The Washington State Supreme Court ruled last fall that charter schools are unconstitutional in the state due to a lack of public oversight but that wasn’t going to stop someone like Bill Gates, a private citizen and billionaire, from getting his way.
As described in a recent post titled Emails reveal the “Gates Machine” in action after the Washington State Supreme Court’s decision that charter schools are unconstitutional, I showed the timeline of emails that involved the Gates Foundation, the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) headed by Randy Dorn, the Washington State Charter School Association (WA charters) and the Mary Walker School District (MWSD) in getting public money funneled through the MWSD, a 500-student school district in eastern Washington, to the charter schools scattered around the state to keep them open. WA charters stated last year that they received $14M to keep the charter schools open but apparently that was just a ruse. The plan was to keep the charter schools open with tax payer dollars even though the Supreme Court ruled they were unconstitutional and therefore illegal.
A second set of emails has emerged showing OSPI’s involvement in this scheme to keep the charter schools open in defiance of the ruling.
Do remember that OSPI has received millions directly from the Gates Foundation which at the time I thought was to grease the wheels for the Common Core Standards to be instituted in our state by State Superintendent Randy Dorn, I did not foresee that Dorn would be accommodating charter schools to stay open using tax payer dollars within a month of the Supreme Court ruling.
To follow is a timeline of correspondence that took place between WA charters, OSPI, MWSD and the Gates Foundation during November and December of last year when Gates and WA charters were scrambling to keep charter schools open through December.
10/21/2015: “Meeting notes and next steps” sent to MWSD and OSPI by WA charters.
11/18/2015 and 11/19/2015: Emails show the Gates Foundation put together yet another grant draft for MWSD to receive money, this time from the National Association of Charter Schools Authorizers. Think about it. The Gates Foundation wrote a grant proposal for the MWSD to submit to another organization. This is not how it works beyond the walls of the Gates Foundation.
Per a previous post on this subject, MWSD is to receive $2.1M from Gates in one grant and $250,000 from another grant from Gates.
11/20/2015: Email from WA charters to MWSD:”OSPI is motivated to get moving on planning though the open ALE items, particularly apportionment.”
(ALE stands for Alternative Learning Experience which is a public school program offered to students as an alternative to the traditional public schools. The difference is the ALE schools in Seattle are under the purview of the Seattle Public School board, not a charter operator and a district in a far-flung remote area of the state.)
11/20/2015: Email from WA charters to MWSD: A reminder for MWSD to reach out “to local districts about brick and mortar ALE’s opening within their boundaries (though OSPI said today explicit approval isn’t needed, they’d just appreciate the effort).”
11/20/2015: Email from OSPI to MWSD: “We are doing our best to answer all of your questions we are getting. Right now it looks like you should be prepared to bring the kids in as of December 1st and count them in December. Talk to you on Monday.”
11/23/2015: Email from MWSD to OSPI: Detailed questions from MWSD to OSPI including “How does OSPI see the transition occurring?”
11/23/2015: Email from MWSD to OSPI: “Will the “Host” districts (Seattle, Tacoma, etc.) release their Charter School students to become ALE students with Mary Walker? We believe so. OSPI will be encouraging them.”
11/24/2015: Email from WA charters to MWSD with attached agenda for a conference call between OSPI, WA charters, the Washington State Charter School Commission (which by this time should have been defunct) and MWSD.
(Part of the agenda was a list of detailed questions for OSPI about various subjects such as transportation reimbursement to charter schools, “How will charter operators current assets be transitioned?”, “How would apportionment payment flow from MW to the Providers?”, “Would OSPI be able to engage in emergency rulemaking for WAC 392-1347-145 or -135 to include charter scenario as a reason to transfer SHALL be granted?”.)
12/15/2015: From Gates Foundation to MWSD: The Execution copy of the Gates grant to $2.1M.
There are more emails and documents that have been received and they will be posted as I and others go through them.
Articles relating to this post:
An Audit of Bill Gates’ Common Core Spending
Bill Gates has spent $440M to push charter schools: Here is the list of recipients
Have you received a robo-call from Ready Washington about the wonders of Common Core Standards and the SBAC? If so, this is why
Emails reveal the “Gates Machine” in action after the Washington State Supreme Court’s decision that charter schools are unconstitutional
Randy Dorn corrupted ALE rules to fund charter schools that were NOT entitled to public funding. Please note: There is poor oversight of ALE dollars.
Someone stop the madness- please!
The post script links are very revealing. Thank you for being our watchdog.
There are a few of us behind the scenes digging up information so I want to say there are many people in Seattle and beyond who are watchdogs for public education. I can’t take all of the credit.
Superintendent Enfield has championed the idea of an interlocal in support of charter schools and Mary Walker. I posted some screenshots here. http://susangoding.blogspot.com/2016/02/highline-public-schools-relationship-to.html
Enfield championed bringing TFA into Seattle and then into Highline. She will do whatever necessary to continue climbing the corporate ed ladder. As a friend said to me “She’s a pole dancer for the ed reform crowd”.
Enfield is well aware of the fact that an Inter-local agreement is possibly illegal. A group of citizens hired an attorney. The attorney argued that charter schools were NOT entitled to public funding, and Highline is well aware of the fact that local school districts have responsibility to students- especially special education students.
Enfield and the board responds:
“The sole responsibility for Highline School District is agreeing to this Interlocal
Agreement. Highline has no responsibility for any operations, maintenance, governance, or any
other aspect of Rainier Prep school. Any issues or questions that arise about Rainier Prep school
should be directed to the Mary Walker School District. Mary Walker School District agrees that
the Highline School District shall be held harmless from any disputes about Mary Walker’s acts
or omissions in operating its choice educational program in Burien, Washington.”
Click to access Interlocal%20Agreement_Highline%20SD%20v%202%200.pdf
Neither Seattle nor Tacoma School Board would circumvent legal processes to fund unconstitutional charter schools. Highline, on the other side….
Dora, did OSPI send you the e-mails in the “msg” format? I just got my second batch yesterday and it’s a tedious affair of having to change that just to read them. I have never received any e-mails in this form. I have my suspicions why this is.
These emails came from MWSD and were in pdf form.
Did you do a public records request?
Yes, a FOIA request was made to MWSD. You have to be specific with names and dates. It can take at least 30 days to receive a response.