Archives for category: Nevada

Angie Sullivan teaches first-grade students in a Title I school in Las Vegas. She writes regularly to every member of the legislature and to journalists to tell them what it is like from a teacher’s perspective.

She wrote this missive:

Shannon Bilbray-Axelrod should recuse herself from charter school legislation.  It is unethical for her to line her lobbying pocket and then work on charter legislation.  Scott Hammond and Carrie Buck should also recuse themselves from working on charter language having made millions in the business.  Unethical.  

While you are in AB420, you should amend the Charter Authority requirements.   

To sit on the 9 member board, you should have not earned money from a for-profit school.   

The number of recusals from Charter Authority board members while trying to do business is ridiculous. 

Oftentimes decisions are made with a questionable quorum because too many folks on the dais are making money from the business and have to recuse. 

If you are a charter lawyer, charter consultant, charter owner – not the time to sit on the decisions making board.  It is unethical.   

You should have to wait 3 years after profiting from charters before being allowed to sit on the board.  
The chair of the Charter Authority should not run a charter.   

This leads to awkward business.   

The Chair leaves the dais to go to the table to have the board give her permission and/or money.  I have seen Chair Melissa Mackedon who runs a charter in Fallon do this several times.   

It is like insider trading – benefitting their business and themselves.  Then popping back up into positions to hand out money and favors to other charters.  Charter Board Members should not be on both sides (giving and receiving) routinely in meetings.  Unethical.  

Former or current legislators should not sit on the Charter Authority Board.  It appears that they legislated to make millions.  Pat Hickey and Randy Kirner are examples of folks who recently left their positions and then became part of the Charter Authority Board.

Lawyers like Jason Guinasso who have chaired the board should not be able to come back a few years later to manipulate charter language or the board.   He addressed them as friends trying to take advantage of his connections.  Recently Guinasso approached the board from the table on behalf of a charter he most likely set-up for failure while he was chair.  The theft and lawsuits cost Nevadans.


https://www.nevadacurrent.com/2020/06/29/lv-charter-school-alleges-it-paid-1-6m-to-utah-management-company-for-nothing/

https://kutv.com/news/beyond-the-books/nevada-charter-school-ends-business-ties-with-american-preparatory-schools-in-utah

New EMOs/For-Profit Service Providers should not be allowed in the state.  No more new for-profit campuses under their umbrellas either.  They have made a huge mess.   Academica basically has a weird monopoly with different branches.   They are posed for rapid expansion.  Folks outside the state watching Academica in Nevada are very concerned.  

For-profit corporations like Academica take advantage of states like Nevada.  Language should be included to prevent rapid expansion and the ability to siphon money into side businesses.   This robs students and gives millions to side businesses.   Folks like Gulenist Soner Tarim should not be able to come into Nevada and apply for a charter – with language in the contract that gives them 12% off the top and ability to rapidly expand by being a EMO/Service Provider.  These should be two different things – EMO/Service Provider and Charter Applicant.  These administrators and side businesses are making a ridiculous amount of money and do not have to bid out their services.  The public should be able to see these contracts since the taxpayer is paying.  Folks should not be handing contracts out to their friends and family.

EMOS/Service Providers should not be allowed to break the charter diversity laws like Academica did intentionally when opening the Northern Pinecrest.  Academica should be closed for that.

PPP loans were given to both the charter campuses and the management corporations and all the side businesses.   How much money did a for-profit charter really get during the pandemic?   They got money for the EMO/Service Providers/Campus/Friends/Family etc?  Then held an informational meetings to warn everyone “not to say anything”.  

125 Florida charter schools already funded by taxpayers received $50 million in PPP loans https://www.abcactionnews.com/news/local-news/i-team-investigates/125-florida-charter-schools-already-funded-by-taxpayers-received-50-million-in-ppp-loans

I hope the FBI comes and arrests everyone involved in this mess and lining their pockets. 

https://www.nevadacurrent.com/2020/12/24/nevada-charter-schools-got-millions-in-ppp-loans/ 

$350+ Million in education money annually and not one person knows what it is spent on.

