Accountability Charter Schools Education Reform

Carol Burris: Sex Scandals Happen in All Kinds of Schools: Public, Private, and Charter

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Former TV anchor Campbell Brown made herself a big niche among education deformers by her repeated assertions that public schools were rife with sexual predators, and these predators were protected by teachers’ unions, seniority, and tenure. Through her articles in Rupert Murdoch’s New York Post and Wall Street Journal, Brown launched a campaign against teachers’ unions, tenure, seniority, and public schools. Ridding the schools of any protection for teachers’ right to due process became her singular mission. In service to her new-found cause, she became a friend of Betsy DeVos, became a member of the board of DeVos’ pro-voucher, pro-charter American Federation for Children, created a billionaire-funded education news organization called The 74, and launched an organization called the Partnership for Education Justice to pursue lawsuits against teachers’ rights.

But guess what? All kinds of schools—public, private, and charter— have had sex scandals, some of which remained hidden for years. This past year, elite private schools have revealed that some faculty members had engaged in affairs or predatory behavior with students, and the schools covered up the scandals to protect their reputation, either by ignoring them or by pushing out the teachers, who were then hired by other elite private schools.

Now Carol Burris notes that charter schools too have experienced similar problems.

She writes:

“On December 21, this was a headline in The New York Post: “Teacher at all-girls school busted for nude pics of student, molestation.” An important word was missing from the headline: “charter.”

“Ryan Evans, an English Language Arts teacher at the Bronx Global Learning Institute for Girls Charter School, had convinced a 12-year-old middle school girl to send him photos of her naked body. He then molested her after class.

“Just the day before, The New York Times ran a story about long term allegations and the ongoing investigation of the sexual abuse of two girls at a KIPP.

“These are not two isolated incidents. For the past six months, NPE has been logging all of the scandals associated with charter schools. The enormity has been startling. Often reported in local newspapers, the scope of the problems associated with this comparatively unregulated sector of schooling has been underreported.

“Earlier this month an Arizona charter school hired a male teacher who had been previously fired and had lost his license for having an inappropriate relationship with a student. Because charter school teachers in the state do not need to be certified and the charter did not do its due diligence, the teacher was hired and only fired when a concerned parent alerted the school about his record.

“In late November, Washington DC administrators of a charter school were fired because they failed to take appropriate action when they learned of a teacher’s abuse of a student. Earlier that month, a Chicago teacher was forced out after a “sex romp” with a 12 year old boy.

“In October, a KIPP counselor was charged with sex crimes and a Philly charter school administrator was charged with statutory rape.

“Granted, horrible incidents like these occur in public schools too but when you think about the far larger number of public schools compared to the small sector of charters, the frequency of scandals in charters is frightening.

“Expect this to accelerate for two reasons. First, the lack of regulations and scrutiny of the sector. Second, public schools are better places to work and will therefore always attract the better teachers and school leaders.

“Will Campbell Brown, who thought that public schools were full of sex offenders now give the charter sector a hard look?”

Sexual contact with minors is wrong in all settings. Would Campbell Brown, now in charge of monitoring content for Facebook, please call off her attacks on teachers, their unions, and public schools?

 

 

 

 

 

 

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