California Educator

September 2016

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Kids, Not Profits Telling the story of the billionaires with a coordinated agenda for our schools Charter Fraud I n J u l y , At to r n e y G e n e ra l Ka m a l a Harris announced a $168.5 million s e t t l e m e n t w i t h c h a r te r s c h o o l operator K12 Inc. about the compa- ny's "false claims, false advertising and unfair competition laws" mis- l e a d i n g p a re n ts a b o u t st u d e n ts ' a c a d e m i c p ro g re s s , c o l l e g e e l i g i - bility, class sizes and other issues. The settlement came after K12 edu- cators raised concerns about the schools failing their students last December, and after an exposé in t h e S a n J o s e M e rc u r y N ew s e a r- lier this year criticized K12 and its s c h o o l s fo r s i p h o n i n g m o re t h a n $ 3 1 0 m i l l i o n i n p u b l i c e d u c a t i o n f u n d i n g f ro m C a l i fo r n i a ove r t h e past 12 years. O t h e r re p o r ts d eta i l i n g c h a r te r school wrongdoing: • S tate re g u l ato rs fo u n d m o re than $81 million in fraudulent a n d w a s t e f u l s p e n d i n g a t charter schools around Cali- fornia. • T h e A m e r i c a n C i v i l L i b e r t i e s U n i o n d i s c ove re d t h at s o m e C a l i fo r n i a c h a r te r s i l l e g a l l y restrict enrollment. • The UCLA Civil Rights Project fo u n d s t u d e n t s a r e b e i n g u n fa i r l y d i s c i p l i n e d a n d d i s - criminated against for the sole purpose of profiting off kids. • In the Public Interest revealed ex t re m e f ra u d a n d wa ste of taxpayer dollars. • The Center for Popular Democ- r a c y w a r n e d t h a t f r a u d i n charters is a national problem. Read these reports and more at M A Y N A R D B R O W N has taught at Crenshaw High School in South Los Angeles for 26 years. With his business magnet, the United Teachers Los Angeles member has helped countless students get into college. Part of his curriculum involves students creating their own business plans based on needs assess- ments of their neighborhoods. Many students have started their own successful businesses off those plans. During this same time, enrollment at Cren- shaw has gone from more than 3,000 students to fewer than 1,000 today, as multiple charter schools have opened nearby. Since school funding is based on enrollment, when a stu- dent leaves a district school, the money goes too, leaving the school with less resources, year after year. In fact, backed by a group of billionaires with their own agenda for public education, a new industr y around charter schools is growing in California that is siphoning stu- dents and funding from public education. Their agenda: • D i v e r t m o n e y o u t o f C a l i f o r n i a's neighborhood public schools to fund privately run charter schools, without accountability or transparency to par- ents and taxpayers. • C h er r y-pi ck th e stu d ent s w h o get to att en d ch ar t er s ch o o l s , w e edin g o ut a n d t u r n i n g d o w n s t u d e n t s w i t h sp e c i a l n e e d s . • Spend millions trying to influence local school board and legislative elections across California. Charter schools, taxpayer-funded pub- lic schools that are frequently operated by private companies and receive billions in California taxpayer dollars every year, are not subject to the same standards of accountabil- ity and transparency as traditional public schools. ey're able to ignore requirements to enroll all students from the community, often turning down students with special needs. One of these charters is co-located on Brown's campus, using classrooms that should be for students who attend Crenshaw. "Is it fair that charter schools continue 36 advocacy Maynard Brown

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