And seems like legislators are just fine with that?


The Teacher,

Angie Sullivan


https://www.leg.state.nv.us/App/NELIS/REL/81st2021/Bill/8052/Text

Angie Sullivan is a teacher in a Title 1 elementary school in Las Vegas, a city with free-flowing funds for casinos and entertainment but underfunded schools. She frequently writes members of the legislature about their distorted priorities.

Angie writes:

Remember when the world mocked us because Nevada gave away the family farm to TESLA and RAIDERS?  
Raise your hand if you rushed to Carson City in a Special Session to create those deals?  Regressive on STEROIDS! 

Now the world can mock us for innovation zones.  
Nevada Democrats called the Teacher’s Union petitions regressive?   A few cents a week is nothing compared to large cash subsidies Nevada gives to attract businesses.   Billions given away for a few jobs.  


Tax Credits cashed in at the whim of TESLA/Casinos directly rob Nevadans and their children of hundreds of million of dollars.  The South gets ZERO TESLA benefit.  
There is a reason the accounting practice examined during #SB543 found CCSD was short $10 Billion dollars.  
https://tinyurl.com/aa4af7ja


We have various business tax credit scams sucking the Distributive School Account dry.   Add the Nevada Plan on top and no education money flows south from Carson City.   
Creating such huge inequity – northern folks scream Nevada cannot begin to adjust the money because no one in the state wants to educate students for the low per pupil amount forced on Clark County for decades.  


Attracting businesses by providing excessive bribes  or giving them deals so loose the world laughs – is not good business.  


And it steals from Vegas Kids who then need to pay Nevada’s bills.  


Southern Caucus you need to keep an eye on the money.  These lopsided business deals will cost your children.  The state has the right to negotiate a fair deal instead of sign onto a bad one because the business seems cool.  


Teachers want to pay for schools.  Anything we suggest cannot be called regressive next to this scamming business welfare project.  


Anything.   We.  Suggest.  Is.  Not.  As.  Regressive.  
Education needs stable money.   You have to fix it.  If you do not like our ideas – come up with something.  


The Teacher, 


Angie 

Last spring, you may recall, the CARES Act included $13.2 billion for public and charter schools. In addition, $660 billion was allocated to the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) for small businesses and nonprofits that were struggling to survive due to the pandemic. Public schools were not allowed to apply for PPP. However, many charter schools learned through their lobbyists that they could apply for PPP. In other words, they double-dipped. They took the $134,500 or so that was available in the initial allotment for each public school. Then they went to the PPP and took another bite, which was far bigger than the funding allowed to public schools.

Which raises the interesting question: Are charter schools “public schools” or are they small businesses or private nonprofits? After all, public schools were not allowed to ask for PPP money, but over a thousand charter schools struck gold.

Nevada has a reputation for some of the worst charter schools in the country, but that doesn’t matter. Some of its charters really hit the big time with PPP funding. In 2015, CREDO investigator Margaret Raymond said to charter leaders in Ohio: “Be very glad that you have Nevada, so you are not the worst.”

PPP awards ranged from $168,500 to the online charter Leadership Academy of Nevada to $4.6 million to Doral Academy to support its five brick-and-mortar campuses in Southern Nevada. Many of the forgivable loans were coordinated and handled by the same entity, Academica Nevada, a regional branch of the Florida-based for-profit company that manages some 200 charter schools nationwide and has a strong presence in Nevada.

The charters that qualified for PPP money did so because they are incorporated as nonprofits, something Nevada law allows them to do. Even pre-pandemic, being a nonprofit is often financially beneficial because it opens up additional funding opportunities, such as grants through the federal Charter School Program.

Scan the list in the article: Democracy Prep received $1 million; Odyssey Charter Schools, $2.28 million; Pinecrest Academy, $4.6 million; Sports Leadership and Management Academy (SLAM), $800,000. Pinecrest and SLAM are part of the for-profit Academica chain; SLAM was started by rapper Pitbull, widely celebrated for his misogynistic lyrics.

