County Board of Education Rejects Charter School Despite Mayoral Plea

Last night, the County Board of Education turned down another flawed charter school, demonstrating a shift away from rubber stamping every charter that comes their way.  Promise Academy, a charter school funded indirectly by the Walton family of WalMart, came before the County Board to appeal its denial by the locally elected San Jose Unified School District Board.  The denial of Promise’s appeal was especially noteworthy because San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo heavily backed Promise.

The problems with Promise’s plan were numerous.  Education experts at San Jose Unified and the County Office of Education raised serious questions about whether the charter would adequately serve English language learners and special needs students.  Of particular concern were requirements that students take and pass 6 AP tests and gain admittance to a four-year college in order to graduate.  These requirements would obviously deter many families from sending their children to Promise.

Discrimination against students who wanted to go into the military, the trades or a two-year college did not go over well with several of the Board Trustees.  Neither did the fact that Promise apparently hoodwinked several families into signing a petition indicating that they would send their children to Promise.  Board Trustees Song, Kamei and Rossi voted to deny Promise Academy’s appeal. Trustees Green, DiSalvo, and Mah voted to approve a charter.  Trustee Chang was unable to attend the meeting.

In an unusual move Mayor Sam Liccardo attended the Board of Education meeting to speak during public comment in support of Promise Academy.  He pleaded for a better education option for the many poor, mostly Latino families, which struck many in the room as ironic considering the flaws in Promise’s plans.

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