Local Education Leaders Often Pick Petty Fights over Progress

It is an outrage that Silicon Valley education leaders continue to choose battle ground over common ground. Despite extraordinary innovation that occurs everyday in our region, our education leaders too often choose to protect the status quo.

This path of the selfish "me" over the collaborative "we" has led to keeping the status quo in education, with few exceptions. In the 21st Century, mid-way through its second decade and with huge demographic shifts, taking the traditional path will lead to a calamitous future. One local exception that deserves a "shout out" is the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation’s charter and traditional public collaboration in Franklin-McKinley School District which is being led by retiring Superintendent John Porter.

Don Shalvey, deputy director of the Gates Foundation, said: "FMSD is building collaborative partnerships with the goal of preparing every student, including students who have traditionally struggled to excel academically, to graduate 8th grade ready for college and beyond. ... Optimism emerges from the collaboration of strong educators in the district's charter schools and traditional public schools. They are working together—learning from one another—to make each other better and produce results."

That was the seminal goal of the Charter School Act in California—back in 1992.

More than 20 years later, in 2013, FMSD had more growth in its academic performance than any of the county’s other 30 districts. The district’s leaders are attempting to set a better course for the publicly-funded charter world through collaboration.

I would have chosen to put the district I represent, San Jose Unified, on the very top of this progressive list next to FMSD, but the recent threat to move DCP and Sunrise from their existing sites and raise facility lease costs are causes for grave concern. There is still time for all parties to get to compromise on what is in the best interest of all the children.

A continued course of collaboration with charters is the right path to take, as long as they are allowing children to achieve success. Charters are public schools funded solely by our public dollars. Should we not all demand high-level collaboration with our money on behalf of all children?

In most of our 31 districts the opposite of collaboration is at play. A case in point is what is happening in Santa Clara Unified. Magnolia Science and Math Academy Charter School signed an ill-advised lease agreement, where it agreed to move from its current site at the end of this school year. I am certain they agreed to this deadline to create a complicated lease agreement with the district. Magnolia pays the district $500,000 a year for the school they are currently leasing.

Magnolia, unfortunately, has not been able to find an alternate site that will work for next year. Yet the district has said it will not be needing the current Magnolia site until the 2016-17 school year for its growing enrollment needs at the K-5 level.

By most current accounts and through a recent visit of my own, the 6-12 grade science and math academy is doing very well by its students. There are a myriad of data points, as well parent and student testimonials, that are positive. But at this moment the parents and students are uncertain whether they will have a school next year, or where the location of that school will be.

My Board colleague, Trustee Dr. Michael Chang, summed it up brilliantly in his last appeal Wednesday night (available at sccoe.org link to Board agendas/minutes on video streaming for March 11). Trustee Chang implored the school district board members and the superintendent work together and keep in mind “a more human perspective, a community perspective, a PR perspective, all the other perspectives” to “generate a lot of good will."

County Board President Darcie Green agreed with Trustee Chang and said the lease agreement negotiated the rights away from students, contrary to the intent of facility laws governing charter schools. She also invoked the need for Santa Clara Unified to be more humane in its next steps. After all, most of the students likely to be affected live in district boundaries. I have hope that a solution will be reached on behalf of the 470 Magnolia students sooner than later.

As long as I hold this seat on the county Board of Education, I will strongly and loudly advocate for common ground over battle ground. The open warfare on publicly funded charters hinders the achievements of our children.

Joseph Di Salvo is a member of the Santa Clara County Office of Education’s Board of Trustees. He is a San Jose native. His columns reflect his personal opinion.


  1. Very well said Mr. Di Salvo and all others at the Santa Clara County Education that support good public STEM education. As a parent of middle schooler and a tax payer ( that funds public education ) I fail to understand why any School district (in this case Santa Clara school district) would not collaboratively work a great STEM school that has continued to produce strong academic results year after year. It is one of the top performing public middle school in the district.

    On behalf of all Magnolia parents, students and staff, I urge the Santa Clara school district to do the right thing. Please work / collaborate with Magnolia Science Academy to ensure that they can continue to use the facility for another year i.e. until they are able to find a suitable home.

    • Why should SCUSD trust Magnolia to find a location in one year when it “claims” that it was unable to find a location when it had 3 years to look for one? We all know that we would be in the same situation in a year that we are in today if Magnolia was allowed to stay. Magnolia needs to use their time finding a new location rather than creating political drama. The clock is ticking. Put your students first.

