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Guv Defends Charters, Calls For More Scrutiny

by Melissa Bailey | Jul 11, 2014 4:29 pm

(26) Comments | Commenting has been closed | E-mail the Author

Posted to: Schools, State, Campaign 2014, School Reform

Amid scandals affecting New Haven, Bridgeport and Hartford, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy said the state education department “needs to do a better job” in monitoring charter schools—but stood by his expansion of charters across the state.

Malloy, who is running for reelection, made the remarks this week during an unrelated visit to the Bella Vista housing complex in New Haven. The state’s handling of charter schools has emerged as an issue in the gubernatorial campaign.

On that same day, Bridgeport became the latest entity to cut ties with Family Urban Schools of Excellence (FUSE), the company that runs the Jumoke Academy charter schools in Hartford. FUSE had been running a turnaround school in Bridgeport. The divorce was the third in a series: Hartford recently ended a similar relationship with FUSE, and Rev. Eldren D. Morrison booted FUSE as the manager of a charter school he aims to open next month in New Haven with 225 students and $2.5 million in state money. FUSE lost several top officials after revelations that its CEO lied about holding a doctorate of education and failed to disclose his criminal background, among other concerns.

After firing FUSE, Morrison made a plea to the state Wednesday to open the school with a last-minute change of management.

During his New Haven stop Wednesday, the governor addressed both specific questions about FUSE as well as broader questions about charter schools. (Click on the video at the top of the story to watch some of the conversation.)

Malloy was asked if Morrison’s school, Booker T. Washington Academy (BTWA), should open this fall with its originally planned size.

“That’s up to the sponsor of the school,” Malloy replied. “If they can get it up and running, great.” If it needs to be smaller, “we’re open to that.”

The scandal with FUSE has been couched as a watershed moment for Connecticut’s charter movement. The state created no new charters from 2008 through 2012. In the past two years, the state has approved creating seven new charters. Malloy was asked about the critique that the state has expanded charters too quickly.

“Let’s concentrate for a second,” he replied. Out of 1,151 public schools across the state, 18 are charters. “No one’s going terribly fast” in expanding charters in Connecticut, Malloy said.

Charters educate 7,100 students, or 1.3 percent of kids statewide, significantly lower than the national average of 4.2 percent.

In the past two years, FUSE won contracts to run two turnaround schools in Hartford and Bridgeport and to run BTWA. Malloy was asked if the state failed to do its due diligence.

“The department needs to do a better job in reviewing these things on an ongoing basis,” Malloy replied, “just as we need to do a very good job in supervising the other 1,100 public schools. There are problems that pop up in other public schools” as well.

After the Courant broke a series of stories revealing problems at FUSE, the state imposed tougher rules concerning background checks and anti-nepotism at charters. Charters, unlike traditional public schools, must face charter renewal every three to five years in order to stay open.

The department has also launched a review into “existing rules and practices regarding the state’s oversight of charter schools”; the review is set to be complete by Aug. 11.

Some state board of education members called for delaying BTWA’s opening given that FUSE—which was supposed to recruit students, hire staff and run the school—is gone.

“That’s a reasonable discussion to have. Don’t get me wrong,” Malloy said. “Some people have said no, let’s wait until next year.” He said the community, the state and the board governing the school “need to work that out.”

FUSE was hired to “help put together” the BTWA charter application, Malloy noted. “They weren’t the responsible party for the application.”

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posted by: Threefifths on July 11, 2014  12:25pm

Amid scandals affecting New Haven, Bridgeport and Hartford, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy said the state education department “needs to do a better job” in monitoring charter schools—but stood by his expansion of charters across the state.