Amber Phillips explains in the Washington Post why Trump will continue holding indoor rallies to mostly maskless people, despite the warnings of public health officials.

The president held an indoor rally Sunday in Nevada and a large indoor event in Phoenix on Monday. More could be coming.

And reporting indicates that he thinks flouting public health advice is the right way to rally his base.

But that probably comes at the expense of picking up moderates. Polls show a majority of Americans support wearing masks and taking precautions against the virus. Not to mention hat this indoor-rally-practice creates the very real risk that the president is helping spread coronavirus in key swing states rather than slow it. But it’s what Trump wants, so it looks like it will continue. The Post’s Anne Gearan and Josh Dawsey report:

“Many around the president are acutely aware that a potential surge in coronavirus cases and deaths close to the election could be disastrous, according to campaign and White House aides, but they are mostly bowing to Trump’s desire to pack the house.”

In other words, he is endangering the lives of his most ardent supporters because he wants to impress them with his heroics. He is removed feom the crowd and is not in danger. They are in danger, not him. He doesn’t press the flesh. Their exhalations do not reach him. His friend Herman Cain died of coronavirus shortly after attending Trump’s rally in Tulsa. Coincidence? Tulsa exoerienced a surge in cases two weeks after the rally.

Trump may be a one-man super spreader.

Not a good look after 200,000 Americans have died.

But maybe this bravado impresses his MAGA base.

Andre Agassi entered the charter school industry in Las Vegas, where he opened his own charter school. After many setbacks and high staff turnover, his school landed on the state’s list of low-performing schools and was turned over to another charter operator. Agassi decided he was in the wrong end of the business.

Agassi joined a partnership with an investor to build charter schools, and they struck gold.

Turner-Agassi Charter School Facilities sold the Franklin Academy at 5000 Southwest 207th Terrace in Pembroke Pines for $60.5 million to Erudite Properties, led by Scott Sznitken, Executive Director of Florida Charter Foundation, records show…

Turner-Agassi bought the property in 2015 for $10.1 million. The K-12 school was constructed in 2016. In total, the campus spans 40 acres, according to its website.

Turner-Agassi’s strategy is to act as a “bridge developer” for charter schools, fronting the cost for site selection and construction and then leasing the property to a charter school operator. The group then sells the property to the charter operator once it reaches its enrollment goal, according to Turner-Agassi’s website.

The strategy has proven successful in the past. In 2016, Turner-Agassi sold a Boynton Beach charter school for $22.3 million. The same year it also sold Franklin Academy in Cooper City for $20 million.

Turner-Agassi has developed 96 schools serving 48,976 students across the country. The fund plans to invest an additional $500 million to develop 65 more schools serving another 25,000 students, according to its website.

Angie Sullivan teaches in a Title 1 elementary school in Carson County, Nevada. She teaches the children who were left behind.

She sent this post to every legislator in Nevada:

A small group of vocal teachers, parents, and activists have been publicly concerned about national public school privatization for two decades.  
 
Diane Ravitch is the leader of that pack.  
 
Her new book is coming out soon.  
 
Her last books included characters who are national culprits in destroying American Public Schools.  Some have come from my state of Nevada.  
 
Reform was meant to change a system of education that needed to change.  Still needs change. Admittedly we need to improve.  No one argues against that.  Teachers have always been willing to improve.  
 
This reform was not ever meant to improve.  
 
Change came.   The wrong kind.  
 
Big bad horrific and public school destroying change came.   
 
It was bad change bought by corporations who do not love children, will not love children, and seek money even if harm comes to children. 
 
Wrecking ball.  
 
National level well funded and crushing. 
 
Reformers will not use the data – they supposedly worshipped – to admit – they were wrong. 
 
Devastatingly wrong. 
 
Wrong in ways that were really destructive over two generations.   Destroying the central fabric of America – attacking our local public schools.  Kids were warehoused in experiments.  Kids without teachers.   Kids hooked up to innovations that made money but did not educated.  
Billions spent on reforms:  disruption, return on investment, testing, take over, turnaround, triggering, attacking teachers, standardization, score chasing has barely moved American Students on the NAEP Assessments.  
 
