A quarterly magazine of urban affairs, published by the Manhattan Institute, edited by Brian C. Anderson.
• • • • • • • • • • • • • • •
Ben Chaviss Last Stand « Back to Story
Showing 37 Comment(s) Subscribe by RSS
Whether real or perceived these accusations are no different than those made about the idiots that run our government. Only difference is that AIMS make a difference and our politicians make things worse.
NJB, I've heard Achillea's argument as well and it's sophistry.
The argument depends on the unexamined assumption that district schools are deserving of "fairness" when they, of course, are not.
District schools have no reason for existence other then to educate kids and if they're doing a lousy job of it then some better means must be found. "Fairness" doesn't enter into the issue any more then it'd be unfair to makers of an inferior vaccine that a better vaccine shows up.
It's the kids that matter, not the schools and the only way to protect failing district schools is to try to divert attention from the on-going human tragedy that is what way too many district schools consist of to some specious notion of "fairness" to the schools, and by extension the employees of the school.
Wrong Ben Chavis, Arthur. You're thinking of the NAACP guy. Thanks for stopping by.
The writer doesn't reveal Ben Chavis's arrest and conviction, his prison term, his identity as Ben Mohammed, his becoming a Muslim and now, to enrich himself, he is suddently an American Indian? He's a con man and the enormous acadmic excellence is more than suspect. Children interviewed in the school who have achieved great hrades are fundementalluy illiterate. This is all a scam and your writer bought it lock, stock and barrel.
There were several directors, one of them being the director during the year he came back as COO turned "interim chief." Chavis had an iron grip on the schools during the years he was allegedly away (business partners, students he employed etc. sat on the board). If you're forced to operate the school according to Chavis and Marsha, you either comply, leave, or get fired. Pointing the finger at someone else does not make him less guilty. Additionally please do some research, lest you be accused of slander. Please also refer to the FCMAT report and Alameda county report - Chavis loves to quote numbers that don't compare - he quotes monthly rent while OUSD quotes annual rent. This is known and has been repeated time and again at all revocation meetings.
Keep in mind OUSD had nothing to do with bringing his criminal activities to light. Long term advocates of the schools had to report millions being siphoned away. OUSD is too overwhelmed with other issues than to be worried about charter school oversight. Unfortunately, OUSD didn't name 3 reps to sit on the AIPCS board to make adequate changes. Ben's cronies are still on the board and will continue to defraud CA if not watched carefully.
What is "relevant" are those damning numbers. The Charter School is too successful and doing their students too much good.
That reflects poorly on the rest of the District and we can't have that !
Sadly, the students will be the losers (as usual).
As a side note, whomever has been doing the hiring for the School Districts in this nation for the past 50 years should be put up against a wall and summarily shot. Without a blindfold.
I have heard Achillea's argument - which seems to be contradicted by his/her last paragraph - that charters have an unfair advantage for several years and I don't entirely disagree with it.
So why does America house slackers and gang-bangers in failing public schools? It is not like these kids are getting educated anyway and they will probably drop out before graduation. Taxpayers are paying a lot of money (and preposterous benefits) to teachers that are mostly just monitoring these bad students so they don't hurt each other. Lower paid security people could do that (and higher-paid corrections officers probably will end up doing so later).
Why do we continue to pretend that these kids are "getting educated," and look the other way on truancy and crimes, rather than either jailing the truant or the troublemakers until the parent(s) get mad enough to actually parent or turning them onto the street? We will get the same result - chronic welfare/food stamp recipients - for less initial taxpayers cost.
The ousd is just like the Obama admin; more guilty than any on else and trying to to throw the spotlight on other people minor mistakes instead of cleaning up their own filth!
Throw out every member of the ousd and clean house.
The root of all evil is money. Seriously, the OUSD wants the AIM's money, 20 million is a big chunk of change.
It is not what is best for the children. But in today's world "who cares" seems to be the policies of many.
My sympathies for your students.
It's all for the children. /sarcasm
"Mr. Boychuk doesn't suggest why Oakland Schools would direct such organized hostility toward a remarkably successful administration."