This is why no teachers should be voting Dan Malloy.He will sell you out again.

posted by: Noteworthy on July 11, 2014  12:50pm

The state under Malloy and his handpicked eduation commissioner, have done an extremely poor job of vetting and overseeing the charter movement. From the criminals and lack of background and resume checks to the claims of success to the records of suspensions and expulsions - Malloy and Pryor have failed miserably. Malloy talks as if the education department is some foreign entity over which he has no control - “They need to do a better job.” No xxxt.

posted by: ElmCityVoice on July 11, 2014  1:03pm

Good interview Melissa. I haven’t heard anyone from Achievement First weigh in on this. I thought the intent of charters was to look for positive strategies for teaching and learning and then disseminate to other schools. The only example of that in New Haven is Common Ground. They haven’t tried to create a mini school district. They’ve shared what they’ve learned with the community. They made it clear from the outset that they would be an ecology based charter. What is the theme of BTWA? What will make them different? What will the rest of the community take from their findings? Can we hear about that?

posted by: NewHavenPublic on July 11, 2014  3:41pm

Agreed ECV, nice interview Melissa.

In the interview, Malloy says Booker T. Washington has a “good program”!  Wow!  FUSE fed them boilerplate charter blather for their application.  Aside from this, what is “the program”.  Who are the teachers?

In the interview we also see how deep Malloy is in with the corporate school reform lobby.  He randomly says “charter schools are public schools”.  Just because charters take our public money does not make them public.  They fight (in the courts) to keep a lot of secrets from the public.

posted by: Brutus2011 on July 11, 2014  6:25pm

Great interview and insight into our Governor.

Charter schools are NOT public schools.

Booker T Washington school is NOT a good idea especially in view of recent events AND the nearness of the beginning of the school year.

And, the charter school movement is beginning to show its true character across the country in that it really is about private profit fueled by public funds.

Need more be said?

posted by: Samuel T. Ross-Lee on July 12, 2014  6:47am

“Charter schools ARE Public Schools”. Wow!  Just wow!

I don’t think I’ve read a politician misrepresent the truth so blatantly since W’s “We know that Iraq has weapons of mass destruction.”

Or Nixon’s “I am not a crook.”

posted by: Callisto on July 12, 2014  6:59am

Malloy, like Pryor, is now clearly in the pocket of the Broadies and Waltonites. And 2.5 mil to the Pastor with no plan?! This is accountability? This is transparency? Interesting how the TrueVote poll only has options that endorse (eventually) opening this charter fiasco. Oh well, when it all derails the powers-that-be can just shower your money on another out of state corporate consulting firm whose “products” define all those “bad” teachers (with actual degrees) who are perpetually the villain in this corporate public Ed takeover. Time for the right-wing reform propagandists to trade in their microscopes for mirrors.

posted by: Burbel on July 12, 2014  5:38pm

Malloy points out that there are 11,000 schools in Connecticut an 19 of them are Charter schools. There is a need for experimentation and innovation around educating our most challenged kids.

Suggesting that it all boils down to money or that Malloy is in someone’s pocket is ridiculous. How ridiculous?

Brian Olson, a co-founder of hedge fund Viking Global Investors, is hosting a $10,000 per person fundraiser this month featuring Chris Christie, in support of Tom Foley.

You should know who Brian Olson is, but in case you don’t, he is a board member and former chairman of the Connecticut Coalition for Achievement Now. ConnCAN.

Seems like some of the people who are getting worked up about this kerfuffle with FUSE have an agenda, and it isn’t about what’s best for kids.

posted by: Samuel T. Ross-Lee on July 12, 2014  9:31pm

GREAT point about the Olsen/Foley fundraiser Burbel, because political lobbiest NEVER play both sides of the political fence, and political candidates NEVER take money from or are influenced by the supporters of their opponents.

Those things NEVER occur.

posted by: ElmCityVoice on July 13, 2014  2:04pm

By the way, while we’re looking at everyone’s background to see if they’re qualified, let’s check out Stephan Pryor. Former Chair, Brick City Development Corporation, founder, Brick City Develpoment Corporation, Deputy Mayor, Economic Development, City of Newark, New Jersey, Former President, Lower Manhattan Development Corporation (LMDC), Former Policy Advisor, Mayor of New Haven, Connecticut, Former Vice President, Partnership for New York City Organizations, Former Board President, Amistad Academy, Co-Founder, Amistad Academy—hmmmmm. What’s lacking? Experience in education, teaching, educational leadership and administration, terminal degree in education, classroom experience. Makes you wanna holler.

posted by: Razzie on July 13, 2014  6:27pm

“Let’s concentrate for a second,” he replied. ... “No one’s going terribly fast” in expanding charters in Connecticut, Malloy said.

