Education advocates will address demand letters and hold meeting for charter school reform during cancelled State Charter Board meeting
PHOENIX—Charter school reform advocates will deliver letters demanding immediate changes to schools’ discriminatory enrollment policies and hold their own public meeting outside the Arizona Department of Education on Monday. As the governing body that oversees Arizona charter schools, the Arizona Charter Board refuses to fix problems that plague the state’s charter system.
The Arizona Charter Board cancelled its March meeting “due to no requests for Board consideration,” even though non-profit organizations and news reports have brought to light major flaws in charter school oversight in recent months.
“How can the board that authorizes and governs the vast majority of charter schools in Arizona cancel its monthly public meeting when its schools are openly discriminating against students, closing their doors without notice, and spending taxpayer funds without transparency,” said Anabel Maldonado, a community organizer with the ACLU of Arizona’s Demand to Learn campaign. “They are evading their responsibilities and so we’re stepping up and setting an agenda for them.”
WHO: Parent advocates for education equity who are working with the ACLU of Arizona’s Demand to Learn campaign.
WHAT: Education advocates will deliver letters addressing unlawful enrollment policies related to special education, student discipline history, and mandatory fees or volunteer hours and present an “agenda” for public charter school reform, since the Arizona State Board for Charter Schools is not taking its oversight role seriously.
WHEN: Monday, March 12, 2018 at 9:00 a.m.
WHERE: Front steps of the Arizona Department of Education building, 1535 W. Jefferson St., Phoenix AZ 85007.
In mid-December, the ACLU of Arizona released a report, Schools Choosing Students, which revealed that at least 262—56 percent—of Arizona charter schools have policies that are clear violations of the law or discourage the enrollment of certain students, including students with disabilities, students who struggle academically, students with disciplinary history, and students from immigrant families. The Arizona State Board for Charter Schools is responsible for ensuring that charter schools follow all laws and abide by the terms of their charter contracts. Yet the Charter Board has not taken any action to change how it oversees the enrollment policies and practices of the schools it authorizes.