Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Oakland charter schools to date

Please add any corrections in the comments section. -- Thanks. (Revised 4/28/2011)


- Number of charter schools approved to open (by OUSD, county, or state) = 49  (+ 2 not yet opened)
- Number of revoked or abandoned charter schools = 16
- Failure rate to date = 32.65% (16/49)
- Schools highlighted in red were revoked, abandoned, or not renewed.
- Two additional schools are due to open in Fall 2011. 
  • Achieve Academy: Approved in 2006; CMO: Education for Change
  • American Indian Public Charter School: Approved in 1996
  • American Indian Public Charter School II: Approved in 2007
  • American Indian Public High School: Approved in 2005
  • ARISE High School: Approved in 2007
  • Bay Area Technology School: Approved in 2004
  • Berkley Maynard Academy: Approved in 2005; CMO: Aspire Public Schools
  • CA College Prep Academy: Approved in 2005; CMO: Aspire Public Schools; county approved; closed 2008; moved to Berkeley
  • Civicorps Elementary: Approved in 2001
  • Civicorps Middle School: Approved in 2009
  • Community School for Creative Education (new): Charter denied by OUSD; sought and were granted approval by county; opening Fall 2011
  • Conservatory of Vocal and Instrumental Arts (COVA): Approved in 2007
  • Education for Change at Cox Elementary: Approved in 2005; CMO: Education for Change; only OUSD school conversion; renewal denied 2010; sought and received county approval
  • Dolores Huerta Learning Academy: Approved in 1999; renewal denied 2009 and closed
  • E. C. Reems Academy of Tech and Art: Approved in 1999
  • EBCC Civicorps Corpsmember Academy: Approved in 1996; grade 12+ only
  • East Oakland Leadership Academy: Approved in 2003
  • East Oakland Leadership High: Approved in 2008
  • East Oakland Partnership School: Approved in 1999; abandoned in 1999
  • Envision Academy for Arts & Technology: Approved in 2004 by Alameda County
  • ERES Academy: Approved in 2009;CMO: Aspire Public Schools; took over Huerta Academy site
  • Growing Children: Approved in 2002; revoked in 2006 and closed
  • Junior Space Exploration Academy: Approved in 2006; revoked 2007 and closed
  • KIPP Bridge College Preparatory / KIPP Bridge Charter Academy: Approved in 2002; CMO: KIPP; initially state-approved, then district-approved
  • LPS (Leadership Public Schools)-College Park: Approved in 2005;CMO: Leadership Public Schools
  • Lighthouse Charter High: Approved in 2005
  • Lighthouse Community Charter: Approved in 2002
  • Lionel Wilson College Prep: Approved in 2002; CMO: Aspire Public Schools
  • Lotus Agriculture and Tech: Approved in  2002; abandoned in 2004; never opened
  • Meroe International Academy: Approved in 2000; revoked in 2001 and closed
  • Millsmont Academy Secondary: Approved in 2008; CMO: Aspire Public Schools
  • Millsmont Academy: Approved in 2004; CMO: Aspire Public Schools
  • Monarch Academy: Approved in 2000; CMO: Aspire Public Schools
  • North Oakland Community Charter: Approved in 2000
  • Oak Tree Charter: Approved in 1999; revoked in 2000 and closed
  • Oakland Aviation High School: Approved in 2006; renewal denied in 2011 and closed
  • Oakland Charter Academy: Approved in 1993
  • Oakland Charter High School: Approved in 2007
  • Oakland Health Science: Approved in 2007; abandoned 2009; never opened
  • Oakland Military Institute: Approved in 2001;initially state-approved, then district-approved
  • Oakland School for the Arts: Approved in 2002
  • Oakland Unity High School: Approved in 2003
  • Oasis High School: Approved in 2004; renewal denied in 2009 and closed
  • Olivet Partnership School: Approved in 1999; abandoned in 1999; never opened
  • San Antonio Partnership School: Approved in 1999; abandoned in 1999; never opened
  • Space Exploration Academy: Approved in 2006; renewal denied 2007 and closed
  • University Prep Academy (UPrep): Approved in 2002; revoked in 2007 and closed
  • Vincent Academy (new): Approved by OUSD in 2010; due to open Fall 2011
  • West Oakland Community Charter: Approved in 1999; closed in 2006
  • World Academy: Approved in 2005; CMO: Education for Change
  • Youth Employment Partnership: Approved in 2004; ungraded secondary students; closed 2008



Friday, April 22, 2011

Same old, same old...even 10,000 miles away

Check out this series of interesting news stories published by a Maldivian newspaper about their local Gulen school. The Maldives is a chain of islands in the Indian Ocean, 375 miles southwest of the tip of India. h/t CASILIPS and Watchdog.

Note: Lale means tulip in Turkish. It's yet another flower reference for the name of a Gulen school.

