Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Accountability matters

Cautionary tale: Beware of schools with little oversight
Tribune Editorial
The failure of Liberty Academy, a state-chartered and publicly funded school, has been blamed on the inexperience of its founders and directors, mismanagement and a lack of oversight and accountability.


republican said...

Poor and sick children are big government...

It must be stopped at all cost...

Frank Staheli said...


It's good that there are other choices out there. The more choices there are, the fewer times things like this will happen. If vouchers pass, a revitalized school system will work itself into stability. Don't be afraid... ;-)

Liberty had big dreams with little in the way of understanding the impact of their actions. But so do a handful of crappy public school teachers who are SHUFFLED AROUND FROM SCHOOL TO SCHOOL.

American Leadership had just taken up a great deal of the large-school demand in the area, so they should have been smart enough to either wait or go with something smaller. It will be a great lesson, with a small negative result. Every child who went to that school was educated up until the point of closure, and they have several other alternatives now that the school is closed.

So while we're calling spades spades, let's do it with equal opportunity and vigor!

Anonymous said...

Let me find my shocked face.

Rob has been touting charter schools as a reason to vote against vouchers because they represent the only choice we need and now he uses a failing charter school as a reason to vote against vouchers.

This is the real hypocrisy - if it isn't a union school it can't be trusted.

CraigJ said...

Dear anonymous PCE troll,

Your commentary is sad and misguided.

The point is simple - if accountability in a public charter school is suspect, imagine what it will be with private voucher schools with little to no accountability.

Fortunately, with the public charter, we have public oversight. The problems were real but solutions are within our reach.

Google "Florida voucher fraud" to get an idea of the problems that would await us if we were to allow such a lousy bill to be passed.

But we won't

Marlin said...

I found that editorial to be very weak. Holding up a failed public school as a poster child for anti-vouchers, makes no sense. Although they feebly attempt to show how charter schools relate to vouchers and private schools they fail in doing so. The fact is simple. It was a public school that failed, not a private school and to try a draw a line from a failed public school to voucher issues makes no sense.

CraigJ said...


You do not understand the politics of charter schools.

Quite a few of them are "private schools in waiting."

Accountability vs. autonomy is a decidedly important issue. The common thread between charter schools and voucher schools is simple - PUBLIC DOLLARS.

Anonymous said...


Wrong, wrong, wrong. You are so worried about accreditation yet many of our public schools aren't accredited.

Furthermore, my original point was that you and Rob and the UEA have touted charter schools as choice but only when it suits your purposes. The fact of the matter is you despise charter schools and any semblance of choice.

Marlin said...

How would you know what I understand or what I don’t understand?
In my few brief posts on this blog , have you gleaned my understanding of the politics of charter schools?

You say,

“The common thread between charter schools and voucher schools is simple - PUBLIC DOLLARS.”

If such is the case there is also a common thread between charter schools=>voucher schools=>public schools=> PUBILC DOLLARS.

The editorial did not draw a line from the failure of the charter school to the worries over public schools, but rather tried to draw a line to private schools. I would not draw the line back to the public schools; however, if you had to look at whether the failed charter school was under more influence from the public school system or whether there was some perceived correlation with poor financial management of private schools, I think the answer is clear.

Given your ability to reach in my head and I know what I understand and what I don’t, do you have any clairvoyance as to the out come of the World Series.?

CraigJ said...

Anon paid PCE troller (again),

Brilliant post - how much are they paying you?

Why don't you join me at the next Charter School Rules Review Committee, which I serve as a member.

Why don't you accompany me at Channing Hall, a Draper charter school, where I volunteer as Board Advisor and Technology Chair.

Why don't you stop by Summit Academy, a charter school I co-founded a few years ago. Go ahead and tell my family who didn't see much of me during that time that I just hate charter schools.

With enemies like that who needs friends.


CraigJ said...


Thanks for the humor.

I think I understand your point a little better. I know most of the backstory of Liberty and I can say that there is very little in common with what happened there and the experience of other public schools, whether traditional or charter.

