PLEASE CHECK OUT COMPLIANCE REPORT ON FULTON SCIENCE ACADEMY AND THEIR MANAGING ARM (GRACE INSTITUTE)
UPDATE from CASLIPS
Page created Nov 30, 2011
In November 2011, the charter for Fulton Science Academy Middle School came up for renewal. The renewal proposal can be found at this link, and a related document with responses to Fulton County Schools' review here.
Some Georgia parents are working on a petition that objects to the renewal conditions that FSA is requesting. In particular, they object to the 10-year rather than 3-year renewal period, and the near complete lack of oversight by Fulton County Schools. C.A.S.I.L.I.P.S. strongly endorses this petition. In view of articles about abuses at Gulen charter schools, such as the June 2011 New York Times article on these schools directing large business contracts to firms in their own network, and a March 2011 article in the Philadelphia Inquirer about a government investigation into kickbacks, having oversight from Fulton County schools is entirely reasonable.
Further, when communities are forced to pay for a charter school but are not allowed any say in its governance, it amounts to taxation without representation. This is an issue that has flared up in other communities across the country, where small special interest groups of parents try to force a community to accept a charter school, and the community rebels.
The Fulton Science Academy administration appears to be contending that its performance has been so satisfactory as to justify complete autonomy. However, a "State of the Charters" document prepared by Fulton County Schools shows that FSA's academic performance is average for its demographics. FSA has the lowest percentage of economically disadvantaged students of any of Fulton County's middle schools. The document shows graphs of performance vs. percent economically disadvantaged students. FSA lies very near the regression line in all subjects, indicative of average performance.
Connections to other Gulen charter schools
A number of text strings in FSA's renewal petition that appear verbatim in other charter applications and documents show its connection to the network of Gulen charter schools across the country. These similarities of long strings of text cannot be attributed to mere "coincidence." Examples follow (more will be added to this list soon).
“shortage of certified candidates and/or for any other reason deemed appropriate by the principal, candidates from traditional secondary environments"
"Assessments for individual students should focus on a student’s growth towards a proficiency standard rather than comparing a student’s performance against that of other students."
"A detailed list of formal responsibilities and job descriptions are provided to teachers"
"Summative Assessments quantitatively determine achievement of students on a set of academic outcomes at a particular point in time."
"Develop the understanding of characterization, plot, and point of view in literature"