Millot: E/CMOs - Bakke Memo Suggests Bad Actors, Bad Oversight, Bad Law
Denis Bakke, President, to Imagine Schools developers, directors and principals (Sep. 4, 2008)
A lot of times, we’re not involved. Sometimes a group comes together and doesn’t approach us until they’ve decided to move ahead with the charter... We ask questions, but as I said, it’s not always ideal.
Larry Gabbert, Director, Office of Charter Schools, Ball State University to reporter (Nov. 1, 2009)
Even though (Imagine) formally doesn't control the charter or the charter board, the school would really not exist if Imagine doesn't stay, and that's the leverage Imagine has over a board… That's basically the same model Imagine uses everywhere.
Troy Bell, former Director of Development, Imagine Schools to reporter (Nov. 2, 2009)
Last month, Ft. Wayne, Indiana Journal-Gazzette reporters Dan Stockman and Kelly Soderlund built a superb investigative series on the inner workings of Imagine Schools around an outrageous memo from the CMO's President Denis Bakke. The memo (excerpted above) was first unearthed by David Hunn of the St Louis Post Dispatch and printed with his story October 25.) It's the kind of work edubloggers expected from education journalists in our great national newspapers after Tom Toch's original report on CMOs surfaced.
Stockman and Soderlund serve up the evidence of an eggregious abuse of trust required to wake up policymakers and the public to the fact that current charter school law creates unworkable conflicts of interest between charter holders and management organizations. Drawing on these reporters' efforts, the Bakke memo, and subsequent reporting on the immediate aftermath, I will discuss three related problems: 1) "bad actors" like Bakke, who readily manipulate the rules in ways that favor CMOs over each charter school, 2) "bad oversight" from chartering agencies that lack the expertise and staff to oversee anything more than the independent local community charter, and 3) "bad statutes" deliberately designed to both discourage any kind of Management Organization (E or C) organization and let them in the back door.
To follow this analysis, TWIE readers should review the Journal-Gazette series, starting here.
It wouldn't hurt to read something a I wrote a while ago on "franchising" v. "company-owned" E/CMO strategies.
Next: A Poster Child for Bad Actors