FL: Another Charter Fiasco
Folks will be looking at Michigan (particularly Detroit) for the immediate future, as it's the state where Education Secretary-in-Waiting Betsy DeVos has purchased the power to implement many of her beloved education reforms, in particular, the unfettered proliferation of charter schools accompanied by little or no oversight. But it's not the only place where DeVos has helped spread the charter love-- as a friend of Jeb Bush and his Foundation for Excellence in Education, she also had a hand in turning Florida into the mighty education trash fire that it is today.
Let's look at just one example of what you get when you let any shmoe open a charter school and nobody ever tells him, "Hey, you can't do that!"
Let's travel to the Eagle Arts Academy in sunny Palm Beach.
|Male model Gregory James Blount|
To talk about Eagle Arts Academy, we have to talk about Gregory James Blount, because Eagle Arts Academy is his show, top to bottom. Greg (that is apparently what he goes by-- I may have corresponded with some folks on the scene) became an Eagle Scout in 1987, which is apparently the source of the charter school's name. Blount graduated from the University of South Carolina-Columbia in 1991 with a Bachelor of Applied Media Science, Film Production / Fashion Photography.
He then moved to New York City to begin a modeling career, signed to the "then-famous" (actually, it looks like they were the ten-years-earlier-famous) agency ZOLI. After a few years of that he went to work for the Peter Glenn Publishing company, and then bought company. He later branched out into becoming an independent producer and a motivational speaker-- that was right after he declared personal bankruptcy in 2010.
Clearly the next move was to open a charter school.
Though his LinkedIN account lists his founder/executive director credit for Eagle Arts as starting in April of 2011 (the same month he launched his motivational speaker career), the school didn't open until the fall of 2014. And Blount immediately ran into all sorts of trouble.
Andrew Marra of the Palm Beach Post has been covering this story like a boss, and the story is loaded with special Only In Florida flavor. Blount had managed to pull off two of the more common CURMUDGUCATION: FL: Another Charter Fiasco: