AUHSD Board: Time for a Moratorium on Charter Schools

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In 1813, towards the end of their extraordinary lives, Thomas Jefferson and John Adams exchanged a series of remarkable letters reflecting on the meaning of the American Revolution, and as Jefferson said, it all came down to, “Whether the power of the people or that of the aristocracy should prevail.”

Today, over 200 years later, billionaires are asserting their will over our public schools, institutions that Jefferson believed were necessary to uphold the foundation of democracy. And today, wealthy and disconnected elites -- the “1 percent” -- have successfully lobbied elected officials to pass overly permissive laws allowing “charter” schools, many of which operate on a business model whose main goal is to make money.

Although there is nothing wrong with making money, when it comes to public education, our children should be our first priority. Yet while charter school proponents may say they care about kids, many operate in the shadows with no transparency, no accountability, and no public review.

So we respectfully ask the public to consider: if kids really come first, why are charter schools continuing to hide their funding, ownership and financial relationships? Why not agree to the same accountability policies as public schools – policies that would build public trust?

Yet time after time, charter schools have refused.

For example: they won’t allow open access to financials, including budgets and salaries, even though they spend public money, just like public schools do. Charter schools are not required to comply with Freedom of Information Act requests, as required by other public entities. There's little oversight to ensure that children are protected from asbestos and lead as required of public schools. And why aren’t charters required to have local boards so parents have access to real decision makers? Why aren’t there accountability measures for keeping (not just enrolling) all kids (including children with disabilities, English learners and children with social and emotional needs) in charter schools?

And finally, why do most charters not include teachers in decisions like governance that actually model democratic values? The loopholes make it apparent: laws governing charter schools were written to circumvent accountability so that the profit motive could be fully realized.

Let’s be clear: Competition and choices for parents are good things.

Public schools deserve their share of scrutiny and criticism.

The Anaheim Union High School District is the home of eight state Gold Ribbon schools, nine US News and World Report Gold, Silver and Bronze high school awards, Two Golden Bell awards, a P21 exemplar school, and one National Blue Ribbon school.

We welcome the competition from charter school organizations but also believe that there needs to be a fair playing field.

The Anaheim Union High School District is currently addressing requests from two charter schools, Vista Charter, which operates schools in LAUSD and recently opened in Santa Ana, and Magnolia Science Academy, which has several schools in the Los Angeles Unified School District and also recently opened in Santa Ana Unified School District. Vista Charter has a dubious record even in charter friendly LAUSD. They already had one school shut down and the other has a 47% truancy rate; yet, the now charter friendly Orange County Board of Education is letting them move into Santa Ana.

OCBOE has in fact doubled the number of charters in the county and is led by a board president Robert Hammond, who believes in handing over control of our public schools to private organizations, and is moving forward approving just about all charters including ones like EPIC, which is currently under investigation for fraud in Oklahoma.

Moreover, the fact that OCBOE has authority to grant charters without the consent of local school boards undermines the concept of "local control" and makes a mockery of the Local Control and Accountability Plan (LCAP) as required under new state funding formulas.

But if that were not enough, the Magnolia Science Academy is part of one of the largest charter operators in America, and according to an expose on 60 Minutes, is overseen by Fethullah Gulen, a wealthy Turkish national who controls an international chain of Gulen schools. The 60 Minutes piece exposed the fact that taxpayer money—hundreds of millions of dollars nationwide—is being funneled into the pockets of Turkish foreign nationals in the form of contracts for building schools and hiring teachers. At the same time, Gulen’s financial health and practices have been called into question and investigated by local and state agencies.

The USA though, because of lax charter laws that favor privatization, is the only country in the world that allows public taxpayer money to fund schools operated by foreign nationals. Although the Gulen officials insist there is no ill intent, enough questions have been raised about Magnolia Charter School operations that it is a prime example of why we need a temporary moratorium on charter schools now. All Californians should demand an immediate halt to approval of charter schools until the laws are fixed and accountability is restored.

This is a fight to preserve our public schools, to fight for the future of our children and to uphold our democratic values. As another great patriot and contemporary of Jefferson and Adams, Thomas Paine, said, “If there must be trouble, let it be in my day, that my child may have peace.”

So today, we are asking Orange County residents to stand with our children and call for an immediate temporary moratorium on charter schools at all levels until there is transparency and accountability on par with public schools.

Michael Matsuda, Superintendent, Anaheim Union High School Distric

Al Jabbar, Board member, Anaheim Union High School District

Annemarie Randle-Trejo, Board member, Anaheim Union High School District

Brian O' Neal, Board member, Anaheim Union High School District

Anna Piercy, Board member, Anaheim Union High School District

Kathy Smith, Board member, Anaheim Union High School District

Voice of OC is interested in hearing different perspectives and voices. If you want to weigh in on this issue please contact Voice of OC  Publisher Norberto Santana at nsantana@voiceofoc.org.

 

  • KenCoop

    I’m very late to this discussion.

    The reality is that private schools will always have the advantage over public schools.

    Private schools don’t have to take students with learning disabilities or special needs. They have the ability to expel students who are either not capable of doing the work or with serious discipline issues.

    The comparison is apples and oranges.

  • LFOldTimer

    Baloney. Your bias is showing again. Just because you claim something doesn’t make it true. I could say that the sun revolves around the earth. You may believe it but most people would laugh.

