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

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Imagine to Spread in Fort Wayne

Oops, looks like someone in Fort Wayne didn't get the memo about Imagine Schools. A new "visionary partnership" between the charter chain and Master Ralph T. White, a TaeKwonDo instructor and CEO of White's School of the Arts Community Development Programs, Inc, will allow Imagine to provide more of their (lucrative) services in Fort Wayne - presumably with the usual Imagine strings attached. "One might think it would take a huge multimilliondollar school corporation to fill the [school]," the article notes, sans any kind of irony.
From the folks at Frost Illustrated, painfully unaware of Imagine's dubious history and rampant corruption:

White's School, Imagine Schools to partner

FORT WAYNE—The building that sits at 2700 E. Maplegrove Drive is huge. Having once housed Village Woods Middle School, the building is packed with classrooms, a cafeteria, gymnasium and office space. In fact, one might think it would take a huge multimilliondollar school corporation to fill the place. But, Master Ralph T. White is a man with big ideas, big dreams and a big heart to match. While the going has been tough at times, especially when it comes to economics and battles with nay-sayers from a number of quarters, Master White and his supporters and coworkers are ready to take those ideas and dreams to another level, thanks to a visionary partnership with Imagine Schools, perhaps the area’s premier charter school system.

Over the past four years, Master White has defied the odds and critics by taking over the once abandoned school building that many said was too big for a private citizen to manage and maintain, and has been turning the campus into a shining beacon of hope and achievement for young people. Now known as White’s School of the Arts Community Developmental Programs, the facility is home to a number of what the founder calls character building programs, including an educational daycare program, science and other programs as well as the piece that started it all—Master White’s acclaimed TaeKwonDo training program. While many might know the school for the hundreds of trophies they have brought back to Fort Wayne from national and international martial arts competitions, Master White explains that TaeKwonDo, while extremely physical in one regard, isn’t about athletics. It’s about self-control and discipline. And, he explains, if a person can control his or her spirit, temperament and emotions, that person can achieve anything, whether it be academically or athletically. But, he says, it all starts with being studious and learning the proper lessons in life.

“We teach them about the true focus of life—academia breeds athletics, not the other way around,” he explained. “We teach them to get their grades up.”

That philosophy permeates every aspect of the work and programming at White’s School of the Arts—a program he actually started more than 20 years ago, that now has evolved into the comprehensive non-profit White’s School of the Arts Community Developmental Programs Inc. And, while one would think everyone would be thrilled to have and support a program that is about getting the best out of the community’s young people, the going hasn’t always been easy for Master White and his dedicated staff. It takes money to get things done and, in tough times, getting the necessary resources can be a challenge. They’ve also had to fight off legal challenges from overzealous inspectors, whispering campaigns by apparently jealous competitors and other tribulations. But, White will tell you that God provides.

[Continued here]

God, in this case, is not the provider: Bakke's predatory charter chain doth giveth, but the Master should also be aware that which is given can also be taken back - and, in Imagine's case, millions can be taken right to the bank.
NB: Master White's organization looks like it does some good stuff - provides food for children during the summer and winter, operates a free medical clinic two days a week, and offers other educational classes. Kudos for providing badly-needed medical services and food for the hungry.

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