However, if there were 11 Charters in place during the start of his administration, and 7 new charters were granted during the 4-year period from ‘08 - ‘12; that indicates a whopping 63% increase in approved charters!!! All of which occurred during a period of 4 years ! (With several more slated for approval within he coming years).

Even with the Guv’s fuzzy math, a 63% increase in state charters is moving at practically warp speed in doling out public money to corporate enterprise (Much of the increase going to Mr. Sharpe and his cronies at the Dept. of Education..

posted by: Walt on July 14, 2014  9:58am

In real life, of course,  Brutus,Three fifths, and Ross-Lee do not decide which facilities   meet the definition of “Public School”.  the General Assembly,  The Governor, and the Education Department by their financing and controls of the   schools fill that function, and by their actions, have made charters properly become “public schools”  in our State

I am not a Malloy supporter and may or may not vote for him this year,, but I admire his guts in standing against the powerful Teachers’  Union.

Certainly it appears FUSE should be better controlled or tossed from CT,  and regulation must improve,  but that does not require killing of all charters, most of which seem to be producing much better prepared graduates than the regular schools, at least partially   because of the Union protection of inept   teachers.

Don’t dumb-down education for the better -equipped or   more motivated kids,  Let them succeed.

Concentrate on better education for all,  Dump   unqualified teachers from our schools and hopefully,  results in regular, as well as charter school will improve


It is the kids, not the Union- protectees who are important here

posted by: Walt on July 14, 2014  5:03pm

Time to panic. 

At less   2   charters approved per year, defined by Razzie as “warp speed”,  all 11,000 public schools could possibly become or be replaced by a “charter”  school within 5500 years or so


We must stop this stampede immediately say the Union backers


Figures don’t lie,  etc,

posted by: Threefifths on July 14, 2014  8:27pm

posted by: Walt on July 14, 2014 9:58am

In real life, of course,  Brutus,Three fifths, and Ross-Lee do not decide which facilities   meet the definition of “Public School”.  the General Assembly,  The Governor, and the Education Department by their financing and controls of the   schools fill that function, and by their actions, have made charters properly become “public schools”  in our State.

Public schools are required to try and educate every student who shows up on the doorstep whether they be disabled, speak a different language, be less than academically inclined, have frequent discipline problems or parents who are absentee or not. If charter schools were public schools should they not be required to do the same?Also if Charter school are public schools how come charter schools don’t have the same financial accountability measures as public schools? Did you know that courts have rule that Charter Schools are not public schools.However, in 2010, the Ninth Circuit concluded in Caviness v. Horizon Learning Center23 that a private, nonprofit corporation running an Arizona charter school was not a state actor under § 1983.24 The Ninth Circuit specifically rejected the assertion that charter schools were state actors because they were defined as “public schools” under the state statute.Look what happen in new york.David Handschuh A judge ruled Thursday that state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli cannot audit New York charter schools.

New York charter schools won a big victory Thursday when a judge ruled the state’s top fiscal officer can’t follow the money and look at their books.

Charter school crusader Eva Moskowitz filed suit to bar state Controller Thomas DiNapoli from auditing her 22 schools, all of which are publicly funded but also receive private donations. On Thursday, Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Thomas Breslin ruled DiNapoli did not have the authority to audit any New York charter because the schools are not technically “units of the state.”

part 1

posted by: Threefifths on July 14, 2014  8:49pm

posted by: Walt on July 14, 2014 9:58am

Part 2.

So if Charter schools are public.How come the state can not audit them.

I am not a Malloy supporter and may or may not vote for him this year,, but I admire his guts in standing against the powerful Teachers’  Union.