  • http://www.ccsa.org CCSA

    Enough is enough. The same old myths are tired, misguided and just plain wrong. The California Charter Schools Association (CCSA) has repeatedly gone on record debunking and factually proving that charters are public schools, kids in charters are achieving academically, charters are non-profits, comply with federal and state laws, are held to exceptionally high standards of accountability, and supports anyone from the community whose primary concern is advocating and creating high quality education opportunities for students. Anything else added to the conversation is simply an attempt to fracture communities, impede students’ academic success and spread lies. It’s time to stop the misguided rhetoric and for all of us to work together (districts, families, policymakers, schools) to ensure that our kids can reach their full academic potential, be prepared for college and become contributing members to society. Check the facts, do your research and don’t believe the hype. http://www.ccsa.org

    Miles Durfee,
    Managing Regional Director, Southern California
    CCSA

    • Ozgur Cengiz

      Miles you type well with one hand 1) Everyone knows that the new superintendent of Magnolia Schools is Caprice Young, she was on of the first CEO’s of your precious mafia CCSA that collects FEES from charter schools. In fact, Caprice Young till has a pension or investment in CCSA of some sort 2) CCSA spent over $1 million with vicious ads to unseat a honorable man of character that cared about children with disabilities., your ad tactics were horrid and despicable. Even making fun of his slight tremors due to Parkinsons. You then fast tracked a Latino Gay male (openly gay) who heads a charter school group in LAUSD Ref Rodriguez 3) Ref’s schools was audited and there was nothing substantially great about his schools in fact they had a ton of relatives of administrators that own businesses that obtained the contract for catering,etc., Additionally you lowly played the latino race card against LAUSD 4) You never once have condemned the Gulen schools or their obvious connections to the Gulen Movement, their financial mishandling down to stealing over $200,000 for h1 b visas for so called teachers. or the $20,000 on the audit spent to send kids to Turkey and Italy. Not to mention the lies on the testing and Caprice being paid very well as the fix it lady, and utilizing the $6 million obtained by the state for building facility 2 days after they received a letter from LAUSD they would be closed. 5) The continual abuse of money laundering back to the Accord institute when the judge ordered Magnolia to sever ties with them for double dipping, the lack of respect these schools have toward the culture of others when they would showcase their Turkish Olympiads and then the ridiculous Anatolia Festival where the kids were bused in listening to the Islamic call to prayer. Yes Miles keep up the criminal activity of the CCSA you have tapped into the Educational fund of California and are aggressively hiring a lot of regional representatives to convert private schools, you even coach the schools and the parents on when they go for a renewal what to say, wear and even use our public schools buses to bus in the parents and a few selected students who speak of the “miracles” of Magnolia and how their lives were turned around, then before you know it they are gone from the schools no longer there after they get their free box lunched, t shirt and ride down to LAUSD headquarters. Miles you are the enemy of all Americans if you support this sham of a school ran by teachers who are not qualified.except for the fact they are part of the Gulen Movement. Gulen is in a bitter feud with Erdogan, and you have also put the lives of American children in danger, what happens if these crazies that don’t like Gulen or a lone wolf goes nuts on the schools? Its not like school shootings are some novel or rare thing, idiots like Miles and the CCSA care less about the schools programs and more about the fees they pay to the CCSA. Maybe you got your free trip to Turkey and bakhlava shoved in your mouth like the politicians that are under investigation because of these clowns you support. Remember Khadiji Ghafur, California Charter Academy, and Ivy Academies just a few samples of illegal activity that left the tax payers of California holding the bag for over $50 million while the owners ran a terrorist website, had expensive cars, charges lavish dinners and spas on their corporate company credit cards. Miles you are protecting your job and pension while you protect one of the most horrid and sinister groups in the world today. Hope you and Caprice enjoy your CCSA pension while children continue to be robbed by these criminals who only want to steal government money and lobby against other groups. Yep you keep it right up, you imperialistic capitalist sad man.

  • LFOldTimer

    Wow. These dolts who claim to be for choice in every other area of their lives just hate it when a choice of education providers for the children comes up for discussion. ha. Then choice all the sudden becomes a hateful dialogue. Anything to perpetuate the bezzle. ha. Competition is a curse for them when they have to compete with a system that has proven to be more academically beneficial to the children. ha. Just look at the failed California public school system ranked 47th out of 50 in the nation, It speaks for itself. Mississippi provdes their kids with better educations than do the California public schools! ha. But these lunkheads praise the status quo! ha. Use your brains…who do you think they really support? The children or themselves? ha!

    • professor

      Sir,
      I was able to find one study thank ranked California public schools 47th….It was not on the k-12 experience but simply on the standardized scores given to 4th graders. While you seem to have made your mind up, I would humbly ask fair minded folks to consider why that might be. Could it be that California leads the nation in second language learners? Could it be that our children are starting way behind the average? I would like to point you to a US News and World Report article in May that ranked California #2 in the nation (behind Maryland) in overall high school performance. My studies with California public schools show very little union involvement by teachers, so I’m puzzled by your attack.

      • LFOldTimer

        So the Ca public schools went from 47th to 2nd academically, eh professor? Wow. Did they start serving Wheaties w/ almond milk in the school cafeterias? We should just eliminate high school and send the Ca 8th graders directly to college! 🙂 Oh, and the California public K-12 school and unionization are practically synonyms. Where ya been?

        • professor

          No. What I said is there is no evidence to support your claim that California Public schools have ever been ranked 47th out of 50. You keep saying that, however you fail to provide any evidence. I have provided you evidence of one publication that ranked California High Schools #2 in the nation.

          • LFOldTimer

            Does your study focus exclusively on academics? I didn’t think so!!! I was talking ACADEMICS. You were talking something completely different! Full disclosure, please, prof!!! Merry Christmas.

          • Ozgur Cengiz

            More double talk and hijacking of the comment boards by the lower end of the Turkish gene pool. Here is a great idea for you, why don’t you leave and go back to Turkey while they still will allow you criminals back in now that you are officially declared a terrorist organization by your own country…just saying time to go.

        • Ozgur Cengiz

          No they are serving Manti with Doner and some Kebabs (but not pork meat) then there is their pasturma, and they wash down with a glass of raki. Ah the corporate privitazation and the CCSA they pay dues to are practically synonyms, while the top layer stuffs their faces with bakhlava.

      • shansen

        California also leads the nation in child poverty and second language learners. Our schools actually work miracles if you take these factors into account.

        • LFOldTimer

          Yes, and the public schools have promoted it. The unions promoted packing our schools full of kids, regardless of citizenship, because they get paid the same amount to teach a non-english speaking non-citizen as they do for a citizen. And this takes resources away from citizen children. So the teachers love to pack our schools with foreigners but hate for foreigners to come into our country to teach them! That’s not fair! ha. See the hypocrisy yet?

