Crescendo Charters has continued running its six schools in LAUSD, despite the fact that their boss had directed teachers and principals to help students cheat on state standardized exams. The scandal led the state education department to invalidate the schools’ results. In March, the school board voted to shut down the schools, allowing LAUSD to take the campuses back and start collecting the state funding that had gone directly to Crescendo’s corrupt bosses (See LAUSD Changes Course, Modern School). All this is set to be reversed (again), this time by charter-loving Superintendent John Deasy, who has never met a charter (or profit-based reform) he didn’t like.
Deasy told the board Tuesday he's leaning toward a reprieve after seeing strong reforms at the charter in the wake of the 2010 testing scandal, the Sacramento Bee reported today. The school board would still have to approve Deasy’s recommendation. However, contrary to Deasy’s claims of reforms, six of the principals involved in the cheating are still on the job (they have terminations scheduled for the end of June), but two are being allowed to reapply for their jobs. Furthermore, members of the Crescendo governing board are still on the job.
Under Deasy’s logic, a bunch of education profiteers who cheat to appear more effective than their public counterparts, but then apologize and promise to be good, are entitled to a second chance. However, teachers who work hard, play by the rules, but happen to teach in low performing schools could get permanently fired, regardless of their skill and ability in the classroom. Worse, a mother returning from maternity leave could find she has been forever nixed from LAUSD for having the audacity to exercise her rights under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act. (See Gates and Villaraigosa: Screw Family Leave! Screw the Feds! Fire 25% of All Teachers!)
Cheating in order to look effective and boost profits is fine if you apologize and make a few cosmetic changes. It certainly worked on Wall Street. And let’s not forget that it really was not the corporation or its board that caused all these problems, but just a few rogue elements. The fact that Crescendo is a profit-driven Educational Management Organization (EMO) certainly had nothing to do with this scandal. So why not allow them to continue to exist and continue to make a profit?
On the other hand, when the Crescendo board found out about the scandal they initially denied that any wrongdoing occurred. Then they downplayed the naughtiness. Then they gave the founder, John Allen, a love tap on the rear and asked him to go home, but not without first giving him a generous severance package (See 4lakids blog).