Screen shot of video posted by user yunusyildiz1984.
Yunus Yildiz is the name of the computer teacher who fled the country (see the last story).
President inaugurates Lale International Youth School. Miadhu Daily (Maldives) 14 May 2009 
President Nasheed has said that Lale International Youth School is one of the very first of the new model of schools that the government wanted to have in the country. The President made the statement while speaking at the inauguration of Lale Youth International School in Hulhumale’.

In his speech, the President highlighted the historical relations that existed between the Maldives and Turkey. Speaking in this regard, the President noted that the Maldives and the Turkey shared many similar traits…

Police and the education ministry are investigating reports that pupils at Lale Youth International school in Hulhumale are being subjected to physical abuse, including by the school’s principal…

The assistant principal has since gone home to Turkmenistan…

Police spokesperson Ahmed Shiyam confirmed police were conducting an investigation at the school.

Lale Youth International School is under investigation as a front for an international tax and visa racket operating out of Turkey, Minivan News understands, after weeks of investigation and dozens of interviews with concerned staff, parents and government agencies.

Today police requested that Maldives immigration hold the passport of Principal Serkan Akar, after he attempted to flee the country this morning. Minivan News understands the investigation relates to matters concerning child abuse at the school, and potentially fraudulent qualifications.

The school is also currently being investigated by the Human Rights Commission of the Maldives (HRCM), following complaints from parents. A team from the commission has already interviewed staff and management, and is reportedly in the process of reviewing two conference-tables worth of documents…

President of HRCM Ahmed Saleem said the Lale case was “very strange” and a “high priority” for the commission.
“A lot of government institutions have investigated the school: the Labour Ministry, police… the strange thing is that no action has been taken,” he said. HRCM’s investigation is ongoing but is expected to be resolved next week…

Deputy Principal Suleyman Atayev said Akar was trying to escort two children to an Information Communications Technology (ICT) Olympiad when police stopped him at the airport…

The agreement to run the school was made between the Education Ministry and a local Maldivan company called Biz Atoll Pvt Ltd, which operates out of an unmarked fifth floor residence in a large, nondescript apartment block on Buruzu Magu. The Biz Atoll paperwork is signed by a Turkish individual called ‘Cengiz Canta’…

Lale’s school fees are somewhat arbitrary. Most students pay a monthly tuition fee of US$150. Others pay a combination of other fees including a ‘registration fee’ of US$240, an ‘admission fee’ of US$50, and in some cases an ‘annual enrolment fee’ of up to US$300-465. Yet other students receive discounts on these amounts ranging between 5-50 percent.

The school, which was provided to Biz Atoll free by the government, reportedly receives 50 percent of its funding from a group of Turkish businessmen who pour charity funds into schools in several developing countries, including Sri Lanka, Burma, Indonesia and Cambodia.

Asked who these individuals funding the school were, Lufthy said “I don’t think anyone is sure.”

Atayev confirmed the school was funded by Turkish businessmen through a Turkish organisation called Tuskon, ‘The Turkish Confederation of Businessmen and Industrialists’, and its subsidiary.

But despite the apparent presence of an income, Lale teachers report being denied clocks and light bulbs for their classrooms because of budgetary constraints, while the school’s science labs have no water or electricity and the chemistry lab no gas connection, preventing students from completing coursework necessary for their IGCSE exams in 2011…

“It is commonly accepted among the foreign staff that Turkish teachers are getting higher wages, and that much of the money being brought into the school is not being directed in the appropriate manner. Indian and local teachers are at a huge disadvantage, with many of them receiving very low wages, and even gaining contracts minus basic privileges that other foreign staff get, such as rent allowances,” [a school staff member] said…[Teachers at the Discovery School of Tulsa (OK) have made similar complaints about salary differences. DSA-Tulsa is operated by the Cosmos Foundation, see HERE and HERE.] 

Yet another staff member reported sighting “bundles” of Rf 500 notes being given to Turkish staff.

Meanwhile, a parent told Minivan News that he had spoken to one of the Turkish businessmen involved with the school, who had boasted that if his business donated money to the school, under Turkish taxation law he did not have to pay taxes on it.

A teacher told Minivan News that “Turkish teachers escort Turkish businessmen around the school on a weekly basis, and regularly make trips to Turkey…

“A lot of money is going somewhere,” another suggested. Atayev, on the other hand, claimed that no Turkish teacher worked at the school for the money, but rather “for the benefit of humankind.”…[Gulenists are on a mission]

A common complaint among both Maldivian and expatriate staff at the school is that many of the Turkish teachers are unable to speak English sufficiently to communicate, let alone teach.

Instead, students are reportedly taught five sessions of Turkish a week (compared with two in Islam). Several teachers have even offered English lessons to the Turkish teachers, and expressed surprise at the apparent lack of interest.

“The level of the Turkish staff’s English is a real concern, with many foreign teachers unable to even have an open conversation with some of the Turkish staff,” a Lale teacher told Minivan News…

The principal Serkan Akar was criticised for lacking both professionalism and any apparent qualifications in education or management. A source told Minivan News that when pressured over his qualifications, Akar had produced certification “still warm from the printer.”

