Skip to content

Betsy DeVos’ Twitter Popularity Is Upside-Down.

US Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos is well on her way to becoming the most unpopular secretary of education since the office was established in its own right in 1979, and that is saying a lot given that American public education had to put up with seven years of Arne Duncan.

In the days after her February 07, 2017, Pence-tiebreaking, Senate confirmation, DeVos informed her Twitter followers in her 35th tweet since June 2012 that she would no longer be using her @BetsyDeVos twitter account and would instead “keep the conversation going” on her “official channel,” @BetsyDeVosED:

On February 16, 2017, DeVos’ posted only one more tweet @BetsyDeVos, and it is the only one cross-posted @BetsyDeVosED:

Despite DeVos’ attempts to redirect the public to her new, official Twitter account, here is what is remarkable-sad about DeVos’ switch from @BetsyDeVos to @BetsyDeVosED:

DeVos’ defunct Twitter account has over twice the number of followers as does her official, current, US ed sec account:

  • @BetsyDeVos:  146K followers
  • @BetsyDeVosED:  63K followers

Bizarre.

An archived snapshot of @BetsyDeVos from February 15, 2017 (the day she posted her tweet redirecting followers to @BetsyDeVosED) has DeVos’ Twitter followers at 132K.

Additional archived snapshots of @BetsyDeVos (DeVos’ defunct account) have DeVos’ followers at these counts:

Meanwhile, archived snapshots of @BetsyDeVosED (DeVos’ official, active account) yield these counts:

It seems that DeVos has accrued Twitter followers who are not noticing that @BetsyDeVos has not posted a single tweet in over six months. Moreover, it is not as though people are choosing to follow DeVos’ official account without discontinuing her defunct account; in such a case, one would expect the number of followers on both accounts to be closer– or, if one account has more followers, one would expect it to be DeVos’ active, official account.

One would also expect a federal secretary of education to actually support the traditional public schools upon which our country is built, but that is not happening in DeVos’ case, either. She prefers sending public money to private schools, out of the purview of the public. This she peddles as parental empowerment.

Over twice as many Twitter users prefer to follow a Betsy DeVos who has stopped tweeting her school privatization agenda than the official, US ed sec Betsy DeVos who continues to push for it.

Indeed, DeVos’ upside-down, Twitter-follower issue is bizarre– but no more so than her very presence as a US secretary of education.

betsy devos 7  Betsy DeVos

_____________________________________________________________________________________

Want to read about the history of charter schools and vouchers?

School Choice: The End of Public Education? 

school choice cover  (Click image to enlarge)

Schneider is a southern Louisiana native, career teacher, trained researcher, and author of two other books: A Chronicle of Echoes: Who’s Who In the Implosion of American Public Education and Common Core Dilemma: Who Owns Our Schools?. You should buy these books. They’re great. No, really.

both books

Don’t care to buy from Amazon? Purchase my books from Powell’s City of Books instead.

New Orleans Charter School Admin Arrested for Failure to Report Sexual Incident

It baffled me when I read that administration at a New Orleans charter school, Success Preparatory Academy, failed to immediately alert police regarding a cell phone video of a sexual incident that happened on campus in April 2017.

School admin are mandated reporters of sexual abuse.

However, what really sealed the deal for the two administrators arrested is their apparent ignorance that deleting the video from a student’s phone constitutes destroying evidence, and emailing the video– one that falls under the definition of child pornography– to oneself and to another administrator– constitutes possession of child pornography.

Bu there is more:

When made aware of the incident, the principal of the school also failed to report it to the police, and he publicly defends the failure to report the incident to police as well as the decision of the other admin to delete the video from the student’s phone; return that phone to the student, and email the pornographic video to herself and another admin.

As the October 04, 2017, New Orleans Advocate reports:

Two members of the leadership team at a charter school in Treme were arrested Tuesday on allegations they failed to alert authorities about their discovery of video clips allegedly showing a student being forced to perform oral sex on a group of her peers in a bathroom on campus earlier this year. …

New Orleans police booked Nicole Kusmirek, the second-in-command at Success Preparatory Academy, and Shayla Shane — listed as the school’s director of culture — on counts of possessing child pornography as well as failing to report child abuse despite being required to do so as educators. …

Success Principal Niloy Gangopadhyay said in a statement Wednesday that his school stands behind both Kusmirek and Shane and he doesn’t believe there was any “criminal intent or action on their part.”