      • Why is the District turning down $500,000? Doesn’t the board have the obligation to be fiscally responsible? Why does the District continue to lease to PRIVATE schools–using public assets for PRIVATE corporations at the expense of PUBLIC school students?

        But, sure, continue the petty arguments Di Salvo is criticizing.

        • Because those schools still have valid leases that have not expired yet. Have you heard of Cardon, a former private school in Santa Clara? It’s lease expired a few yearsago and it, like Magnolia, didn’t seem to think that it would have to move and didn’t find a suitable location. It lasted for one year in a church parking lot in portables and then was absorbed by another school.

          The district has to comply with STATE MANDATES for class size reduction and needs the classes to do it. It’s that simple. If you violate STATE MANDATES, fines could be around 1 million.

          • The District admitted last week at the SCCOE meeting that it did not need the space next year and that all planned renovation could be accomplished without interuppting the school year.

            Watch the video of the meeting that Mr. Di Salvo included in this article.

            The District does not need the space. There must be some SCUSD school that could use an extra $500,000 next year.

            Put the STUDENTS first.

        • Yes why are they doing that? could it be that they are more intent on revenge or hurting others? oh I hope not but it sure appears that way. I am reminded of Romans 12;19

          • The solution to Magnolia’s problem is simple. Find another location. Leadership needs to accept the help that has been offered them to achieve this purpose. Put the students first.

          • I’m with you DenMother … It looks like teaching and providing a high quality education to all isn’t the focus of the Board nor many of the teaching staff and administrators … Shame on them.

            Class room reductions, who are you kidding? … Unions seem to be more interested in lining their own pockets … issue not found anywhere in their contracts at all. They’d rather get the money … Than meet this need … Shame on them again.

            And if they are so interested providing a quality education, are they finally going to create another. “Basics” schools ala Millekin? There is a huge waitlist and huge demand. Let’s see exactly when this happens … Next school?

            Time to back their words with action … And stop jaw flapping without taking care of the students. Time to finally put students first,

    • Why is the District turning down $500,000? Doesn’t the board have the obligation to be fiscally responsible? Why does the District continue to lease to PRIVATE schools–using public assets for PRIVATE corporations at the expense of PUBLIC school students?

      But, sure, continue the petty arguments Di Salvo is criticizing.

      Let’s put the STUDENTS first!

      • I think that you need to invest all of this energy into finding another location. Talk to your principal. I believe that he has been given contacts for realtors. Put your students first! Find another location! Don’t end up like Cardon!

        • Not my job. I’m commenting here because someone needs to point out that everything you are saying proves Mr. Di Salvo’s point that at least some in the District are picking petty fights.

          Thank you for showing everyone just how petty the District is being.

          • I don’t believe that you are aware of how you come across. I do believe that you care about something, but I don’t believe that it is finding a solution to this problem. The leadership at Magnolia has been provided with options from the beginning. They have chosen to ignore those options and now are trying to get around their own agreement. They need to focus on finding another location. It’s that simple. They are creating their own drama.

          • Why is SCUSD not getting back schools they have leased to private schools . Its nothing but politics specialy of the unions who want to control education .
            There are no schools even comparable to Magnolia in the School district .what do you have to say for that ? First improve your own schools , and later try to close down schools that are doing good for the students to achieve in life .

  2. Magnolia chose not to plan for the future and now it wants to be bailed out of this situation. They signed a lease that they knew would end and then did not look for a new location. This is poor leadership and poor planning. They should not be rewarded for their behavior with an extension on their contract. They need to find another location. They are a county charter and have many options. They had 3 years to find a suitable home. Time to move on

  3. Interesting

    Does not Magnolia employ a current member of the Board of Education in Santa Clara? Did not 60 Minutes and the LA Times do investigative reports on the Magnolia Charter organization? Did another member of the board get a job teaching school there, and was defeated for reelection on that issue? Also, there is some discussion out there that Magnolia gets money from the district, and has used a site that was used for the most respected PUBLIC SCHOOL in the district. It seems, and I could be wrong, that Magnolia staff held political lobbying meetings, and failed to hold meetings about their business plan. Also, did not Ina Bendis, known as one of the most incompetent elected officials in the state receive a 500 dollar check from backers of Magnolia?

      • More petty arguments. Perfect example of what Di Salvo is critiquing.

