Perdido 03

Perdido 03

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Cuomo Gives Charter School Employees 15% Of Charter School Slots

Capitol Confidential has some of the surprises in the big end-of-session omnibus bill that was announced today and here's one that says everything you need to know about Cuomo's love of charter schools:

  • Charter schools can give admission preferences to the children of employees of either the school or a charter management organization as long as those students don’t form more than 15 percent of the student body.

This is an interesting new move for the charter people, because what it suggests is that they will move even more in the future to make the city-housed and state-funded charters into their own fiefdoms run for and by themselves - but all on the public dime, of course.

Expect the 15% requirement to go up in the future and for charters to further use this regulation to keep out students they don't want (i.e., students who will hurt their test score numbers.)


  1. What sane charter school teacher or hedgefunder would actually want to enroll their kid in one of their sweatshops? Ahhhh but wait. It seems to me that this is just the start of the "charter school takeover" of rich school districts. They think they can siphon off public school money to fill their pockets all the while excluding everyone from their schools except the blue bloods in their royal families. Seems like a pretty good scam if ya' ask me.

  2. They wouldn't send them to a "sweatshop" charter school. They'd send them to the other kind.

    Los Angeles education activist and anti-corporate reformist Robert Skeels in has been writing about the two types of charter schools here in L.A. for quite some time---even going so far as provide the names of L.A. charters that epitomize each type---and they are different as night and day:

    "The 99 Cents Charter Schools"---for the poor;


    "The Saks Fifth Avenue Charter Schools"---for the rich.

    Check out the comic strip that Skeels references below:

    ROBERT SKEELS: "Lalo Alcaraz's 'La Cucaracha' strip often features pro-public education items, which are also typically sensitive to ongoing attacks on the teaching profession and the difficulties of teaching. This particular strip is a favorite of mine, highlighting both the institutional racism and profit motive behind the neoliberal school privatization project.

    "In Los Angeles, 'The 99 Cents Store School' model is reserved for impoverished children of color at centers of creativity culling and cultural sterilization like Green Dot, CNCA, ICEF, KIPP, and Alliance.

    "Wealthier white parents, send their kids to boutique charters — essentially private schools where the public foots the bill. Larchmont, Los Feliz, Gabriella, CWC, and Mike McGalliard's Metro Charter are all examples of the 'Saks Fifth Avenue School' discussed in the comic strip. Bear in mind that children with special needs aren't welcome at either type of privately managed charter school."

  3. Four years ago, there was an imbroglio regarding admissions policy for what Skeels refers to as "The Saks Fifth Avenue" charter schools in Los Angeles. Laws for charter schools allowed only for "founding parents" to get a priority in admissions, so these charters then expanded the definition of what a "founding parent" is... someone, who makes an extraordinary commitment (donation) to the school... even if that commitment comes decades after the school's actual "founding".

    It's sort of like slipping the maitre'd at a snooty restaurant some cash to get a table right away.

    "Ahh, let me show you to your child's new classroom."

    The L.A. Weekley, though a pro-corporate reform rag, did an expose of this:

  4. A little more from the above L.A. WEEKLY ARTICLE:

    "A public school offers a free education to every child in the community — that's what makes it public. A private school charges tuition and accepts students through a competitive selection process. Larchmont was bridging public and private by exploiting a loophole. Under federal guidelines, charter schools can give admissions priority to 'founding parents.' That's why these parents were being asked to 'found' a school that had opened in 2004.

    "School officials did warn the parents that Larchmont couldn't guarantee admission to their children. But — wink, wink — no children of 'founding parents' had ever been rejected.

    "Los Angeles is leading the nation in establishing charter schools. The L.A. Unified School District is ultimately responsible for policing them to make sure they live up to the promise of equal access. The Weekly found that the district is aware of the founding-parent loophole but has done little to close it.

    "When the state Legislature authorized charter schools in the early 1990s, skeptics feared they would become refuges for highly motivated and affluent parents. Instead of lifting up all kids, they would become private schools, paid for with public money. The safeguard intended to prevent that from happening is the lottery.

    "That's what makes it so troubling that schools would rig the lottery to favor preferred parents.

    " 'Manipulating the meaning of who's a founding parent directly contradicts the Legislature's attempt to ensure that charters do not become exclusionary places,' says Bruce Fuller, a UC Berkeley professor and the editor of Inside Charter Schools. 'They may be called into court to defend that.' "
    This "founding parents" loophole led to the following scenario:

    "Larchmont (Charter School is 54 percent white and 17 percent Latino. That is strikingly different from the L.A. Unified schools in the same neighborhood. Van Ness Elementary, a few blocks away, is 5 percent white and 71 percent Latino. Vine Street Elementary, just up the street, is 1 percent white and 93 percent Latino.

    " 'I'd like to see the school represent its community rather than representing kids who are in families that can afford to volunteer during the day,' says L.A. Unified board member Bennett Kayser, a charter skeptic who was elected to the board with teachers union support."

    Well, the courts didn't decide the matter. The democratically-elected LAUSD school board---yeah, we still have one of those---fixed this problem, as reported in the L.A. Weekly a couple months later.

    L.A. WEEKLY:

    "The 'founding parent' preference is intended to ensure that parents who start a new charter school will be able to send their children there.

    "But the term has never been clearly defined, which allowed Los Feliz Charter School for the Arts and Larchmont Charter to offer enrollment priority to new 'founders.' Both schools have since abandoned the practice. Larchmont dropped its policy in August, and Los Feliz scrapped it after the Weekly story was published in October.

    "Kayser asked the district's Charter School Division to establish a policy on 'founding parents,' as well as a mechanism to enforce it. At today's meeting, a representative of the California Charter Schools Association spoke in favor of the motion.

    "The school board -- which includes both charter advocates and charter skeptics -- passed the motion unanimously. The Charter School Division was expected to bring back a report within 60 days."