I don't? "District officials seem intent on killing Chavis’s model even as they discredit the man."
"Mr. Boychuk doesn't suggest why Oakland Schools would direct such organized hostility toward a remarkably successful administration."
I might be able to answer this question, though it's based on the presumption that Oakland Unified works more or less the same way, and under the same rules, as LA Unified. A regular (non-charter/non-pilot) public school is required to enroll any student (of the appropriate grade/age level, of course) living within a set geographical area. It's possible for parents to get permits for their children to attend a different school, and in some extreme circumstances a student can be transferred to a different school, but those are exceptions rather than the rule. Even if a student is mediocre, chronically truant, a behavior problem, etc., the public school is stuck with him/her. Charter schools, at least in LA Unified, have an advantage. They have to enroll students in their area, but if a student drops out (and a certain percentage of absences counts as 'dropping out'), they don't have to take him/her back.
So, let's take two imaginary schools -- Holmes Charter HS and Simpson HS. Both are in the same neighborhood and draw from the same 'pool' of students. Holmes HS, however, can weed out its poorer students. Strict discipline and an enforced dress code and the troublemakers will ditch. A longer school day and year and the slackers will ditch. The kids who simply aren't that quick are also likely to get frustrated and leave (which you'll never see put in writing as an official objective, but is there nonetheless). As soon as they're truant too many days, punt, they're gone, and Holmes' average GPA goes up. But, since those punted students still have to be enrolled somewhere, they wind up over at Simpson, where they drag down the GPA. Meanwhile, the Simpson students who want to learn escape the steadily-growing pool of thugs and layabouts there and transfer to Holmes, where they can achieve academically (and in peace). Down goes the Simpson GPA, up goes Holmes, with the latter skimming off the cream while the former gets the dregs.
This extends, also, to faculty. Charter schools typically have much more say in the hiring/dismissal of teachers. In the example above, Holmes can offer a safe, well-ordered campus with a crop of bright and eager young minds, and then take its pick of the applicants. Simpson ... not so much.
So, Oakland Unified's beef with AIMS is mostly a combination of jealousy and resentment. And AIMS does, in a sense, have an 'unfair' advantage. But if AIMS is helping students excel academically (and it certainly seems they are), that's what a school is supposed to do. 'No Child Left Behind' shouldn't mean 'No Child Allowed To Get Ahead.'
No further evidence is needed to support ending all government control of education. The failed Oakland schools have no professional nor moral standing to wield influence over anyone's choice of education.
The mistake of charter schools is to chase the government money that comes with charter status, instead of operating completely privately.
Unfortunately, since the government robs the citizenry to pay for its failing public schools, poor people can't afford alternatives to public schools.
If property tax money stopped going to government schools, billions -- hundreds of billions -- of dollars nationwide would be available for free private schools funded by charitable contributions.
I don't know enough about Mr. Chavis to form a strong opinion on his guilt or innocence, but I do like his idea of keeping students with the same teacher until they move on to the next level. This would help solve the problem of accountability and teacher assessment when evaluating student achievement. It would also give teachers the chance to develop strong bonds with students and their parents. This would increase the teachers' commitment to the students' success, and help them better understand the needs of each student.
The academic success at the AIMS schools demonstrates one of the most compelling arguments for Charter Schools: The opportunity to try innovative ideas, and allow everyone to see what works and what doesn't.
A far better education for a lot less money is hard to argue with.
Also, it sounds like UOSB is confusing cause with effect in attributing AIMS success to increasing numbers of Asian students.
"Nobody...seriously disputes AIMS’s phenomenal success, though a few observers have ascribed it to the fact that the schools’ Asian population has grown significantly in the past decade as their American Indian, black, and Latino populations have declined."
I think it speaks volumes that some people think competence, or the lack thereof, depends on which arbitrarily defined identity group a person belongs to.
let's not forget that this is the school board that intoduced us to the international embarrassment called 'ebonics' (and the genius behind that is now the mayor). these folks are dedicated to keeping their victim narratives alive, not educating students.
Shut 'em down. The last thing we want is educated young blacks who can think for themselves and can see that the Democrat Plantation is a dead end.
