It seems random events are not so random at Providence Creek Academy, the charter school in Clayton, DE. It now appears that the audit investigation into suspected fraud by a former employee was missing a lot of information. Two other employees were also taking funds meant for students for their own personal use. Head of School Charles “Chuck” Taylor covered it all up. Continue reading
The embattled Head of School for Family Foundation Academy, Sean Moore, is also the treasurer for the Delaware Charter School Network. On the Charter School Accountability Committee (CSAC) is Chuck Taylor, who is the President of the Governing Board of the Delaware Charter School Network. Taylor is listed on the CSAC Voting Committee as a “community member” and “former charter school leader”.
It is obvious there could be a large conflict of interest with Taylor and Moore serving on the same board. Taylor, in my opinion, should have recused himself from dealing with this school’s charter renewal, especially in light of the forthcoming financial improprieties that will be coming out shortly. But the very fact Taylor is listed as “community member” and not his true role, and the fact that Kendall Massett, the executive director of the DE Charter School Network is allowed to ask questions during a charter renewal committee meeting is suspect in itself. The DE Charter School Network is a non-profit company whose mission is to support the charter schools in their network. But it is obvious they have way too much influence at the DOE. If they want to act like union reps, they should call themselves that.
Things keep piling up against Family Foundations Academy, the charter school in Wilmington, DE that is up for charter renewal. Delaware Secretary of Education Mark Murphy will make a decision at the Delaware State Board of Education meeting on Thursday, December 18th.
During the schools initial charter school renewal meeting on October 14th, the board and heads of school were grilled by the CSAC, and you can see where, in my opinion, Chuck Taylor crossed the line. It’s a lengthy read, but goes into a lot of what has been already released. But don’t think this is the end for Family Foundations, there will be more coming.
I’ve written the DOE gave Family Foundations Academy a pass while Gateway and Reach were given a trip to the guillotine, but I don’t think things are looking too good for this Animal House charter.
In a letter addressed to United States Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, GOP Senators from the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Lamar Alexander, Mike Enzi, Richard Burr, Johnny Isakson, Orrin Hatch, Pat Roberts, Lisa Murkowski and Mark Kirk have accused the US DOE of breaking the law when it comes to special education determinations being based on NAEP (National Assessment of Educational Progress) testing and making changes to IDEA without legislative approval. The letter was dated August 4th, 2014.
“The changes spelled out in your “Results-Driven Accountability” framework clearly amount to Federal influence on the standards and assessments states and school districts use to direct the educational program of students with disabilities and would give the Federal Government authority to use student proficiency as measured by the NAEP to evaluate and either reward or sanction school districts. This is clear influence and coercion, if not direct control. It is troubling that the Department made unilateral changes to the IDEA compliance framework without seeking legislative approval, disregarded Congressional intent, and appears to have violated the clear letter of the law.”
The Senators also said the authorizing statute for NAEP states “Any assessment authorized under this section shall not be used by an agent or agents of the Federal Government to establish, require or influence the standards, assessments, curriculum, including lesson plans, textbooks, or classroom materials, or instructional practices of States or local education agencies.”
Does this invalidate OSEP’s ruling against Delaware, Texas, California and Washington D.C.? Special Education has now become a Federal intrusion into public school districts. I hope this issue becomes much bigger, and can also be used as another reason why standardized testing and common core just don’t work for students with special needs. Someone needs to hold Arne Duncan and his wild bunch over at the US DOE accountable.
Thanks to Education Week for supplying the link to the letter: http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/campaign-k-12/Secretary%20Duncan%20Letter%208.4.14.pdf