Initial recruitment of teachers was performed by Biz Atoll. An early job advertisement sought nearly 138 staff, including eight mathematics teachers, eight biology teachers, six Russian teachers, five PE teachers and six chemistry teachers for Rf 10,000 apiece. Specific qualifications sought included “at least three years of experience” and “Should have good communication skill”(sic).

Despite the high numbers of teachers sought, the school currently has over 200 students, around 60 of whom are in the preschool headed by Serkan’s wife, Saliha Akar…

Moreover, staff members familiar with matter have revealed that ‘phantom teachers’ not working at the school are being paid salaries, “and there are other instances in which teachers who have departed are still being paid.”

The school counsellor, who also works as a chemistry teacher and has ‘English teacher’ on his work permit, “can’t speak English and doesn’t even know what psychology is”, according to another teacher…

During an investigation of the school last year, the Department of Labour Relations in the Human Resources Ministry told Minivan News that some employees at Lale were working “in positions that were different to those specified on their visa.”…

Minivan News reported on January 14 that parents had made allegations that Serkan Akar and then-Deputy Principal Guvanchmyrat Hezretov were using physical force to discipline children…

Students were reportedly threatened that if they told their parents they would receive worse punishments.

Minivan News understands that Hezretov later fled to Sri Lanka after police obtained a warrant for his arrest…

However, the case subsequently lapsed due to lack of evidence…

Former principal of Lale Youth International School, Serkan Akar, appeared in the criminal court yesterday and denied assault and battery charges made against him made by the Prosecutor General’s office…

The Human Rights Commission of the Maldives (HRCM) is currently compiling a case concerning abuse and other activities at Lale, which were reported by Minivan News last month. Akar has since tried to leave the country twice but was detained by immigration officials, who confiscated his passport…

A report by the Human Rights Commission of the Maldives (HRCM) into Lale Youth International School on Hulhumale has recommended that the Education Ministry terminate its contract with Maldives-registered company Biz Atoll Pvt Ltd to manage Lale Youth International School, “and hand over management as soon as possible to a qualified party.

The Commission’s investigation had found that students had been “physically and psychologically abused, discriminated against and bullied,” the report stated, recommending “that police should investigate the physical and psychological abuse going on at the school as an urgent concern,” and “separate those suspected of physical abuse from the school’s students until the police investigation is concluded.”

The report also questioned the educational standards of the private school, observing that despite the “high fees” charged for students to attend, the school “has no laboratory for students preparing for the IGCSE” in 2011, the library “does not have books that students need”, and most of the Turkish teachers “do not know English and are therefore unable to teach.”…

“As the school was not handed over to the proprietor in a transparent manner and because the Education Ministry has not undertaken adequate efforts to improve matters at the school, and since corruption has been noted, these cases should be investigated,” HRCM’s report concluded…

Deputy Minister of Education Dr Abdullah Nazeer said the Education Ministry “received the report on Thursday” and was now seeking legal advice from the Attorney General’s office concerning the repossession of the school.

Dr Nazeer also noted that a delegation of officials from the Turkish government and the business community, had arrived in the Maldives and was currently meeting members of parliament to discuss the matter together with the Turkish Consular General in Male’…

Lale School teacher and deputy flee Maldives. Minivan News (Maldives) 8 July 2010
The Deputy Principal of Lale Youth International School Suleiman Atayev has fled the country, along with the computer studies teacher Yunus Yildiz.

Both staff members left seperately [sic] on flights on Sunday and Monday evening, and did not inform the school they were leaving…

Minivan News understands that the pair were also implicated as suspects in the assault case facing Akar, after school staff testified against him…

Overshadowing repeated controversies over the school’s management is the issue of capacity. The school, which Minivan News understands was built to accommodate almost 1000 grade school students, currently has an enrolment of 98, not including the preschool…

Here are two promotional videos about Lale Youth International School posted by user yunusyildiz, the name of the computer teacher who fled.

short http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NOqA0QYtE1c
long http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SNXOOCTBl4E&NR=1


Tuesday, April 19, 2011

The Broad Foundation: A Parent Guide

A Parent Guide to the Broad Foundation’s training programs and education policies

The question I ask is why should Eli Broad and Bill Gates have more of a say as to what goes on in my child’s classroom than I do?Sue Peters, Seattle parent

In recent months, three prominent school district superintendents have resigned, after allegations of mismanagement, autocratic leadership styles, and/or the pursuit of unpopular policies. All three were trained by the Broad Superintendents Academy: Maria Goodloe-Johnson (class of 2003) of the Seattle school district, LaVonne Sheffield (class of 2002) of the Rockford, Illinois school district, and Jean-Claude Brizard (class of 2008) of the Rochester New York school district. Brizard resigned to take the job as CEO of Chicago schools, but his superintendency in Rochester had been mired in controversy. Another Broad-trained Superintendent recently announced his resignation: Tom Brady (class of 2004) of Providence, Rhode Island.

