Tag Archives: education

KIPP KC Charter School

Didn’t KCPS okay a KIPP KC Charter School?

The reason we ask comes from the Houston Chronicle:

“Mary Courtney was one of KIPP Houston’s biggest advocates, even as she had to borrow money from relatives to keep up with payments to the charter school.

“She drove to Austin during School Choice Week, talking to lawmakers about why they should better fund charter schools. She volunteered on campus. She paid thousands in fees so her boys and other students could have access to books and science materials.

“But that was before she realized the fees she was paying were optional, something never mentioned by teachers or principals or on the fee agreement forms that the schools – KIPP Liberation College Prep and KIPP PEACE Elementary – tied to student registration. Now, Courtney and several other KIPP Houston parents are furious because they believe they were duped by the charter nonprofit system into paying for what they believe should be a free public education.

On a whim we downloaded the student handbook in question, and if you look at page 23 you’ll see that parents can be charged fees for picking up a confiscated cellphone, picking up children late after school, not to mention the infamous (though undefined) “etc.” category.

What a fuckin’ racket.

“At no time if I thought the fees were optional would I have paid for them, especially when I’m struggling to put food on the table or clothes on my children’s backs,” Courtney said. “It’s a lot to ask of a single parent, and it’s wrong for them to allocate fees from parents, especially knowing the demographic area where a majority of their school campuses are.”

It would ne nice to know if what appears to be a bait-and-switch tactic is being promulgated throughout the KIPP empire, more specifically right here in River City.

Hmm. Anyone know a local newspaper that still does investigative journalism?

KIPP KC Charter School

It’s Like There’s a Trend

Despite educating the Astas in private schools 1, there is at least one solid argument for public schools. To wit:

It’s like there’s a trend: the offspring of privileged and influential families who matriculate costly (and therefore necessarily culturally segregated) schools and universitys, later turn out to be cold-hearted, bigoted narcissists who disavow meritocracy (which, as it turns out, is but a myth) and instead affirm devinez le droit de rois, despite the painfully plentiful examples of their own incompetence.

It's Like There's a Trend

Show 4 footnotes

  1. More about this later, but –longish tale abbreviated– we’ve brought the girls home from Switzerland to finish their education with the local nuns.
  2. TRUE FACT! DeVos pick once faced discrimination for being white!!! Oh, the horror…
  3. What do you think his major was – Obtuseness, with a minor in Stupidity?
  4. Obviously where he learned to knife-fight.

Académie Lafayette

K-12 Growth Plan Update 3/30/2017

Dear families and staff,

We are pleased to give you this update on progress toward accomplishing our K-12 Growth Plan as discussed with families on February 9th, 2017.

Summary: On February 9th we presented a plan to provide both an expanded kindergarten and a high school, beginning in 2018. The K-12 Growth Plan will add one building to the current two-campus system.

Progress to date:

  1. The Board of Directors has made an offer on the property at 201 East Armour Boulevard. This building will be the third building in our system. Built in 1957, the property features 69,000 square feet of interior space and sits on two acres of land. It includes a nearby athletic field. From 2001 to 2013, the building was home to Derrick Thomas Academy, a charter public school that served over 900 students in grades K-12. Académie Lafayette currently serves 940 students at two campuses. [Ed. Note: Cherry campus is nearby.]
  2. While the owners, Wilmington Trust, N. A., have accepted our offer, it is contingent on the outcome of a 120-day inspection and vetting period.
  3. During the next four months we will:
  • Authorize property and site inspections (which may include soil tests, environmental tests, and foundation and mechanical inspections)
  • Establish the property’s appraised value
  • Solidify financing and fundraising plans

If we are unsatisfied with any of the outcomes, we can and will terminate the contract. Our earnest money is fully refundable within the first 90 days.

We are planning a meeting about this new site and will keep you informed about the date and location.

Thank you for your continued support of our school.
Sincerely,

Elimane Mbengue                                           Chad Phillips
Head of School                                                President, Board of Directors

Académie Lafayette

Relevant links:

Derrick Thomas Academy – Wiki
Derrick Thomas Academy – Past Lifealmost
Derrick Thomas Academy – Outside Photos

A Screaming Comes Across the Sky

banana-pancakesI was making banana pancakes.

NPR was going on about Bannon’s OMP‘s budget proposal, a blueprint for a societal counterrevolution if I’ve ever seen one; massive increases in spending on both military operations and domestic repression, while pulling a Ripper on domestic social programs (some as much as 30 percent) while eliminating outright dozens of agencies and programs.

I dance into the dining room, a platter of pancakes at the ready, doing my best Vincent Price 1: “A screaming comes across the sky…”

Silence.

Asta finally shakes her head and mutters “Dad, you’re soooo weird.”