          • Ozgur Cengiz

            hey old fart not to mention the thousands you pay Larson Marketing to promote your below average schools as something they are not. h1-b Visa teachers from Turkey who cannot teach anything but how to make Noah’s pudding and dance the Kolbasti, yes I see the hypocrisy, you are the ones with the fancy expensive marketing the McDonalds of education – ran by a bunch of Janissary zombies from gulen’s own cookie cutter boarding schools. Oops I forgot they were ordered shuttered by their friend Erdogan.

    • Ozgur Cengiz

      We don’t consider the Gulen operated paltry Magnolia Science Academies much of a “choice” that is unless we want our kids to learn the Kolbasti and 3 bars of “Yeni Bir Dunya” We support our American children and what is best for them, and these schools clearly are not what is right for American children. They get an F, they cannot even lie good and they are rubbing off on Caprice she has become a bad liar too, if history is any indicator of the future 2 things will happen 1) Caprice will be leaving by end of the year for another “educational jihad opportunity” 2) The Gulen Movement will shoot themselves in the foot with their mismanagement. This time they won’t be given another chance with “conditions” like a) getting rid of Turkish staff b) stopping the Turkish language and culture emphasis 3) Get sloppy with the money, you watch it’s going to happen the movement is falling apart in Turkey and worldwide they have everything confiscated by their buddy Erdogan. LAUSD even had their legal department draft up a release for parents should they unwisely choose to travel to Turkey in the middle of a bad civil unrest with killings and bombings on the street.

  • Hmmm

    I have been on both sides of this issue. I was a teacher in the AUHSD before leaving for a teaching job at a Magnolia charter school in LA County. Both experiences were negative. AUHSD has crazy large class sizes, often 40 or more per class. I’ve met teachers who have had 45-50 per class. It’s darn difficult to reach every teenager when you’re this overwhelmed, and many students quietly earned Fs, with little chance for individual attention (how can you with so many students to help?) Magnolia, on the other hand, had smaller class sizes but was poorly managed with a lack of financial accountability. Teachers were underpaid and given all sorts of meaningless adjunct duties, with no union to turn to for help. It was an administrative mess. As a mom, I wouldn’t send my kids to any of these schools! Well-managed, nonprofit charter schools are one possible answer, but only when they’re run democratically and remain transparent and accountable. Magnolia will never do that because they maintain a Turkish majority on their appointed school board, with no room for democracy or a board that truly represents their families (mostly Latino and African-American).

    • Ozgur Cengiz

      Well stated and fair balanced.

  • David Zenger

    How funny. The shop stewards are out in force.

    Public teachers of California unite! You have nothing to lose but your chains!

    • RyanCantor

      Seriously.

  • shansen

    My comment on the article: Here are two examples of charter schools in Orange County: 1) Einstein School in Huntington Beach. Not approved by the school district, county overruled. Opened for 1 year, lost their charter. The entire district was in chaos at the beginning of this school year because parents didn’t know where their kids would be going to school until after the school year started. 2) Magnolia Public Schools in Santa Ana. Not approved by the district, approved by the county. They have gotten a 17.4 million dollar grant from the state to build a new school which is in progress as I write this. This particular charter school group is tightly connected to the Gulen Movement which was profiled on 60 Minutes a few years ago. They are nationwide and have been investigated by Ohio, Chicago and other states for improprieties such as: using school funds to pay for HB1 visas for teachers to come from Turkey to teach science, math and English. It has been reported that some of the teachers don’t even speak intelligible English, yet here they are. When and if they go out of business, who do you think will own that property? Not the taxpayers, but we’re paying for it.

    • Ozgur Cengiz

      generally the gulenists build the schools the least cheapest way possible and in Texas and elsewhere started construction firms just to win their own bids. Solidarity construction was started by bigwig Gulenists Kemal Oksuz, who is also being investigated by the US house ethics committee for improper lobbyng funds for junkets to Turkey, Azerbaijan and other Turkic nations for Congress members. They often will build it for 50% less than the money and pocket a lot of the money by building for under the bid amount. In Texas they used a sub contractor then stiffed him for almost $500,000 J L Johnson Construction was forced to hire an attorney then settle for less in a settlement just to avoid bankruptcy that these cruel inhuman greedy gulen cult members forced upon him. one of the Gulenists mllionaires in California that is on the Magnolia School board is Remzi Oten – he lives in Anaheim so beware of local politicians being “peppered” with campaign contributions and other gift$ from this criminal cartel.

      • David Zenger

        The Great Gulen is watching you. All Hail the Great Gulen!

        • LFOldTimer

          Funny how these people hate foreign intrusion unless the intruders happen to be from countries they support. ha. We need outsiders to revamp our entire school system. Even the 3rd world nations are kicking our hind ends acdemically. But that’s what happens when employee unions take over and run the school districts to protect the lazy, the incompetent and, in some cases, even teachers who commit crimes against their own students. If Gulen (whoever that is) ever comes to Orange County I’d be honored to buy him dinner. Oh, and if Turkey and Azerbaijan are the only counties where American pols get free junket trips! ha. As if Gulen is responsible for that mess! ha.

        • Ozgur Cengiz

          yes he is watching us from his vulture perch in the poconos while he dodges his summons to court on human abuse violations. He is a wizard that has even managed to avoid the extradition papers from the Republic of Turkey who has declared this group a Terrorist Network. When Caprice Young moves on she can put down on her resume she was a fix it flunky for an Islamic terrorist network. LOL. Oh and I am not afraid of Gulen or these schools they are losers that eventually will be closed and Caprice Young will move on to yet another job robbing money from the children of California -that is what opportunists do., not even her PR firm Larson can hide the truth for her. But nevertheless she pays top dollar to Larson to beef up her image (more money taken from children of California)

  • taews

    Charter schools sell themselves as alternatives to “failing” schools, but they are really an opportunity for profiteers to take our tax dollars for their administrators who may have zero education training or experience, who will hire low-paid/high-turnover “teachers” at low wages, with little to no accountability. I don’t want my tax dollars taken from public schools and given to profiteers.