“In our opinion, they took appropriate action and protected the interests of our school and the safety of those students,” Gangopadhyay said, adding that an internal investigation found no violations of procedure.

Both Kusmirek and Shane posted bail on Tuesday, October 03, 2017, after turning themselves in and being in custody for several hours.

In this situation, it was the mother of the student “forced to perform” who initiated contact with the police two days following the incident.

According to the Advocate, all three administrators (Gangopadhyay, Kusmirek, and Shane) hail from Teach for America. As administrators of a K-8 Louisiana school, all should have been well aware that they are mandated reporters of “the involvement of the child in any sexual act with… any other person… or the aiding of the child’s involvement in any sexual act with any other person [or] …pornographic displays.”

nihoy gangopadhyay  Niloy Gangopadhyay

The link above is for Louisiana’s Department of Children and Family Services and includes a link for online completion of the mandated reporting form as well as a 24-hour hotline for reporting abuse.

Only Kusmirek appears to have a teaching certificate on file with the Louisiana Department of Education. Shane might have one under another name. However, there is no certificate on file for “Shayla Shane.” (Click here for Shane’s Linkedin bio.)

According to the Louisiana teacher certification search engine, Niloy Gangopadhyay does not hold (and has never held) a Louisiana teaching or administrative certificate.

ncole-kusmirek-shayla-shane.jpg  Shayla Shane and Nicole Kusmirek

___________________________________________________________________________________________

Want to read about the history of charter schools and vouchers?

School Choice: The End of Public Education? 

school choice cover  (Click image to enlarge)

Schneider is a southern Louisiana native, career teacher, trained researcher, and author of two other books: A Chronicle of Echoes: Who’s Who In the Implosion of American Public Education and Common Core Dilemma: Who Owns Our Schools?. You should buy these books. They’re great. No, really.

both books

Don’t care to buy from Amazon? Purchase my books from Powell’s City of Books instead.

 

GOP Goes Silent (for Now) on Gun Silencer Bill

For years now at my public high school, faculty and students have been required to periodically participate in “lock down” and “shelter in place” drills, the purpose of which is to help ensure safety of school personnel and students in cases of emergency, including those that might include an armed intruder on campus.

It is a frightening prospect to have to possibly protect my students from such a danger.

The idea that Congress could make possession of gun silencers both cheaper and easier only adds to my concern, for it adds yet another layer of danger to the ever-growing American problem of gun violence in public places.

In June 2017, our US House of Representatives was prepared to move forward with House Resolution 367, “Hearing Protection Act of 2017”; “To provide that silencers be treated the same as long guns,” when House Majority Whip Steve Scalise was shot at GOP baseball practice. The House decided to postpone its work on the bill at that time.

He underwent numerous surgeries, and his life was in the balance as a result of the shooting; even so, Scalise told The Hill on October 03, 2017, that he continues to support gun rights.

Scalise, who received a 93% rating from the National Rifle Association and a 90% rating from Gun Owners of America for his support of gun legislation, has decided following the October 01, 2017, mass shooting at a Las Vegas country music concert to go the diplomatic way of the GOP and state that now is the time to focus on supporting victims of the Las Vegas tragedy (as The Hill puts it) “before advocating for a legislative response.”

As the October 03, 2017, Chicago Tribune reports, it seems that the GOP has chosen to walk a safe line, one that does not kill its gun legislation, including the House bill on silencers, but that sets it aside for now– again–:

…Republicans postponed a hearing on the silencer bill in June when House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La., and others were shot at a congressional baseball practice. …

Besides the silencer measure, House GOP leaders had been moving forward with a bill to allow people with concealed-carry permits to take their weapons to other states. A vote on that measure also seemed unlikely.

Don’t let the gun lobby down. Just tell them that in order to pass the legislation they paid for, it is more strategic to wait for a break in the shootings….

steve scalise  House Majority Whip Steve Scalise

____________________________________________________________________________________________

Want to read about the history of charter schools and vouchers?

