In addition to the list of reasons Commissioner Chester cited in recommending that Spirit of Knowledge be put on probation--something which the Board of Education passed yesterday--the state had some harsh words for the degree of transparency down at Mystic Valley charter, which was seeking an expansion:
But Jeff Wulfson, deputy education commissioner, said the state is simply representing the public in this case. “Public schools have elected boards, so there is a level of accountability,” he said. “There is nothing like that in charter school boards, so we have to act on the public’s behalf.”This is the first time I have EVER heard the state speak of the responsibility that the Board of Ed has to the public to be sure charter schools are publicly accountable and operate that way. That is very important.
Wulfson said complaints from parents and teachers about the school “have clearly gone beyond what we’ve seen at other charter schools.”
Those complaints, many from anonymous sources who say they fear retribution from the board, range from a lack of adherence to the state’s Open Meeting Law to a failure of the board to address concerns about transportation, admissions, and other issues.
“The board’s role is not only to be academically successful, but to act as a public body, with transparency and a responsibility to the public,” Wulfson said. “We feel they have fallen short on this too often.”