When coping with a Con Artist, pay attention
to what she does, not what she says:
No competitor can be allowed to outperform TPTB.
It sounds like Chavis lost money, but let's pretend he made a profit.
If he did so, he still educated kids for HALF of what the district schools spent and did a better job,
Why would this be worse when the district schools spend twice as much money, but don't do a very good job educating kids? Why aren't the lavis benefits packages of public bureaucrats considered a breach of public trust?
Shut down the district schools and give Ben Chavis the administration of them.
Chris, how about a certain fake-o-hantas Senator from MA.
The Lumbees are rent-seeking white people:
One of the largest problems with the Lumbee being acknowledged as a Native American tribe is that throughout their history from the 1700's to the present, the Lumbee are extremely mixed with European and non-European ancestry. The "dilution" of their Indian ancestry adds a huge problem to the supposed authenticity of the Lumbee tribe. The idea of how much "blood" given from you ancestors' race has always been extremely important on deciding how black, Jewish, or Indian a person is. This idea of racial blood also plays a huge role in the U.S. Government concerning the American Indians in the past and still in the present. Laws stipulate that after a person's "racial blood level" goes beneath a certain percentage they are no longer considered an Indian, even if they are part of the social community and share equal cultural values.
AN OPEN LETTER TO THE LUMBEE TRIBAL MEMBERSHIP FROM THE TRIBAL CHAIRMAN
Recently, there has been discussion by the Lumbee Tribal Council regarding my performance as Tribal Chairman. I would like to take this opportunity to address some of the concerns expressed, including the Indian Housing Plan, the purchase of property, and providing financial information requested by the Council. First, let me assure every Lumbee; those enrolled, and those who have yet to enroll that I am committed to the oath I took when I was elected Tribal Chairman. Government funds have not been misused, and I have, and will continue to work cooperatively with the Legislative body of the Lumbee Tribal government.
Several Council members have expressed concerns over the submission of the Indian Housing Plan (IHP) to HUD. The Indian Housing Plan is a roadmap for how tribal housing funds will be spent. I have the authority to submit the Plan to HUD on behalf of the tribal membership. There is no statutory, federal or tribal law requiring the approval of the Indian Housing Plan by Tribal Council; the plan was provided to them on July 9, 2013 for review. There was also a special called meeting on July 16 to review and discuss the IHP as a professional courtesy; however, once again they did not take any action on the plan. While the Plan is due prior to the adoption of the budget, it may be amended at any time to ensure compliance with the Council's adopted budget.
In regards to the purchase of property, the property was purchased as a pilot program to expand tribal housing through the 184 Home Loan Guaranteed Program. The intent was to target tribal members in need of housing who are not currently eligible for existing programs administered by the Housing Department. This pilot program was specifically for tribal members above the low income guidelines. This property is situated in an area with amenities which should be available to tribal members who wish to live in such areas. Lastly, the property was not purchased with NAHASDA funds, but was done through private financing through a local bank.
The last issue I want to address is the release of the check register for the tribe. First, the Constitution requires me as Tribal Chairman requires to ensure the tribal membership “be secure in their persons and property and such security shall be preserved by the government created by the tribal constitution”. This is a fundamental responsibility of my position, and any request for information is taken seriously. In light of this responsibility to the numerous tribal members who the tribe conducts business with on a daily basis, whether it is an attorney doing a closing on a property, a contractor completing rehab on a home, or a company contracted to provide custodial services, I must ensure their personal information is held private, and action taken will not be detriment to their businesses. When the Council requested the check register, I made a concerted effort to work with the Finance Officer to provide the Council the opportunity to view the check register without vendors’ names, because it is unconstitutional. Further, the Council Treasurer was provided a copy which consisted of approximately sixteen-hundred pages covering October 1, 2011 through June 30, 2013. This information was provided to the Treasurer with the intent it would be shared with the Council on July 18, 2013 during a regular scheduled Council meeting. It is my understanding the document was returned to the Tribal Administrator, and he was informed by the Treasurer of the Council the information provided was not sufficient. In addition, it is not my intent to avoid request from the Council, but I have a responsibility to uphold orders issued by the Lumbee Supreme Court. The Court stated in Brooks v. Revels, “the Tribal Council has every right to question the Chairman regarding tribal matters, and the right to expect timely and accurate responses subject to legitimate executive privilege.” We provided the requested information in a timely manner, and in the format requested by the Council. Executive privilege is to protect the privacy rights of the tribal membership and especially in the instances with tribal members conducts business with the tribe. Further, the Supreme Court ruled “the collective Council by and through its designees as opposed to individual Council members has the right to reasonable inspection of the tribal financial records.” This mandate is adhered to yearly when the Council selects auditors to conduct the tribe’s annual audits, which includes all financial records. In addition, the auditors are specifically charged with looking for fraud, wasteful spending, and misappropriations of funds. The final and official audit report is presented to Council by the auditors they selected.
