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

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Cornerstone Academy Embroiled in Child Abuse Charges in Memphis

In order to encourage charter schools to "innovate," almost all oversight and regulations have been removed, so that now these corporate reform schools operate with impunity, free to pay school CEOs hundreds of thousands of tax dollars each year to run total compliance chain gangs for children, where teachers are more prison guard than educator.  The only innovation we see from these one-size fits all behavioral neutering factories is in the punishment techniques devised to break children down in order to make them entirely compliant.  

Such is the case in Memphis, which is now Ground Zero for the corporate charterization movement in U. S. urban schools.  With millions in Gates money funneled to corrupt politicians and church leaders, Memphis City Schools are being turned into a system of primarily apartheid corporate charter reform schools with large numbers of white missionaries from Teach for America hired to grind out test scores and to maintain total control of the children.

An outbreak of the new cancer growing in Memphis schools can be found at the Cornerstone Academy, which has just completed a hastily-arranged "audit" related to child abuse charges by children and parents.  Following the Rhee model of investigating yourself, the school prison hired an "independent" auditor (an accounting firm, no less!) to ask the prison guards if they had been mistreating the prisoners who were complaining.  No problem, said the prison guards.  End of audit.  No interviews of the prisoners or their families, or no other semblance of a real investigation.

This should be a wake-up call to Memphis parents. Who knows what the fact are, since the story comes to us from Gates stooge, Jane Roberts, who also draws a check from the Memphis Commercial Appeal:

An investigation of practices at Cornerstone Preparatory School by an outside auditor finds no ground to substantiate numerous allegations of child abuse at the Binghamton campus. 
Parents and community leaders are incensed, saying the audit is meaningless because Cornerstone hired the investigator and then excluded them from participating. 
"How independent is it when you are the one that hired them?" asked Chan Douglas, one of several community supporters organizing neighborhood meetings and acting as intermediaries between parents and Cornerstone, which is operating the school as part of the state's Achievement School District for low-performing schools. 
"If it was a true investigation, they should have reached out to the community. They have not spoken with the parents that complained. If you are not doing that, what are you basing your findings on? 
Executive director Drew Sippel said parents were not included because the audit was over internal school processes. 
"We voluntarily put it together in response to concerns we heard expressed at the meeting," Sippel said. "It's part of a three-pronged approach to the concerns. We also self-reported to the Department of Children's Services and we expect to hear from them in a couple of business days."
"My question is why didn't they reach out to me, the community leader and organizer, to find out who they needed to talk to from the community perspective?" asked Marty Merriweather 
Anger first boiled over in a meeting Dec. 19 at the Lester Community Center. One little girl told the crowd of 120-plus people in a three-hour meeting that her teacher refused to let her use the restroom or get her fresh clothes when she wet her pants. She also said the teacher took her shoes, apparently because she was slow tying her laces. Other parents said teachers twisted their children's arms or took their shoes as punishment. . . . .

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