Three more Broad-trainees have been recently placed in new positions of authority: John Deasy (class of 2006), as Superintendent of the Los Angeles United School District, John White (class of 2010), Superintendent of the Recovery School District in New Orleans,  and Chris Cerf (class of 2004), New Jersey’s Acting Education Commissioner. Tom Boasberg was appointed Denver’s Superintendent in January 2009, shortly after taking an “Intensive” training at the Broad Academy.   (See this map at the Broad website which shows where until recently their trainees served.)

This summary is designed to help parents and other concerned citizens better understand the Broad Foundation’s role in training new superintendents and other “reform” activities, and how the foundation leverages its wealth to impose a top-down, corporate-style business model on our public schools. It is time for communities to become aware of how this major force works.

What is the Broad Foundation?

The Edythe and Eli Broad Foundation engages in venture philanthropy in four areas: education, medical research, contemporary art, and civic projects in Los Angeles. The foundation was established in 1999 by billionaire Eli Broad (b. 1933) who made his fortune in real estate and the insurance business.

A closer look at the Broad Foundation’s “investment” in education

The Gates Foundation, the Walton Family Foundation, and the Broad Foundation form a powerful triumvirate. The combined net worth of the three families who operate these foundations is $152 billion. By strategically deploying their immense wealth through training school leaders, financing think-tank reports, and supporting “Astro Turf” advocacy groups, these three foundations have been able to steer the direction of education reform over the past decade.

The Broad Foundation is the least wealthy of the three, but has still spent nearly $400 million on its mission of “transforming urban K-12 public education through better governance, management, labor relations and competition.” But what does that actually mean?

The signature effort of the Broad Foundation is its investment in its training programs, operated through the Broad Center for the Management of School Systems and the Broad Institute for School Boards. The Broad Center for the Management of School Systems is the larger of the two and consists of two programs: the Broad Superintendents Academy and the Broad Residency in Urban Education.

The Broad Superintendents Academy runs a training program held during six weekends over ten months, after which graduates are placed in large districts as superintendents. Those accepted into the program (“Broad Fellows”) are not required to have a background in-education; many come instead from careers in the military, business, or government. Tuition and travel expenses for participants are paid for by the Broad Center, which also sometimes covers a share of the graduates’ salaries when they are appointed into district leadership positions. The foundation’s website boasts that 43 percent of all large urban superintendent openings were filled by Broad Academy graduates in 2009.

The Broad Superintendents Academy’s weekend training course provides an “alternative” certification process which has come to supplant or override the typical regulations in many states that require that individuals have years of experience as a teacher and principal before being installed as school district superintendents.

The Broad Residency in Urban Education is a two-year program, during which individuals with MBAs, JDs, etc. in the early stages of their careers are placed in high-level managerial positions in school districts, charter management organizations, or state and federal departments of education. The Broad Center subsidizes approximately 33 percent of each Resident’s salary.

For financially struggling school districts, the Broad Foundation’s offer of trained personnel or services for a free or reduced cost is extremely appealing, and creates a “pipeline” of individuals with the same ideology who can be installed in central office positions.

The Broad Institute for School Boards provides three training programs for elected school board members and non-Broad-trained superintendents conducted in partnership with the Center for Reform of School Systems (CRSS). The Institute trains new board members at a one-week summer residential setting. Its Alumni Institute is an advanced course for experienced school board members. The third program, Reform Governance in Action, is by invitation only and provides “a long-term, training/consulting partnership program to selected large, urban districts.” The Broad Foundation underwrites 80 percent of all program costs through a grant to CRSS.

The “Broad Prize for Education” is an annual monetary award which is designated for college scholarships; it is given to the urban school district which the foundation deems as the most “improved” in the country. The selection process is sometimes seen as more political than based on actual results.

The Broad Foundation also supports a broad range of pro-charter school advocacy groups, as well as alternative training programs for non-educators who want to work as teachers and principals (Teach for America, New Leaders for New Schools).

In addition, the foundation offers free diagnostic “audits” to school districts, along with recommendations aligned with its policy preferences.  It produces a number of guides and toolkits for school districts, including a “School Closure Guide,” based on the experiences of Broad-trained administrators involved in closing schools in Boston, Charleston, Chicago, Dallas, Washington, D.C., Miami-Dade County, Oakland, Pittsburgh, St. Louis, and Seattle.

The foundation finances the Education Innovation Laboratory, run by Harvard economist Roland Fryer, which carries out large-scale experiments in schools districts, focused on teacher pay for performance and rewarding students for good test scores and grades. So far, these trials have failed to demonstrate positive results.

The foundation provided start-up funding for Parent Revolution (formerly the Los Angeles Parent Union), the group which developed the “Parent Trigger” legislation, designed to encourage the conversion of public schools to charter schools. Broad has also has given large amounts of money to Education Reform Now, a pro-charter school advocacy organization.