The data is back. 
Business reformers failed.   Return on investment was zero.  
 
Reform has been successful at systematically privatizing huge amounts of education cash.  It has segregated.  It has devastated.  It has destroyed public school communities.  And disenfranchised students are further behind than ever before. 
 
The teachers were crushed and millions left. 
 
This expensive business-type reform did not improve education.  
 
Unfortunately, the folks driving reform were not teachers – nor were they interested in authentic education.   Billionaires who were successful in business took over.  They bought the top levels of government and spread cash from the top down.  Both parties.   Anyone with power.   And policy makers and leadership sold out hard. Money taken from public schools to be spent on scams and fads. 
Billions wasted.   
 
Money and people who chase dollars should never be in charge of education policy.  Neoliberals and corporations who hide from liability will never create the synergy, caring, and community building that teachers can do in a school building. 
 
Now the billionaires know – public school teachers will fight.  Activists will engage.  Those who love children will activate. 
 
Take that Goliath.
 
A band of loud people who care – will fight with any small stone we can find. 
We are not scared – because we are right.  
 
Time for policy makers and leadership to buy a book.  
 
O God hear the words of my mouth – hold us in Your Hand because we are small against those seeking to harm kids.  
 
The Teacher,
Angie Sullivan. 

 

Angie Sullivan is a teacher in a Title 1 elementary school in Las Vegas. She regularly writes the members of the Nevada legislature to share her outrage about the underfunding of the state’s neediest schools and the state’s waste of money on charter schools, which dominate the state’s list of the lowest performing schools.

Here is her latest:

 

Peter Greene in Forbes
Still Asleep At The Wheel 
What happened?  
Pile of fraud and graft.  
These charter titles got money and did what?   
This charter changed its name many many times.   It is difficult to follow its trail – 100, One Hundred, Imagine at different locations.   Is this graft? fraud?  Imagine still has a failing charter campus opened? What happened to the two additional campuses?  $300,000 disappeared with change in names and admin?   This is what lack of accountability and transparency does. 
What happened to the Montessori in Carson?   I believe it is still there – complaining about cash.  These charters worry me because they never have a testing year so zero data and zero accountability. This is what lack of accountability and transparency does.   They received funding but complain about no money and blame Vegas.  They may try to get the Silver State/Argent Building.   They do not serve the poor. 
Silver State Charter School changed its name to Argent and lost almost all its students.  Sounds like the receiver had concerns because no one attended the “distance” low performer school.  No one ever graduated.   As in zero.   Perhaps Joshua Kern knows where the $440,000 went?   No one graduated.  This is the first charter I have seen “closed” by the charter authority.  I do not think it had any students left and that is what actually closed it. 
School of the deaf went bankrupt.  Im surprised it did not go into receivership and just get more money like Quest, Silver State and others.  The Nevada Tax Payer pays millions to keep financially floundering  charters open. 
E-TECHS had a facebook and a twitter for $300,000.  This was in 2011 and they never opened?   What happened to the money? 
Gardnerville’s Sierra Crest closed in 2010.  Sounds like the local school board was not putting up with low quality.  What happened to the $172,000? 
Did Washoe Team A even exist at all?  Where did the $220,000 go?  
Nevada folks need to demand to see this money.   
If Nevada Senator Scott Hammond is hiding behind a non-profit management system – we need to know that too.    Managing 5 charters for free?  What kind of accountability and transparency is this?  
There needed to be a charter moratorium for good reason.   Rest in Power Tyrone Thompson who knew that.  Playing games like this with money when Nevada has none is crazy. 
We see you Gulenist Soner Tarim 👀 Agenda 4a.   How much money are you bringing to Nevada Strong?  Expert at getting grants and not opening?   Everyone should protest every Nevada Charter Meeting to close that Gulen Charter down.  Nevada does not need anymore scamming known bad actors. 
None of these December 2019 charter applicants should be granted anything.  These scams are too much. 
Asleep at the wheel and gone off the road and crashed into a ditch.  
This is bad. 
Angie Sullivan. 

