Click on the picture to view the video and go to 43:16 to view Karel’s testimony.
The many forms of resolution IU 7 forking over millions to Catapault Learning makes me think of the District taking a bowl of spaghetti and flinging it against the wall to see what sticks. Despite pushback the Hite Administration is determined to push through another form of outsourcing. The Hite Administration has known of problems with Wordsworth Academy over the past several years with accusations of rape and sexual assaults documented in the media. Last October David Hess was murdered while in residence. The District terminated the Wordsworth contract . It would have been a good time to sit down with parents, advocates, and teachers to work out a plan for meeting these students’ needs. Instead resolution IU7 pops up days before the June 15 SRC meeting with a sketchy description designed to send up to $54 million to Catapault Learning.
Tremendous pushback from parents, advocates, and City Council resulted in scheduling another meeting while they did some rewriting. The basic premise of hiring Catapault is faulty. They have no track record of creating a k to 12 school. They have had their contract pulled in Florida for failing to fulfill the terms.
Jeffrey Cohen Catapault CEO has no education background. He is extremely well connected having been a political appointee during the Clinton Administration and an attorney in the White House Counsel’s Office. He wants his companies to turn a profit. Does this sound like someone concerned with the education of our children? At Catapault Academy about 70% of instructional time is provided online. Children with challenging behaviors need relationships with people.
It is astonishing to see how few details are present in this newly formatted resolution. No location, no terms of accountability, nothing except for the length of the contract and price tag for an invisible contract. Is there magic writing that needs to be held up a light to become visible? Not only are details omitted but the entire process of shepherding this contract along has been secretive. No staff presentation. Meeting times changed. Parents show up to speak on the topic after taking time off from work and are told they cannot speak because the resolution has been withdrawn. Where are we? In North Korea? Yes, the district has made some changes but not significant ones allowing parent and advocate voices to come together in a meaningful way. If you are truly concerned about our special needs students targeted in IU1 then you need to vote no on this resolution and sit down with parents, advocates, and teachers to develop a well thought out plan to best serve our children.