"A child's learning is the function more of the characteristics of his classmates than those of the teacher." James Coleman, 1972

Friday, August 07, 2009

Governor Patrick Intervenes in Corrupt Charter Approval in Gloucester

The letter writing by Gloucester citizens has been intense enough, and the cram-down approval process was corrupted enough, and the economic costs to Gloucester Public Schools will be severe enough, and the potential political cost to Governor Patrick is clear enough, that the Gov has scheduled a meeting in Gloucester on August 11 to reconsider the question an an unneeded an unwanted charter school in Gloucester. As reported by the Boston Globe, which did not bother to print the fact that a meeting on August 11 is planned, Commissioner Chester's corporate kow-towing earlier this year went so far as to ignore the recommendation from the State Board's own charter school office to NOT approve the Gloucester charter application:
Gloucester officials have faulted the state board for not following its own procedures in its approval process. At a Dec. 11 state-sponsored hearing on the charter, no board member attended. A month later, the board retroactively waived a rule requiring board attendance for this particular application. The commissioner also recommended a favorable vote despite a negative recommendation from the department’s charter school office.
Commissioner Chester and Board Chair, Maureen Banta (also IBM's East Coast Regional Manager for Corporate Citizenship and Corporate Affairs), are not happy campers about the Governor's request for a revote.

Who know, State Secretary of Education, Paul Reville, might even show up for this meeting on Auguse 11. All Gloucester residents should turn out to offer him a warm welcome, don't you think?

Part of the story from Wicked Local Rockport:

GLOUCESTER - Stunning many citizens on both sides of the Gloucester Community Arts Charter School debate, Gov. Deval Patrick has decided to intervene in the process that had been considered a done deal, asking the Massachusetts Board of Elementary and Secondary Education to reopen the process for community discussion and another vote by the board.

“Because it is essential that the community has utmost confidence in the transparency and integrity of the process, I am writing to ask you to reopen your process and reconsider your decision,” Patrick tells Maura Banta, Chair of the Mass. Board of Elementary and Secondary Education, and Mitchell Chester, Commissioner of the Mass. Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, in a letter sent July 27.

“The proposed charter for the Gloucester Community Arts Charter School has caused deep division within the Gloucester community at precisely the time when we need people to come together,” Patrick continues.

He cites as reasons for his action concerns about the process raised by Gloucester’s two state legislators, Rep. Ann-Margaret Ferrante and Sen. Bruce Tarr, in a July 6 letter to him, along with concerns voiced and written by other Gloucester citizens, complaining that the process has been flawed and that the community’s objections to the Charter on its merits have gone unheard.

Meanwhile, at Patrick’s behest, a meeting has been scheduled in Gloucester for Tuesday, Aug. 11 with Mass. Secretary of Education Paul Reveille to allow individual proponents, opponents, both state legislators, and Gloucester’s mayor, superintendent, and School Committee to speak to Reveille personally.

Ferrante, reached Wednesday, said it would be an opportunity for Reveille, who missed the February vote, to hear a variety of views first-hand. . . .

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