School Choice: The End of Public Education? 

school choice cover  (Click image to enlarge)

Schneider is a southern Louisiana native, career teacher, trained researcher, and author of two other books: A Chronicle of Echoes: Who’s Who In the Implosion of American Public Education and Common Core Dilemma: Who Owns Our Schools?. You should buy these books. They’re great. No, really.

both books

Don’t care to buy from Amazon? Purchase my books from Powell’s City of Books instead.

VIDEO: Betsy DeVos’ “Conversation” at Harvard

On September 28, 2017, US ed sec Betsy DeVos spoke at Harvard’s Kennedy School at what appeared to be a welcoming venture for a woman who actively campaigns against traditional public education in favor of a business-model vending of educational-styled options: a two-day conference entitled, “The Future of School Choice: Helping Students Succeed.”

DeVos delivered a keynote address— as part of a session entitled, “A Conversation About School Choice.” Below is the entire one-hour event featuring DeVos as posted on the Harvard Kennedy School website. (Note that the silent protesters in the audience and their protest during DeVos’ 25-minute speech were not captured in this video.)

Interestingly, the moderator, Harvard Kennedy School Dean Archon Fung, calls for a “conversation” and for those with opposing views on school choice “to listen and understand one another instead of circling the wagons into our own echo chamber.”

Fung says this as he introduces Betsy DeVos, who is a school choice echo chamber. She is firm on her position: traditional public education can and must yield in favor of “options” in which all will be well because parents will choose and all will just fall into place.

Following her speech, DeVos is joined by school choice proponent, Harvard professor and Hoover Institute senior fellow, Paul Peterson. His questions were gentle, with no solid rebuttal.

A number of his questions focused on the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).

In the Peterson-DeVos exchange, there was no intense moment in over critical issues, such as supposedly empowered parents and students being left without their chosen school option when the admin of the school choose to fraudulently spend or otherwise mismanage taxpayer funds, and the school goes under.

In short, this exchange was not so much conversation as it was an infomercial favoring DeVos’ pro-choice position and a bland commentary on ESSA– a safe and sheltered exchange for DeVos.

If indeed the goal were to have a conversation about school choice, then Fung and Peterson could have invited those who support traditional public education to engage DeVos and other choice advocates in a debate. Such an arrangement did not occur. Nevertheless, Fung did ensure that audience members would be allowed to ask questions once DeVos finished her speech. He said that such a practice was in keeping with Harvard’s procedures for all speakers.

Fung then warned the audience that the Harvard University police would “escort… from the forum anyone who insists upon preventing others from speaking or hearing by disrupting this event.”

Fung followed with an ironic statement given that Betsy DeVos has insulated herself from any habitual, meaningful discussion about her position on school choice and her palpable disdain for traditional public education:

When you prevent others from speaking or hearing disagreeable views, or when you yourself refuse to be challenged by those that disagree, it means that you are so sure that you’re right and so sure that they’re wrong that you have nothing to learn from them. But on an issue like school choice, how can anyone be so sure of themselves?

Not sure if either DeVos or Fung caught the irony. Fung was quick to pitch about the possibility for school choice to save students from failing schools. He even mentioned Detroit by name.

He also noted, “We might come to see school choice as a way to fleece the public.”

Had this been a debate, the point of school choice as fleecing the public could have easily been discussed in past and present tense, not some future possibility not yet touching places like Detroit.

Fung’s introduction of DeVos alluded to criticism of her confirmation as US secretary of education, and those audience questions would come.

Surely Betsy DeVos knew that she could be asked some difficult questions by members of this Harvard audience. Audience questions begin at minute 44 in the one-hour video included above. The first individual asked what DeVos will do to ensure quality schools, whether public, charter, or private. She says a lot without addressing the “wild, wild West” issue of under-regulated school quality.

The second question also involved the federal role in school accountability. As she did in response to the first question, DeVos responded to the second question by saying parents make better choices when given information about the schools and that ESSA requires schools to offer certain information to parents. In other words, if schools are transparent and honest about the information they offer to parents, then good schools will prosper because parents will choose those schools, and bad ones will close because parents will choose to go elsewhere. It will all just work out.

