Testimony of Lisa Haver to the BOE, February 27, 2020

First, APPS members again urge the Board to deny both charter applications. APPS members including me attended all the hearings and we issued our own analysis on both applications. There has been well documented corruption in the charter sector for years. Recently, Universal Charters administrators and elected officials associated with them were indicted. When you look at the fraudulent actions of the HS2L applicants, including theft of intellectual property, a vote to approve would represent approval of these tactics for future applicants.

The diversion of public money into privately run schools, with little oversight, has cost us a great deal over the past 20 years. Board members heard from the CFO last week how charters are able to game the system with special education funding.

Tonight the Board will vote to approve a settlement with a District teacher who is sick and dying because of the willful neglect of District officials over the years. While the SRC was voting year after year to divert public money to private investors, buildings were allowed to deteriorate and children and adults were subject to toxic substances. And please let’s end this narrative that no one knew about it. When the SRC passed what we called the “Doomsday Budget” we didn’t know that for this teacher, and for many more to come, this was not a metaphor.

The agenda contains several contracts, adding up to many millions, for consulting firms, legal firms and fake graduate schools.

TFA $325, 000. The District’s partnership with Teach For America (TFA) is a critical part of the overall pathways utilized to identify the quality and diverse teacher candidates necessary to ensure that 100% of schools have great teachers. 
How does hiring teacher trainees with less than 2 months training and no experience bring in great teachers to struggling schools? TFA has been the lifeblood of the corporate education disruption movement. This Board should sever ties by voting no on this item.

District Management Group, back again, Item 42 $197, 000 for attendance strategies and Item 17 $150, 000 to help the Operations team “improve the effectiveness of their services.”
“The primary deliverable is professional development and coaching on District Management Group’s Breakthrough Team approach which is a rapid cycle of innovation, prototyping, and implementation that creates momentum and urgency to produce positive results.”
I have no idea what that means. But it appears that this company and others are getting contracts to show 440 staff how to do their jobs.

Relay GSE—as Dr. McGinley reminded the Board again last week, is NOT a graduate school of education, in line to receive more District funds.

I see these Items are connected. They stem from the actions of a District which valued the political and financial interests of private individuals and companies more than the children and adults trying to teach and learn in our schools. The Board can signal a new direction, a departure from the status quo, by voting NO on all of them.

Questions: does the settlement with the Meredith teacher contain an NDA?

When will the Board mandate that charter operators report on any asbestos incidents in their schools and how they will be abated?