The Sun Sentinel has done an amazing piece exposing charter schools for the liability that they are.
Sherry Hage the chief academic officer wrote in to defend charter schools. From the Sun Sentinel: As a professional educator, I spent 10 years in the classroom for Broward County Public School District. And for the past 13 years, I have worked at Charter Schools USA and currently serve as their Chief Academic Officer. I have seen the good, bad and ugly side of education. I can say with confidence that CSUSA driving change in the communities where we operate schools.
However one thing she leaves out is that she is married to the CEQ of Charter schools USA, nope doesn’t mention it anywhere. Don’t you think this would be a nice bit of info to have?
As for them helping communities not so fast, let me tell you about the most recent CUSA school to come to Jacksonville.
The charter for the Charter School at Mandarin was given to the Renaissance Charter School group the non-profit arm of Charter Schools USA (CUSA), who then contracted with CUSA to run the school and their construction arm Red Apple to build it. Some people might say one stop shopping; others might say their set up would make Columbian drug dealers envious. Red Apple by the way started construction before it was approved. They may have know it was a certainty what with Jacksonville’s school boards friendliness to charters, though that did not stop CUSA from hedging its bets and donating thousands to Mandarin’s school board representative, Jason Fischer.
Nobody on the Charter School at Mandarin’s board is from Jacksonville and its sister school the Charter School at Regency would have been an F school this past year if it wasn’t protected by states rule that schools can drop only one letter grade. A rule co-created by Gary Chartrand the local businessman who brought the KIPP charter school to town who likewise has benefited from the rule. I mention these two things because similar things happened in Orange and Hillsborough counties and they are fighting in the courts against the expansion of CUSA in their school districts. They have to fight in the courts because despite their objections Gary Chartrand and the state board of education, none of who are true educators, but consists of a citrus grower, grocer and cable TV executive instead, rubber-stamped the approval of the charter schools.
So much for local control right?
Jonathan Hage the CEO of CUSA and husband of the executive that wrote the Sun Sentinel, even though he lives in Florida and does the vast bulk of his business here has registered the company in Delaware where CUSA operates zero schools. Then even though he only operates 58 schools with a little over 50,000 students, he lives in a 1.8 million dollar house, owns a 350 thousand dollar yacht named Fishing for Schools and sends his children to an exclusive private school. His salary was unavailable but I have heard estimates of up to 3.6 million dollars.
By comparison Duval’s superintendent Vitti who runs 176 schools with 119 thousand students, makes 275 thousand dollars, lives in a 180 thousand dollar condo (I checked his financial disclosure forms) sends his children to public school and doesn’t own a yacht.
Furthermore the three closest schools to where it will open up were all A schools last year so there was hardly a need to rescue kids from failing public schools.
Finally CUSA is a big player in the lobby game sending thousands of dollars to mostly republican legislators. My main problem with this is they undoubtedly use public money because remember they get their money from the public, to lobby for more public money.
Is this what you envision when you hear the words charter schools? A lucrative profit center for a couple who won’t even send their own kids to one of thier schools. It is obvious what Sherry Hage envisions.