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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.
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.
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