A Charter School Violates Its Student's Privacy to Shame Parents Into Volunteering
“When work is required, it's not voluntary. It's wrong and unlawful to punish a child for what his or her parents can't or won't do.”
- Hilary Hammell, Public Advocates attorney
In return for their receipt of public funding, charter organizations are not allowed to charge parents and guardians any type of fees for their students to attend these schools. This includes forcing them to fulfill a minimum quota of “volunteer” hours. As stated by the California Charter School Association (CCSA): “it is not legal nor appropriate for a student to be excluded from a charter school or a school activity because a parent did not volunteer or make a financial contribution to their school.” Still, a 2014 report by Public Advocates “found that 168, or almost one-third of the 555 charter schools [they] surveyed, explicitly require unpaid parent or family ‘service hours.’” Included in the report’s examples were two charters authorized by the LAUSD.Read more
The LAUSD Turns A Blind Eye as Charters Cherry-Pick Their Students
“It is time to answer his question.”
- Scott Schmerelson, LAUSD Board Member
As I have reported previously, Granada Hills Charter High School (GHCHS) has items on the enrollment page of their website that appear to violate the law and clearly violate their charter. During the past six months, I have been unable to get anyone at the school, the LAUSD Charter School Division or the State Department of Education to take the appropriate action to bring the school into compliance. On Tuesday, June 13, 2017, I brought this issue to the attention of the LAUSD School Board with the following public comment:
Included in the information that I am giving to you is a page from the Granada Hills Charter High School charter which states:
“Granada Hills Charter shall not request or require submission of a student’s IEP, 504 Plan, or any other record or related information prior to admission, participation in any admissions or attendance lottery, or pre-enrollment event or process, or as a condition of admission or enrollment.”
Standing Up For Our Public Schools
“Charters are publicly funded but privately managed and, like most privately run businesses, the schools prefer to avoid transparency in their operations.”
- Bobbi Murray / Capital and Main
In the past five years, the LAUSD Board had denied nine charter renewals while renewing at least 162. The charter industry, therefore, considered the Board to be hostile towards charters and spent $9,695,351.00 on the last School Board election, purchasing seats for Board Members who will do their bidding. Now, with a majority secured, charters like Celerity (whose offices have been raided by the FBI) and Magnolia (which according to the California Charter School Association, operates academically inferior schools) can be assured that the pro-charter majority on the Board will see that these privately run schools are not held accountable at all for the public funds that they receive.
What I Learned From Mandarin Class (Besides Mandarin)
By Sydney Thiroux/Granada Hills Charter High School
I have been studying Mandarin since my freshman year at Granada Hills Charter High School (GHCHS). I am blessed to have had the most amazing Mandarin teacher throughout my high school career. Recently, my teacher, Ms. Chen, informed her four Mandarin classes that she would be leaving our school after the school year was over. She will be working at Geffen Academy, a grades 6-12 academy affiliated with UCLA, to build their Mandarin program.
Naturally, all of her students, including myself, were heartbroken. She was our favorite teacher. How could she just leave us? Learning Mandarin wouldn’t be the same without her.
Many high school students take a foreign language class just to fulfill a graduation requirement. Mandarin class became so much more than that to me. Here are a few of the things that I learned from that class, besides Mandarin:Read more
The Conman-In-Chief and His Unshakable Fans
“I could stand in the middle of Fifth Ave. and shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose any voters.”
According to Republican mythology, Barack Obama’s relationship with Saudi Arabia was a disaster. Right-wing critics said that by allegedly bowing to King Abdullah, he was “bending over to show greater respect to Islam" and, thereby, “belittled the power and independence of the United States". In 2015, Donald Trump complained that Michelle Obama had “insulted” her Saudi Arabian hosts because she had “refused to wear a scarf.” Then-candidate Chris Christie called it an “embarrassment” when Saudi Arabia pulled out of a summit scheduled for Camp David and complained that “we’re not listening to them”. When Obama was snubbed by King Salman on his last visit to the Kingdom, Trump said: “It’s called no respect.”Read more
What the school board shift could mean for Michelle King, who was just named Superintendent of the Year
UTLA President Alex Caputo-Pearl predicted challenges for King with the new school board majority, and longtime LA Unified observer Carl Petersen said King’s job will be harder because of the board’s makeup. Petersen, who has twice run unsuccessfully for school board, said, “Michelle King will have it harder. The charter groups have bought themselves a new school board, and they will be tough on her.”
JUST IN: Steve Zimmer concedes in LAUSD board race, Kelly Gonez leading in District 6
"When Zimmer arrived at his campaign’s party in Mar Vista, a somber crowd met him. UTLA President Alex Caputo-Pearl had been at Imelda Padilla’s party in Mission Hills but arrived at Zimmer’s party in time for his speech. Also at the party were school board member George McKenna, board secretariat Jefferson Crain, District 2 candidate Carl Petersen, and former school board members David Tokofsky and Bennett Kayser. Also attending were some LA School Police officers, not in uniform, and many members of UTLA, the teachers union."
The Politics of Retribution
“A plan for ensuring best and fair practices for charter operators, including results that indicate positive impacts on the achievement gap, inclusion of all students, fair labor practices, and parent engagement practices.”
-Steve Zimmer, 11/13/12
Betsy Devos, Eli Broad, and Michael Bloomberg have spent millions of dollars pushing to privatize our public schools with disastrous effects for school districts like the LAUSD. Much of this spending is not used to benefit students in any way, but to influence elections. This spending has swelled to the point where once again Los Angeles has broken the record for “the priciest school board race in U.S. history.”Read more
You Can't Keep a Bad Charter Down
“No question about @MagnoliaSchools academic superiority - questioning your reading skills.”
-Alex Johnson, VP LA County Board of Education
“Specifically, the CAASPP results in ELA and Math indicate that in both 2014-15 and 2015-16, 0% of the school’s English Learner (EL) population met or exceeded proficiency.”
- LA County Office of Education Staff
As the LAUSD prepared to take the unusual step of not renewing the charters of three Magnolia Science Academies last October, their chief executive claimed that “it would be wrong to punish kids [for poor management] by closing strong schools.” After the vote, the California Charter Schools Association (CCSA) released a statement complaining that charters were no longer “evaluated mostly on the degree to which they were helping students learn.” Ignored by both parties was the fact that the CCSA itself had ranked one of these schools as a one out of ten, which in no way can be considered “strong”. The other two were at best average with ranks of four and six.Read more
Steve Zimmer: A Last Stand Between Public Education and the Privatizers
As a special education and parent advocate who has run twice in LAUSD elections under the rallying cry of “Change The LAUSD”, my first inclination is to recommend against a vote for the incumbent in the District 4 Board race. However, as the election of Trump has shown, voting with a “throw the bums out” mentality can be disastrous if the people who fill these voids are less interested in fixing what is broken than burning the whole thing down. Nick Melvoin and his supporters’ plans to push even more students into charters falls into the latter category and will only serve to bankrupt the District, taking away opportunities for those left behind.
In some ways, Melvoin represents the Status Quo for the District. After all, the LAUSD “already has the highest number of charters - more than 200 - of any school system in the country”. These privately run organizations are largely unregulated by a Charter School Division that is headed by a former employee of one of the groups pushing to elect Melvoin. While tagged as anti-charter by the CCSA, this Board has only rejected nine charter renewals during the last five years. This includes the several from Celerity charters, whose offices were raided by the FBI. This inadequate scrutiny of charters would be lessened even further by a Board with a pro-charter majority.Read more