    • Ozgur Cengiz

      We need to fix and modify public schools not these criminals opening charter schools, getting seed money from Walton Foundation, or Broad or Gates then closing by year 5. The failure rate is high and the school in question , Magnolia Science Academy has an application in Fremont, CA that will be heard tomorrow evening the school they want to take over is another FAILED charter school FAME Charter that closed 18 months ago, yet the Gulenists seem to think they can con their way into the Fremont, CA community and steal money from surrounding schools.

  • Mike Tardif

    “Magnolia Science Academy .. is overseen by .. a wealthy Turkish national who controls an international chain of Gulen schools. The 60 Minutes piece exposed the fact that taxpayer money .. is being funneled into the pockets of Turkish foreign nationals .. The USA .. is the only country in the world that allows public taxpayer money to fund schools operated by foreign nationals.”

    This letter is written by scare monger bigots.

    • Ozgur Cengiz

      No it’s not, it’s to educate American tax payers the scam that not only the Gulen Movement has but many other charter school operators. The biggest criticism isn’t that the Gulen Movement is non-American or that they are an islamic cult based on greed. It’s the fact they are not transparent or accountable for their actions and behaviors in the schools or outside of the school. The magnolia School in Carson, CA just had a teacher arrested for improper sexual contact with female students and he had been watched by the police for over 1 year. The fact that they are intangled with politics and lobbying should also be a concern as the amount of money donated to politicians is substantial and well documented. The fact, that they are Turks and islamic has nothing to do with their lying, unprofessional and irresponsible behaviors. They handle American tax payers money like drunk Turkish sailors and in my Turkiye most of their businesses are being shuttered as their schools have been. When the get desperate for cash and start to float checks and not pay their teachers are you going to financially rescue this pack of hoodlums?

  • mutheta

    It’s time to turn over the Orange County Board of Education’s elected officials.
    Three are up for election in June: John Bedell, Robert Hammond and Ken Williams. The filing period occurs early in the year. Our county schools need new leaders. Below is a link to the areas the board members represent.

    http://www.ocde.us/Board/Pages/default.aspx

    • Ozgur Cengiz

      you don’t get your way so in your usual fashion you attack the elected officials of the OCBOE more classic Cemaat esek behaviors.

  • Karen Ridley

    While I have no doubt that professional bloggers and corporate privatists are vast in their educational expertise (verbal irony), I am certain that taxpayers would support a moratorium on charter schools if they were privy to the idea that their tax dollars were siphoned for a profit at the expense of students, educational resources, and desireable work environments with qualified experts in the classrooms.

    • LFOldTimer

      Are you joking or being sarcastic? The Charter school students run circles around the common public school students on both grades and test scores. It’s like comparing a college football team with a high school JV team. If I had a a school aged kid I would work 3 jobs – 16 hours a day – 7 days a week to make sure he or she did not have to attend a California public school, ranked 47th out of 50 in the nation. The public school administrators and unionized teachers cry crocodile tears in order to avoid any competition in education because they know they are batting zero and would lose if they were forced to compete. ha. So they have to fabricate reasons against it. ha. Really disgusting and sick. Their resistance only hurts the children who they’re supposed to serve. It all comes down to G-R-E-E-D!

      • professor

        California Public schools have open enrollment. Parents have many choices. In Anaheim, Oxford Academy is an excellent option and the other high schools continue to lead the nation in preparing all students for college and 21st century careers. Remember the 47th in the nation refers only to one way of looking at 4th grade standardized tests. US News and World Report ranked our high schools #2 nationally.

        • LFOldTimer

          “US News and World Report ranked our high schools #2 nationally”
          Which schools? The private schools? If you think California’s K-12 public schools are ranked #2 in the nation I’ve got a home on oceanfront property in Arizona that’s for sale. Cheap too!

          • professor

            You offer nothing in the way of evidence. The facts simply do not support your narrative.

          • Ozgur Cengiz

            Because Gulenists never talk in specifics only generic terms here is a sampling ” We have 100% college acceptance” (how many applied for college? the high school charter enrollment drops drastically, have seen with my own eyes barely 10 kids graduate in the ceremonies from their schools, oh and what about the “we are an award winning school”) Then lets get into the accolades they sing for their master teacher (hocaefendi) “he is a man of peace and tolerance” “Gulen promotes dialogue” “Gulen held court with the pope”. Here is the reality, the Magnolia schools and other charter schools fake advertise and use slick PR marketing campaigns – these are generic and the Kurds and others that have a civil unrest or those civilians being bothered by terrorists in Turkey would probably disagree that Gulen has achieved any dialogue or peace in Turkey that is why he fled Turkey. Oh and yes, Gulen held court with the pope it was over 27 years ago the late pope John Paul, who had just been shot by a Turkish man who was a radical Grey Wolf his name is Mehmet Agca. They never have evidence they never have anything except bells and whistles to razzle dazzle the eyes of people who think traveling to Turkey is a great thing. (tell that to the German tourists who were bombed today in downtown Istanbul) It’s time for the Gulen Movement to leave America they are not wanted here. They offer nothing to American children.

      • http://rdsathene.blogspot.com Robert D. Skeels * rdsathene

        Facts don’t bear out your specious rants.

        Let’s take a look at a few of Magnolia Science Academy (MSA) schools, starting with Magnolia High in Anaheim (MHA). MHA’s California Standards Tests (STAR) 2013 proficiency rate in math was a dismal 11.7%, English 41.9%; 2012 math 16.4%, English 41.3%; 2011 math 15.7%, English only 35.0% ( http://schools.latimes.com/school/anaheim/magnolia-high/ ). On top of these bottom dweller STAR scores, MHA schools’ Scholastic Achievement Test (SAT) averages don’t bear out Young’s definition of “achieving”. MHA’s 2009—2012 SAT composites were as follows: 1368, 1427, and 1373 ( http://schools.latimes.com/school/anaheim/magnolia-high/ ). For context 1,500 is considered the minimum threshold for college readiness, while 2,052 was the composite average for Freshmen accepted into UCLA in 2013. Young’s Anaheim charter school doesn’t come close. Taking another example, MSA2 in Van Nuys. This school has marginally better STAR scores: 2013 math 29.2%, English 48.3%; 2012 math 25.0%, English 49.3%, 2011 math 21.1%, English 47.6% ( http://schools.latimes.com/school/reseda/magnolia-science-academy-2/ ). Like its Anaheim counterpart, the Magnolia school never saw even half of its student body proficient in these core subjects. So much for claims of “quality education”.