        Why don’t you put STUDENTS first???

      • No–60 Minutes did not investigate Magnolia. LA Times reported on LAUSD’s investigation, but LAUSD has DROPPED its audit and RECHARTERED all of the Magnolia schools that were up for re-authorization.

        Put STUDENTS first!

        • If you put your students first, you would work on finding a location. Contact a realtor. There’s still time! Don’t end up like Cardon!

          • Magnolia is actively seeking a new location for 2016-17 school year. It takes time to negotiate leases and get the necessary permits. The new CEO is clear that the school will be in its own facilities for 2016-17 so that it does not have to go through this process again.

            The District has admitted that will not be using the facilities in 2015-16. A win-win for all is to take the $500,000 for 2015-16 and not disrupt MSA next year.

            Is there no school in the District that could use an extra $500,000 next year?

            Put ALL STUDENTS first.

    • Very interesting, how one person knows so many things and publish them in comments, without being sure if they are true.Education comes first!

    • Oh that’s terrible a current member of the board works for this school? Oh dear, shock horror, disturbing, clearly against all rules, people should not work for a school and be on the school board? is that written somewhere you can’t work for a local school and be on school board? Is that not permitted – how awful someone might ‘influence’ the board right? Unlike anything else that goes on in this city right? Like all the developers that fund city council members elections and then those said city council members vote on their developments in their favor?? right oh no we have the most ETHICAL City council and presumably school board in the WORLD after all we have an Ethics company that we developed to run programs on how to teach ethics…. wait don’t they teach ethics at home any more?? Hang hasn’t this current school board been ‘taken back’ I seem to remember reading that ‘we need to take it back’, so now that we have taken it back, do you think the majority who have taken it back are not playing ball any more and the person you are talking about is just out numbered? Oh shock horror …. disturbing news. Hold the press We have a conflict of interest the Unions run our school board now, they should not vote on anything after all the unions all retire with big fat pension funds for the rest of their lives, that might explain why the new school board gave them an 8% pay rise the moment they got in. I can’t remember the last time my company gave me an 8% pay rise? Stop the press conflict of interest!!!

      • Obviously, you have some unresolved issues with the city. Perhaps you should focus on articles involving city issues. I am sorry that your work has not been rewarded as you had hoped. I think that you neglected to mention that the raise occurred after years of no raises and even pay cuts. Maybe you could talk to a professional about these negative feelings and your anger.

        • so the raise they got last year for 3% is a no raise? I see makes sense… Not. Heading to the Green Cross would you like to join me?

      • Sally Brett to the rescue. Oh, as far as where does it say about board members working for schools, it is in the government code——-called conflict of interest, Ryan benefits financially and then hires Koltermann, while they are on the board.

  4. Additionally, by involving itself in recent School Board elections and then creating a new charter application to force the district to allow them to stay, Magnolia showed that it wasn’t interested in working collaboratively with anyone and pit itself against the community of Santa Clara.

    • Funny–you don’t mention how the UNION involved itself in the elections.

      And here again, PERFECT examples of the PETTINESS Di Salvo is critiquing. You have PROVEN his point and given CONCRETE examples of the pettiness.

      PLEASE let’s put STUDENTS first!

        • What are you talking about? I believe Dr. Koltermann was only subbing at the school for a few weeks.

          But the comment certainly shows how petty you are.

          Put STUDENTS first.

          • Please state a valid argument as to why another location could not be found.

      • The point is (you obviously missed it) that Magnolia has approached this issue as a political one, rather than a numbers issue. Magnolia leased the site knowing that it could not stay because of a growing population in SCUSD. Magnolia made the choice to lease a property with an END DATE. Numbers increased for SCUSD. Then grade span adjustment was mandated. And guess what, there is no way to renew the lease. Oh, and there’s also that little piece where Magnolia agreed NOT to ask for a renewal when it signed the original lease. Stop whining and spend your time looking for another location.

        • You keep ignoring the fact that the district has admitted that IT WILL NOT USE the site in 2015-16, and all renovations can be done over the break. Watch the video of the SCCOE meeting that Mr. Di Salvo linked to in this article.

          Sure, they may need the site in 2016-17, but MSA will be out. Plus some of the privately leased site may also be available.

          There must be at least one school in the district that would like a one time $500,000 next year.

          There is a win-win here. MSA has the time to get a new site and permits, the district gets money for unused facilities. The STUDENTS in both places WIN.

