Friday, August 29, 2014

CWC new location, same old tricks: money, connections and entitlement

I'm trying to end this blog and finish up the book, but people keep providing me with juicy tidbits of information that need to be shared before the book comes out.

So, as it turns out, there are many in the Stoner community who are connected to and attend St. Joan of Arc Parish Church. Yesterday, a few sources, who will remain anonymous, filled me in on how the new Citizens of the World Mar Vista location is working out and, not surprisingly, things are not starting off well.

    First off, St. Joan's was not interested in having CWC locate on their campus. Because of St. Joan Parish's connection to the Stoner community, St. Joan's was well aware of the problems that CWC had caused at Stoner and didn't want any part of it.

Donation bait and switch
    Fortunately for CWC, one of their students has an uncle who is a well known and well connected Los Angeles politician.The uncle coordinated a sizable donation to the church in order to help the deal go through.
    The donation offer worked, and St. Joan's agreed and created a strong contract to prevent any CWC shenanigans on the St. Joan's campus. St. Joan's was looking forward to using the donation for repairs on the church, rectory and convent. Specifically, there are windows that need repair and replacement.
    Once the deal was signed, a donation was given the church, but not to St. Joan of Arc Parish. The donation was given to the Los Angeles Archdiocese. So, St. Joan's did not get a single penny of the money. Talk about a bait and switch. The St. Joan's parish was not amused.

Cinderblock wall
   Now let's just assume for the time that the donation bait and switch was just on honest miscommunication. Well, these next two bits shows the school's entitled attitude continues.
   Part of the location contract states that CWC cannot make changes to the facilities. CWC completely ignored this and began constructing a cinder block wall on the campus. Needless to say, the church was not pleased with this transgression and forced CWC to remove their unathorized construction.

Gates left open
  One of our biggest complaints at Stoner was that CWC would leave its gates open (that's actually the reason I started this blog), and well, much to the dismay of the church, St. Joan is seeing the same behavior. Campus entrances are be left open and unlocked. Oh, when will these citizens learn.

So let's see, to sum up: CWC has money and powerful connections, and acts with a sense of entitlement that allows them to flout the laws of man and ignore their agreement with the church.

Yup, that sounds about right.


Monday, August 25, 2014

Adventures in co-location : the book

This will probably be my last communication.  Tomorrow is the first day of school for CWC Mar Vista and it is time to turn the page on these adventures in co-location.

Many of our adventurers have been wondering where I have gone. Had I abandoned you? Is that the whole story? Was that it?

    No, no, no. There is a lot more to this adventure, more then I could reasonable write on this blog without ending up confusing the story, but I've continued writing and editing. So, with all this material building up, I've decided to move to a new medium and tell the whole story, from beginning to end.

    So, I am proud to announce the end of this blog and the forthcoming book Adventures in Charter School Co-location: the Book!. This will be the story behind the story. The story of the first year of CWC Mar Vista co-locating on the Stoner ES campus as told by a Stoner parent, and life long local resident, who also had family and friends attending CWC and who learned along the way to support his local school and community and oppose outside forces that would end up hurting his neighborhood school.

   I was initially planning on first completing Adventures in Charter School Co-location: the Musical! We had a script ready and were working with the band Summer of Cumbia on creating a uniquely Del Rey sound for the production. However, in order to bring this story out sooner, I decided to complete the Book first and then move on to the Musical and then the Movie (and then the movie based on the musical, but we're getting ahead of ourselves at this point.)

   All joking aside, yes, I am finishing up a book about the co-location of CWC on the Stoner ES campus. It'll make a great Christmas gift!