Choice offers no means of ensuring quality education for all students, and DeVos argues for options, not quality, and not ensuring quality education for all.

The third individual asked about student safety and DeVos’ decisions to repeal Title IX guidance on sexual assault. In her response to this student, DeVos sounded the most like she was trying to address the question.

As DeVos spoke, audience members constantly protested silently. From the outset, Fung acknowledged that 1,900 individuals protested the Harvard event on Facebook.

The protest is quite powerful to witness, which one can easily do in this three-minute video excerpt in which the camera focuses on the audience, not the stage:

The video ends with a student asking DeVos the following:

Hi, my name is Jeff Versam (?). I’m a masters in public administration student here at the Kennedy School.

So, you’re a billionaire with lots and lots of investments, and the so-called school choice movement is a way to open the floodgates for corporate interests to make money off of the backs of students. How much do you expect your net worth to increase as a result of your policy choices, and what are your friends on Wall Street and in the business world, like the Koch brothers, saying about the potential to get rich off of the backs of students?

Fung responded, “You could choose not to answer that, Secretary.” DeVos did respond as follows, as captured on the one-hour video:

Let me just say I’ve been involved with education choice for thirty years. I have written lots of checks to support giving parents and kids options to choose a school of their choice. The balance on my income has gone very much the other way [points down] and will continue to do so. I’m committed to assuring that every child, every child, has the opportunity to getting an equal opportunity to get an education. That means every child, not rich kids, not kids whose parents are politicians and can get them into the right school under the right circumstances. Every, every kid.

Jeff V. then asked, “Are you suggesting…” and was cut off by Fung.

This moment was one of real conversation. However, Fung jumped in, “I’m sorry. One per customer.”

Fifteen minutes for questions; four audience questions. Then, Fung announced, a “lightening round” of three more questions, 30 seconds each, with DeVos able to decide not to answer.

The audience protested. They wanted a conversation with DeVos. Fung apologized that the event was scheduled to end at 7 p.m.

This event was not a conversation, but for a moment, it almost became one.

The final three questions were rushed. One was from a former math teacher in New Orleans and concerned how DeVos would ensure that students who choose traditional public schools would continue to receive sufficient support if $1 billion in Title I money were devoted to private school choice. Another was from a Grand Rapids native and concerned DeVos’ role in ushering in for-profit schools lacking accountability in Michigan:

Given the fact that in Michigan, students have a lot of choice but not good choices, and corporations are profiting from that, why do you think that choice is appropriate for the nation?

Below is DeVos’ response:

First of all, of the students that are still left in the city of Detroit, 49 percent of them [murmurs] excuse me, everybody who has had means and wants to move elsewhere has moved outside of the city of Detroit. And, the students that are there, 49 percent of them have chosen to go to charter schools. Nobody’s forcing them to go to charter schools. Of the traditional public schools in Detroit, not one of them has ever been closed down because of performance. Not one. Yet there have been over 20 charter schools closed. I just cite those statistics and ask you to think about that.

Is there room for improvement? Absolutely. But the reality is that of kids going to charter schools in Michigan and in the city of Detroit, they are gaining three or four months more per year over their public school counterparts. So, there is a difference.

Let me just punctuate DeVos’ response with Detroit’s ever-rotating city manager fiasco and the problem of siphoning funding from Detroit’s public school system in the name of choice.

Moreover, I consider the funding-siphoning issue to be a deal-breaker for the can’t-we-all-just-get-along sentiment behind the Harvard-sponsored school choice conversation that really wasn’t.

betsy devos 8  Betsy DeVos

_____________________________________________________________________________________

Want to read about the history of charter schools and vouchers?

School Choice: The End of Public Education? 

school choice cover  (Click image to enlarge)

Schneider is a southern Louisiana native, career teacher, trained researcher, and author of two other books: A Chronicle of Echoes: Who’s Who In the Implosion of American Public Education and Common Core Dilemma: Who Owns Our Schools?. You should buy these books. They’re great. No, really.

both books

Don’t care to buy from Amazon? Purchase my books from Powell’s City of Books instead.