    • What ACTIONS has the district taken to show it wants to COLLABORATE??

      Put STUDENTS first.

        • Yes–and I bet all the other district leases have end dates. So what?

          If both parties agree, a new lease can be negotiated. This happens ALL THE TIME in the real world. It’s a silly, petty argument.

          Stop the pettiness. Put the STUDENTS first!

        • you know my landlord had an end date on my lease and he was a very nice person because i couldn’t find something I liked so I asked him if he would give me another year and he was so nice he did he didn’t even put the rent up. I was thinking of moving but I couldn’t find anything closer to my work so I stayed in santa clara where I went to school and some of my family still live. I think landlords can work out things with people it’s always possible. That’s what some of my teachers said ‘dream big’, this new school sounds pretty awesome but now I’m thinking a scientology school might be better after all we don’t want a racist school and isn’t that what some of you are saying this school is rascist or is it you are being racist about the school. anyway you have to do something they are building a lot A LOT of new homes in around where I live and where are the kids going to go to school. But then if the scientology people come they are amazing they can probably manifest a a new school like that. yeh really kewl ideas here I like this thread.

      • The district was kind enough to let you rent a space temporarily. You said that you would leave after 3 years. That was the agreement. I doubt that the district will ever trust someone with such an agreement again. You had 3 years to find another location. So find the location. You are a county charter and can be located anywhere. It’s that simple. SCUSD needs the space.

      • And many people have reached out to your leadership and parent community to help find another location but all of their efforts have been ignored.

      • The district has not taken any action at all. They chose to ignore Magnolia’s appeal for collaboration from the very beginning. They have not done a favor to Magnolia by agreeing to the lease, they did so in order to avoid providing free facilities under Prop39 back in 2012.

      • Then why don’t you work hard to find another location so that your students will be able to continue going to your school. Put students first!

      • Find another location! :-) Put your students first! Think of all of the contacts you could have made instead of writing comments. Your people have been given realtors to contact. Start calling them. Put your students first!

        • You seem to assume Magnolia has not been working on this issue for a long time. That’s an incorrect assumption.

          I can’t find facilities for the school, but I know the people in charge now are working hard to find a space.

          Face it, the District seems to be willing to let a site remain vacant for a year in an attempt to close down Magnolia. That’s why Mr. Di Salvo has called the District antics “petty” and why Mr. Chang told the District to keep in mind “a more human perspective, a community perspective, a PR perspective, all the other perspectives” to “generate a lot of good will.”

          You clearly don’t like that the District is being called out for its behavior by outsiders, but don’t blame Magnolia for that.

          • Parents from Magnolia have admitted that they haven’t been really trying to find another location and were hoping to force the district to let them stay. They didn’t want to commute to another location.

    • seriously who cares? You might i don’t, maybe this person has more sense than you appear to have, or should we really wait for Bill Gates to help us out here, because that’s what some people will be needing if we don’t get the school situation handled in California.

    • Scientology charter schools? yeh that’s kewl, gotta be better than any other options currently offered, tom cruise and a lot of famous people are scientologists , I like that idea. I hope they do it.

  5. Finding a vacant school is almost impossible in the valley. It needs to be in close proximity to the current location or the students and the teachers won’t return. How many vacant schools do you know of? You make it sound easy as finding a realtor and poof a place will appear. There are 3-4 places that they have tried to lease already but with no avail. It isn’t that easy and they have been working on this for a long time. Please know the facts before telling us what should be done.

    Let’s say that your school’s lease is up and your student is forced to move? Do you feel the same now? What if it’s 20 minutes further than your commute now, would you be happy? Or worse, the school becomes non existent? Even happier?

    Make room in the current Santa Clara schools – think rezoning and overcrowding. In case the lease is not renewed, here we come!!!

      • Always easier said then done. Gotta be a little realistic here if you know how crazy it can get with driving kids around. 20 minutes additional will make a difference. Add that on top of the 20 minutes it takes now (so 40 minutes one way so an hour and 20 minutes round trip) plus dropping off siblings at a different school won’t work. Then add the round trip for the work commute and add slow kids to the mix, it ain’t happening. Many other parents won’t be able to add another 20 minutes one way also.

    • Excellent. Your children will be able to experience a more diverse population that is representative of Santa Clara. They will have a wonderful teachers and be able to apply for the STEM programs at Cabrillo and SCHS.

