Friday, May 12, 2017

2 Celerity charter schools shut down by California board of education | 89.3 KPCC

2 Celerity charter schools shut down by California board of education | 89.3 KPCC:

2 Celerity charter schools shut down by California board of education

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Two schools run by Celerity Educational Group — the Los Angeles charter school operator under federal investigation — are shutting down.



 The California State Board of Education voted unanimously Thursday to let the charters for the campuses expire. The state board was the schools' last chance. L.A. Unified school board members had already voted to deny renewal petitions for the schools.

In January, federal agents raided Celerity's home offices in South L.A. Their warrant is under seal, so it's not clear what investigators were looking for, but LAUSD officials had previously expressed concerns about ties between Celerity Educational Group and a separate, related entity: Celerity Global Development.
There are four other Celerity schools in L.A. and one in Compton. Two more are set to open next year2 Celerity charter schools shut down by California board of education | 89.3 KPCC:
California’s State Board of Education voted unanimously Thursday to shutter two Los Angeles charter schools run by a nonprofit that is under investigation by the U.S. Department of Education and the inspector general for the Los Angeles Unified School District.
Some parents and teachers at the schools cried through their testimony at an emotional hearing, which ended with the board declining to renew the charter petitions for the Celerity Dyad Charter School in South Los Angeles and the Celerity Troika Charter School in Eagle Rock. Explaining their vote, board members said they had lost confidence in the Celerity Educational Group, the organization that manages the schools, and expressed growing concerns about its governance structure and finances, as well as the potential for conflicts of interest.
“This seems to be a very troubling failure on the part of the adults who manage these organizations, rather than on the adults in the classrooms,” said board member Ilene Straus.
The board’s vote comes at a time when charter school advocates are determined to increase the number of such schools in L.A., and it highlights the growing difficulty of regulating them. The state’s teachers union, which has fought against the growth in charter schools, has argued that all control over which charter schools are approved or rejected should rest with local school districts, rather than county or state boards.
With more charter schools than any other district in the country, L.A. Unified is considered one of the main battlegrounds for charter advocates and opponents.
The state board’s vote Thursday was a stunning departure from its thinking last fall, when it approved two new charter schools operated by the Celerity group. At the time, most board members brushed aside questions about the group’s operations and did not dwell on the fact that it was under investigation by L.A. Unified’s inspector general. They endorsed Celerity’s expansion, citing its academic record and comparatively high test scores.
Since then, the board’s opinion of Celerity has changed dramatically.
In late January, federal agents from the Department of Homeland Security, the FBI and California's State Board of Education votes to close 2 Celerity charter schools
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