The lack of firm accountability in the voucher bill would put the troubles at Liberty completely out of reach of public officials and auditors. Remember - these are tax dollars we're talking about. A private school not taking tax dollars can pretty much do what they want. Once they cross that line and take money from the public, though, they should expect the public to have a say in how that money is spent.

Rockies in 6.


Anonymous said...


Your PCE troll comments cut like a knife--please stop.

Let's talk about your stellar support for charter schools. I've seen previous blogs where you have advocated for unionizing charter school teachers.

Furthermore, I would be happy to join you at the Summit Academy--are you still welcome there?

CraigJ said...

Dear anon paid PCE troll,

Nice try on getting personal. I've heard the same lame arguments before - that only those on the far-right or voucher supporters can support charter schools. This is an insult to the many charter school founders and board members whose politics may be a little different from the voucher crowd.

Last year's charter school bill passed unanimously. Charters enjoy true bipartisan support. It's a thrill to be a part of it.

And I've never advocated for unionizing charter school teachers.

I have advocated, however, for for-cause employment agreements. At-will employment offers no protections to teachers. It goes too far the other way.

Since you brought it up (not that you care since it appears you're just going for a personal attack), Summit was an example of a small group of diverse co-founders working through differences in philosophies. It was a tough experience but a lot of great kids are being served there and they are happy. I have many friends there.

I also gained a perspective in understanding other viewpoints and philosophies that I would never trade, even though the school didn't turn out exactly like I had hoped. I have no regrets with the sacrifices it took to co-found Summit and I'm proud of what we accomplished.

Anonymous said...


If you are so positive then why don't you and Rob denounce the Trib's editorial?

As an "expert" on charter schools you should recognize the lies and falsehoods that are being perputated by the Trib's editorial.

Furthermore, you started the personal attacks. I haven't and don't work for PCE "(not that you care since it appears you're just going for a personal attack)."

Let me ask another question, however? Why do you support for cause teacher's agreements? Does it have anything to do with your mother-in-law and her tenure at Summit?

steve said...

All Rob said Marlin was that accountability matters. His point is solid.

steve said...

I agree with Craig Anonymous. You're a liar. Where has Craig ever advocated to unionize charter schools?

Your deliberate lies, propaganda, and lack of honesty makes any statement you post suspect.

Jason The said...

These comment debates are great. There is more information in the comments section of most Utah blogs right now than in our print or broadcast journalism outlets (except for, of course, the scattered "anonymous" comments of the same "paid PCE Troll" mentioned here, who is still, as JM Bell once said, a "vitriolic douche-bag", a mental juvenile not interested in adult conversation or educated debate, but his words are easy to spot and ignore).

So thank you for the forum. Discussions like this serve Utah well, and it's encouraging to see more of it.

CraigJ said...


Alright your comments are going too far.

How can I start a personal attack against someone who is posting anonymously?

We've had enough trolls on the Amicus it's a fairly safe bet you are one, too. Your comments have that feel to it. If you're truly not, though, then you have my apologies.

I sign my posts and I'm not hiding who I am.

My mother-in-law never worked for Summit Academy - ever. She never even interviewed with the school. I wanted her to, though.

Perhaps you're confusing me with someone else.

My mother-in-law is a national award-winning teacher in the Granite School District. You can tell where my wife gets her passion for life and for good causes by looking at her mom.

I never thought it fair that after just a couple of years in my profession (software development) that I would be earning far more than my mother-in-law, who graduated with a 4.0 GPA, has a masters degree, a library media certificate, a gifted endorsement, enough inservice hours to make your head spin, and has been teaching for 25 years.

She teaches because she believes in the future.

When she's not volunteering at the prison offering some hope to the people that most of us shun, she's spending time with her grandkids, grading papers, or creating DVD's of family memories.

I will resist saying what I really want to say to you right now because it wouldn't be very kind.

I strongly support for-cause employment agreements for both teachers and administrators because it is fair and reasonable policy.

Charter staff turnover is a real issue. You can be supportive of a movement while also recognizing legitimate concerns and trying to help alleviate those concerns.

Is there anything else you'd like to say about my family?

Rob said...

"Rob has been touting charter schools as a reason to vote against vouchers because they represent the only choice we need"

Anonymous loves to put words I haven't said in my mouth.

Keep spinning!