Magnolia Public Schools

19 Jan

On January 8, the San Diego Union ran an article about a charter school system withdrawing its application to put a new school in the Oceanside School District.

“Orange County-based Magnolia Public Schools notified the school district this week that it would resubmit the petition within two weeks after fixes are made to the document. The school didn’t specify what changes it planned to make, and officials could not immediately be reached for comment.”

The report goes on to say Magnolia plans to open a k-12 STEM focused charter school with about 180 students in 2017 with a goal of 1000 students by 2027. Michelle Crumpton, Magnolia’s chief academic officer “said that the ‘the fast growth of high-tech clusters in San Diego County’ will provide future high wage job opportunities and that her company’s program will help meet that demand.”

STEM (science technology engineering and math) education is a phony. There is no shortage of STEM graduates and if one gets a STEM degree, good luck competing for a job with all the H1B visa holding STEM graduates from India and China. Corporations want them because the visa ties them to the corporation – US citizens are much freer to take a different job offer. When I see STEM being pushed, I suspect scam.

A quick search of Magnolia took me to the web page, Charter School Scandals, where I learned that Magnolia Public Schools are part of the Fethullah Gulen charter school empire (about 160 schools). CBS News reported (May 13, 2012):

 “Over the past decade scores of charter schools have popped up all over the U.S., all sharing some common features. Most of them are high-achieving academically, they stress math and science, and one more thing: they’re founded and largely run by immigrants from Turkey who are carrying out the teachings of a Turkish Islamic cleric: Fethullah Gulen.

 “He’s the spiritual leader of a growing and increasingly influential force in the Muslim world — known as “The Gulen Movement” — with millions upon millions of disciples who compare him to Ghandi and Martin Luther King. Gulen promotes tolerance, interfaith dialog, and above-all: he promotes education. And yet he’s a mystery man — he’s never seen or heard in public — and the more power he gains, the more questions are raised about his motives and the schools.”

 One year ago on January 8th the Los Angeles Daily News reported “Magnolia Public Schools appointed former Los Angeles Unified School Board President and charter schools champion Caprice Young to head operations amid scrutiny that threatens to close two campuses.”

Reporting on the same story the Los Angeles Times said:

“A recent L.A. school district audit concluded that Magnolia Educational and Research Foundation was $1.66 million in the red, owed $2.8 million to the schools it oversees and met the federal definition of insolvency. In addition, the audit found fiscal mismanagement, including lack of disclosure of debts, weak fiscal controls over the principals’ use of debit cards and questionable payments for immigration fees and services, among other issues.

 “Young said Magnolia is not in financial trouble, but suffers from weak management and a lack of transparency — problems she said would be corrected in an effort to win support from L.A. Unified.”

 Caprice Young has been putting together a business turnaround team including a public relations spokesman. In their story about the problems at Magnolia the public broadcasting station KPCC reported:

 “Our school leadership has always embraced a policy of transparency and accountability when it comes to the fiscal solvency of Magnolia Public Schools and our commitment to superior student achievement,” said Mike MeCey, a spokesman for Magnolia.”

 Real public schools don’t hire people like Mike MeCey and his firm Magnetic News.

Caprice Young has been a cheerleader for public school privatization since her first and only successful campaign for a seat on the Los Angeles Unified School District board. Bloomberg gives this extended profile of Ms. Young:

 “Dr. Caprice Young served as the Chief Executive Officer and President of KC Distance Learning Inc. of Knowledge Learning Corp. Previously, Dr. Young served as Interim Chief Executive Officer at KC Distance Learning Inc. Dr. Young served as Vice President of Business Development & Alliances at Knowledge Universe. She also served as Chief Executive Officer and President of The California Charter Schools Association until September 2008. Dr. Young’s professional experience spans higher education, business and government, including: Director of Corporate and Foundation Relations for the Anderson School at UCLA; strategy consulting group manager of IBM’s West Coast e-Business Innovations Design Center; and Assistant Deputy Mayor for the City of Los Angeles. Dr. Young has a strong track record in education reform, having served from 1999 to 2003 as a Member and President of the Los Angeles Unified School District Board of Education, which governs the second largest school district in the United States. Her professional experience spans higher education, business and government, including: Director of Corporate and Foundation Relations for the Anderson School at University of California, Los Angeles; Strategy Consulting Group Manager of IBM’s West Coast e-Business Innovations Design Center; and Assistant Deputy Mayor for the City of Los Angeles. She also serves on numerous boards, including California Governor Schwarzenegger’s Advisory Committee on Education Excellence and the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools. She served as President and Member of the Los Angeles Unified School District Board of Education. She has been a Director of KC Distance Learning Inc., since October 2008. She is a recipient of the Coro Foundation Crystal Eagle Award for Achievement in Public Service. Dr. Young holds a Bachelor’s Degree from Yale University, an MPA from University of Southern California and her Doctorate of Education from the University of California, Los Angeles.”

 Magnolia’s new leader has a history of promoting and profiting from on-line education, privatizing public schools with privately managed charter schools and cultivating strong connections with state republican leaders such as Richard Riordan and Arnold Schwarzenegger.

However, she is a menace for the public school system that is the foundation of American democracy and the source of American creativity.

Oceanside should reject this charter school chain that is associated nationally with fraudulent behavior and in Los Angeles with instability. The misguided charter school movement opens the path of fraud, instability and segregation while forcing taxpayers to pay for redundant management systems. Especially in a place like San Diego County where we have well run public schools, charter schools do not make sense.

Isn’t it time to put a moratorium on charter school expansion in California and see what we have?

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4 Responses to “Magnolia Public Schools”

  1. Amy January 19, 2016 at 8:10 am #

    Bravo, thanks for examining this important topic! Gulen charters are a prime example of why charter schools are a bad idea.

    • tultican January 19, 2016 at 8:16 pm #

      Thank you. Until I started researching this particular charter application, I had no idea of the Gulen connection and Gulen may be the best part of this school. The people they hired to save their bacon in LA are the worst of the worst privatizers.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Past Time for a Charter School Moratorium in California | tultican - February 8, 2016

    […] this last point, in January, a notice in the San Diego Union about Magnolia Public Schools piqued my interest enough to investigate. To my surprise, I found that Magnolia Public Schools were […]

  2. The California Charter School Fiasco | tultican - March 13, 2016

    […] year I wrote about the schools controlled by the Turkish cleric Fetullah Gulen withdrawing its request for a charter in Oceanside. In California, his schools are called Magnolia […]

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