  • Mike Tardif

    In the interest of transparency … how many of the above signed AUHSD board members were supported in their campaigns by the CTA?

    • Ozgur Cengiz

      In the interest of transparency….are you a paid charter school teacher or on the salary of Magnolia Science Academies or have anything to do with the wicked CCSA criminal cartel that is stealing American money intended or education of our children?

  • flbusbaby

    The citizens of this district are so fortunate to have a school board that still values public education! A call for charter school budget transparency is a must to ensure tax money is being spent wisely. Otherwise the students may receive a subpar education while the funds are lining pockets elsewhere. This is an unfortunate trend that needs to be stopped nationwide. Thanks for leading the way. ^0^

    • Ozgur Cengiz

      push for stricter laws on charter schools and oversight. many states have already done this and 1 passed a regulation that only American citizens could open charter schools and that h1-b visa teachers would not be accepted. the oversight and transparency of the money ADA (average daily attendance) we have caught several of the Gulen operated schools “ghosting students”, and using money that is intended to educated special needs students going into a general fund. They usually keep 2 sets of books and deal a lot in cash to hide their paper trails, when possible they launder through their NGOs that are layered around the schools. You don’t even want to go there on the governmental grants they sniff out, but they are in the millions.

  • J.G.

    How is it local control when elected officials that represent a community are over-ruled by the county department of ed? It’s not local control then when a different entity decides it knows better than the community. The enemies of public education cry for accountability, but then there is none for the charter schools? Seems a bit hypocritical. Also, once these charters are opened or public schools are taken over, there is no way to turn them back to public schools. Doesn’t seem equitable. Let’s also not forget that there are many studies that show that charter schools do worse than the public schools in many cases.

  • tmare1

    A countywide movement for transparency and open books for charter schools IS warranted. Districts can deny a charter, the county or the state will just go ahead and approve it and the school ends up in their boundaries anyway. The Gulen charter schools were just denied by both Santa Ana USD and the County but the state approved it anyway. The widespread corruption and investigations into the practices of this particular charter is all over the news. It is a very shady organization and they are making a play for schools all over Orange County, including both AUHSD and AUSD. I can give you over 100 links to the corruption at the Gulen Charter Schools but I’ll leave you with this one to start. The Gulen Charters are a huge problem but even more so, the problem is in the lack of oversight and accountability for taxpayer money for charter schools in general. They do not publish their salaries, they do not open their books at all and they are taking PUBLIC funds. Why is it so difficult to understand that they must have the same degree of transparency as regular public schools since they are receiving the same money?

    http://www.theatlantic.com/education/archive/2014/08/120-american-charter-schools-and-one-secretive-turkish-cleric/375923/

  • Joanne Fawley

    The temporary moratorium proposed is a reasonable suggestion to ensure that taxpayers’ money is utilized in a responsible and transparent manner. With an increase in Orange County of charter petitions and a move to create many more charters in the LAUSD, it is timely to consider whether the applicable laws need revision.

    • RyanCantor

      It’s not reasonable. It’s heavy handed and myopic.

      Banning all charters because of the perceived bad behavior of a few operators has no logical difference than say, banning all immigrants because of the bad behavior of a few who share one similar trait.

      Just a tip: When you’re borrowing your reasoning from Donald Trump, you have a problem.

      • Ozgur Cengiz

        Your argument would have been more sound if you actually knew something about the lack of oversight of charter schools and the horrible laws. Unfortunately, many Charter schools fail not just academically but from financial mismanagement. In theory on paper, charter schools have some great innovative ideas. However, they are not held to the same standards of transparency or accountability as public schools are. They don’t even have to hire licensed and credentialed teachers that speak proper English, and this hiring of h1-b visa teachers that the Gulen Movement does also creates unemployment for American people, not to mention the gaggle of businesses they start to win all the contracts at their schools for: uniforms, janitorial service, catering, tutoring, construction and more…all are completed and handled within the “gulen cult family” thereby taking more business opportunities away from Americans who are footing the bill for these rejects from turkey who are declared a “terrorist Network” by the Turkish Parliament.

        • RyanCantor

          ^^^ has nothing to do with improving opportunities for kids.

          ^^^ has EVERYTHING to do with unionism.

          In any case, you’re doubling down on your Trump logic here.

          “Your argument would have been more sound if you actually knew something about . . .”

          Put “Islam” after that ellipsis and you’ve got something straight out of his mouth.

          • Ozgur Cengiz

            Charters have everything to do with privatizing public education and dismantling the great American education system. Charters only benefit capital cronyism, Trump is FOR the corporatization of the public education, didn’t you understand that in his rants that are disguised as speeches. No respect for the man but one thing that would be great should he get into office he will expose the Clintons accepting millions from this movement in their usual bribes and scams that you apparently think is ok to use for political gain rather than to educate children.
            Lets look at the facts here 1) Gulen is not Islam they are a cult built for organized crime syndicate, most muslim do not associate with the Movement 2) Charter schools have a higher failure rate than public schools which have much more oversight., majority of children stay at a charter school under 3 years and the same with teachers the max is 1-4 years. 3) Now lets examine state scores we are seeing no better than a traditional charter schools on scores and more closure of these McDonald franchises of education.
            Frankly the Gulenists cannot argue intelligently, goes to show that teaching American kids to dance the Kolbasti and singing Yeni Bir Dunya will dummy down American kids like the zombies in the Gulen cult. Just today we read they tried to sneak in 2 schools in San Fernando Valley, then they withdrew their application in Oceanside claiming they will resubmit (cough cough) and then there is the big show tomorrow night in Fremont, CA where the Gulenists are going to present to the parents and board of Fremont how they will take over another closed charter school and turn it into an “award winning school ” in 1 year with a waiting list of 5,000 kids LOL. Ah got to love them and their story telling it’s so lame. But good luck on throwing lots of spaghetti on the wall, surely something will stick unless the public comes out against you (again)

  • LFOldTimer

    Gotta keep the educational monopoly alive and well! ha. Limit choice! ha. Make them do it our way or take the highway! ha. Misery loves company! ha. Besides, fleeing the public schools could have a detrimetnal effect on CalSTRS funding! Can’t have that! The bezzle must continue at all costs!! ha. Keep the young boys and girls ignorant and thwart any opportunity for their bright economic future! ha. It’s the new American way!!! ha. Just follow the program, comrade! Squelch dissent! ha. Don’t stand in the way of regression and outright failure! 🙂

    • tmare1

      Do a quick Google search of Gulen Charters. You will find massive corruption. For that matter, do a quick search for Charter School scandals and you will find corruption throughout the country. Millions and millions of missing dollars, charter corporations that go out of business overnight and no one ever knows what has happened to the money. What is being asked for here is simple: transparency with public funds. It honestly isn’t too much to ask for handing over the thousands of dollars taxpayers pay per student each year.