Monday, August 18, 2014

CWC Mar Vista Library: segregated and elite

Today, I was alerted to an Indie Go Go crowd source fund raising page for CWC Mar Vista's new Library. It all sounds pretty, well...unbelievable. They have created a "list of great quality pleasure reading books" that is a "golden list" of books that can "smooth transitions and soothe psychologies," as such "It is a fantastic list of books." It's almost like they've invented a brand new wheel....simply unbelievable! (In the spirit of community and the best education for all, they might want to share this magical bibliography so that all public schools can benefit from CWC's wisdom.) ...and to top it all off, the library will have "professional library catalog software that is used for university libraries." I'm sure this will come in handy when the students are writing their Kindergarten thesis.
    This sounds great and kudos to them for making a library for their school, but then this reminded me of one of the more personally offensive aspects of the Citizens of the World Charter Mar Vista co-location at Stoner Avenue Elementary School: the CWC Mar Vista segregated library.   
    In my normal life, when I'm not writing this blog, I am a professional librarian, a law librarian to be exact.
   Early in the school year, when I learned about the separate library for CWC, I was crushed. The co-location was still new and I knew nothing about CWC, but I knew that having a library for a select group of students on campus is the antithesis of what a grade school library should be about.
   By law, one of the conditions of charter school co-locations is that the charter is entitled to use campus resources, such as the auditorium, cafeteria and library
    While CWC was co-locating at Stoner, they opted not to use the Stoner Library for their students (but would still use the library for meetings) and instead created their own private library that was for their students only. Why? Having a separate library is a disservice to both their own community and the Stoner community: it denies both school's students access to library resources right on their own campus and at the same time creates separate and thus unequal conditions on campus.
CWC Mar Vista Library: segregated and elite     I complained about the private library, and was told that while Stoner was required by law to share its library with CWC, CWC did not have to share their library with Stoner if they chose not to. It's one thing that CWC chose not to use the Stoner Library out of their own volition; but it's a completely different situation that Stoner was not even given a choice.
     I found it sad that CWC could not see the separate and unequal conditions they were bringing to campus by creating their own private library. A separate library for only their community speaks volumes* about how these worldly citizens were not good citizens of the Stoner ES campus.

*Sorry, I couldn't resist the library pun.

Solidaridad reports: CWC MV had 8 out of school suspensions last year for K-1

Earlier this month, the solidaridad blog reported that CWC Mar Vista had 8 out of school suspension for the school year 2013/14 for grades K through 1.
    I guess new-age educational discipline techniques like asking students to "make better decisions" and sending them to the peace corner to self regulate don't always work and sometime CWC needs to resort to time-tested, traditional methods such as out of school suspension.

CWC Mar Vista suspends 8 students K-1 2013-14
CWC Mar Vista mindfulness: 8 suspension 2013/14 for grades K thru 1

Monday, August 11, 2014

Friends of Stoner Avenue Elementary School - community prepares for school start

Friends of Stoner Ave ES on Facebook has a new posting about how the school community, teachers, staff and parents are preparing for the first day of school.

   I stopped by the main off this afternoon to hand in some paperwork and the school was a buzz. Everyone is excited for the new adventure to begin tomorrow.

Friday, August 8, 2014

#equalschools - the absurd CWC twitter hashtag demanding special treatment

CWC Mar Vista community using despicable
tactics to demand special treatment
I'm not a Luddite, but until last week, I didn't have a Twitter account. As you can tell by this blog, I need a little more then 140 characters to express myself. However, one of our fellow Adventurers alerted me to the Twitter hashtag "#equalschools" that CWC was using during their protest outside of LAUSD headquarters.

   The absurdity of the CWC Mar Vista community creating a hashtag called #equalschools so that they could demand special treatment is just mind boggling.  The CWC protest was basically asking LASUD to ignore the law, the same law that the CWC administration touted as their right to be co-locating.
   In #equalschools, the CWC community talks about being bullied by the local neighborhood, suffering through a violent anti-charter campaign by an LAUSD employee and being punished for speaking up.
   The misinformation contained in these tweets is just disheartening, but what disturbed me the most is probably the same thing that has been disturbing you about this blog post as you've been reading it: the picture of the boy in what appears to be some kind of medical situation.
CWC jerks
CWC protests their equal
treatment under the law

    I have been debating using this screenshot of the tweet on the blog and have gone back and forth on the idea. It occurred to me that it would be very shocking and probably get this story a lot of hits by using this image, but, then again, it just felt weird and wrong to use a picture of this child in such a vulnerable position, but, well, then again, this twitpic actually exists, and in fact it was re-tweeted by the author, and presumably parent, two other times. One of those re-tweets was directed to @KTLANews5 and @myfoxla. When I saw that, I remembered that this @MakeAWish child was also featured in the KCAL 5 News story about CWC being booted from Stoner.
   What I find extra disturbing about this, is that the CWC community complained that there were children and students at the February 7th Rally for Stoner, and claimed we were using them as misinformed props. Yet, the CWC community seemed to have no problems putting their children front and center in the dialog.
   So, I concluded that if the parents felt it was okay to put this image and information out there on TV and internet, then why should I worry about including it in this blog. So, there you have it.
    Below are some other screen grabs of comparatively, innocuous, yet no less misinformed, tweets from others in the CWC community on #equalschools.
Tweets from CWC community members

CWC community twitpic