PAA in the news: questions about charter schools & Broad Foundation

Two major stories today feature the work of Parents Across America and, in particular, one of our brilliant Oakland  members, Sharon Higgins.

Sharon writes and researches three blogs, The Perimeter Primate, Charter School Scandals, and The Broad Report. Sharon provides cutting edge information and exposes scandals in the corporate education reform movement including charter schools and the Broad Foundation (from whose leadership academy our new CEO, JC Brizard, is a graduate).

Sharon’s work is featured in an article posted in today’s Education Week about the proliferation of graduates from the controversial Broad Academy in school superintendent/CEO positions across the US. Ed Week writes,

“Sharon started a website called The Broad Report in 2009 after her school district in Oakland, Calif., had three Broad-trained superintendents in quick succession, each appointed by the state. She said she grew alarmed when she started seeing principals and teachers whom she called ‘high-quality, dedicated people’ forced out. She contends in her blog that Broad superintendents are trained to aim for ‘maximum disruption’ when they come to a district, without regard for parent and teacher concerns.”

Sound familiar, folks? For more details, read PAA’s “Parents Guide to the Broad Foundation” here.

Stealth charter schools

A second news item today comes from a PAA press release, “Stealth charter network linked to Gulen raises concerns.” PAA is concerned that most parents are unaware that the group running the largest number of charter schools in the US is a cult-like Turkish-based movement centered on their leader, Fethullah Gulen.

Clarifying that this is not about the religious or ethnic identity of the charter operators, but about transparency, the PAA release summarizes a number of recent troubling press stories about Gulen schools, including this:

The Philadelphia Inquirer published two articles in March and April revealing that the Gulen schools are under a multi-agency federal investigation (FBI, Department of Labor, and Department of Education) for possible manipulation of immigration laws and misallocation of taxpayer dollars.

— Julie Woestehoff

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