      • J.G.

        I guess the old timer is favor of no accountability and foreigners being paid taxpayer money to teach our students. I wonder what his view of the refugees is? I’m sure he’s not a fan, but anything to mess with STRS, right?

        • LFOldTimer

          For decades your public schools have been inviting foreigners (legal status not required) to attend our schools so why would you suddenly be so xenophobic about foreign instructors in the schools? Hmmm? What’s good for the goose isn’t good for the gander? Are you a public school teacher or a spouse of a teacher? Just wondering? Don’t like competition in education? Hmmmm?

          • J.G.

            It’s not fair competition when the rules are different. Watch the video from 60 Minutes about the Turkish schools. Insulting to believe that we don’t have qualified teachers in this country to teach math and science. It’s simple to see the causes for not producing in school–poverty, lack of education, and culture–all things Anaheim is up against. Competition doesn’t work in a few fields. Not everything is a business principle. To assume that our teachers are lazy and don’t work because there is no competition is pathetic.

          • LFOldTimer

            “To assume that our teachers are lazy and don’t work because there is no competition is pathetic”
            Some teachers are lazy and incompetent because the teacher’s union protects them. The job security protections are beyond bizarre. In the Southland a teacher’s union fought to protect a teacher who engaged in indecent liberties with children. And that’s true. Go read the story about the elementary school teacher who put his bodily fluids on cookies and fed them to his students. Incredibly sick. Go read his story. About as disgusting and putrid a story as you could possibly imagine.

          • Ozgur Cengiz

            Speaking of “indecent liberties with children” did you know that several of the teachers at Gulen schools have been arrested for diddling their students? Yes it’s true and one was just 3 months ago- a teacher at their Carson, California Magnolia Science Academy. Old Timer you are working overtime on the damage control for your pathetic cult, hope you are not using the computers at work, especially when the FBI comes to confiscate the hard drives like they have done at 20 gulen operated schools. All of that inforamation will be there. BTW – Voice of OC can also trace your IP address and if it leads to one of the Gulen operated charter schools you are going to look even more foolish than you already do. Your sad cult doesn’t need another scandal.

          • LFOldTimer

            Boy, those are some pretty heavy false allegations there, amigo. I assume that your computer has an IP address too, right? Or is your internet service powered by radioactive energy from a mythical location found in the deep crevices of another universe? ha. Your ilk just hates competition, don’t ya? You seem to be just fine with providing kids with subpar educations as long as it keeps the administrators and teachers fat and happy in the land of milk and honey. ha. It just disgusts me that professionals place their own selfish needs in front of the children that they are paid to serve. The California public schools are academically ranked 47th out of 50 in the nation, hombre. Let that sink into your cranium for a minute or two. And if you want another spanking reply to my comment. ha.

          • David Zenger

            All Hail the Great Gulen!

      • LFOldTimer

        Oh stop it. What’s more corrupt than the California public schools being ranked 47th out of 50 in the nation academically? The California public schools are sending kids out the door who can’t read, write or do math with little hope of making something of themselves in life. And then their solution is to dumb down the curriculum and claim that standardized tests that compare California schools to other schools nationally and internationally is not fair! HA! The Charter schools have proven to be superior institutions of learning. The academic records and test scores prove it. This is all about the insiders trying to protect their little nest eggs. Their last stand against the betterment of education for the children. IMO shameful.

        • professor

          Again you keep posting California public schools ranked 47th out of 50 in the nation. Since you didn’t provide the rest of the information, that ranking was based on looking at only one facet of how 4th graders tested. 4th grade…..What about high schools? US News and World Reports reported in May that California High Schools came in 2nd nationally.

          • LFOldTimer

            You mean private high schools? That may very well be the case. California public high schools? ha. Now go ahead. Pull my other thumb! 🙂

          • professor

            No. Read the article in US News and World Report. And I’m sorry I can’t help you with your flatulence.

          • LFOldTimer

            There is a greater chance that the sun will rise in the west tomorrow morning than there is the California K-12 public schools are ranked #2 academically in the country. If you are a professor and involved in the education industry – you, of all people, should know that! ha. Oh and my flatulence increased in intensity after reading your comment. 🙂

    • professor

      Have you ever heard of open enrollment or school of choice?

      • LFOldTimer

        If the open enrollment school is within the California public school system it’s like jumping from the fire into the frying pan. Instead of a California public school 12th grader at graduation having the academic proficiency of a 9th grader in Utah, they graduate with the proficiency of a 10th grader, meeting the eligibility requirement to get a burger flipper job at a fast food restaurant. Most everyone agrees that the K-12 California education system sucks, professor. Where ya been?

        • professor

          You seem like a very unhappy person. If you start with belief that everyone and everything sucks. there is not much to say. Most of the people I know love their public school. The amazing job that public school teachers do in Santa Ana and Anaheim should be especially commended because unlike Donald Trump, those students don’t start with a small loan of 1 million dollars from papa and yet hundreds of them are qualifying for entrance at our nation’s most competitive schools. The future is bright for our students and California.

          • LFOldTimer

            Over half the kids who graduate from California public schools have a hard time making the change from a $10 transaction or reading and comprehending a Betty Crocker omelet recipe. Are you sure you don’t have California mixed up with another state, prof? Oh, and were you one of those who said Donald Trump would never make it to the primaries? ha!