Eli Broad has said he “expects to be a major contributor” to Students First, former D.C. Chancellor Michelle Rhee’s organization that advocates for the expansion of charters, vouchers, and an end to seniority protections for teachers. And journalist Richard Whitmire, author of “The Bee Eater,” an admiring biography of Rhee, expressed his gratitude in the book to Democrats for Education Reform, a pro-charter lobbying organization, for serving as the “pass through” for funds from the Broad Foundation which allowed him to “invest everything in book research.”

The foundation provided start-up funds to New York City’s Leadership Academy, which trains individuals to serve as principals in the city public schools, several of whose graduates have been accused of financial misconduct, as well as  arbitrary and dictatorial treatment of teachers, students and parents.

The foundation also helps sponsors media events (a PBS series on the “education crisis” hosted by Charlie Rose, the series Education Nation on NBC, etc.). These programs help promote for Eli Broad’s vision of free-market education reform.

In addition to using his foundation to effect change to American public education, Eli Broad has made personal campaign contributions to candidates who are favorably disposed to his preferred policies, even down to the local school board level. In this way, he has helped influence the selection of superintendents who are aligned with him ideologically, even though they may not be Broad Academy graduates.

For instance, Broad contributed to the campaigns of school board candidates who supported former U.S. Assistant Attorney General Alan Bersin’s appointment as superintendent of San Diego’s school district. A 2006 Vanity Fair article by Bob Colacello reported that “Broad believes reform must come “the top down” and that his foundation “plans to virtually take over the Delaware school system in 2007, pending approval from that state’s legislature.”

In 2003, Joseph Wise (class of 2003) was installed as superintendent of Christina School District, Delaware’s largest. In 2006, Wise was succeeded by Lillian Lowery (class of 2004), who served until 2009 when she was appointed as the state’s Secretary of Education. Two Broad Residents work under Lowery at the state level. Another Broad superintendent, Marcia Lyles (class of 2006), replaced Lowery as superintendent of Christina School District.

Along with Bill Gates, Broad contributed millions of dollars to the campaign to extend mayoral control of the public schools in New York City under Michael Bloomberg. Among the leaders he is close to and has personally advised behind the scenes are former NYC Chancellor Joel Klein, former D.C. Chancellor Michelle Rhee, AFT President Randi Weingarten, and US Secretary of Education Arne Duncan.

How the Broad Foundation affects public school families

Broad and his foundation believe that public schools should be run like a business. One of the tenets of his philosophy is to produce system change by “investing in a disruptive force.” Continual reorganizations, firings of staff, and experimentation to create chaos or “churn” is believed to be productive and beneficial, as it weakens the ability of communities to resist change.

As Jack Welch, former CEO of General Electric, a proponent of this philosophy has said,  
“…we can afford to make lots more mistakes and in fact we have to throw more things at the wall. The big companies that get into trouble are those that try to manage their size instead of experimenting with it.”
A hallmark of the Broad-style leadership is closing existing schools rather than attempting to improve them, increasing class size, opening charter schools, imposing high-stakes test-based accountability systems on teachers and students, and implementing of pay for performance schemes. The brusque and often punitive management style of Broad-trained leaders has frequently alienated parents and teachers and sparked protests.

Several communities have forced their Broad-trained superintendents to resign, including Arnold “Woody” Carter (class or 2002), formerly of the Capistrano Unified School District; Thandiwee Peebles,( class of 2002), formerly of the Minneapolis Public School District; and John Q. Porter (class of 2006), formerly of the Oklahoma City Public School District.

A number of other Broad-trained superintendents have received votes of “no confidence” from the teachers in their districts, including Rochester’s Jean-Claude Brizard (class of 2008), Seattle’s Maria Goodloe-Johnson (class of 2003); Deborah Sims (class of 2005) while Superintendent of the Antioch Unified School District (CA); Matthew Malone (class of 2003) while Superintendent of the Swampscott School District (MA); and most recently, Melinda J. Boone (class of 2004) Superintendent of the Worcester Public Schools (MA).

The Oakland Unified School District (CA) experienced a series of three consecutive Broad-trained, state-appointed administrators over a period of six years. The first, Randolph Ward (class of 2003), aroused huge protests with his plans to close schools and even hired a personal bodyguard for the duration of his tenure. Ward was followed by Kimberly Statham (class of 2003), and Vincent Mathews (class of 2006), all of whom left the district in financial shambles. A civil grand jury found that
“….the district was hampered by continuous staff turnover, particularly in the area of finance, numerous reorganizations and a succession of state administrators…After nearly five years of state management, OUSD’s budget remains unbalanced and the district’s future is unclear.”
Joseph Wise (class of 2003), formerly Superintendent of the Duval County Florida Public Schools, was found to have spent thousands of dollars on personal purchases while a superintendent in Delaware, before being fired by his Duval post in disgrace. While a finalist for the post of Superintendent in Washoe County in Nevada, Kimberly Olson (class of 2005) pled guilty of having engaged in war profiteering when she was a colonel in Iraq.

