Two news articles show the desperation and moral and spiritual bankruptcy of the current crop of educational deformers.
(No, not their bank accounts: those are doing just fine.)
Arne Duncan says that we who criticize his utterly disastrous educational blunders are armchair pundits who are destroying everything he stands for. I would retort that I have more DECADES in the classroom than he has actual weeks teaching school, and I think he is referring to me and the vast majority of other teachers who vehemently disagree with his take on what good education is like; many of us are highly critical, in writing, of his misguided faith-based goofball ideas.
If an unstandardized, rich, full education with lots of arts, music, sports, and foreign languages, led by teachers who are trusted is good enough for him, his kids, the children of the 1%, and the Obama kids, then it’s good enough for the kids who live in poverty. Test prep is not education. Yet what Duncan is promoting is impoverishing the education that our browner and poorer kids are getting.
I recommend reading Anthony Cody’s transcription of Duncan’s remarks, and what Cody has to say about them.
The leadership of the ‘oldest charter school in Washington DC’ has been indicted for scamming the public and their students out of some three million dollars.
Here are a few paragraphs from the City Paper blog by Loose Lips:
The scheme allegedly centered around two for-profit companies: Exceptional Education Management Corporation (EEMC), which was owned and incorporated by Options CEO Donna D. Montgomery, and Exceptional Education Services at Options Public Charter School (EES), a company that was incorporated by Hayward, the chair of Options’ board of trustees. The companies had other ties to the school, too—Options paid for their office space, which they shared, according to the attorney general.
At one point in April 2012, according to the attorney general’s complaint (embedded below), Hayward signed off on a $159,000 loan to EES. Later that year, she allegedly agreed to a $981,250 transportation agreement between the school and EES—a hefty deal for the latter, considering that another company had been paid only $70,000 for a similar contract a year before.
The largest unusual contract Hayward was allegedly involved in went to EEMC. In February 2013, Hayward agreed to a $2,801,721 payment to EEMC as a “management fee,” according to the attorney general’s complaint, even though the contract had not been open for competitive bidding.
Options was expected to receive around $13.5 million last fiscal year, with most of it coming from the District, according to Nathan. Hayward, like Options’ administration, didn’t respond to LL’s request for comment.
While Hayward is named in the lawsuit, her alleged involvement pales to that of her co-defendants. Jeremy L. Williams, a member of the school’s board of trustees, is accused of sending confidential emails to warn the school’s officials of incoming inspections while he was still employed as the chief financial officer of the Public Charter School Board. Another, Options CEO Montgomery, was allegedly paid $425,000 in one year. By comparison, the CEO of D.C. Prep, ranked as one of the city’s top charter schools, made $142,162 in 2012. Nathan’s complaint also points out that $425,000 is more than twice Mayor Vince Gray‘s salary.
You can also read about it elsewhere, such as in the Washington Post, whose editorial staff is trying to figure out whom to throw under the bus and how to whitewash the whole thing.
Let me also add that it is utterly typical of many, many charter schools that their executives and boards of directors receive unbelievable salaries, equal to those of 5 to 10 teachers. For doing what? Radiating “excellence” a couple of times a week while they steer sweetheart contracts to their friends and cronies?
And why do ‘hostile takeover’ specialists like Carl Icahn get to run charter schools?