          • professor

            Where do you come up with this stuff? Your posts are the perfect case study in how dangerous the internet can be. I truly believe that you believe the stuff you post. I call on very person that reads his stuff to slow down and search for evidence. There is none because he takes bits and pieces of information adds a little salt and jumps to preposterous conclusions.

          • LFOldTimer

            Does your study focus exclusively on academics? Please be accurate with your response.

          • professor

            It’s not my study. I was fact checking your claim. I was not able to find any studies that corroborated your repeated ranking of 47th out of 50. I did share with you one study from U.S. and World Report that found California High Schools ranked #2 in the nation behind Maryland.

  • David Zenger

    I wonder how much of that story is even true.

    • tmare1

      All of it, the information on charters is readily available. I can find the links for you if you don’t want to spend the time.

      • David Zenger

        And yet it fails to persuade. I wonder why.

        • RyanCantor

          This is by far my favorite controdiction:

          “We welcome the competition from charter school organizations but also believe that there needs to be a fair playing field.”

          Fair for whom? If an unfair playing field produces better results for children, what’s the problem?

          Oh. Right. Because this has absolutely NOTHING to do with putting kids first. Nothing.

          • Ozgur Cengiz

            Ah here is the Gulenists hijacking the boards..one pitches and the other hits…sometimes it’s the same jackel brainwashed gulencis that does both posts, as if comments from them will ever persuade Americans that this is just a great group of teachers merely in the usa to teach.

          • RyanCantor

            ^^^ Gulenists? Really?

            Focus on your argument, not who you’re arguing with.

          • David Zenger

            All Hail the Great Gulen! May his beard ever lengthen and his progeny multiply like rabbits!

          • Ozgur Cengiz

            He doesn’t have a beard but does have a lying forked tongue like a serpent. What till this movement turns violent, they have only been violent here or there a few times but it’s coming they are getting desperate. Closing in on them and the FBI is still watching them.

        • Ozgur Cengiz

          cult members who are paid shills cannot be persuaded. You have no loyalty to Turkey, you only are loyal to the Gulen Movement. It’s worse than the mafia and will suck the very life out of you.

          • David Zenger

            All Hail the Great Gulen!

          • Ozgur Cengiz

            Siktir the great Gulen, was right wasn’t I –Gulencis Yalancis. See you in Fremont, CA

  • Bob Brock

    The teachers union is feeling its oats! First they get Mayor Tait to provide a blank check to shift city funds to the schools. Now they want to block charter schools in Anaheim. My favorite part is the claim that they welcome competition, but only competition that the union leaders approve.
    BTW, it’s not the 1% pushing for charter schools… the 1% is sending their kids to private schools. It’s the working class parents in Anaheim that are fed up with the failures of the schools in their community that want change. That’s the harsh reality that the unions don’t want to face.

    • tmare1

      It is a simple request for transparency. It isn’t too much to ask when taxpayer money is being handed off to private groups. These groups go out of business and leave nothing to show for it except a lot of kids with nowhere to go. The information is everywhere online regarding charter school scandals. It is the fiscally prudent thing to do.

      • J.G.

        It is too much if your only goal is to “ruin unions”. You see that the arguments they use are not for the kids or about their education. They violate all their conservative beliefs in their efforts to destroy public education. It’s sad.

    • J.G.

      Yet, not one parent spoke to support the Vista Charter at the school board meeting. You make it sound like there are parents up in arms with pitchforks. The presentation of the Visa charter in October was embarrassing and is definitely not an improvement over what is offered. The rules that govern public schools are not the same as the charters. It’s weakening the power that parents have and puts it in the hands of business types after the bottom line. I find it peculiar that the likes of you is really concerned about the salaries of teachers and other public employees, but look the other way on these charter salaries. Mr. Matsuda, the superintendent of a 30,000 student school district makes 220K, but these principals of two charter schools often make that much and more. That’s using taxpayer funds for profit instead of using it on the students. And you call teachers greedy?

    • Ozgur Cengiz

      A charter school proposal from a sound and qualified applicant would and should be considered. But accepting an application from the same group who barely got out of the dog house in LAUSD and a State audit that proved they had “messy bookkeeping” including over $200,000 needlessly spent on h1-b visas and over $20,000 on field trips to Turkey and Italy that is money that should be spent on education not on promoting this cult. This group from Magnolia Science Academy then proceeded to block the closure of their schools and made a back room deal with LAUSD and their attorneys to remove some of the key Gulen Members like poor Mehmet Argin who was cast away but remains somewhere in the background pulling the strings -many of these brainwashed cult members are still in background with ex LAUSD board President turned Ex CEO of CCSA (California Charter School Association) Caprice Young now at the helm. I give them 12 months in the USA with the ongoing FBI federal investgation, the DOL, DHS, DOE and the IRS investigating them it won’t be much longer as the money has all but dried up in Turkey even their banks, hospitals confiscated by the Government of Turkey. The clock is ticking for this group and hopefully the rest that I know will pack up and move to Canada as they don’t have much left in the USA and nothing left back home in Turkey with all their power being stripped it’s not even worth the time of American politicians to bother with this sad group.

      • Sovereign Man

        I found your comments in an old Pam Geller article. Can you direct me to any resources that might have info on Gulen organization infiltration into Canada? I know from Turkish friends that the local Turkish cultural society in my city, Calgary, is full of the Gulen cultists – they tried to recruit one friend during the annual Turkish cultural celebration day. The local media is hopeless, and completely tied to our foolish Ismaili socialist mayor. There is an independent news source here that I would like to set on the trail.

    • professor

      The council majority agreed to consider partnering with Anaheim schools. No blank check. No money this year. The vote allows the council to invest in children just like it does with Disney, just on a much smaller scale.

  • RyanCantor

    “So we respectfully ask the public to consider: if kids really come first, why are charter schools continuing to hide their funding, ownership and financial relationships? Why not agree to the same accountability policies as public schools – policies that would build public trust?”

    . . . accountability policies at public schools that would build the public trust?

    Who wrote this? You’re kidding, right?

