Monday, October 5, 2015

Tapestry Charter School Shorts Students 10 Days Two Years in a Row: What Will Comissoner Elia Do About It?

To the shock and awe of nobody New York's State Education Department has determined that our good friends and educators at B-Lo's own Tapestry Charter School have screwed their students out of 10 days of instructional time in both the 2013 and 2014 school years. What! you say... Tapestry didn't even meet their own charter's required minimum of 176 instructional days not once but twice in two years? There must be some mistake. I'm shocked. Shocked, I tell you!

And just what exactly is our fire breathing two fisted New York State Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia going to do about this? Well have a look for your own self: 

In 2014 when this shortchanging was discovered by parents they contacted the schools director Joy Peppers pointing out the shortfall. She was asked if she would do something to make up the 10 day gap before State Ed was contacted. And in typical top down charter fashion Pepper declined to be troubled with anything as annoying as parents pointing out how her school was shortchanging students by 2 school weeks. State Ed was then contacted and asked to look into the situation. Maybe Joy Peppers knew nothing would happen, that consequences, take overs and shut downs are only for public schools not precious charters like Tapestry. And I know I didn't grow up with Common Core and Pearson Tests or attend an excellent charter school but I think from what I read above there will be no consequence whatsoever for Tapestry's repeated violations of its own charter -- which has, incidentally, just been approved for another 5 year cycle.

It's been further observed that the 2015-2016 Revised Calendar Tapestry submitted to NYSED only provides 175 days of instruction and of those 3 are conference days when kids will not be in class. That's illegal. You can't count them as instruction days. Tapestry has also failed to build any snow days into their calendar for this school year. Last year they took 9 snow days. So if they were already one day short for starters and have 3 more illegal days on top of those then toss in half a dozen or more snow days (the day before Thanksgiving also looks like a non instruction day...?) You've got yourself all the makings of a Common Core math problem, kids. 

Does this look to anyone like the Powers that Be at Tapestry are taking MaryEllen Elia or NYSED's threats the least bit seriously? Is anyone else thinking of Leo Di Caprio clinging to the floating door at the end of Titanic saying he's going to write a strongly worded letter to The White Star Lines? O.k. maybe you weren't thinking that but I always go there in my mental projection booth when I see or hear bullshit in epistolized form. And this pile even has a fancy state seal attached.

Commissioner Elia came here to B-Lo flexed her NYSED lats, bared her eye teeth and gave us "the look". She said if B-Lo didn't do something about its test scores then she would. As Lucky Ned Pepper told Rooster Cogburn in the original True Grit, "That's bold talk for a one-eyed fat man." My point being, as Carl Paladino of all people was quick to point out, Elia is another rookie Commissioner. Granted she's got the Falls malocchio thing going for her but when push comes to shove she's another rookie trying to see who she can shake.  When she allows a pet lamb charter school to violate its own charter, shorting its own students out of two weeks of classtime for two years straight -- then accepts a calendar for the third year that's still out of compliance -- I think we need to start paying closer attention to what Elia does and less attention to what she's threatening to do.

You can't have a separate set of rules and punishments for charter schools than you do for public schools, Commissioner. And when they write up their own charter then violate its conditions for 3 straight years and you come to town with your guns blazing but only aiming them at Buffalo Public Schools. I'm not exactly sure this kind of posturing is going to work to your advantage down the road. But then again, you're the Commissioner and you're the one who's going to get all the credit. 

Well maybe credit's not the right word exactly...

1 comment:

  1. An important point is proven! Charter schools are private schools.