Education issues as seen from a father's eyes.
By Carl J. Petersen
“ASB funds can never be used to loan money to any group or individual”
- GHCHS’ ASB Handbook
As quoted by the LAUSD Charter School Division
Although parents were never notified, the LAUSD’s Charter School Division (CSD) issued a Notice to Cure to Granada Hills Charter High School (GHCHS) on September 21, 2016. This notice that specified “Immediate Action Required” was issued as a direct result of my investigation that found that the charter’s administration was improperly using “funds of a student body organization” for their payroll obligations. These funds were raised by the student body, are owned by the students of the school and are required to be under the direct control of the Associated Student Body (ASB) council. The law specifically prohibits these funds from being used to pay for items, like payroll, that are supposed to be paid for by the school.Read more
If the picture on the front of the latest Monica Garcia flyer to hit your mailbox looks familiar, it is because it was the same one that the California Charter School Association (CCSA) used in its unethical campaign against Bennett Kayser. However, this time instead of falsely accusing Kayser of trying to stop Latino children from attending schools in white neighborhoods, they are claiming that “every child deserves the same level of educational funding no matter who they are or where they live.” (emphasis mine) This is just the latest example of how the CCSA and their pawn Garcia really do not care about reducing the achievement gap for the students of District 2.
In order for children on the autism spectrum to reach their full potential, parents and teachers must work closely together to tailor an educational program that meets each child’s unique needs. For those with mild to severe disabilities, the law specifies that the procedures used be formalized in an Individualized Education Program (IEP). A well executed IEP meeting is a collaborative effort between parents and the team involved in the child’s education.
Faced with two daughters who had stalled in their progress, my wife and I prepared ourselves for a new round of IEPs. Both meetings started well, with the other participants either agreeing with our assessments or providing suggestions that built upon our ideas. However, in the end, they refused to write these into the IEPs. In each case, we were pulled aside by someone who risked their employment with the LAUSD to explain that the District that would not allow them to include what we all agreed was the best course of action.Read more
- Monica Garcia
There are many challenges facing the LAUSD. As an example, just last month the District warned state and county officials that it “may not be able to meet its financial obligations in upcoming years because it faces a cumulative deficit of $1.46 billion through the 2018-2019 school year.” It is also fighting a $1 billion lawsuit filed by Mark Geragos against the LAUSD on behalf of teachers who were victimized by the District’s Teacher Jail program. Parents of children with moderate to severe special education needs are also suing the District in an effort to keep special education centers open. Most concerning, incumbent Board member Monica Garcia states that “most of our kids, all of our kids can’t read.”
- Los Angeles Times, 1/25/17
Exempting charters “from many of the regulations that govern traditional schools” was supposed to be a way to remove barriers to innovation. Unfortunately, this also provided a way unscrupulous operators to profit from education funds. As an example, the principal of El Camino Real Charter High School got caught charging “first-class airfare and luxury hotel rooms” and personal charges on his school credit card was “punished” with a $215k severance payout. Granada Hills Charter High School made unauthorized transfers from its Associated Student Body bank account. The latest example may be the Celerity Educational Group, which was raided today by federal agents.
“We cannot truly have the impact charters were intended to have - to reinvent public education - if we do not close those charters that have demonstrated an inability to meet the challenge of excellence and chronically underperform.”
- California Charter School Association (CCSA)
According to the statistics provided by the CCSA, View Park Middle School (VPMS) appears to be accelerating towards failure. In 2015, the charter’s Similar Students Rank was a mediocre four out of ten. Last year, it dropped to a one out of ten. Included in a “Findings of Fact” dated January 10, 2017, the LAUSD Charter School Division (CSD) noted that, on the 2014-15 SBAC assessment, only 5% of VPMS’ students met or exceeded the performance standards in math. In 2015-2016, this dropped to 3%. In both years, 0% of students with disabilities met or exceeded these standards. These statistics are part of the reason that the CSD found that VPMS “has presented an unsound educational program” and recommended that the LAUSD Board deny its renewal petition. With a 4-3-0 vote, the Board ignored this recommendation and the charter will continue to operate.Read more