The school privatization juggernaut – cloaked under a shroud of false benevolence (It’s about students first) – received some indefensible bad press this weekend in two state’s key to their movement. First from Florida in an Alexandra Zayas story in the Tampa Bay Times:
State officials asked a judge Friday to shut down an unlicensed Port St. Lucie children’s home that for years has been allowed to operate despite evidence it has hurt kids in its care.
In an 80-page petition, attorneys for the Department of Children and Families cataloged more than a dozen incidents in which its investigators found evidence children were neglected, injured or otherwise mistreated while in the care of Alan Weierman, the self-professed “colonel” who runs Southeastern Military Academy.
The agency says the home must be shut down because it operates with no state license and has failed to get other state-recognized credentials, such as private school accreditation.
Southeastern Military Academy is listed on the FLDOE website and indicates it’s a non-profit – a claim hard to swallow with it’s tuition listed as $25,200. Fortunately for the beleaguered FLDOE, the school does not participate in either the McCay Scholarship Program or the tax credit scholarship voucher program as they’ve a record of being unable to effectively provide oversight.
Now onto Pennsylvania – where Michelle Rhee’s StudentsFirst has pumped in more than $7 million since 2010 to promote education privatization – where we find this Philadelphia Inquirer report from Martha Woodall:
A Bala Cynwyd alternative-education company under federal investigation has been warned it could lose its approval for a disciplinary school in Reading because it allegedly is not complying with state and federal laws.
The Pennsylvania Department of Education has told the for-profit Delaware Valley High School it has begun proceedings to revoke its approval because the school did not provide required academic and counseling programs and failed to address violent incidents that endanger students and staff.
According to documents obtained by The Inquirer, state officials sent a letter, reports, and an order Dec. 21 to Delaware Valley’s owner – lawyer David T. Shulick – that said its approval to operate a private alternative-education school in Reading should be revoked.
Under state law, private providers need approval from the Education Department to run disciplinary programs for students with problems including chronic truancy and fighting. Delaware Valley has a $1.1 million contract with the Reading School District to run a school for 125 students in grades six to 12.
During a Dec. 11 and 12 site inspection, state officials said they found evidence Delaware Valley administrators had directed staff to falsify incident reports and to exclude incidents from daily logs “to conceal the true nature and extent of violence” and had threatened to sue employees if they called police or discussed their concerns with anyone outside the school.
The education privatization movement has backed off their “no excuses” mantra as they realized they could no longer deny that poverty matters. Race to the Top’s recent mandates which direct state boards to establish race-based goals admits as much. But their new mantra is “choice” and they use it to excuse away even the most despicable benefactors – as these certainly are – of their impositions of public policy.