 

Iowa Contracts with AIR as Smarter Balanced Testing Consortium Quietly Dwindles

On September 28, 2017, the Gazette (Cedar Rapids, IA) published an article announcing that beginning in 2018-19, Iowa students would be taking a state test produced by the American Institutes for Research (AIR).

I was surprised to read this, as Iowa was supposed to be part of the Smarter Balanced Testing Consortium, one of two principal state testing alliances that were supposed to enable cross-state comparisons of the results of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS).

Exactly seven years earlier to the day of the Gazette article, on September 28, 2010, the US Department of Education (USDOE) awarded both Smarter Balanced and PARCC (the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers) federal grants to develop such tests.

The USDOE announcement was last updated on July 01, 2014, to include the following states as belonging to each consortium:

Smarter Balanced Governing States (07-01-14):

  • California
  • Connecticut
  • Delaware
  • Hawaii
  • Idaho
  • Maine
  • Michigan
  • Missouri
  • Montana
  • Nevada
  • New Hampshire
  • North Carolina
  • North Dakota
  • Oregon
  • South Dakota
  • Vermont
  • Washington
  • West Virginia
  • Wyoming
  • Wisconsin

Smarter Balanced Participating States (07-01-14):

  • Iowa
  • Pennsylvania

 

PARCC Governing States (07-01-14):

  • Arkansas
  • Colorado
  • District of Columbia
  • Illinois
  • Louisiana
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • Mississippi
  • New Jersey
  • New Mexico
  • New York
  • Ohio
  • Rhode Island

PARCC Participating State (07-01-14):

  • Pennsylvania

 

As of this writing, PARCC is down to only 5 governing states and DC:

The PARCC Governing Board established the governance structure for the consortium and is responsible for the major policy and operational decisions about the design, administration and scoring of the PARCC test. The Governing Board is made up of the education commissioners and superintendents from each PARCC state: Colorado, Illinois, Maryland, New Jersey, New Mexico and the District of Columbia.

PARCC also vends its items to Louisiana, Massachusetts, and the Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA). (Note that the original conception of a CCSS consortium included only states taking complete assessments. PARCC announced its item vending option in November 2015 apparently as a means of promoting consortium survival.)

As for Smarter Balanced: On February 29, 2016, it identified its members as follows:

Smarter Balanced is led by its members: 15 states, one territory, and the Bureau of Indian Education. The consortium operates on a transparent, consensus-based governance structure. Members include Governing members and Affiliate members:

  • Governing members are fully committed to Smarter Balanced and have a vote in policy decisions.
  • Affiliate members do not administer Smarter Balanced assessments. However, they may participate in work groups and provide guidance for the development of the assessment system.

On February 29, 2016, the Smarter Balanced membership was as follows– note that he list still included Iowa:

Smarter Balanced Governing Members (02-29-16):

  • California
  • Connecticut
  • Delaware
  • Hawaii
  • Idaho
  • Michigan
  • Montana
  • Nevada
  • New Hampshire
  • North Dakota
  • Oregon
  • South Dakota
  • Vermont
  • Washington
  • West Virginia
  • Bureau of Indian Affairs
  • US Virgin Islands

Smarter Balanced Affiliate States (02-29-16):

  • Iowa
  • North Carolina
  • Wyoming

 

By September 28, 2017, Smarter Balanced gave up on counting its states. It also smacks of a similar survival desperation that PARCC now demonstrates in offering to vend PARCC items by Smarter Balanced’s courting “non-member states”:

Smarter Balanced is led by its members. The consortium operates on a transparent, consensus-based governance structure. There are three tiers to membership: Governing members, Affiliate members, and non-members.

  • Governing members direct the organization, including policy decisions and approving budgets, and are fully committed to Smarter Balanced.
  • Affiliate members do not administer Smarter Balanced assessments. However, they may participate in work groups and provide guidance for the development of the assessment system.
  • Non-members pay the same fee to Smarter Balanced for a high quality assessment system, but without the privilege of governance. Read more about access to Smarter Balanced resources for non-members here. If your state or vendor is interested in using Smarter Balanced resources, please contact sb@smarterbalanced.org.