Angie Sullivan regularly writes blast emails to every member of the state legislature and to the state’s journalists. Here is her latest:

CCEA members voted at a General Meeting yesterday to raise dues.  
Those teacher union dues will be used to campaign for a billion dollars.  
Yes, billion. 
Yes, dollars.  
We need to think big to win big.  
Teachers need those funds to fund class-size reduction.   We need additional teachers.   We need additional classrooms. 
Nevada teachers have the largest class-sizes in the nation.  
It is not reasonable to keep piling more and more students into small spaces.  
Our eye is on the 2021 Nevada Legislative Session.  We will get a billion dollars for kids.   
We demand political will to take care of kids.  
Here we come. 
#Fight4Kids #Billion4Kids
#NVed #NVTeach #Nevada #Vegas
The Teacher MotherJonesing,
Angie. 

Angie Sullivan teaches in an underfunded Title 1 school in Las Vegas where many students are impoverished and don’t speak English. She frequently writes blast emails to Nevada legislators and journalists.

Margaret Raymond once joked that Nevada has the worst charter sector in the nation. From Valerie Strauss’s Answer Sheet blog in 2015:

“Be very glad that you have Nevada, so you are not the worst,” charter researcher Margaret “Macke” Raymond said of Ohio. Raymond, from the Hoover Institute at Stanford University, conducts research on charter schools and issued a report late last year that said  Ohio  charter school students learn 36 days less math and 14 days less reading than traditional public school students — conclusions she drew from crunching data obtained from student standardized test scores.

Nevada charter schools continues to be a failed sector, but the money keeps flowing. Even Andre Agassi’s much-celebrated charter school, the Andre Agassi Academy, ended up on the list of the state’s lowest performing schools and was turned over to New York City-based “Democracy Prep.” The Agassi charter had plenty of money but run through multiple principals and staff, and the school was noted for disorder, not for accomplishment.

Angie Sullivan writes:

This is the Nevada Charter Authority. 
 

Charter Authority folks openly discussing giving money to “priority providers”?

 
Millions to friends?  Acquaintances? Friends of friends?  
 
Priority is someone with great “scores”?  And the testing protocol is what exactly?  What is in place to prevent cheating?  
 
How exactly does one become a priority provider? 
 
You have to “know someone” and have “scores”? 
Several of the applicants cannot fill out the application completely & on time.  
 
If they miss deadlines, the rules are bent because they are “special” in some other way?  
 
There was a discussion with a warning from the attorney to not accept folks and give them millions if they cannot fill out the form.
Seems “priority folks” do not have the ability to follow directions, wait their turn, or behave.   
 
If you google the “priority person” and they are followed by lawsuits and scandals are they still priority?  
 
Let me be clear.  
There are NO clean hands in Nevada Charters.  Not a single Nevada charter has three years of academic data by campus.  Not a single charter has clear money trails that can be followed.  The Nevada Tax Payer cannot see what charter campuses are doing.  
 
Zero academic or financial accountability.   
A referral from anyone running or involved in a current Nevada charter – is a bad referral.  
 
$350 million plus is actually passed around by a handful of folks – including legislators or former legislators or prospective legislators.  
 
For-profit Academica must expand to cash in.  Is that body a “priority”?  
 
How nice of the Charter Authority to record themselves discussing how they will be passing out millions to their friends and bending rules to do it?  
 
This is disgusting. 

Gary Rubinstein has followed the failure of the “portfolio model” more closely than anyone in the country. He watched the Tennessee “Achievement School District” as its leaders made bold promises,     then departed for lucrative reformy gigs as the ASD collapsed in failure.

In this post, he describes the failure of Nevada’s copycat ASD. ,which was modeled on Tennessee’s ASD, which was modeled on New Orleans’ low-achieving Recovery School District.

He notes that Michigan’s “Education Achievement Authority” failed and was shuttered.

All of which raises the question, why are Corporate Reformers incapable of learning from experience?