      • 49er STEM only works if your child is going to 7th grade. Also they only have 60 slots, approximately another 60 students got turned away last year. I’m sure there be more applicants and even more will be turned away this year.

  6. While I feel for the MSA parents and students, I certainly cannot get behind the strong arm tactics employed by the school and management, especially trying to ride on the backs of emotional parents is worse. We specifically asked the principal that he needs to share the location plans before the 2014-15 school year started. He said they are negotiating, and we should know by Sept2014. Next thing I see is efforts for new Stem academy or firing the district to provide a facility. There was 3yrs to look for a location, don’t understand how they can find within the next year. Doesn’t it make sense to look at long term solution and find a new location to ease the minds of students and parents rather than bullying the school district? This will be a bad precedent set by charters and already rest of Santa Clara county residents are extremely wary of MSA and other charters. I urge MSA management to find an alternate location immediately. I am sure with 500k, it’s possible to find a location within the county.

    • Resident … Requiring SCUSD to comply with California and Federal laws is not bullying! Perhaps you could benefit from an education at a focused charter school?

      Complying to law is not a synonym for bullying …

      • Unions = bullies
        bullies = myopic
        myopic = self interest
        self interest = what they get paid and how much vacation they get, how many in service days and what’s my raise

        and I’m sure I over looked something …. Oh yeh I’m here to teach to children

  7. Children Children, stop the fighting, get out of the sand box. You are playing to the tune of the Unions start to grow up and think of the Children. Who cares if this school is Muslim, Christian, Mormon or Green it’s meeting the needs of the community and last time I looked at our SC community we are all coming from somewhere else. White Anglo Protestants have to move over there are so many other nationalities in the Valley. Now you cannot keep trying to cookie cutter people into little shapes. But hang on there is more with this deal, if it does not go through the Unions that now own the school board get to win … isn’t that the true story behind why this poor school cannot have one more year.

    Who cares if they knew ahead of time they only had a three year lease. The district would rather fight to have that place empty for a year than lease it to someone that does not hire Union staff, am I right? Did I miss read the arguments not just here but in other articles about the problem of letting this school have somewhere to educate Children?

    I wonder what these Union led teachers earn? And what do their advisers earn? oh that’s right they get paid for the rest of their lives, while me a mere tax payer has to live off social security and my savings. Ah yes this equation is definitely out of whack with reality. Forgive me while I question why this school can’t exist? Might it have something to do with Unions and the stranglehold they have on our education system and why it is so 18th Century?

    And if I offend any Union people I’m sorry but when I was a child I learned that Unions were there to protect the worker and as an adult I see they are there so we can bend over for them and empty out our pockets. hey time to start thinking about the kids and not the Unions, this is a case of wolves in sheep’s clothing there is more to this picture than meets the eye. Do not be fooled.

  8. Parent, agree there are no vacant schools this year, will there be next year? Wont we be in the same predicament for one more year?

  9. Everyone is trying to look for someone to blame. Why does it matter? Mr. Di Salvo is right, he wants us adults to focus on finding a solution for the kids. You may all blame the Magnolia administration for failing to find a facility, and they are not the only charter organization in the bay area fighting an uphill battle for facilities. Charter schools are public schools and deserve equal access to public facilities. The facts is that the district has 4 surplus facilities and is leasing 3 of those to private schools. They are also leaving a facility vacant for a year instead of leasing it to a public charter school. District facilities are not god-given birth rights of the districts, they are funded by tax-payers, but the district is acting like a feudal landlord rather than a responsible public board serving the interest of all children and tax-payers. Unions may own the district board but we still live in a democracy where the winner does not get it all and still has to serve all constituents. Yes, put students first. It does not have to be charters vs. public!

  10. FMSD is role model for other school district that puts the education of children and their well being as a higher priority over their own interests. Reading the comments of both sides of the arguments, one side is trying to keep alive their children’s education opportunities whereas the other side is saying metaphorically “take your trash away from here”. Yes, I am using the term “trash” because this is exactly how the students are being treated as in this whole debate. If one were to keep the students’ educational development first, the involved parties will find a collaborative model to work out issues. Two points worth noting:
    1. SCUSD wants the facilities vacated for the entire academic year 2015-2016, so that they can do the required renovations in prep for the 2016-2017 school year. At the same time, they admit that other facilities in the district are undergoing similar renovations while the school is in progress. As a tax payer, I would like to know why SCUSD is willing to let go $500K revenue for that year and, then spend an entire year for renovations. SC (Santa Clara) residents should start questioning how our tax money is being handled by the School District. If the board members were asked to take that money out of their own pocket, I am sure they will not keep that facility vacant! Playing with Santa Clara residents tax money like this is not right.
    2. The facility is being prepared for elementary school year 2016-2017. Based on the recent report that the SCUSD received, the student count projection is way below what the School District board members anticipated. On the other hand, there are 450+ students, a confirmed figure, who are looking for an extension of their lease to continue using the facility that will be vacant, are getting denied to pursue their education.

