Archives for category: Home Schooling

John Merrow rightly says that the new stay-at-home schooling is not homeschooling.

There are no bells, no crowd control, and very few real teachers.

It is home LEARNING, and there is a wealth of resources available to parents.

He offers many activities and links to resources.

A parent recently said on Twitter that the current situation cannot be compared to homeschooling, because those parents who exercise that option have access to museums, libraries, and other community activities that are mostly closed for the same reason schools are closed.

Please watch as this mother prays for relief from her new role as a homeschooling mom.

She laments:

“Ah, Lord, the spirit of Common Core has taken over my house…”

This video went viral after it appeared on Twitter.

A veteran school nurse offers advice to parents to help them while they are schooling their children at home.

A huge google Doc with parent resources from RelentlessSchoolNurse, link at bottom of page:

The Relentless School Nurse: Dear Parents, A Message From Your School Nurse

The Relentless School Nurse: COVID-19 Survival Guide for Parents and Kids Who Are Home

Related FB group:
https://www.facebook.com/groups/445786889466638/?ref=share

Here is the bio of “The Relentless School Nurse.”

Published by Robin Cogan, MEd, RN, NCSN
Robin Cogan, MEd, RN, NCSN is a Nationally Certified School Nurse (NCSN), currently in her 19th year as a New Jersey school nurse in the Camden City School District. Robin is the Legislative Chair for the New Jersey State School Nurses Association. She is proud to be a Johnson & Johnson School Health Leadership Fellow and past Program Mentor. She has been recognized in her home state of New Jersey and nationally for her community-based initiative called “The Community Café: A Conversation That Matters.” Robin is the honored recipient of multiple awards for her work in school nursing and population health. These awards include, 2019 National Association of School Nurses President’s Award, 2018 NCSN School Nurse of the Year, 2017 Johnson & Johnson School Nurse of the Year, and the New Jersey Department of Health 2017 Population Health Hero Award. Robin serves as faculty in the School Nurse Certificate Program at Rutgers University-Camden School of Nursing, where she teaches the next generation of school nurses. She was presented the 2018 Rutgers University – Camden Chancellor’s Teaching Excellence Award for Part-time Faculty. Follow Robin on Twitter at @RobinCogan.

This came from a friend in Illinois:

Been homeschooling a 6-year old and 8-year old for one hour and 11 minutes. Teachers deserve to make a billion dollars a year. Or a week.

Now that many thousands of schools have closed, millions of parents have suddenly become responsible for home schooling their child or children.

Sam Chaltain offers some sound suggestions.

He calls it “A Parent Guide to Home-Schooling During the Apocalypse.”

California claims to have tightened up its charter school law, but huge loopholes remain. For example, state money goes to charters that offer religious education to home school students, as well as to private businesses.

Patrick O’Donnell, chair of the Assembly Education Committee, thinks that oversight is needed.

Private businesses and religious organizations have been getting public school dollars through charter schools that allow home-schooling parents to use state funds to pay for certain services for their children — a practice some lawmakers want to rein in.

Parents in certain home school charters get as much as $2,600 a year, money that has gone to Disneyland, religious educators, private businesses and others who provide educational, enrichment and recreational services for children.

“It was never the intent of the state legislature to pass dollars through online charter schools to private vendors or religious organizations,” said Assembly Education Committee Chair Patrick O’Donnell, D-Long Beach, in an interview. “This highlights a bigger issue that we’ve been grappling with in Sacramento for many years … that the charter school law, when it was originally written, was wide open.”

Another state legislator, Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia, D-Bell Gardens, says she plans to bring forward a bill in the new year that would require state oversight and rules for charter school vendors.

She expects the bill will have guidelines about what kinds of vendors would be allowed to receive public school funds. She said her bill was partly inspired by The San Diego Union-Tribune’s reporting on home school charters.

It’s important “to make sure we are allowing (charter schools) to have the freedom that they were given, without it being abused and without it turning into a system where we’re privatizing education and taking advantage of loopholes,” Garcia said during an interview.

“We keep going to the fact that there hasn’t been enough oversight as to how charter schools are using the dollars,” she said. “I think we’re seeing through this reporting that there’s a lot of blurred lines, and we need a lot more transparency and a lot more accountability.”

