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

Monday, January 25, 2010

A Case Study in Corporate School Reform

Ten years of accountability by high stakes testing, all accompanied by public school dismantling through unregulated corporate charter schools, has created a lethal cocktail of poisonous pressure and inevitable corruption that remains irresistible to politicians, nonetheless. The Robert M. Hughes Academy in Springfield, MA offers a prime example that what is in store for American schools, at least in those states where the Business Roundtable strategy supported by federal bribery (RTTT) has brushed aside state laws that once disallowed or restricted the creation of tax-draining corporate charter segregated containment camps for the poor.

In Massachusetts, where the high-powered venture philanthropy organization, the Boston Foundation, and the charter public relations organ, the Boston Globe, form a formidable phalanx for pushing forward the charter agenda, most resistance to the apartheid public dollar sinks like the Hughes Academy has been ignored or bought up. Somehow the Hughes Academy continued to operate with impunity for years as a state-approved hothouse of "innovation," even though this corporate chain gang was called out four years ago "by the state auditor [who] discovered financial mismanagement related to operating deficits, questionable lease payments, no-bid contracts, undocumented expenditures on building improvements, and possible conflict of interest."

Nothing was done, even though the teacher turnover rate was between 30 and 50 percent per year, as the school's CEO was free to hire and fire anyone they wished, certified or not. By the way, the school's annual report for 2008 shows four paraprofessionals, a custodian, and three administrators for a school with 19 teachers. Talk about job creation!

It wasn't until the corrupt insiders hired a convicted felon to replace the principal, who had been placed on leave during the most recent testing scandal, that the media could no longer ignore the situation. Welcome to the 21st Century solution to schooling for the poor:

Fred Swan takes over at Charter School

1 comment:

  1. This is a disheartening report. I teach in the Cambridge public schools, which spend more per student than maybe anywhere. But I feel that most of the money does go into the students.