One of the key components of last year’s AB1505, which modified the California law authorizing the existence of charter schools, is a requirement that chartering authorities must revoke the charters of any schools ranked “low performing” by the California Department of Education for two years in a row. The CDE released its rankings last month, and twenty-two of LAUSD-authorized charters ranked “low performing.”
If any one of these 22 schools ranks low next year LAUSD must revoke their charters. The California Charter School Association famously picks a few very low-performing schools each year and publicly advocates at LAUSD meetings for their revocation. This is a very, very friendly process the point of which is pure propaganda. The difference here is that no one’s asking CCSA’s opinion and there’s no opportunity for CCSA to spin this in their favor.
And these aren’t just a bunch of random unheard-of charter schools, either. Many of them are run by big name charter management organizations like KIPP, Animo, PUC, Para Los Ninos, and Magnolia. For extra schadenfreude, many of these schools are run by some of the most vocal privatizers, who will go on and on and on without evidence about their educational superpowers. Here’s a list of all 22 of the LAUSD-authorized charters that are halfway to their mandatory charter revocations. A bunch of these are sure to go down next year, so let’s keep watching!
Continue reading The California Department Of Education Released Its 2020 List Of School Rankings — And AB1505 — One Of Last Year’s Charter-Control Measures — Requires LAUSD To Revoke Charters Of Any School Ranked Low Performing Two Years In A Row — The List Contains 22 LAUSD-Authorized Schools Ranked Low Performing — Which Means They Are Halfway To Mandatory Dissolution — Big Names On The List Include KIPP — Animo — Para Los Ninos — Magnolia — Convicted Felon Ref Rodriguez’s Baby PUC — And Many Many More — Schadenfreude Much??!
As you probably know I’ve been investigating LAUSD charter schools using the California Public Records Act since January 2019. I was moved to this work by the monumental UTLA strike and especially the union’s focus on charter co-location.
I obtained some striking early results including an incredibly consequential release of emails from Green Dot Charter Schools, some of the fruits of which got wide and fairly devastating coverage in the media, including the Los Angeles Times, and Capital and Main, and Diane Ravitch’s blog, and elsewhere.
But this kind of success breeds resistance, so a lot of charters lawyered up and stopped producing records in response to my requests, or even stopped producing without the benefit of a lawyer’s advice. The only option left in such a situation is to start filing lawsuits, and that’s just what I’ve been forced to do.
In January 2020, for instance, I filed two. One ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ and the other against white savior charter conspiracy PUC Charter Schools, in some vague sense co-founded by former LAUSD board member and convicted felon Ref Rodriguez.
Continue reading Two Of My Public Records Act Lawsuits Against Charter Schools Settled In April 2020 — ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ PUC Charter Schools — Between Them They Paid More Than $11K — Which Was Supposed To Be Spent On Educating Children — But Which These Privatizing Pirate Academies Wasted Due To Their Appalling And Antisocial Arrogance — Here’s Some Background And Copies Of The Settlement Agreements!
In January 2019 I started investigating Los Angeles charter schools using the California Public Records Act and immediately ran into the typical block-headed obstructionism so beloved of CPRA-subject public agencies. I got some pretty interesting material early on, when I was still focusing on how charters reacted to the UTLA strike. As I began to understand the issues better I started looking into co-locations in general and learned, e.g., a lot of important stuff about GANAS academy.
This material ultimately helped to some extent supporters of their co-location target, Catskill Elementary School, fight off their co-location attempt, which really started to show me the utility of the CPRA not just to scholars and journalists, but to anti-charter activists as well. But things really took off in June 2019 when I received a massive release of emails from Green Dot Charter Schools containing explosive correspondence with the California Charter Schools Association.
These documents revealed, among many, many other things, that LAUSD Superintendent Austin Beutner allowed CCSA lobbyists to vet and edit an advance copy of his first major policy speech. That board member Nick Melvoin asked CCSA lobbyists to write a board resolution for him that would facilitate charters expanding control over LAUSD facilities. That Melvoin shared confidential legal information with CCSA while they were actively suing the District.
That former Board member and now convicted felon Ref Rodriguez also allowed CCSA lobbyists to edit and vet at least one Board resolution. That CCSA intended to put all California students in charter schools by 2030. Revelations from this material were widely covered in the press, including the Los Angeles Times, and Capital and Main, and Diane Ravitch’s blog, and elsewhere. The ramifications of these revelations are still unfolding even now, more than six months later.
Continue reading PUC Charter Schools — Former Home Of Convicted Felon And Disgraced Former School Board Member Ref Rodriguez — Sued To Enforce Compliance With The California Public Records Act — They Refused To Respond At All And Now They Will Have To Pay — And Comply!