Wednesday, January 6, 2010

News gets worse from Gloucester

It seems that state education officials have violated state law in the turning over of documents on the investigation into the Gloucester charter school.
At least two members of the panel that reviewed the charter proposal said they may have shredded their evaluation notes, according to the report from Inspector General Gregory W. Sullivan. The department also hampered the investigation by refusing to comply with the office’s repeated requests for a 29-page evaluation of the charter proposal, the report said.
As a result, the representatives from Gloucester are proposing an amendment to the House education bill currently being debated that would nullify the school's charter. School charter decisions previously have only been made by the state DESE; this is an unprecedented act by the Legislature.

The report in the Globe also gives us more of a glimpse of the man to whom much power would migrate under the state bill: Commissioner Mitchell Chester. The Globe reports:
Chester’s recommendation marked the first time a commissioner gave his agency’s board a favorable review of a proposed charter school that was at odds with the department’s charter school office, which according to Sullivan, is not allowed under the department’s own rules and regulations. When Sullivan asked Chester why he violated the rule, the commissioner said he was unaware of it and that the decision was his alone to make, the report stated.
He isn't aware of this own department's rules and now we're going to make him the person in charge of deciding which schools stay open and what their "transformation" plans should be? Is this wise?

1 comment:

Jim Gonyea said...

Apparantly when the Commissioner approved it there was political pressure from the Secretary of Education to approve charter schools. I don't much like the idea of someone who can be easily pressured to do something that is patently wrong having so much authority. There needs to be checks and balances and the State Education Department is taking on a lot of unchecked authority. There's a naked power grab that's been happening in regards to education since 1992 and William Weld.