As of September 29, 2017, here are the Smarter Balanced member states– absent Iowa:

Smarter Balanced Governing States (09-28-17):

  • California
  • Connecticut
  • Delaware
  • Hawaii
  • Idaho
  • Michigan
  • Montana
  • Nevada
  • Oregon
  • South Dakota
  • Vermont
  • Washington
  • Bureau of Indian Affairs
  • US Virgin Islands

Smarter Balanced Affiliate State (09-28-17):

  • North Carolina

 

So, Smarter Balanced is down from 20 governing states in 2014 to 12 governing states and two US territories in 2017, and Iowa is definitely out of Smarter Balanced, which stopped listing Iowa as an affiliate state at some point between June 06, 2017, and August 06, 2017.

One issue is certain: The CCSS goal of comparing most states across the nation via two CCSS-linked, consortium-produced common assessments has already faded into the corporate reform annals of The Embarrassingly Undiscussed.

cookie crumbles

___________________________________________________________________________________

Want to read about the history of charter schools and vouchers?

School Choice: The End of Public Education? 

school choice cover  (Click image to enlarge)

Schneider is a southern Louisiana native, career teacher, trained researcher, and author of two other books: A Chronicle of Echoes: Who’s Who In the Implosion of American Public Education and Common Core Dilemma: Who Owns Our Schools?. You should buy these books. They’re great. No, really.

both books

Don’t care to buy from Amazon? Purchase my books from Powell’s City of Books instead.

Three Poems Written by My Students

The following three poems were written by three of my English IV students. I have their permission to reproduce their work on my blog, identifying each student author by first name only.

I invite readers to take a break from the rigors of combating corporate ed reform and enjoy.

poetry

The first poem was written by Alexis:

You wanted a party girl
so a party girl is what
I was determined to be

Showing up to someone’s house
Whom I’ve never known
the floor scattered with empty bottles
and passed-out girls who resembled models

I was trying to be the person
you wanted me to be
mostly because I just wanted you to love me
So the party girl became the new me

But when you left me
the party died
and I tried everything
to make the pain subside

I changed me
trying to make you happy
but it only left me feeling empty
So emptying bottles became my new Serenity

I was pretending to be happy
I was pretending to like the new me
but the sad truth is
the party girl just isn’t me.

poetry 2

The next work is from Jennifer:

WEAVE

People wear me when insecure,
I cover up the baldness, I’m sure.
I am costly but I am cheap, you
can find me at the store or yanked out
on the street.

You can buy me in bundles or braids
You can buy me straight or you can buy me in waves.
I am synthetic, I am real. You can
tell the difference in how I feel.

You can buy me in kinks or you can
buy me in curls. This is a bonus for
all the natural gurls.

If you don’t take care of me I become stiff
but if properly managed I become
your greatest gift. I am worn by many
different races, I know; one day they’re
bald. The next day their hair flows.

I can help your hair. I can also cause
fears. One day your edges are there
the next day they’ve disappeared.
Think real hard before you buy me.
I am everything you want and need.
I am WEAVE.

scroll

And one more, by De’Vante:

A pair of friends like none other
formed a great bond of becoming brothers.
They would go to movies just to complain
and go to arcades to play video games.
Laughing, joking, and clowning around,
the two were the best of friends in town
Until one day, a pretty girl passed by.
The two looked at her with wonder in their eyes.
Then the feud began between the friends,
A feud that seemed to have no end.

They both fought and tried to claim her as theirs.
But the two rivals were fully unaware
that the girl had a man who was bright and fair.
When they found out, they were left in awe.
They both realized they went too far.
The friends hugged and apologized for their ways.
They promised to be brothers for the rest of their days.

My thanks to my students for their refreshing contributions to my blog.

fountain pen

_______________________________________________________________________________

Want to read about the history of charter schools and vouchers?

School Choice: The End of Public Education? 

school choice cover  (Click image to enlarge)

Schneider is a southern Louisiana native, career teacher, trained researcher, and author of two other books: A Chronicle of Echoes: Who’s Who In the Implosion of American Public Education and Common Core Dilemma: Who Owns Our Schools?. You should buy these books. They’re great. No, really.

both books

Don’t care to buy from Amazon? Purchase my books from Powell’s City of Books instead.

