did they miss this violation or purposely overlook it?
  • Why did the administration of the school not realize that their actions were a violation of federal law?
  • Were parents notified that their children’s privacy had been violated?
  • What steps have been taken to ensure that other charter schools are not engaging in the same practice?
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LAUSD Stakeholders Are Not Reading From An Open Book

Access to information concerning the conduct of the people’s business is a fundamental and necessary right of every person in this state

- California Government Code


When LAUSD Superintendent Michelle King first disappeared from the halls of the Beaudry Building “some insiders said she injured herself in an accident while on vacation with her family.” In October, “a district spokeswoman downplayed the effect of the medical issue” saying that she would return the following Monday, but that did not happen and the medical leave was made indefinite. A District spokesman then announced that “the superintendent planned to return January 22.” This was proven incorrect when four months into her leave King announced that she will not “return to her position and plans to retire later this year”. She “also ended months of speculation by announcing the condition that prompted her medical leave: she has been receiving treatment for cancer.”

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If Money Continues to Talk, We're Screwed

In the congressional races in 2008, the candidate who had more money won more than 93% of the time. Our representatives don’t serve us; they serve the people who pay them — their corporate funders.

- Cenk Uygur

The Republicans passed a tax bill despite the opposition of 55% of Americans. Now in an ass-backward move, they will now rely on conservative groups to plan “a multimillion-dollar effort to sell the GOP’s tax cut law”. These efforts include the Koch brothers launching “a multimillion-dollar push next year”, a GOP super PAC spending “$10 million to protect House members” and the Committee to Unleash Prosperity spending “the majority of its $1 million annual budget selling the tax plan”. The success of this plan relies on the American people forgetting that the law could add “$2.0 trillion to $2.2 trillion (before interest)” to the deficit, purposely punishes the citizens of Blue States, and is crafted in a way that “nearly two-thirds of the benefit [go] to the richest fifth of Americans in 2018.” The key to enabling this amnesia is the (perhaps inflated) reductions to withholding rates that will take effect in February, distracting the middle class from the fact that by 2027, 53% of Americans will pay more taxes under the new tax scheme.

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An Administration Built on Blackwhite

BLACKWHITE...a loyal willingness to say that black is white when Party discipline demands this. But it means also the ability to BELIEVE that black is white, and more, to KNOW that black is white, and to forget that one has ever believed the contrary.

- George Orwell, 1984

Net_Neutrality.jpgThe Right-wing has spent a good portion of this year complaining that their First Amendment rights are under attack. Considering the vast amount of speech that now occurs on the Internet, it would seem that they would, therefore, place a priority on protecting Net Neutrality rules that ensure a level playing field for all content providers on the web. Unfortunately, this is the era of Trump and protections that “prevent Internet access providers from blocking content, websites and applications, slowing or speeding up services or classes of service, and charging online services for access or fast lanes to Internet access providers’ customers” are now labeled as “oppressive”. Welcome to the corporatocracy where “restoring freedom to the internet” requires you to allow your Internet access provider to decide what information you are allowed to receive.

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The Dark Knight - A Congressman Votes Against the Interests of His Constituents

Steve_Knight.jpgAs multiple fires burned out of control throughout Southern California, including the Rye Fire in Santa Clarita, Congressman Steve Knight used his Twitter feed to provide his constituents with vital information. However, the help needed by the victims of these disasters cannot be delivered on social media, they will need their governments to provide them with an actual safety net. Unfortunately, the tax bill voted on by Knight last month eliminates one way that this assistance is already provided as it “would phase out the ability to deduct personal casualty losses from wildfires and earthquakes...but keep the deduction for damage from hurricanes and floods like those in Florida and Texas this year.” Knight’s “yes” vote helped to pass the bill.

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