    You’re serious?

    Oh, my.

    Charter schools have the ultimate standard in accountability. As a parent, if the school isn’t doing what it’s supposed to do– you force accountability with your feet: You leave.

    If you’re a parent at a public school lacking in affordable options, like Charter Schools, you have no such option. This motion constraints parents into a situation without options. That’s not right and it certainly doesn’t represent parity with regard to accountability.

    This moratorium is ill considered and the issue being debated is a red herring. I have absolutely no desire to privatize public education, but **insane** motions from public administrators, like this one, really make me think twice about the issue.

    Instead, let’s have a temporary moratorium on AUHSD officials wasting taxpayer time and money on issues not immediately related to their office. Rather than debating how to control funding that isn’t theirs, they should stick to the business of improving schools under their wing.

    There’s clearly plenty of work for them to do. If they truly have so much time on their hands that they can investigate operations beyond their purview, well, perhaps they’re not needed at all.

    • Shaylinn

      I think you are ill informed on this issue. When a charter wants to open within a school district’s boundaries, the school district is required to vote on approval or denial. This is very a specifically and legally required part of their jobs as school district trustees. The two charters specifically mentioned would both fall within AUHSD boundaries. As to the money, I think you don’t understand how charters are funded perhaps? They are paid from the budget of the school district within which they reside, thus they would take money directly from the AUHSD budget. So yes, this is what our trustees are supposed to do and this is in absolutely no way a waste of their time.

      • RyanCantor

        You’re welcome to assume as little or as much ignorance on my behalf as you’d like.

        The proposal above includes the entire county, not just AUHSD– which is free to do what it wants with it’s own proposals.

        If your trustees feel Charter schools are a waste of their time and money, that’s legitimately their business.

        Your trustees pushing for a county wide movement is not. In any respect.

        Cheers.

        • tmare1

          Yes, it is their business. When a charter is denied for very good and documentable reasons, that charter can still be approved by the county or the state. When the county or state approves it, the school still ends up within the boundaries of the original school district. This means that the new charter school will take funds and students away from that city and many of the students in charters are not receiving a decent education. It is most certainly in the interest of the school district to ensure that when they deny a charter due to clear fraud and misuse of funds as well as clear policies that deny Special Education students access that the charter does not end up in their boundaries anyway.

          • RyanCantor

            Does the AUHSD have an instance of denying a charter only to have it authorized by another agency?

            Or is this just fear mongering anticipating a future problem that hasn’t actually occurred?

            If the former, let’s talk about it. If that latter, banning all charter schools is an extreme solution to a relatively narrow problem.

            In fact it’s so extreme, I’m pretty sure I saw the exact same logic used by Donald Trump recently.

          • tmare1

            The Gulen Charter schools petitioned the Santa Ana board last year and Santa Ana denied them. The county denied them and then the state approved anyway. Santa Ana is VERY close to Anaheim in case you weren’t aware of that. It is not unreasonable for Anaheim to expect that the same thing could happen. If two agencies determine that a charter school with a clear record of corruption is wrong for their city and county, why should the state be able to impose that charter school on the city anyway? Not only did the state approve it, Loretta Sanchez and several other county politicians attended the groundbreaking for construction (construction that the state also provided over 17 million dollars for). This charter has a major history of funding campaigns, this makes me wonder who they are paying off at the state level for all of these favors despite their record of corruption that is detailed in dozens of articles including a 60 Minutes expose.

          • RyanCantor

            This is an argument to revise standards for approving a charter school, not for an outright ban on charters, specifically addressing how the concept of federalism works in our public school system– which has significant problems well beyond just charter schools.

            Like the article that these comments address, it does nothing to demonstrate why a wide ranging ban on ALL charters is necessary, particularly when many charters throughout the country and southern California continue to benefit children and provide choices for parents, who ultimately own accountability for the quality of their child’s education.

            The AUHSD likely has plenty of problems its Trustees could be addressing rather than issuing proclamations citing cherry picked problems associated with neighboring charters to induce an emotional appeal as a substitute for critical thought.

            The idea that we can and should stereotype all charter operations as ill advised for a child’s education not only insults parents who chose to send their children to charter schools, it insults the basic logic.

            That we’d get behind such a fallacy is just embarrassing. We can do better.

          • tmare1

            Yes, you are right, it is an argument to revise policies for approving charters. That is what AUHSD is asking, to stop approving them until the policies can be reviewed and revised.

          • RyanCantor

            Right, to stereotype all charter schools as bad actors.

            Kind like treating all Syrians the same.

            You know, until we can find a way to not treat them the same.

          • Ozgur Cengiz

            You are talking apples and oranges the Gulen Movement is one of the worst examples what goes on in the charter school industry. To compare their plight to the Syrians that are largely being slaughtered by Wahabbi Takfiris that slip into Syria via Turkey from over 60 countries is like comparing exiled criminal Gulen to the Mother Teresa. Oops I forget your ridiculous movement has compared Gulen to Mother Teresa, Ghandi, and Martin Luther King..3 honorable people that actually got off their lazy behind and showed their face helping people. Gulen stays hidden except for an occasional Sura and broadcast where he among other things orders his followers (these teachers) to “make like a bomb and explode on the USA” or his other classic was a fatwa on the Kurds “burn their houses and rip off their legs” Yep Gulen is a man of Peace alright just ask any Gulenists they will tell you they have “read his books” and are “inspired” by the man that orders his flock to do dangerous things, what will they do when they cannot grow anymore in the USA.

          • Ozgur Cengiz

            Blah Blah you were denied your puny school run by H1-b Visa Turks and the token Gavur. Move on, you Gulenists never leave quietly do you? What are you going to do when Caprice steps down this year? Going to find another Gavur puppet? Pay me $200,000 a year and I will lie, cheat and steal for you to as apparently classless Caprice has. She better hurry and tap into her network to find her next job as she is going to be limited on the pickings.

        • professor

          The problem is that when local school dues its due diligence and says no to a for profit farce of a school, the decision is appealed to the county and rubber stamped. I get it that you want more competition, but this is not what we are seeing. We need time to put some minimum standards on these guys because most have been disastrous at least so far in California.