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

Monday, October 12, 2009

Whistleblower Punished - C'mon, it's Arizona!

Here's a message we don't wan to send out children: don't ever, ever ask questions when you think something fishy or unethical is going on. Lise Hopson, the mother of four children enrolled at Joy Christian School in Arizona, saw her children expelled after raising questions about the private school's connection to a charter school, which was providing most of the courses. From the AZ Central:

Christian school expels children after mother's questions

A Christian school in Glendale expelled the children of a parent who persistently asked questions about how the private school was spending its tuition money, according to the woman's sister.

Lise Hopson had been asking Joy Christian School in Glendale why she paid tuition when a public charter school, Sequoia Choice, was providing the bulk of the private school’s academic courses. Charter schools, like all publicly funded schools, are free. Hopson told The Arizona Republic in September that she never received a satisfactory answer from Joy Christian School or its affiliated church, the Community Church of Joy. Joy Christian School also accepts donations for scholarships made through the state's private school tution tax credit, which re-directs state money to schools.
Last month, state education officials packaged up parent complaints and state records about the questionable relationship between the two schools and sent it for a legal review by the state Attorney General's Office.
The day before Hopson was quoted in an Oct. 2 Republic story, Hopson said she picked up her two daughters as usual after school. Joy Christian School administrators took the mother aside and told Hopson her children could not return to the school, Hopson's sister Lori Gumm said. At the advice of a lawyer, Hopson declined to be quoted about the expulsion and is permitting her sister to speak for her. Hopson is considering suing the school.
“They told her the kids were no longer allowed to go to school there because ‘you're the troublemaker’,” Gumm said. “The girls are a mess.” Hopson’s daughters, 12 and 9, have attended Joy Christian School since they were in preschool. Hopson and her children are not permitted anywhere on church or school property and Hopson's oldest daughter is not permitted to continue to participate in church youth activities, Gumm said.
Sequoia Choice is providing the family with online courses so Hopson can continue her children's education at home until the family finds another school, Gumm said.
Joy Christian School Principal Mark Kalohe Kempf responded to a Republic email asking why the children were expelled. The principal said he could not discuss the enrollment of specific children but that he gave Hopson a letter explaining why her children were expelled.
Gumm said the letter from Kempf explained the school and Hopson could not reach an agreement on how her children should be educated and that Hopson's behavior and asking questions had become a problem.
--Pat Kossan

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