Posts Tagged ‘Noble charter school’

Good press on two PURE stories

Monday, January 21st, 2013

New blog site DNAInfo Chicago had a great story on our UNO complaint here.

UNO has 13 charters in the Chicago Public Schools, and 12 received funding increases in the 2013 budget for a total outlay of $55.6 million. That’s tied directly to school attendance, but Woestehoff suggested that’s part of the problem, that UNO uses students as “collateral” in its loans.

A Standard & Poor’s report in September 2011 gave the school bonds a BBB- rating, warning of “considerable growth risk with two schools opening.” It made clear that UNO’s ability to repay was based on school population.

“That money they’re getting that’s supposed to be for children is being used to pay their debt,” Woestehoff charged. “That doesn’t seem like a healthy situation.”

Meanwhile, MSNBC dipped back into our Noble “secret sauce” story from last year. A January 3, 2013 story based on another DNAInfo Chicago report referenced the $400,000 in fees that Noble has collected and that we exposed, and focused on testimony about the Noble fees by parent Marsha Godard at the Chicago December Board of Education meeting.
Then last week MSNBC looked a little closer at the funding issues between charter and regular schools, once again referring to our action on Noble last year:

Marsha Godard paid nearly $2,000 in fees to Chicago Bulls College Prep for her 16-year-old son’s disciplinary offenses that included not sitting up straight, and violating the school’s uniform dress code. Godard, whose story we’ve highlighted before, said this week that the rise of charter schools is robbing public schools of necessary funding to help its students learn.

“Chicago public schools are not getting the resources necessary to succeed,” Godard told MHP in a phone interview. “If you aren’t giving them money to come up, how can you expect them to come up?”

Godard’s son is not the only student racking up fees for behavioral offenses: Noble Network reportedly brought in about $200,000 in disciplinary fees in 2011, and almost $400,000 since the 2008-2009 school year.

That MSNBC piece repeated the Noble official’s quote from the 1/2/13 DNAInfo Chicago story that the fines “engage” parents. Yep. Just the same way that charter schools “empower” parents

Trib readers oppose Noble discipline policy, too

Monday, February 20th, 2012

Nice to read these letters in this morning’s Tribune – guess not everyone agreed with the paper’s position on Noble:

Here’s a sample:

I find fining students for disciplinary infractions wrong in principle. Critics who call the program draconian are absolutely on target. It is not the list of ridiculous infractions alone; the fines truly set this reprehensible disciplinary scheme apart.


Public schools must take everyone. As demonstrated by many other groups: If we take a selected population, change the rules, give them money and facilities, outcomes increase. Remember that these are not public schools taking all young people. This is not merely school choice but a wholesale change in public education.


Respect is earned, not charged for.


By Jove, I think they’ve got it!

Noble in damage control mode

Monday, February 13th, 2012

Noble Muchin Campus principal (right) talks to protesting parent Donna Moore

It was kind of funny to see a “team” from Noble charter network trying to crash our press conference, working the media in full-out damage control mode.

The principal of Noble’s Muchin campus was there with a parent who was set in front of any reporter who would listen  to her to say how happy she was to pay the $140 fines just so that her child would be prepared to go on to college.

Gee, how on earth do all those parents out in the suburbs manage to get their kids into college without the Noble “secret sauce”?

A Noble PR person was there, too, handing out a Noble press release which pretty much admitted that they do what we said they do, and they’re proud of it.

Some early media reports:

WLS-TV: Charter school’s disciplinary fines protested

WGN-TV: Parents say Charter school fines are a “tax” on minorities

WBBM-TV: Students, Parents Protest Noble Network School Discipline Policy

Chicago News Cooperative: Charter operator Fines students for infractions

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About the PURE Thoughts blogger
Julie Woestehoff is PURE's executive director. Julie's work has earned her a Ford Foundation award and recognition as one of the 100 Most Powerful Women in Chicago.