Diallo Dphrepaulezz's new report for the Pacific Research Institute tells the story of San Francisco's Edison Charter Academy, which made sizable gains in test scores after being taken over by Edison Schools, but which was nonetheless notified by the San Francisco Board of Education in March 2001 that its charter was about to be revoked. In one school year, the Academy's test scores rose faster than those at every school in the district but two. African American students' scores rose 25% over the previous year, and Latino students' scores rose 15%. Why would a school like this lose its charter? Many charges were leveled at the school by opponents, including allegations that the school had a very high teacher turnover rate, and that it had encouraged low-income and African American students to leave. Dphrepaulezz debunks each claim, then goes on to describe a "grassroots movement mounted by parents in an attempt to save their charter school" which was outgunned by a bureaucracy that seemed to fear looking bad by comparison and so went to great lengths to destroy the school. Copies of the briefing may be obtained by calling (415) 989-0833 or by surfing to www.pacificresearch.org and clicking on Publications.
As a footnote, on Tuesday, the San Francisco Chronicle reported that as a result of an intricate backroom deal, the Board of Education has decided not to renew the Edison Charter Academy's contract, but it will not officially revoke the charter, which would have precluded Edison Schools from asking the California Board of Education for a state-issued charter. Edison officials said they felt confident that the state board would approve the charter and allow the company to continue running the school.
"Edison makes deal to end contract," by Mark Martin, San Francisco Chronicle, June 26, 2001.