Albuquerque, NM, Board Member Analee Maestas’ Suspicious Carpet Cleaning Receipt

Analee Maestas, who sits on the Albuquerque (New Mexico) Public School Board of Education, is at the center of an Albuquerque Police Department (APD) investigation of approximately $700,000 in questionable spending associated with a charter school she founded in 2008, La Promesa Early Learning Center.

According to the September 19, 2017, Albuquerque Journal, APD “hopes to file charges against one to three people by the end of the month.”

As per State Auditor Tim Keller, it seems that $500,000 of the money in question ended up deposited in the bank account of Maestas’ daughter, Julieanne Maestas.

On September 25, 2017, Keller called for Maestas to resign her board position with Albuquerque Public Schools.

Even though she was in charge of La Promesa during the years that her daughter allegedly stole half a million dollars in La Promesa money, Analee Maestas maintains her innocence.

It appears that she is willing to excuse herself via the convenience of incompetent leadership.

However, Analee Maestas is finding it difficult to explain away how a July 31, 2015, receipt for $342.40 to Clean Carpet Care, an Albuquerque-based carpet cleaning company, qualifies as a school-funded reimbursable expense, especially given that the service address was clearly written over to portray the carpet services as happening at La Promesa instead of at Analee Maestas’ home (as the carpet cleaning company later confirmed).

But the real kicker is that on the receipt, the rooms serviced include two bedrooms– and that the person who altered the service address also thought it clever to add that rooms– including bedrooms– were cleaned:

clean-carpet-care-invoice_07-31-15_redacted

Note: Handwritten content is easier to read if one tilts the computer screen.

 

Nothing suspicious about a school-related reimbursement for bedroom cleaning…. Even so, the New Mexico Public Ed Dept. (PED) reported the issue to its internal auditors, Axiom Certified Public Accountants, as KRQE reported in February 2016:

letter-to-axiom_redacted_page_1

KQRE also questioned Analee Maestas about the receipt, which it procured in February 2016– and it also spoke with the owner of the carpet cleaning company.

It turns out that KQRE caught Analee Maestas in a lie:

News 13 caught up with Maestas at the La Promesa business office.

“It’s an incorrect invoice, that’s for sure,” she said.

Maestas confirmed that was her signature on the invoice but said she did not alter the receipt. Maestas said crews did not clean carpets at her house.

“No, not the carpet cleaning, absolutely not.”

The carpet company confirmed to PED that its copy of the invoice “contains different information than the copy in the school’s files.”

The company also confirmed that “the only work performed was duct cleaning” at the home address in the South Valley.

Maestas said carpets were cleaned at her charter school and she’s done nothing wrong.

“I don’t think so, no, because the work was done at Central.”

News 13 spoke with the owner of Clean Carpet Care, Joseph DiBruno. He provided KRQE with what he said was the original receipt, which lists Maestas’ home address as the location where the company worked.

DiBruno said he so far has been unable to locate any records to show his company has ever done any work at La Promesa Early Learning Center.

The original receipt, as provided to KQRE by the carpet cleaning company, is reproduced below.

The original charge was for “16 vents” at $320.00, plus tax (7%), $22.40. Maestas’ first name is misspelled as “Adeline”; however, her signature reads “Analee”:

analee-maesta-document-full-022516clg

Stay tuned, Albuquerque, to see if the APD does what it expects to do and files those charges by the end of September 2017– and if Analee Maestas is included.

analee maestas  Analee Maestas

___________________________________________________________________________________

Want to read about the history of charter schools and vouchers?

School Choice: The End of Public Education? 

school choice cover  (Click image to enlarge)

Schneider is a southern Louisiana native, career teacher, trained researcher, and author of two other books: A Chronicle of Echoes: Who’s Who In the Implosion of American Public Education and Common Core Dilemma: Who Owns Our Schools?. You should buy these books. They’re great. No, really.

both books

Don’t care to buy from Amazon? Purchase my books from Powell’s City of Books instead.