Chris Cerf (class of 2004), the acting New Jersey Education Commissioner, has been criticized for not identifying his involvement in a consulting firm which developed an secret plan to turn many Newark public schools over to charter operators. The Broad Foundation acknowledged that it put up $500,000 to pay for the plan.  Deborah Gist (class of 2008), Rhode Island Commissioner of Education, has supported the firing of all teachers in Central Falls and more recently in Providence, and is aggressively fighting seniority protections for teachers.

General Anthony Tata (class of 2009), has been embroiled in controversy for dismantling Wake County’s desegregation plan. John Covington (class of 2008), Superintendent of Kansas City Schools, has announced his intention to close half the schools districts in the city. Robert Bobb (class of 2005),  the Emergency Financial Manager of the Detroit Public Schools, recently sent layoff notices to every one of the district’s 5,466 salaried employees, including all its teachers, and said that nearly a third of the district’s schools would be closed or turned over to private charter operators. At a recent town hall which Bobb had called so he could go over his plan, angry students, parents, and teachers drove him from the meeting. He was escorted out by his six bodyguards.


Eli Broad is a wealthy individual, accountable to no one but himself, who wields vast power over our public schools. Parents and community members should be aware of the extent to which the he and his foundation influence educational policies in districts throughout the country through Broad-funded advocacy groups, Broad-sponsored experiments and reports, and the placement of Broad-trained school leaders, administrators and superintendents.

Parents Across America considers Broad’s influence to be inherently undemocratic, as it disenfranchises parents and other stakeholders in an effort to privatize our public schools and imposes corporate-style policies without our consent. We strongly oppose allowing our nation’s education policy to be driven by billionaires who have no education expertise, who do not send their own children to public schools, and whose particular biases and policy preferences are damaging our children’s ability to receive a quality education.

For more information on the Broad Superintendents and Residents

Maps showing where some of the Broad superintendents and residents are currently employed can be found on the Broad Foundation’s website: Broad Superintendents Academy Fellows and Broad Residents, as well as links to more information about them.

The only complete list of Broad Superintendent trainees is here, on The Broad Report website, which was created by Sharon Higgins, a founding member of Parents Across America.

See also our video: “Parents Across America speak out about corporate interests in education.”

Additional Reading

Barkan, Joanne. “Got Dough? How Billionaires Rule our Schools,” Dissent Winter 2011. http://www.dissentmagazine.org/article/?article=3781

Colacello, Bob. “Eli Broad’s Big Picture,” Vanity Fair 01 December 2006. http://broadartfoundation.org/press/0612_VanityFair_EB039.pdf

Forbes Staff. “The World’s Billionaires.” Forbes Magazine 09 March 2011.

Foundation Center. “Top 100 U.S. Foundation by Asset Size.” http://foundationcenter.org/findfunders/topfunders/top100assets.html

Gammon, Robert. “Eli’s Experiment.” East Bay Express 10 October 2007. http://www.eastbayexpress.com/gyrobase/elis-experiment/Content?oid=1084299&storyPage=1

Higgins, Sharon. “The Broad Report” http://thebroadreport.blogspot.com/

Peters, Sue and Dora Taylor. “Seattle Education 2010” blog. http://seattleducation2010.wordpress.com/

Saltman, Kenneth. “The Rise of Venture Philanthropy and the Ongoing Neoliberal Assault on Public Education: The Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation.” Workplace, 16, 2009 http://m1.cust.educ.ubc.ca/journal/index.php/workplace/article/viewFile/65/saltman

Scott, Janelle. “The Politics of Venture Philanthropy in Charter School Policy and Advocacy.” Educational Policy January 2009. http://epx.sagepub.com/content/23/1/106.abstract

Shafer, Jack. “Bully in Search of a Pulpit.” Slate 09 November, 2006; http://www.slate.com/id/2153362/

Tough, Paul (editor). “How Many Billionaires Does It Take to Fix a School System.” New York Times 09 March 2008. http://www.nytimes.com/2008/03/09/magazine/09roundtable-t.html?_r=2

View the Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation grants on the IRS Form 990s at the National Center for Charitable Statistics or GuideStar. The foundation’s Federal Employer ID Number (EIN) is 954686318.

Added on April 20, 2011: AND be sure to read Sue Peter's new piece, "How to tell if your School District is infected by a Broad virus" at Seattle 2010.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Grannan: Where have all the KIPPsters gone?

Guest post by Caroline Grannan.

