NYT on California Charter Academy…The Good, The Bad And The Ugly…But Not The Full Story!

Today’s New York Times takes the California Charter Academy to task. Bravo. That disaster was reprehensible and is a key argument for high quality charter school authorizing. Loads of students were inexcusably displaced at the start of the school year and the whole episode stinks.

Yet, you have to read to the 23rd graf to find some important contextual information: Most students are in other schools now. But, the article doesn’t note that under the leadership of the dynamo Caprice Young, the California Charter School Association did yeoman’s work to ensure that students found new schools. And, although it’s nowhere in the article, the association was supportive of the closure of the California Charter Academy in the first place. More from Gadfly here.

Moreover, the school superintendent who the NYT portrays as the victim here actually authorized this school in the first place and the district was making a lot of money off the fees for being an authorizer. One informed source tells Eduwonk that the district’s budget doubled. Again, what California Charter Academy did is inexcusable, but how about some accountability for poor decision-making by the school district that elected to make a deal with these hucksters in the first place and allowed the situation to get out of hand, too? Not news fit to print apparently.

This debacle is a story worth telling, but worth telling in full because it’s about what went wrong, as well as what went right. The California Charter School Association was every bit as good as the California Charter Academy was not and the school district was not simply a sympathetic victim, really sort of an accomplice…. Again, one solution, better authorizing.

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