Certainly it appears FUSE should be better controlled or tossed from CT,  and regulation must improve,  but that does not require killing of all charters, most of which seem to be producing much better prepared graduates than the regular schools, at least partially   because of the Union protection of inept   teachers.

You got to do your homework.

New from CREDO: Charter Schools are No Better than Public Schools, and Don’t Expect Them to Change.


http://www.schoolsmatter.info/2013/01/new-from-credo-charter-schools-are-no.html

Also how about the rejects from charter schools kids who are too special needs, kids who are too violent,too disruptive that are dump in the public school system.If charter schools are public,How come the will not keep- these type of students.

Also you talk about the teachers union.If charter schools are public school,Why are the charter school teachers not allowed to join the public school teachers union.

Chicago Charter School Teachers Push To Form Union.


http://chicago.cbslocal.com/2013/04/22/chicago-charter-school-teachers-push-to-form-union/

posted by: Walt on July 15, 2014  11:32am

Three fifths

The references you cite mean little to me although you apparently consider them sacrosanct,

CREDO’s main purpose is to fund ultra-liberal causes,  so naturally we would expect them to back up the Union positions..

The Ninth Circuit famous for its leftish     leanings and for its high
( highest?) rate of reversals by the Supreme Court, not surprisingly leans toward the Union positions

Your Chicago story does not even support your own theories,

Chicago Charter employees apparently propose to form their own Union,  and, by choice,  wish not be represented by the Union which represents the other teachers. 

They are apparently neither being rejected   by the regular Teachers Union, or by State Law   as you falsely imply

Good point re Charters not serving all , like   kids   with special needs, but this allows for the State to provide for the special-  -needs kids,  without   cutting down the quality of education of those kids luckily not   needing the special ed programs and fortunately better motivated and/or prepared than others to learn.

Every kid wins   and gets what he or she needs. Seems good to me

Re audits.  IMHO if   Charters   use State funds,  a State audit should be permitted


To me, if not to you, they are public schools,  doing a better job for certain   of our kids,  a should be continued and expanded

Dump FUSE—- sure,  but expand the   good charters,  and bring more.

posted by: Threefifths on July 15, 2014  3:59pm

posted by: Walt on July 15, 2014 11:32am

Three fifths

The references you cite mean little to me although you apparently consider them sacrosanct,

CREDO’s main purpose is to fund ultra-liberal causes,  so naturally we would expect them to back up the Union positions..

You got to do your homework.Did you know that CREDO, a pro-charter, Hoover Institution-affiliated think tank at Stanford University. Strikingly,and Hoover also receive funding from the Walton Family Foundation.last I looked the Walton Family Foundation is far from funding ultra-liberal causes.

The Ninth Circuit famous for its leftish   leanings and for its high
( highest?) rate of reversals by the Supreme Court, not surprisingly leans toward the Union positions

Aagin do your homework.Across this country courts have rule that Charter Scholls are not public schools.

Check this out.California is famous for its leftish Leanings Look how they ruled on this case.Court Rules That Charter Schools Can Dismiss Student Without a Due Process Hearing.

Scott B., a 14 year old student with a diagnosis of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) was dismissed from his charter school by letter from the principal for bringing a knife to school and showing it to another student.  There was no hearing, and no finding to support the decision by the charter school’s Board of Trustees in the one-sentence dismissal letter.  On June 14, 2013, the California Court of Appeal[1] upheld the dismissal and ruled that charter schools are exempt from California law requiring due process hearing procedures for students undergoing an expulsion from their local public school.

http://www.dignityinschools.org/blog/court-rules-charter-schools-can-dismiss-student-without-due-process-hearing

Your Chicago story does not even support your own theories,

Chicago Charter employees apparently propose to form their own Union,  and, by choice,  wish not be represented by the Union which represents the other teachers.

Part one.

posted by: Threefifths on July 15, 2014  4:03pm

posted by: Walt on July 15, 2014 11:32am

Part Two.

My point is if Charter Scholls are public school,Then why would the need to form a union.

posted by: Threefifths on July 15, 2014  4:15pm

posted by: Walt on July 15, 2014 11:32am

Part Three.