“[Charter schools] have a distinct advantage … Their families have already chosen to be at a charter and have often jumped through numerous hoops to get there. This makes it easier for charters to create their own cultures. They can define the length of their days, dictate exactly how children dress and enforce strict codes of conduct. Those students — scholars, in charter parlance — who fall out of line don’t last.”
– Jonathan Mahler in the New York Times Magazine

“I will never follow the lead of those who exclude the kids who need education the most so that their precious scores will rise.”
– John Kuhn, superintendent of Perrin-Whitt Consolidated Independent School District, Perrin, Texas

The highly acclaimed charter school operator KIPP – the Knowledge is Power Program – wins widespread praise for the overall high achievement of the low-income students it serves. It's no wonder that KIPP's practices are watched closely. And that means asking an obvious question: Why do so many KIPP students leave the schools without being replaced, and how does that affect the schools' achievement?

Why is attrition at KIPP schools an issue?

Several studies show that a high number of students who enroll at KIPP schools leave the schools early, and the numbers show that students who leave aren't replaced by new, incoming students. At public schools that serve comparable demographics, students who leave are replaced by new, incoming students.

A 2008 study of San Francisco Bay Area KIPP schools by SRI International found that it's consistently the lower-performing students who leave.

How does this affect KIPP's achievement? The lower-performing students are no longer there to bring down averages – but it would also be valuable to learn more about the impact on the students who don't leave after the lower performers have departed. Do they learn more and achieve more, unfettered by their less successful former classmates? This is difficult to address, since the topic is so often met with denial and distortion. Would those students do as well at public schools if their less successful classmates left and weren't replaced?

KIPP schools' achievement is regularly compared to public schools' achievement (i), but the attrition question confounds those comparisons.

Richard Kahlenberg, senior fellow at the New Century Foundation, wrote: “The issue is important because if large numbers of weaker students drop out of KIPP’s rigorous program, it would be highly unfair to compare the test score gains won by the top KIPP students against the scores of all regular public school students – who include KIPP dropouts.” Unfairness is only one issue. If we want to look at KIPP schools to see how they often achieve academic success, the high attrition confounds efforts to do that.

We frequently hear that KIPP schools have waiting lists, but the attrition puts that supposed situation in a whole different light. If there are waiting lists, why aren't all the departing students immediately replaced?

The movie “Waiting for 'Superman',” a PR tool for charter schools, presented the story of Daisy, who hoped to attend KIPP Los Angeles College Preparatory Academy and was devastated to lose out in the admission lottery. But in real life, the high attrition at KIPP LA Prep means Daisy shouldn't have to wait long for an opening. For example, KIPP LA Prep's most recent 8th-grade cohort lost a third of the students who started in grade 5 by the beginning of 8th grade – figures aren't publicly available for how many students finished 8th grade. For that class, which started grade 5 in the 2006-'07 school year and finished grade 8 in 2010, the number dropped from 97 students at the beginning of 5th grade to 81 by the beginning of 6th grade to 65 by the beginning of 8th grade.

Based on that attrition rate, the school would have room for Daisy and many more hopeful applicants if the administrators filled those spots from the waiting list. Why isn't that happening? It's a mystery.

Does this attrition happen at all KIPP schools?

The available research doesn't provide that information.
  • In early 2007, I researched attrition at KIPP's California schools as a volunteer project, using data publicly available on the California Department of Education website. At the time, KIPP had nine schools in California. My research found very high attrition at six of them. I also broke down the attrition by demographic subgroup. At all six of the schools with high attrition, the attrition was much higher in the subgroup that's statistically likely to be the most academically challenged – either African-American males or Latino males, depending on the school. My blog posts about the issue appear to mark the first time KIPP attrition had been publicly discussed. What my findings refer to is the overall drop in the number of students – total and by subgroup – year by year in a grade cohort.
  • In fall 2008, the organization SRI International released a study of the five KIPP schools that existed at the time in the San Francisco Bay Area. SRI used data that went deeper than the publicly available data I'd used, and found high attrition at all five Bay Area KIPP schools. SRI reported that overall, 60% of the students who enrolled at the five KIPP schools didn't finish at those schools. SRI also found that the students who left were consistently the lower-performing students. If SRI's research broke the students down by demographic subgroup, that wasn't included in the final report.
(Interestingly, SRI International found the high attrition pattern even at a KIPP school – KIPP Heartwood in San Jose – that didn't show high attrition in the figures I researched. As noted, SRI International had access to more complete data than I did; I used only publicly available statistics.)
  • KIPP supporters responded to my research and to the SRI study with this claim: “The San Francisco KIPP schools are outliers.” But that was an invalid, misleading and inapplicable response. I had researched all the KIPP schools in California (nine at the time), and SRI had researched all the KIPP schools in the Bay Area (five at the time) – not just the two San Francisco KIPP schools. The two San Francisco KIPP schools, KIPP San Francisco Bay Academy and KIPP Bayview Academy, did show high attrition, but not the highest among the Bay Area's or the state's KIPP schools. It wasn't true that the San Francisco KIPP schools were outliers, and that claim didn't negate my findings or SRI's findings. It didn't even make sense in context of those findings.
  • A 2010 study of KIPP schools by Mathematica Policy Research was framed in a manner intended to refute reports of high attrition at KIPP. The report found that of the KIPP schools studied, one-third showed lower attrition than comparable public schools, one-third showed higher attrition and the rest showed comparable attrition. However, the Mathematica report failed to address the issue of whether KIPP replaces the students who leave, which leaves a giant gap in the report.
  • A 2011 study by Western Michigan University researchers, published jointly with Columbia University, found significantly higher attrition at KIPP schools than at comparable public schools – 15 percent attrition per year at KIPP vs. 3 percent at public schools. The study found that 30 percent of KIPP students leave between 6th and 8th grades.
But many KIPP supporters say that public schools have the same high rates of attrition, and the Mathematica study said that too.

