Liberty Just in Case

A Dialogue for the September 12th World

Back to Business… Can They Educate

Posted by zaphriel on April 2, 2006

Now that my April Fool’s Insanity has passed. It’s time to get back to business.

I’ve been following the Halima Academy “Bureaucracy Trial” with fervent and personal interest. I did not record anything, nor did I bring my notepad, so I am paraphrasing allot here, but I am sure the transcripts will back up my general assertions.

TM.jpgFriday’s hearings (continued yet again until monday mainly due to the long winded [and tax-payer compensated] efforts of Deputy Attorney General James E. Irvin) were more of the same (how many times can you show the court the same documents and make the same points?) nickel and dime complaints. But a few new disturbing currents surfaced today (besides the “we want our money back” issue).

First, they outright accused Halima Academy of Grade Fraud and Ineffectual Educating (an issue that was never been brought before the Nevada State Board of Education in it’s consideration for closure.) What type of bombshell did they lob to back this up? Well it seems that Mr. Tom McCormack (“Technical Advisor for Charter Schools”) finds it hard to believe that these throwaway failures, (or more precisely, “kids that received all F’s in Regular schools”) could possibly get all A’s at Halima. Mr. McCormack admitted that he was sighting a newspaper article and when pressed by the judge also admitted that the original statement could have been over-emphasized for effect. He maintained that he found the students over-all drastic improvement to be “very suspect”, and wondered under oath if that was because of grade inflation and low standards (as if the regular schools have better standards). He actually inferred that is was not possible for these students to have improved so much.

So because and institution goes the extra mile, uses flex schedule, and provides a comfortable and supportive atmosphere, and produces results in children the district has already thrown away, it is suspect! WHY? BECAUSE HALIMA SUCCEEDED WHERE THE “REGULAR” PUBLIC SCHOOLS FAILED!?!?!?! Mr. McCormack and the Nevada State Board of Education are very arrogant bureaucrats indeed.

Second, it surfaced today (and Mr. McCormack all but admitted) that the very reason Halima Academy (the only carter school ever to have closure proceeding against it) was targeted was because of the demographic it catered to; pregnant, and at risk teens and teen parents (Which Mr. McCormack claimed was already covered by other programs). So because the Nevada State Board of Education was initially forced to accept a charter school that they didn’t think was “deserving or necessary” they are now trying to close them via backdoor means (by the way, as of the last legislature, the Nevada State Board of Education can now deny any application, for any reason, whether it is properly filed or not, so if Halima looses this fight, it , and any school like it, will never successfully apply again, because the Nevada State Board of Education does not want a charter school that caters to that demographic.)

Personal note here, I know Siadah Pires, Executive Director of Halima Academy. I was there when she conceived of the idea of this type of charter school. She did it because she was seeing way to many students being thrown away due to pregnancy and behavioral problems, and was unwilling to sit by and watch another generation grow-up to be throw aways. So if the programs that are “in place” were so effective, then the very idea of Halima Academy would never have surfaced… Just a thought.

Third, and seldom talked about here, is the fact that charter schools must relinquish 2% of their income to the state department of education for “Technical Assistance Services” (Which in this case amounts to over $10,000), supposedly provide by Mr. McCormack. So far, from even Mr. McCormack’s testimony, his “Technical Assistance” has been incompetent at best, and at worst malicious (I tend to believe the latter, as it has been attested to that other charter schools [of which there are 18 in Nevada, 4 of which Mr. McCormack “assists”] have had more than adequate assistance).

This is about Money and Control. The Nevada State Board of Education wants total control over who gets an education and who does not, as well as which schools are “worthy” of their state mandated funding. This is a NON-Partisan issue people. If you’re conservative, you want schools like this, so that we have more educated adults in our society, who in the future are more likely to be less of a burden on our public services. If you’re a liberal, you want this school open so that these kids get that one last chance everyone is always crying about – so that they are not once again thrown away and left behind. This school is a model of what we need more of, not a “danger to children”. The only danger Halima Academy poses is to the coffers, and the powerbase, of the Nevada State Board of Education, and their puppet master, the teachers union, because it threatens to reveal their very inadequacies and ineptitudes.

More on this issue:
here
here
and
here

One Response to “Back to Business… Can They Educate”

  1. That picture of Tom McCormack captures the arrogance he showed through his whole testimony.

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