Re audits.  IMHO if   Charters   use State funds,  a State audit should be permitted

How come across this country CharterSchools are fighting this in court.If they are public why not let the State audit be permitted.


To me, if not to you, they are public schools,  doing a better job for certain   of our kids,  a should be continued and expanded

Dump FUSE—- sure,  but expand the   good charters,  and bring more.

You want good Charter Schools.Then do what the late Albert Shanker said to do.

Albert Shanker, was one of the first education leaders to advocate for the concept in 1988, as president of the American Federation of Teachers. Al envisioned charter schools as teacher-led laboratories for reform within public schooling, tasked with developing innovative strategies to “produce more learning for more students.” He saw them operating with a high level of autonomy from bureaucracy, yet remaining an integral part of our public education system.Although most charter schools get their basic funding from the same education allotments as regular public schools, they tout their independence as a major source of their superiority.But Al believed that even the best charter schools couldn’t generate sweeping change if they were disconnected from regular public schools.
Al became increasingly critical of charter schools as they moved further from their original intent. He warned that without well-crafted legislation and public oversight, business interests would hijack the charter school concept, “whose real aim is to smash public schools.

Charter schools are not the solution: The widow of famed UFT leader Albert Shanker blasts ‘reformers’
They are unwilling to work within the system.

http://www.nydailynews.com/opinion/charter-schools-solution-widow-famed-uft-leader-albert-shanker-blasts-reformers-article-1.996247

posted by: Walt on July 15, 2014  5:06pm

Three fifths

Sometimes you appear to be making a statement,  but you are really just quoting me

  Other times you claim you are quoting me,  but the words are yours,  not mine

No one stopped Shankar from making improvements or organizing charters,  He just failed   to do so,  and other Charter advocates succeeded toa significant extent

Mrs.  Shankar, just like her late husband and you, appears irritated that a small but successful part of the education   system is now controlled by folks unaffiliated with the AFT

Makes no difference to me whether or not charters are organized or not but I prefer the outlook of the Chicago Charter teachers who   believe that they would be better off with a more student- favoring Union than the AFT

As indicated in the first paragraph above,  your postings are confusing .  I shall do my best to ignore   and not comment on further posts of your theories

Hopefully, I will succeed

posted by: Threefifths on July 15, 2014  11:18pm

posted by: Walt on July 15, 2014 5:06pm

Three fifths

Sometimes you appear to be making a statement,  but you are really just quoting me

Show me where I am quoting you.

As indicated in the first paragraph above,  your postings are confusing . I shall do my best to ignore and not comment on further posts of your theories

Hopefully, I will succeed


My posting are back by data.It is you who seem to be based on theories.I will keep on Exposing these Charter Schools for what they are.

Charter Schools and the Risk of Increased Segregation.Charter schools, on average, don’t have an academic advantage over traditional public schools, but they do have a significant risk of leading to more segregation
By Iris C. Rotberg, Phi Delta Kappan.

http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2014/02/01/kappan_rotberg.html

My bad.How come if Charter Schools are so good,why are Charter Schools not in the white communities?

posted by: Threefifths on July 15, 2014  11:20pm

@ WALT.Like I said I use data.

A new round of segregation plays out in charter schools
BySarah Butrymowicz.


http://hechingerreport.org/content/as-charter-schools-come-of-age-measuring-their-success-is-tricky_12647/

posted by: Walt on July 16, 2014  7:05pm

Final, I hope

Three Fifths

More BS , —-you find quotes   or data but apparently do not even bother to read them before posting

As to your   last question   re why no charters are in white communities, your answer——“they are”(  which was new to me)can easily be found in your own citations above.  in both the Education Week and Sarah Butrymowicz articles

posted by: Threefifths on July 17, 2014  8:50am

posted by: Walt on July 16, 2014 7:05pm

Final, I hope

Three Fifths

More BS , —-you find quotes   or data but apparently do not even bother to read them before posting

As to your   last question   re why no charters are in white communities, your answer——“they are”(  which was new to me)can easily be found in your own citations above.  in both the Education Week and Sarah Butrymowicz articles


How many Charter Schools are in Greenwich,How mant are in West Harford,Cos cob, Westport.Show me.The data also shwo which you are ducking the high rate segregation plays out in charter schools.How come you duck the data from the right wing CREDO, a pro-charter, Hoover Institution-affiliated think tank at Stanford University who even they say Charter Schools are No Better than Public Schools.How about this data.

