Friday, June 19, 2015

Four of Memphis's Worst Charters with the Best Political Connections Will Remain Open

Since Gates and the oligarchs put Supt. Dorsey Hopson in charge of the charterization of public schools in Memphis, Shelby County Schools has been in a lather to close as many "low-performing" schools as possible.

Early in 2014, Hopson was adamant that it all comes down to poor student achievement and that the children have suffered long enough.  The emergency had been declared, and no one could wait another year or another month for low-scoring schools to improve.

Early in 2013, eleven public schools were targeted for conversion, and in in 2014, thirteen more were put on the list for closure.

Memphis now has over 40 corporate reform charter schools that are bleeding the public schools' budget dry each year.  More terminations, more cutting of services, more shrinkage of teacher benefits and retirement plans.

Increasing austerity is required in order to benefit the politically connected corporate welfare kings who run the charter chain gangs. As a result, the remaining public schools are further weakened, demoralized, and made ready for charter conversion.

Now suddenly we find that the achievement emergency has been put on hold, at least for the worst charter schools in Memphis that are owned by Senator Cory Booker's brother and his crony pals.  Without warning, the Shelby County School Board has decided not to close the four charters at the bottom of the achievement barrel in Memphis, and to give them at least three more years to miseducate children.

In order to keep the revenue stream flowing into the pockets of the the politically connected crooks who run these segregated fake schools, the children of unwitting parents must continue in these hellholes, where they are psychologically abused and educationally cheated.

In case you are wondering, this moratorium on closing low scoring schools does not apply to the public schools on the priority list, even if those schools are improving.  From Chalkbeat Indiana:
The same month they were slated to close their doors forever due to low academic performance, three Memphis charter operators received notice from Shelby County Schools that their schools will remain open for the upcoming school year.

City University School Boys Preparatory, Southern Avenue Middle School, and Omni Prep Academy Lower and Middle Schools are on the priority list of the state’s 5 percent of worst performing schools, making their closure mandatory this summer under a 2014 state law. However, a new law passed this year by the legislature gave districts discretion in deciding whether the schools should remain open for now.

“In light of the recent change in legislation that amended [the 2014 law], this letter is to notify you that district will not be pursuing the closure of your schools this year,” said Bradley Leon, the district’s chief of strategy and innovation, in a May 7 letter to school administrators. 
The news was cause for jubilation for the Memphis schools, which lost students and faculty following the district’s confirmation in December that it would comply with the 2014 law.

“Regardless of the prior [loss] of faculty, staff and scholars due to the district’s announcement of closure earlier this year, I am excited that we will be afforded an opportunity to continue to move the academic needle amongst our scholars at City University School Boys Preparatory,” said founder and Chancellor R. Lemoyne Robinson.

Under the new law, district-authorized charter schools now have until 2017 to get off the state’s priority list before state-ordered shutdown. However, local school boards still have authority to close a charter for poor performance before 2017.

Omni founder Cary Booker, who lobbied for the revised legislation, said the policy change should be seen as a necessary clarification, not a second chance for the beleaguered schools. “I see it as the law is now aligned with its original legislative intent,” Booker told Chalkbeat.

The reversal does not please everyone, however.

“Our perspective is that schools that are not performing don’t need to continue operating, but this decision is ultimately the decision of the authorizer.” said Emily Lilley, director of policy at the Tennessee Charter School Center, an advocacy group based in Nashville.

On TCAP tests in 2013-14, less than 15 percent of students earned proficient reading language scores at City University; under 27 percent at Omni Middle; 11 percent at Omni Lower; and about 23 percent at Southern Avenue Middle.

The schools now have opportunity to improve their performance before the state releases its next priority list in 2017. . . .

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