That's not valid because of the critical difference that at public schools, the students who leave are replaced by new, incoming students. The numbers show that at KIPP schools, students who leave are not replaced. The cohort of students simply shrinks drastically. Even though Mathematica did indeed make that statement, it's not valid. It flies in the face of logic. The distinction puts the situations in an entirely different light.

To give a clear picture: Let's say 100 students start 5th grade at a KIPP school that serves grades 5-8. Sixty of the students leave along the way, before completing 8th grade, and those are the lowest-performing 60 students. They aren't replaced with incoming students. So that cohort at the KIPP school winds up with only the 40 highest-performing students.

At the public school down the street, 100 students start. Sixty of them leave along the way, but each time one leaves, a new student arrives to replace him or her. So that cohort at the public school consists of 100 students from start to finish. Clearly, those two situations are not parallel, equivalent or comparable.

Low-income, at-risk students are likely to be “high-mobility” – meaning that they move a lot due to the instability that tends to afflict the lives of impoverished families. Those students are also statistically likely to be low academic achievers. With the high mobility that characterizes low-income communities, if if a high-mobility student leaves a public school, he or she is replaced with a similarly high-mobility student. By contrast, if a high-mobility student leaves a KIPP school, the numbers show that KIPP is usually not replacing him or her with an incoming student.

Why do the students leave KIPP schools?

That's not publicly known. KIPP spokespeople and supporters deny that KIPP expels or “counsels out” (ii) low-performing students.

Does KIPP have a policy of not enrolling new students after the starting grade? How do we know KIPP isn't replacing the students who leave?

KIPP doesn't appear to have an actual policy of not enrolling new students. But the enrollment numbers at the KIPP schools studied show that the students who leave are, overall, not being replaced with incoming students. It's not clear why that is, given the widespread reports of “long waiting lists.” Even if some of the students who leave are replaced with incoming students, the numbers still show that a very high number are not, resulting in very high total overall attrition and significant shrinkage of the grade cohorts.

If schools receive state funding based on the number of students, doesn't the attrition mean that KIPP schools lose funding as students transfer to other schools?

Yes, it must mean that, though there's discussion of whether the students leave after they are counted for the year, so that KIPP still receives the funding. (This situation could vary state by state.) The KIPP organization receives an immense amount of private philanthropical funding, which may provide enough of a cushion against the loss of the public funding. Perhaps the tradeoff – losing the less-successful students and also losing the per-student funding – is worth it to KIPP schools.

But there's a high dropout rate in public schools that serve low-income populations, so how can we say that public schools replace the students who leave?

Most KIPP schools are middle schools, serving grades 5 through 8. (Almost all of the KIPP schools that have existed long enough for their attrition to be tracked are middle schools.) Except for a very small number of extreme, problematic outliers, students don't drop out of middle school, so public schools don't suffer from dropout rates at those grade levels. Students who leave KIPP schools would be transferring to other schools. I did comparisons of grade cohorts in demographically comparable public schools, and those schools simply didn't show a pattern of attrition at all.

Why would Mathematica make the misleading statement that attrition was comparable to public schools?

Research organizations are known to negotiate with the funders of the research about just how the findings will be presented. It is not publicly knowable what kind of negotiations went on with Mathematica, whose report was funded by KIPP.

The 2008 SRI International report – the one that found 60 percent attrition at all the Bay Area KIPP schools and reported that it was the lower achievers who left – presented that finding as a secondary one in its report. The report, which was also funded by KIPP, announced KIPP's high achievement as the primary finding. The attrition was the newsworthy finding and the one that is still extensively – and increasingly – discussed today.

Some reports have said it might not be that students are leaving KIPP schools but that they're being required to repeat a grade.

That might be true in some – or many – cases. But the overall numbers still show the grade cohorts shrinking, so many students are clearly leaving the schools.

So what's the conclusion?

KIPP attrition isn't comparable to the flow of high-mobility students in and out of public schools – it simply isn't, no matter how many claims there are to the contrary. Why it happens and what it means are still hard to pin down.

i The usual question is: “But aren't KIPP schools public schools?” I don't believe that schools run by a private operator are truly public schools, even if they receive public funding.
ii “Counseling out” refers to a practice of gently but firmly persuading the student and family to leave the school. The archetypal method would be to tell the family that the school isn't the “right fit” for the student, or vice versa.