After last week’s revelation that former Grand Traverse Academy Principal Brooke Capser accepted a position with Lowell School in Missoula, Montana, and tried to cover it up for weeks before the end of the school year, Up North Progressive received a challenge that perhaps not all of the facts in evidence were considered before publishing the article. Once more details about the situation came to light, the solution became clear as day. The following is offered not to scold, bully, or make light of the situation, but to offer sincere advice on how to fix the problem at GTA, and every other for-profit charter school in Michigan.
One of the main functions of third party management that operate charter schools is human resources. It’s up to the manager to hire staff for the school. Brooke Capser was hired by Full Spectrum LLC, not Grand Traverse Academy. Mark Noss owns Full Spectrum LLC and is the business partner of convicted felon Steve Ingersoll, who managed GTA through his for-profit company, Smart Schools LLC. The parents of children attending GTA have no choice how teachers and principals are hired.
The process for hiring teachers and principals at a real public school is quite different. There is no third party manager trying to eke a profit out of taxpayer money that’s supposed to be spent educating children. Interviewing new teachers and principals is conducted by school district administration. Candidates go through a rigorous interview process by a team of teachers, administrators, and even parents and students in some cases. The successful candidate’s name is then submitted by the building principal to the school board, who vote to approve the new hire.
The school board at a real public school are not cronies, friends, family, spouses or business partners of the third party manager. School board members are elected by the community of the school district. What does this mean? Community members and parents of children attending that district choose who sits on the school board; not Steve Ingersoll, and not Mark Noss. There are people on the GTA school board who have been there since the school opened and they have never been elected to that position.
With all of the talk of school choice and charter schools supposedly offering more choice to parents and students, doesn’t it seem odd that these for-profit corporations really don’t offer the parents or students much choice in how their school is operated or who makes the decisions or who hires the staff or who decides to just shrug their shoulders and say “C’est la vie” when the third party manager makes off with millions of dollars the state handed to that charter school to educate the students? Who in their right mind continues to send their children to a school run by people they didn’t choose, and obviously educating children is not their first and only priority?
Any parent fed up with the useless cronies running a school where the primary goal is real estate deals, selling snake oil vision therapy your health insurance vision plan won’t cover for good reason, and the corporate-appointed school board rubber stamping the third party manager’s federal felony fraud needs to realize the whole organization is a corrupted failure. For-profit charter schools only offer an illusion of choice. There is no fixing this. It’s not management company verses school board – they’re all in on the corruption together.
If you want the power to make real choices for your children’s education, enroll them in a real public school where one hundred percent of your tax dollars pay for education and you get to choose the school board running it. No more unscrupulous douche bags. No more useless cronies. Up North Progressive challenges you to consider your options for your children and enroll them in a school that offers real choice.