From Politico: State education Commissioner Pam Stewart, in a sardonic text exchange with a colleague, accused a prominent GOP donor who chairs a Jacksonville charter school chain of using misleading data to boast about students’ test scores, according to public records obtained by POLITICO
Florida.Stewart said in a text message to a top saff member that the leaders of KIPP Jacksonville overstated the percentage of third graders who passed state reading exams.
In the May 19 conversation, Stewart was critical of Gary Chartrand, a member and former chair of the state Board of Education who also heads the governing panel for KIPP’s three Florida charter schools. Chartrand, executive chairman of Acosta Inc., a Jacksonville sales and marketing firm, is a reliable campaign donor to Republicans, including Gov. Rick Scott.
In the texts, Stewart suggested Chartrand and the network’s executive director, Tom Majdanics, had been bragging that 41 percent of third graders at KIPP VOICE Elementary School passed this year’s reading tests, when the figure was actually 35 percent.
If they are lying, err exaggerating about this, what else are they exaggerating about?
And if that was just it, I could move along, but its not, here are some of their greatest hits.
They combined there two schools in order to avoid a bad grade after taking money in grants to establish a second school.
While on the state board of education benefactor Gary Chartrand had the rules changed so school grades could only drop one letter grade protecting his KIPP school from dropping from a miraculous B, one year after being the worst performing school in Northeast Florida, to a D. What I call the Chartrand rule, a rule the state has since got rid of allowed KIPP to only drop to a C.
Then there is KIPP’s wait list which they point to like it was the crown jewels. Well how legit is it?
First Duval performs no over site to charter school lotteries, read that gain.
Then in 2015 despite a supposedly huge wait list, they still hadn’t reached their max enrollment
Also do they back fill or don’t they back fill?
Then google “KIPP wait list” and problems nation wide come up.
We are not done yet though.
How about the KIPP grades which are more up and down that a yoyo and remember the district just combined their two schools to protect their elementary school from a bad grade. The grades of the middle school have been, C,C,D,B,D,B, and F
Hardly great when you factor in, selection bias, they have a lower percentage of free and reduced lunch than their neighbors, have longer school days, spend more money per pupil and could put actual requirements on parents.
Finally, I am troubled by Gary Chartrand, KIPP’s founder giving money to politicians who in turn send wheel barrels full of cash to KIPP, then do his political bidding and his recent attempt to blackmail the district.
At the absolute very least, KIPP is not the model school that the Times Union’s editorial board and the city’s elite makes it out to be.
Also at the very least I have posed some legitimate questions and concerns.