Category Archives: charter

When an Idaho Charter School Doubles as Church

Thomas Jefferson Charter School is located in Caldwell, Idaho with a mission statement of creating “virtuous citizen leaders.”   However, Thomas Jefferson is also home to the congregation of Wellsprings Church.

Idaho’s charter schools are public schools bound to the same laws, codes, and regulations of any other school and government entity.  The entanglement between a public school’s facility hosting a religious event is worth an examination. Continue reading

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Coming soon to a school near you Idaho: Charter school cronyism

Screenshot 2016-05-08 at 7.41.23 PM  In the wake of financial scandals in the Gem State’s education world including the multi-million broadband fiasco, citizens have a right to be leery about cozy relationships between government entities and their business partners.

Take, for example, the recent charter school petition Caldwell School District received from Pathways in Education (PIE). From a public records request, that petition stated that PIE would pay California-based Pathways Management Group (PMG), operated by charter entrepreneur Mr. John Hall, to the tune of $127 per student per month for “charter management.”

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With desired enrollment of 300 students and a flexible year-round schedule, that creates a significant contract of $450k for PMG per year. It is unclear what services would be provided for this fee  as many of the services listed such as paying utility bills and purchasing electronics appear to be redundant activities the Caldwell district office already performs. Continue reading

Part 2: Red flags abound in Caldwell’s newest proposed charter school

This is part 2 of a multipart series. I encourage all readers to also view part 1 here.

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Unfortunately, the red flags continue to stack upon the previous five detailed yesterday for Pathways in Education’s (PIE’s) charter application.

Red flag six: The student-teacher ratio is astronomically high for an alternative school.

The budget allocates for only 6 FTE classroom teachers. At an anticipated enrollment of 300 students, that results in a bloated student-teacher ratio of 50 to 1. Fifty to one.

This ratio would be considered much too high for a public school in general; however, for an alternative school in particular in which the focus is on small class sizes and additional interaction time for each individual student, this ratio is obtusely top heavy.

See page 207 for more information.

Continue reading

Red flags abound in Caldwell’s newest proposed charter school: Welcome to the era of Charter Management Companies in Idaho

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Caldwell School District has received a fresh application for a proposed charter school.  This particular proposal for the charter entity Pathways in Education is interesting in the sense that not only will it will be the first time that Caldwell will consider a possible alternative high school under a charter, but it will also be the first time that Caldwell will consider paying an outside “consulting” company in order to manage the charter.

Pathways in Education (PIE) is the latest of a series of charter schools promoted and managed by married former Hollywood teachers John and Joan Hall (their daughter, Jamie, and son, John Jr, are also both intricately involved in the family enterprise).

Continue reading

Highlights From Today’s Idaho Charter School Minority Student Civil Rights Summit

Bluum hosted a Civil Rights Summit in Boise today in which they brought in two guest civil rights attourneys from Washington DC, Lauren Baum and Renita Thukral, to provide information regarding civil rights law and procedures for Idaho public schools; specifically, Idaho’s charter schools compliance with minority student enrollment and compliance with civil rights law.

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The forum was attended by a variety of charter stakeholders including charter school principals, board members, and teachers.  The speakers presented information civil rights eduction law information specific to Communidad Y Justicia’s Office for Civil Rights complaint which alleges charter schools in Idaho engage in discriminatory practices against minority students in including ethnicity, Limited English Proficiency (LEP), Free/Reduced Lunch (FRL), and Special Education students. Continue reading

An open letter to the Idaho Public Charter School Commission and the Idaho Legislature

original-logos-2015-Jun-9244-6115560The following letter was sent out to all members of Idaho’s Lesgiature and members of the Idaho Public Charter School Commission.

The letter asks for tangible action from either the IPCSC or the Idaho legislature to ensure minority services are provided in Idaho’s charters in order to make charter schools a choice for minority families as well.

The actual PDF file version can be viewed here.

Continue reading

Boise Weekly features Cavener regarding charter demographic data

citizen_levicavenerI don’t know about the caricature, but the interview is pretty darn good.  It’s worth checking out.

A snippet from the Boise Weekly article:

Teaching is a passion. Teaching students with disabilities is doubly so. Levi Cavener, an instructor at Vallivue High School in Caldwell, has been a special education instructor for five years. As an undergraduate at the University of Idaho, he spent time abroad through the Camp Adventure program, exploring Europe with children whose parents were serving in the military. One child lost a parent during Cavener’s time in the program and he described others as “genuinely alone,” not hearing from parents for weeks on end. Those experiences helped ignite his passion for education.