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

Friday, April 02, 2010

Parents Upset by Imagine's "Shenanigans"

The Imagine Schools are in the news again, this time for their behavior in Las Vegas. At Imagine in the Valle, parents are becoming more and more aware of how little power they have over their charter school management company - and they're hardly the only group of parents with similar concerns. The Kennesaw Charter School in GA recently divorced themselves from Imagine; additionally, the Marietta Charter School will be meeting today to talk about renewing their contract with Imagine ***(Correction 3/3: I do not know if they specifically talked about renewing the contract with Imagine - but their schedule does say they'll talk about charter renewal, which could include Imagine-related business). There have been other schools seeking a separation from Bakke's for-profit management organization, and we're likely to see more parents looking at this option as Imagine's schemes are publicized by the small batch of sharp education writers with a legitimate concern for children, families, and teachers.
From Emily Richmond at the Las Vegas Sun:

Charter school families find they have little say over company

Friday, April 2, 2010 | 2:01 a.m.
On paper, charter schools are supposed to give parents more of a voice in their children’s education.
But families at Imagine in the Valle, one of two Clark County campuses operated by a private Virginia company, say they are finding it difficult to make themselves heard.
What makes charter schools attractive to some parents is that although they are funded by the state and get the same per-pupil funding as traditional public campuses, they enjoy greater leeway in areas such as instructional methods and staffing.
And supposedly, key decisions are made by school supporters — including parents and teachers — who sit on the school’s governing board.
Like most states, Nevada allows charter school organizers to hire for-profit management companies to help with day-to-day operations, provided the governing board remains in control.
But in the case of one company — Imagine Schools Inc. — parents say the expectation of local control is not being met.
Imagine runs two Clark County campuses — Imagine in the Valle in Durango Hills and Imagine 100 Academy of Excellence in North Las Vegas. And Valle’s parents are discovering just how much authority they’ve ceded to the company, and how little say they have over their school’s path.
One parent complains: “They have the power, they hold the strings.”
Continued here. Do read the entire article - plenty of juicy bits in there.

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