Are charter schools cherry-picking their students?
By: Jacqueline Rabe Thomas | March 5, 2012

http://ctmirror.org/are-charter-schools-cherry-picking-their-students/

Do you agree that Charter Schools should follow this type of Charter school act which is being pushed in New York.

The Charter Schools Act.

1. STUDENT RIGHTS – Charter schools MUST be required to retain Special Ed and ELL students. No longer push out, counsel out or expel them out of the school.
2. PARENT RIGHTS – Every charter school board MUST have a parent board member who is the President of the school’s independent parent association.
3. BILL OF RIGHTS – There MUST be a universal Parents Bill of Rights and Students Bill of Rights for charter schools.
4. INDEPENDENT PARENTS ASSOCIATION – Every charter school MUST be required to have an independent parents association.
5. CO-LOCATIONS – The state MUST develop a better process in determining co-locations in public school buildings in New York City because it is pitting parents against each other.

Part One.

posted by: Threefifths on July 17, 2014  8:56am

Part TWO.

6. ACCOUNTABILITY & TRANSPARENCY – Charter school board members and employees MUST be held to rigorous financial disclosure requirements and conflict of interest prohibitions as all other organizations receiving public money. There MUST be more oversight of Founding Boards. Board members MUST NOT be allowed to be permanent trustees. All employees (principals, directors, staff) MUST not be allowed to serve on the board. All schools must be audited by the State Comptroller.
7. CHARTER CONTRACT & BY-LAWS – Every charter school MUST be required to post their charter and by-laws online to increase accountability and transparency in charter schools and their governing boards. Every board meeting MUST be held at the school.
8. STATE RECEIVERSHIP – The state MUST have the authority to take over a charter school and re-constitute the board of trustees.
9. MANAGEMENT ORGANIZATIONS – For Profit Management organizations MUST NOT be allowed to manage charters. Public money should be spent on public students.
10. COMPLAINT & GRIEVANCE PROCESS – The state MUST develop a formal complaint and grievance process that includes tracking and resolving issues within 30 days.
11. TEACHER RIGHTS & PROTECTIONS – Teachers in charter schools MUST be provided with whistleblower and job protections when exposing corruption, financial mismanagement and corporate chicanery in charters. No teacher should be fired for standing up for their students. E.g. East New York Prep Charter School.
12. CHARTER AUTHORIZATION – Authorization MUST only be granted by the Board of Regents.

I back my points up with data.You have yet to back any of your points.

posted by: Walt on July 17, 2014  11:02am

Three fifths

Your answer to the question as to why charter school folk , if they are public schools need to form a union is also already in your postings

The charter folk are not required to form a union, as you claim,  As your own citation indicates, the Chicago charter teachers have decided   that they wish to organize on their own and have also decided , on their own that they do not wish to be members of your beloved AFT,  but of a Union of their own choice

Surely you would not deny them   the   right to organize as they, not you,  wish,

Read your own posts

You continue to state that Charters are not subject to audit despite receiving State funds,  but that too is untrue in CT according to Ct General Statute, section 10-66 (Although Ct law should be expanded to increase frequency of audits, I would agree)

The State selects the Auditor,  The Charter pays for it. (  Sounds good, doesn’t it?)

(Suggest you read the State Laws re before posting more BS re audits)

On the other hand,  I do admire folks like teachers who can take the problems of teaching in our central cities daily,

I still think more, better=controlled charters would help,  and that the AFT is unfortunately part of the problem rather than a leader toward the solution

The Ninth Circuit,  the California Circuit and your other references have little.  if any,  effect on those in CT in trying to improve education

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