In conclusion, I was elected Tribal Chairman by the Lumbee Tribal membership to uphold the tribal constitution. I take my responsibilities seriously, and want to ensure the membership that I will work to the best of my ability to make all members are “secure in their person and property.” I am committed to working with the Legislative and Judicial branch of the Lumbee tribal government to continue to provide necessary and valuable services to the membership.
Chairman of the Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina
Hustler gets out-hustled. The Lumbee Tribe?
I'd certainly like to hear more about the reason for CCSA mixing into the AIMS situation.
The letter Mr. Essay linked has the feel of motivations that wouldn't stand up to the light of day given the airy dismissal of AIMS' very real educational accomplishments in favor of charges of dubious provenance. I look forward to Mr. Boychuk's piece on the reasons for CCSA's hostility towards Mr. Chavis.
As to the FBI's interest, I await evidence of wrongdoing.
The two words which always spring to my mind when the FBI is mentioned are "Richard Jewell".
It should never be forgotten the FBI has demonstrated that political considerations, even career considerations, can trump enforcement of the law. Like the public education system the FBI is born of politics and political considerations are always hovering in the background when they're not the primary driving force in an investigation.
Ben Chavis is indeed very unpolitically correct. But who cares? Does anyone care about results? Does anyone care about our kids learning and reaching their maximum potential? The parents of these kids should be "in the streets" protesting the loss of their children's futures. They need to "occupy the OUSD" until change happens. Ben Chavis has a good education model for some students. It's kind of like the one when I attended school. Ben Chavis has little use for bureaucrats, unions and political panderers. I say "good for him".
"Obviously Ben thinks the issues I raised . . . have some relevance here and are of 'some import.'" They're certainly news, Hank. I touched on the FBI and IRS raids in my Sacramento Bee column on Saturday, which covers a lot of the same ground as this piece, but with about 700 fewer words. The CCSA issue might be an article in itself. We'll see. Thanks again for your comments.
Thanks, Ben. I don't think I realized that this piece wasn't web only....Obviously Ben thinks the issues I raised (FBI, Cal Charter Association) have some relevance here and are of "some import," and it will be interesting to read his follow up piece on the issue..
As long as public unions are allowed to make political donations of taxpayer money to the people who write the checks charter schols will continue to be in danger of closing. I don't see ANY effort by anyone anywhere calling for an end to this corrupt practice - if public unions must be allowed (and they sholdn't be) then there should be a ban on political activity or donations.Such donations are the literal definition of corruption.
Want to end corruption? Want to save charter schools - heck, want to save our government? Then get rid of the corrupting influence of public unions. When one political party gets an outsized part of its money from government employees i.e. taxpayer support for political activity, then this causes corruption. Since the (Democratic) Party not only gives the employees whatever they want, it also seeks to put more and more workers on the payroll, under the assumption that the more on the payroll, the more money the Democrats get.
No on eis talking about this - not even the republicans who are in a no win situtation since if they object the media claims they are picking on "saintly" teachers and "hard working" government employees. Given the spinlessness of the current Republican leaders, this corruption is not likely to end until it brings down the government.
As far as Democrats are concerned, if the current population doesn't like the new society they are building, the answer is to import more a malleable population. It's how immigration is tied to public unions. It's how California was destroyed, and how the rest of America will be destroyed as well.
