For years, Bill Gates pushed charter schools in his state of Washington. The voters said no three times. Parent organizations, civil rights groups, labor organizations, and others who objected to privatization at Gates’ whim opposed his offer. But in 2012, Gates poured millions once again into his personal crusade for charter schools, and the measure squeaked through. At first, his charter schools were denied public funding because the state’s highest court said that charter schools are not public schools, because they do not have an elected school board. Gates and his buddies ran a campaign to defeat some of the justices at the next election, and when the charter funding issue came back again, they allowed the charters to draw from lottery money, not from the state public school fund.

A decade has passed, and what hath Bill wrought?

Ann Dornfeld of Station KUOW in Seattle investigated the state’s largest charter chain and found a string of broken promises.

In the first of the series, the story focused on the chain’s failure to provide appropriate services to English language learners.

A charter school chain promised a world-class education. Instead they billed the state and let kids ‘sit there quietly’

It began:

For Senait Ogubamichael, an Eritrean refugee, it was the American dream: Her daughter would get a stellar education and grow up to pursue any kind of career.

Whatever she like,” Ogubamichael said. “If she like music, if she like being a doctor.”

Ogubamichael was drawn to Puget Sound Elementary, a charter school in Tukwila, because of its promise of instruction tailored to each student. Puget Sound is part of Impact Public Schools, the largest charter school chain in Washington state.

Ogubamichael’s family speaks Tigrinya at home, and her daughter, who is in second grade, is learning English. Five months into the 2021-22 school year, Ogubamichael realized that her daughter was barely making progress in English — and that she wasn’t getting services for English language learners, as had been promised, and which is a federal requirement.

Meanwhile, records from the state schools office show Impact Public Schools has billed the state more than $857,000 in the last four years for funding for English language programming. But teachers told KUOW that English language instruction is essentially nonexistent.

KUOW spoke with 50 parents and staff who voiced concerns about Impact’s treatment of its most vulnerable students — a pattern, they said, that has persisted since the first school opened in 2018.

Of those interviewed, 13 teachers said that Impact’s three schools also failed to provide specialized instruction for many students with disabilities, or those who are highly capable — even though that, too, is legally required.

Impact called the allegations regarding lack of English language services “completely false,” and said it follows the law on that and special education.

“We have been in full compliance with special education requirements this year and every year,” said Rowena Yow, spokesperson for Impact Public Schools. “We offer a full inclusion [English language learner] program that meets all state requirements.”

Jen Davis Wickens, co-founder and CEO of Impact schools, declined numerous interview requests, and agreed to answer questions only over email, via a spokesperson...

The charter chain’s students are mostly children of color from low-income families. Black students make up the largest percentage, including many from East African immigrant and refugee families. Twenty-one percent of students are English language learners, state records show.

Students learning English are entitled by federal law to special lessons from teachers certificated or well-trained to work with them.

At most schools with sizable immigrant populations, English language specialists work one-on-one or in groups with students who are still learning the language.

At Impact, however, there are no dedicated English language teachers, state records show. Six of about 100 classroom teachers have professional endorsements to teach English learners, but it is not their focus.

Open the link and read the story. It is indeed a story of broken promises.

You flunk, Bill.