Ima gonna have speaks with that child’s school; this unconscionable. 2

A Screaming Comes Across the Sky

Show 2 footnotes

  1. An excellent imitation, if I say so myself. Had Michael ever heard it he would have had ME doing the voice-over for Thriller.
  2. Speaking of unconscionable, my March Madness bracket is all but bust. And if Kentucky doesn’t win the whole thang, I’m dead in the water. 36 points, people. 36! Freaking ouch.

Southwest High School

UASW
Four and a half months after the aborted launch of United at Southwest comes Uniting at Southwest. 1

The new cloud-based WIX web site is attractive, the design a fairly standard (and therefore ubiquitous) presentation, and the copy… Well, let’s talk about the copy. As we noted of the first United at Southwest site, there’s no there there; mostly it’s promotional copy, leavened with a promotional video. 2

However there is some data: The list of individuals on their advisory group has expanded to represent not just the Port Authority 3, but the Mayor’s office, as well as several well-known Kansas City community leaders and noted business figures.

There are still uncertainties; while Uniting at Southwest says a partnership with KCPS is necessary, the group is also hawking the XQ: The Super Schools Project. It is unclear who would own the building, much less who would be in charge of the day-to-day administration and teaching; what –exactly– would the curriculum be? Would a XQ template be used? Which one? And how would that be implemented? Would this be a “test in” high school? If so, where would the entrance bar be set? And if not, how would acceptance to the school work? Will the school branch out from its (so far minimally) stated goals and attempt to “fix” cultural segregation?

These and many, many, many more queries all go unanswered.

Which is fair enough, we suppose. After all this is nothing (yet) but a marketing campaign, released with the obvious hopes of whipping up and channeling long-term dissatisfaction with the KCPS product into a force that might override the objections of the usual players 4, as well as convince Dr. Bedell to discard the KCPS master plan that calls for Southwest to reopen as a middle school. 5

We wish them luck. 6

Afternoon Update: From commenter Gloria, who reached out to Dr. Bedell’s office:

“There is a group in the Southwest corridor that is trying to rally support to open a charter-esque high school in that building. We have spoken with the leaders of the organization but are not currently involved in the project. I hope this answers your questions. Please let me know if you need anything further.” 7

My 2017 NCAA Bracket

Show 7 footnotes

  1. Though ICANN shows the group waited to claim the unitingatsouthwest.com CN, through Network Solutions, until February 15, 2017. The ownership of the domain is hidden behind Perfect Privacy. The email for information is as follows: 27qajajokkju6bmuc354ktjgt8@domaindiscreet.com. Think the money behind this effort wants to talk with anyone? yeah, me neither.
  2. Produced by XQ – The Super School Project.
  3. As of April 18th –when WNBTv first revisited the web site– Joe Perry is still listed, but as a Public Supporter; he decoupled himself from The Port Authority…but still works there.
  4. Freedom, Inc., KC’s Black United Front, MORE2, SCLC, Urban League & the Urban Summit.
  5. Which means you should expect to see/hear a UASW spokesperson (probably Zeller) on KCPT’s Ruckus and/or KCUR’s Up To Date soonish.
  6. Further information on XQ: XQ Competition Results; Education Next review of the XQ design completion;  Education Weekly blog post about XQ.
  7. Hmmm. Possibilities: Dr. Bedell granted the group the courtesy of a meet-and-greet while remaining noncommittal; the good doctor  enthusiastically supported and encouraged the group behind closed doors only (for fear of upsetting previously named community organizations); the good doctor wanted no part of it. It boggles the mind – why not come right out and say whether you support the Uniting at Southwest efforts? What does that cost you, we wonder?

Betsy DeVos: Religious Zealot

GOP Sens. Susan Collins (Maine) and Lisa Murkowski in back-to-back speeches on the Senate floor announced Wednesday that they would oppose Betsy DeVos’s nomination to be Education secretary.

They are the first two Republicans to break with Trump on any of his Cabinet picks, and the votes could make it difficult for DeVos to win confirmation.

If all of the Senate’s Democrats vote against DeVos, she would have 50 votes if the remaining Republicans backed her — with Vice President Mike Pence potentially breaking the tie. No Democrats have backed DeVos.

“I come to the floor to announce a very difficult decision that I have made, and that is to vote against the confirmation of Betsy DeVos to be our nation’s next secretary of Education,” Collins said from the Senate floor.

Collins specifically pointed to DeVos’s “lack of familiarly” with the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, saying she was “troubled and surprised.”
Murkowski, speaking after Collins, said she had too many concerns to back DeVos.

“I have serious concerns about a nominee to be secretary of Education … who has been so immersed in the discussion of vouchers,” Murkowski said.

This should be another give me for both ReThugs and Dims: It’s clear DeVos’s only qualifications for this post are shit-piles of Amway cash and her desire to enforce, via U.S. taxpayer dollars, her idée fixe with funding religious schools.

However, ima guess that like with Neil “Fascist Forver” Gorsuch, we’ll get at least one Senator with a sudden cash infusion spine problem and DeVos will be free to impinge her idiocy upon our children and Constitution to her heart’s content.