Who would have thought that allowing government employees to unoinize would bring down the Republic? Yet, that is essentially what is happening. And with corrupt people in charge of government, Democrats and spineless Republicans like Boehner, Ryan, Rubio et als,there is little chance of change.
In this atmosphere charter schools don't have a chance. In this particlular instance, the arrogance of the guy in charge - Chavis, didn't help either. He must have knwon that the schools would be under a microscope, in these circumstances he should not have done anything that could be considered a violation of law even if he didn't personally profit.
However, the remedy would be to replace the leadership, not close the school. But for the union any excuse works. Since education is last on the priority list for the teachers union, the fact that the students will suffer is not a consideration, In fact, for Democrats it is a plus, since uneducated students are more likely to commit crimes, and high crime scares away business and chases away Republicans and causes poverty. And poverty leads to money for Democratic anti-poverty efforts which are carefully calculated not to do anything but enrich the Party faithful.
As I've said many times, in California the Democrats are creating the Democratic ideal of a perfect society - lots of poor,a few good rich,and in the middle, a relatively small number of party apparatchiks and gov't employees.
In this perfect society charter schools don't fit at all.
Hank Essay’s letter of July 28th leads you to believe that that a FBI investigation and a letter that purports to be from Jed Wallace might be of some import. The FBI is on a wild goose chase and is asking for help in finding causes for action by asking for help in the newspapers, seems like a complaint from the Teachers Union more than anything. Jed Wallace is just going with the flow and has written a letter that basically says if there is wrong doing something should be done. This is no reason to shut down something that is working for the students of Oakland and at a very reasonable price, the California Teachers Association does not like things that make them look extremely bad, like educated student for less money. We have kids graduating out of the Oakland Schools that can’t read or write, education should be for the kids not the Teachers pension fund.
Hank, I'm aware of the FBI (and IRS) involvement in the case. This piece went to press a few weeks before those events occurred. The California Charter Schools Association's decision is interesting, and a story in itself. For what it's worth, Chavis refused to join the CCSA. In any event, I'm working on a follow up piece for City Journal California. Thanks for your comments.
Ben Boychuk makes a lot of good points in this piece, but it is a bit odd that he didn't note two things:
1) that the FBI got involved with investigating Chavis's actions two weeks ago (see: http://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/article/FBI-searches-embattled-charter-schools-in-Oakland-4658673.php)
2) and that the California Charter Schools Association, has fully supported the revocation of the AIMS schools (http://www.calcharters.org/blog/2013/06/support-for-recommendation-to-uphold-revocation-of-aims-charter.html).
This information, if included in the piece, would certainly have provided more context to the situation and made it a bit more complex, no? Or perhaps that is why it was left out in the first place...
Yes, this is a common story of how liberal ideology destroys human achievement, but Mr. Boychuk doesn't suggest why Oakland Schools would direct such organized hostility toward a remarkably successful administration. This question, in my opinion, is more important than his well-written iteration of how some minorities loathe the origins of success and freedom. I don't think he could have written such an accurate description of the process used to suppress success unless he also has some very well formed opinions about the perceptions and emotions of the OUSD. Perhaps a sequel would continue this interesting story to a summary that would characterize those who stand in the way of success in order to adhere to political party lines.
Sounds like Chavis stepped out of the mold of mediocrity designed and implemented by the Teacher's Union. How dare he seek to break the mold!
He is running charter schools that believe learning is about the transmission of knowledge. The new stealth definition of learning is behavioral change or at least getting started by changing values, attitudes, and beliefs.
If you are on board for one vision no shenanigans stick. The other will get you shut down if you just know how to spell sneeze.
Yes, it appears Chavis committed the one unpardonable act. The act of educating children. To a degree beyond that of the public school system and at a significantly lower cost. And for that he must be punished. So saith the Pharisees of the Public School Teachers Union and their lackeys in elective office.
There's not that much to be said for rules that throw the baby out with the bathwater. These schools are doing good work.
This reads to much like a lawyer's brief in defense of the Chavis couple. There's a lot to say for rules barring even the mere appearance of impropriety.