Legislators can reasonably anticipate that the powerful, well-funded California Charter Schools Association will fight relentlessly against any regulation, oversight, transparency, or accountability.

 

California is paying a high price for its notoriously lax law for authorizing charter schools, which was revised in recent weeks.

Tom Ultican sees a striking similarity between the Inspire charter chain, which enrolls home schoolers, and the A3 chain, which went up in flames with a loss to taxpayers of at least $50 million.

Inspire Charter School mirrors the methods of A3 Education. It employs practices strikingly similar to those that led to May’s 67-count indictment against A3’s leaders. Furthermore, the California Charter School Association (CCSA) took the same unusual step of sharing concerns about Inspire and A3 with California authorities. They are virtual schools that concentrate on obtaining authorization from small school districts. These systems have a similar structure in which a central organization controls the schools that are contracting with it and they transfer funds among multiple organizations making it difficult to monitor their activities. Students at both Inspire and A3 struggle academically.

The Acton-Aqua Dulce Unified School District is infamous for authorizing suspect charter applications while not having the resources to adequately monitor those schools. It has 1085 public school students and 14,734 charter school students. Acton-Aqua Dulce authorized Inspire’s first charter school which was located in Los Angeles County. Strangely, Inspire Charter grew from 151 students in the 2014-15 school year to 4,321 students in the 2018-19 school year and then closed up shop this June 30th.

Founder Nick Nichols needed a program that would service his target audience of home school students.  The Inspire 2016 tax form shows that he purchased curriculum from Academic Arts and Action for $149,625. This is notable because the chairman of Academic Arts and Action was Jason Schrock and the President was Sean McManus. That is the same Schrock and McManus indicted in the A3 scandal.

The education writer for the San Diego Union Tribune (UT), Kristen Taketa, has been relentlessly pursuing the Inspire story. She explains one of the the charters selling points,

“Inspire parents have been able to spend state-provided money on expenses they say are educational, from Disneyland annual passes to private ice skating coaching. The list of places where Inspire parents could spend school funds has included Costco, Amazon, Big Air Trampoline Park, Medieval Times, Guitar Center and the DNA testing company 23 and Me, according to Inspire’s list of approved vendors.”

Inspire provides each parent $2600 to $3000 to spend on field trips and other educational resources.

Last year Nick Nichols oversaw nine schools with 23,300 total students. In the 2016-17 school year, Inspire took in $76,018,441 yet their debt was skyrocketing. Their pay for officers went from $65,318 for the 2014-15 school year to $2,011,898 in the 2016-17 school year. Nick Nichols did especially well.

Inspire Income-Debt-Wages-Table

Data from Inspire Tax Documents

The UT’s Taketa reports, “Inspire expects to pull in $285 million in state funding this school year.”

Inspire just secured another $50,000,000 loan from the California School Finance Authority. With booming student daily attendance income and large financial backing from the state, it is strange that Nick Nichols chose now to take a temporary leave of absence. Former Mount Diablo Superintendent and Inspire’s chief operating officer, Steven Lawrence, is taking over as executive director.

As Ultican shows, Inspire’s students have very poor academic results.

How much longer will this charade continue with state money? Will someone wake up the taxpayer’s and legislators?

Inspire Charter Schools does not inspire confidence in its academics, its finances, or its integrity. Inspire makes money by getting state money to underwrite home schooling, with state-subsidized field trips and lots of folderol.

Things got so bad that the Inspire chain was kicked out by the California Charter Schools Association, the powerhouse lobbyists for the charter industry. There is just so much embarrassment that the CCSA can tolerate and this is one of those rare occasions. In the past, CCSA has defended criminal charter operators, but drew the line at Inspire and called for an independent audit of its financials.

The California Charter Schools Association has expelled the Inspire home charter school network from its membership and is now calling for a third-party investigation, citing concerns about the network’s operational and governance practices.

At the same time, a group of county superintendents from across the state has asked a state agency to audit Inspire, though the scope of that audit request and the list of superintendents requesting it have not yet been finalized.