Betsy DeVos: Religious Zealot

Southwest High School

Over the last couple of days we received a few emails noting the United at Southwest innernetz presence had disappeared. A couple of those missives went so far as to infer that perhaps, just perhaps we had imagined the whole thing. One writer actually claimed we were put up to the “prank” by the Trump campaign.

We confirmed this morning that United at Southwest was indeed among the missing.

However, that’s only technically true; as at least 10,000 people a day still discover (often to their horror), nothing truly disappears from the innernetz: Et voilà

United at Southwest front page

United at Southwest front page – click to embiggen.

 

United at Southwest contact page

United at Southwest contact page – click to embiggen.

 

UAS also had a FB and Twitter presence; FB was captured, though not the Twitter feed…

United at Southwest FB page

United at Southwest FB page – click to embiggen.

 

And finally, Mike Zeller fronting for UAS

United at Westport's Mike Zeller

United at Westport’s Mike Zeller – click to embiggen.

 

As to why all UAS innernetz presence was mostly scrubbed? A couple of thoughts come to mind:

  1. They weren’t ready for prime time; as we noted the other day there were links that did not work, verbiage badly in need of editing, etc etc etc.
  2. It might also have to do with the opening of their mission statement:

United at Southwest will be an open-enrollment public high school (and potentially a middle school) located in the vacant Southwest High School facility that is…

As Dr. Bedell made clear Tuesday evening, he plans “…to follow the KCPS master plan.” And that plan calls for Southwest to reopen as a middle school: “Close SWECC afer SY2016 and designate as the preferred 3rd middle school site.” 1

Should the usual suspects 2 get wind of UAS’s plan, why they just might think that a bunch of “old, rich & privileged white guys” are trying to “steal” SWEC from “the community” and raise the sort of ruckus that caused Dr. Green and the KCPS board to back down from the original Académie Lafayette/KCPS partnership.

We’re jes’ sayin’…

Southwest High School

Show 2 footnotes

  1. Though back in the day, when the master plan was first unleashed publicized, it’s worth noting KCPS had a mind to to lease SWEC, so it could well be SWEC’s ultimate outcome could best be defined as “moving target.”
  2. Freedom, Inc., KC’s Black United Front, MORE2, SCLC, Urban League & the Urban Summit.

Southwest High School

Mike Zeller 1, erstwhile Académie Lafayette board member and a major proponent of the defunct KCPS/A.L partnership to turn the SWEC building into an I.B. high school, is these days fronting for United Southwest. United Southwest wants to create “…an open-enrollment public high school 2 (and potentially a middle school) located in the vacant Southwest High School facility that is:

  • Inclusive – Socioeconomically and culturally diverse & benefiting from strong, neighborhood participation.
  • Rigorous – Equipping   students for success in college, career and life.
  • Independent – Public charter school with an independent governing board enabling programmatic agility, broad-scale participation, and the major philanthropic investments needed for a successful launch.
  • Enduring – A culture, curriculum, and business model for a 100-year institution”

This list of supporters are much the same as the original A.L./KCPS proposal.

Notable, however, is the addition of Joe Perry, Vice President of Real Estate, Port Authority. This is what’s known as a “tell” (in case you’re wondering how this group might acquire SWEC.) 3 4 5

Frankly there isn’t much there there on the new site. Which normally means there’s no real, fully fleshed-out plan, one that details how the Ts were crossed and the I’s dotted. Instead, if pressed, what you’re likely to get is a “Trust us, we know what we’re doing” response.

And you know what? You can go ask the folks involved tonight. The new KCPS Superintendent, Dr. Bedell, as part of his ongoing Listening and Learning tour though the city, will be at the Waldo Library, 201 E 75th St, this evening, starting at 6:30 PM.

Whether you support re-opening Southwest as a project based STEAM school, or you’re openly skeptical of the idea, this is your chance to make your opinion heard.

Southwest High School

Show 5 footnotes

  1. Nope: no mention of Dave Cozad anywhere.
  2. Like the dead A.L./KCSP proposal, this would also be a “hybrid governance” authority , and the emphasis would be on STEAM: science, technology, engineering, art and math. Though there is no mention anywhere of whom those authorities would be comprised.
  3. Also of note on that page is the following: “WHERE WE’VE BEEN We’ve done the research. Diversity is the key. We have visited some of America’s best examples of diverse schools and found that…..” And there it stops. No matter how many times you click the header or sentence, you don’t get to know “what they found.” Oh, bitter disappointment!
  4. Also? We found it instructive that the URI stem for the support page is called /rates.
  5. Finally, the ICANN registration is private, though Crissy Dastrup, Académie Lafayette parent, vocal proponent of the original KCPS/SWEC plan and just incidentally the latest Advisory Council Member of the Economic Development Corporation of Kansas City, MO, appears to have put the site together. Dastrup was also recently elected to the Académie Lafayette board of directors as a parent representative.