    One can argue that MSA (Magnolia Science Academy) had ample of time to find a facility and they didn’t. SCUSD has the legal right to exercise the termination of the lease, which they can, or choose not to pursue it. The fact is, 450+ students will loose their education facility. In worst case scenario, the students will eventually move to other charter schools in the area, or private schools, or home schooling, and those who are left over will go to SCUSD Public schools. Financially, it is a loss for the School district, as well as loosing talented student population.

    MSA has an API of 904 (http://school-ratings.com/cities/Santa_Clara.html). SCUSD should be proud of hosting a charter public school like MSA. People tend to move to cities/towns which have good performing schools. There is a reason why people would prefer to move to Cupertino; its not because of Apple but because of the school district but, not everyone can afford to make that move. I cannot imagine how a school district can let go of a high performing school from its district. The motive seems to be other than the welfare of its student residents.

    SCUSD board members should take a leadership and visionary role. We, as residents of this district would like to see our board members get recognized by the Gates Foundation or other organisation, as the school district who went beyond adopting a collaborative model between Charter and District Public schools, with the sole intent of the enhancing the educational experience of its students.

    Once again, reiterating Joseph DiSalvo’s statement, “Local Education Leaders Often Pick Petty Fights over Progress”; SCUSD board members and residents, I hope we can prove him wrong, like the FMSD did.

  11. Wow, based on all the messages, this sure doesn’t seem like a petty subject. You know, bottom line, SCSUD is doing MSA and the parents a favor. I mean, how many times has the charter almost been revoked on MSA? At least once. Then the principal does an end run around the lease and comes up with the idea of a new charter school. So now what happens? He gets shot down. He’s leading all these parents around promising them things – just like the failed school board candidates did – and these kids may not have a place to go now because of false promises. The best thing that could happen is this guy turn over the keys and let these families go back to the public schools or whatever school they came from. The schools in SCUSD are doing fine. Students are being accepted at great high schools and colleges – even with SCUSD public hig schoolNJImagine that! The possibilities abound and it is doubtful MSA can provide as many opportunities that SCUSD can. Badmouthing the public school system doesn’t help either. This isn’t about public v. charter – it’s about doing the right thing and honoring the contract you signed. If you can’t do that, then you shouldn’t have started the process. Too many people are now effected by this principal and charter school’s false promises.

  12. You are right, it’s the school management making false promises. I don’t understand why so much time and effort us spent on finding a location for 1yr. Doesn’t it make more sense to find a location that can be used for few years. Bayarea related estate is at its peak, it will nit be easy next year either to find a central location.

    I feel very sad for the MSA parents and students, really hope they find another location. Bayarea schools have improved tremendously, public schools are good.

    How many of the 450 students are from Santa Clara?

  13. So the lesson is: it doesn’t matter what you do, as long as you call it STEM and kids get high scores on a test that hasn’t been given in two years? Has anyone read Magnolia/SVSA’s application? Has Mr. DiSalvo? And, BTW, he was part of the unanimous vote to deny the charter. They turned in an ‘F’ paper. That’s the point. It’s like having a teacher hand your paper back with an “incomplete” and then turning it in again a week later, figuring the teacher is too stupid to notice. That’e apparently what they think of the rest of us.

    If they can’t do their jobs, why should anyone trust them to teach their children? How many charter defenders have been in a mainstream classroom lately? Why is it taken on faith that because it’s a charter school it must be better? Face facts: All this talk about Magnolia’s “excellence” is dog whistle talk for “no poor people’s children.”

    Perhaps caring about children means caring about all of them — including the ones whose fathers are not engineers — and making sure that they are getting a proper education to function in the world they will live in. And I doubt Turkish meets anyone’s definition of a “world language.”

    And one more thing: the state is currently auditing the entire Magnolia chain.

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