Meanwhile, a tiny California school district said it believes an Inspire school it oversees has been violating state law. The district, Winship-Robbins Elementary, said it may shut down the school if it fails to address several concerns that the district has about its finances, academics and organizational practices.

The California Charter Schools Association announced in a statement posted Tuesday on its website that the association and its Member Council have decided to revoke Inspire’s membership. They made that decision based on a review of Inspire that the association had launched in October after hearing concerns from other charter schools….

An investigation by The San Diego Union-Tribune in August found that Inspire has grown rapidly in recent years in numbers of schools and students while relying on heavy loan borrowing, consistently posting below-average academic performance and engaging in what several say are questionable organizational practices.

Inspire allots $2,600 or more of public school funds to each student annually to spend on a list of thousands of vendors who sell field trips, academic and extracurricular classes, curriculum and more, including items such as horseback riding lessons and ski passes.

Public scrutiny of Inspire grew after 11 people were criminally indicted in May in relation to another statewide charter network called A3. San Diego County prosecutors accused A3 executives of manipulating enrollment numbers and using charter schools to funnel more than $50 million into their own pockets.

Among other “unethical” practices, Inspire was poaching students from other charter schools with promises of free tickets to Disneyland!

Another critic is Terri Schiavone, the Founder and Director of Golden Valley Charter School in Ventura. Schiavone says her school is one of many that are losing students to Inspire Charter.

“They target a school and then they try to get as many of their teachers and students as possible,” Schiavone said.

Schiavone said families and teachers are enticed by incentives like using instructional funds to buy tickets to Disneyland and other theme parks. Schiavone says there is a lack of oversight and accountability.

No one is making sure teachers are checking up on students’ work, and Schiavone says parents can buy whatever they want from vendors who she says are not fingerprinted or even qualified.

“It’s very desirable for some parents to enroll in schools in which nobody’s looking over their shoulder,” said Schiavone. “They can utilize whatever curriculum they want, including religious curriculum, which is illegal if using public dollars.”

Inspire found parents to defend the glory of home-schooling with public subsidy.

A few days ago, Inspire announced that its CEO and founder was taking a leave of absence. 

 

 

Steven Singer explains here why public schools are the safest environments for children. They are supervised. They are run by professionals, who are licensed and certified.

He writes:

“A California home-school where parents shackled, starved and abused their children is a symptom of a larger disease.

“And that disease is privatization.

“David Allen Turpin and his wife, Louise Anna Turpin, were arrested after police found the couple’s 13 children living in deplorable conditions in their Perris, California, home.

“Some of the children were actually young adults but were so malnourished investigators at first mistook them for minors.

“It is a situation that just could not have happened had those children been in the public school system.

“Someone would have seen something and reported it to Child Protective Services. But school privatization shields child predators from the light and enables a system where minors become the means to every adult end imaginable.

“Let me be clear. Privatization is defined as the transfer of a service from public to private ownership and control.

“In education circles, that means home-schools, charter schools and voucher schools – all educational providers that operate without adequate accountability.

“We are taking our most precious population – our children – and allowing them to be educated behind closed doors, out of sight from those tasked with ensuring they are getting the best opportunities to learn and are free from abuse.

“And since home-schooling operates with almost zero oversight, it is the most susceptible to child neglect and mistreatment.

“Children who in traditional public schools would have a whole plethora of people from teachers to counselors to principals to cafeteria workers who can observe the danger signs of abuse are completely removed from the home-school environment.

“Home-schooled children receive their educations almost exclusively from parents.

“While most moms and dads would never dream of abusing their kids, home-schooling provides the perfect cover for abusers like the Turpins to isolate children and mistreat them with impunity.

“It is a situation that at least demands additional oversight. And at most it requires we rethink the entire enterprise as dangerous and wrongheaded.

“Charter and voucher schools at least utilize whole staffs of people to educate children. The chances of something like this happening at these institutions is much smaller. However, both types of school also are much less accountable for their actions than traditional public schools.

“And that is the common factor – responsibility. Who is being held answerable when things go wrong? At traditional public schools, there is a whole chain of adults who are culpable for children. At these other institutions, the number of people in the hot seat shrinks to zero.”

Read it all. Think about it.