Thursday, November 13, 2014

"Empty" CWC rooms in use right now by Stoner music class

I just went to drop my daughter off for afternoon Pre-K at Stoner Elementary. As I turned the corner on to Stoner Avenue, I was surprised to see the doors to the rooms previously occupied by Citizens of the World Charter open, and then I was pleasantly surprised by what I heard: music.
     A music class was in session. The children were finishing tuning up and I was able to hear the first two bars of a piece before having to continue along to make it to school on time.
     This year, Stoner began music and dance programs. The school community is very excited about both programs and is glad we have the space to accommodate them.
    It's sad to think that if the co-location had continued at Stoner, we wouldn't have had the rooms for the programs since the rooms they use are considered "empty" by co-location guidelines, and we would have had to scrap the programs.
   I am very thankful that we have these programs at our local school. Del Rey has a lot to be thankful for this Thanksgiving.

Book follow up #1 : [FLASHBACK] Frying Pan News "Why Charter Schools Are Tearing Public Campuses Apart."

The book on the CWC Mar Vista co-location at Stoner Elementary is coming along. I'm not a full time writer. So, these things take time. There are revisions, fact checking and other details to look into before sending the book to press.
Frying Pan - Why Charters are tearing public schools apart capture of the Frying Pan article "
Why Charters Schools are tearing public campuses apart"
     In doing my due diligence on the matter, I came across an article in the Huffington Post titled with the question  "Is Charter School Co-Location Tearing Public Schools Apart?" The article was published on July 17, 2013.  It contained one sentence that mentioned the then up-coming co-location of CWC on the Stoner Elementary school campus for 2013/14.
     I'm an avid HuffPo reader and I read this article in the Los Angeles section when it came out.  Back then, it didn't mean anything to me. I thought, "Good, a charter should come in and fix things around here. Stoner...pfft! What kind of school is that?"
   Recently, I looked a little deeper into the article and found the original version that was published on the Frying Pan News. It had a slightly different title "Why Charter Schools are Tearing Public Campuses Apart" which is a statement as opposed to the question in the HuffPo version. The Frying Pan version included a cartoon by political satirist and my favorite cartoonist, Lalo Alcaraz.
    In the cartoon [click here to see], Alcaraz captures exactly what it felt like at Stoner during the co-location. Our local little American community school house was being squeezed off campus by a corporate "Saks Fifth Avenue" charter school giant that did not "play well with others" and was taking more than their fair share of the public resources yet claimed to be thankful we were "sharing."
   This article and cartoon foreshadowed many of the problems we would later see in the co-location of Citizens of the World Charter Mar Vista at Stoner Avenue Elementary. It is interesting that this article that came out a year and a half ago and meant nothing to me then, stands out and resonates so strongly now. I can confidently answer the HuffPo article title and state "Yes, charter school co-locations are tearing public schools apart." It's too bad I didn't understand this hot message when it first came straight off the Frying Pan.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Follow up #3 to "Naked CWC student hosed down on campus"

I finally had a chance to review the CWC response to my California Public Records Act (PRA) request regarding records about the incident of the hosing of the naked CWC Mar Vista student on the Stoner Elementary campus. The response was startling...mainly, because of the lack of response by CWC. 
    In total, CWC released 1 record in response to the request. The record is a 2 page document titled "NOTICE TO CURE" which was created by LAUSD. CWC claimed privacy exemptions and refused to release any other records.
Taken together, these events create concern regarding the capacity of the CWC Mar Vista staff    This response is very surprising considering LAUSD released 293 pages of documents in response to the exact same PRA request, and most of the records were emails to and from CWC and LAUSD officials, and documents created by CWC. Clearly, there is more information that should have been released. 
     I've asked CWC to reconsider its decision to refuse to release documents since there is more they can and should have released, and because this incident is of interest to the public since it has been written about and featured in the news.

    Hopefully, CWC will release more information so that we can have a better understanding of this serious incident. Regardless if CWC releases more records or not, what I have been able to piece together from the emails and documents paints a very disturbing picture of the co-location of CWC Mar Vista at Stoner Avenue Elementary School, but I think the "NOTICE TO CURE" released by CWC states is best: "Taken together, these events create concern regarding the capacity of the CWC staff, and its governing body, to implement protocols and procedures that ensure the health, safety and dignity of students at all times."