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9/7CA Dep of Education To Discuss Revocation of License of Corrupt Sac Charter CTech

by repost
The California Department of Education is having a hearing on the corrupt practices of a Sacramento virtual charter school C-Tech Dreams that is illegally advertising for students offering i-pads. This operation is the tip of the iceberg in the growing corruption scandal as a result of the growth of charter schools and privatization. The use of on-line virtual charter schools for the theft of public funds that should be going to public education is taking place throughout the country. It is another example of the Gates Foundation and the Broad Foundation pushing making schools profit centers for corporate rip-offs of public education.
9/7 CA Department of Education To Discuss Revocation of License of Corrupt Sacramento Virtual Charter School
Stop Privatization And Destruction Of Public Education

Wednesday, September 7, 2011
9:00 a.m. Pacific Time +
(Upon Adjournment of Closed Session, if held.)

Public Session

California Department of Education
1430 N Street, Room 1101
Sacramento, California 95814

The C-TECH school is illegally advertising and offering bribes to get students to sing up so they can get state public funds. The increasing use of charter schools and online schemes to steal money from public education is a growing scandal.

Charges against California, College, Career, Technical Education Center (CCCTEC) by California Department of Education

1430 N Street, Suite 5111
Sacramento, CA 95814
Phone: (916) 319-0827
Fax: (916) 319-0175
June 27, 2011
Paul Preston, Superintendent'CEO and Member of the California College,
Career, and Technical Education Center Board ofDirectors
California College, Career, and Technical Education Center
890 Embarcadero Drive
West Sacramento, CA 95691
David Kopperud and Steve McPherson, Members of the California College,
Career, and Technical Education Center Board ofDirectors
California College, Career, and Technical Education Center
890 Embarcadero Drive
West Sacramento, CA 95691
Subject: Notice of Violation Pursuant to Education Code (EC) Section 47607(d)
Dear Mr. Preston and Members ofthe CCCTEC Board ofDirectors:
The State Board of Education (SBE) has recently been made aware of a number ofissues and
allegations that, if not resolved immediately by the governing board, will directly impact the ability of
the California College, Career, and Technical Education Center (CCCTEC) to continue operations in
2011-12. Specifically, the items ofconcern are as follows:
I, CCCTEC appears to have failed to meet generally accepted accounting principles, or engaged in
fiscal mismanagement (EC Section 47607[c][3]):
• The SBE has been unable to ascertain the fiscal health ofthe charter, as multiple budgets and
cash flow statements have been submitted to the California Department of Education (CDE)
Charter Schools Division (CSD) between February and June of 2011 that present different
information, making it difficult to accurately analyze the school's ability to operate or repay its
• The current attendance accounting system appears to be inadequate, and teachers and staff may
not have adequate training to record attendance accurately.
• Due to last-minute changes to the school calendar and a lack ofclarity over appropriate
supervision by credentialed teachers, it is unclear whether CCCTEC has offered the minimum
number ofdays and minutes ofinstruction to receive full apportionment funding.
Attachment 1
Page 1 of 4
Messrs. Paul Preston, David Kopperud, Steve McPherson and CCTEC Board ofDirectors
June 27,2011
Page 2
• Certificated staff have attested that CCCTEC is anywhere from one to four months behind in
issuing paychecks. Teachers have reported walking off the job due to a failure of CCCTEC to
issue paychecks or paychecks being returned due to insufficient funds in the CCCTEC account.
• On March 5, 2011, the Yolo County Office ofEducation (Yolo COE) reported to the CDE that
CCCTEC was not current in its California State Teachers Retirement System (CALSTRS)
payments to Yolo COE, and that CCCTEC issued a check to Yolo COE that was returned due
to insufficient funds. After multiple communications between CDE and CCCTEC and Yolo
COE, on March 15,2011, CCCTEC authorized Yolo COE to redirect a portion ofCCCTEC's
ofin-lieu tax proceeds to cover the CALSTRS payment. As ofJune 15, 20 II, Yolo COE
reported that no payroll information had been submitted from CCCTEC since February 2011.
• On March 7, 2011, the CDE was contacted regarding CCCTEC's participation in the federal
Carol M. White Physical Education Program (PEP) grant program as CCCTEC had not been
responsive to inquiries from the PEP grant office. The CDE requested that CCCTEC respond to
these inquiries. On May 9,2011, the PEP grant office conducted an on-site monitoring review,
which resulted in the release ofa monitoring report on May 31, 2011. Findings documented in
this report require CCCTEC to appropriately document expenditures of funds from the PEP
grant and to return $57,651 to the program by June 10,2011, extensions granted.
• The CDE has been presented with delinquent accounts payable from several vendors who
report being paid with checks that were returned for insufficient funds. The CDE has made
multiple communications between these vendors and CCCTEC. One vendor reports that as of
June 10, 2011, over $5,000 is still owed by CCCTEC.
2. CCCTEC appears to have violated a provision oflaw (EC Section 47607[c][4]):
• CCCTEC does not appear to be compliant with EC Section 47605(1), which requires teachers
ofcore subjects to possess an appropriate credential or other document authorizing them to
teach the subjects to which they are assigned.
In response to communications received by CDE indicating that teachers may not have been paid and
that teachers may have been planning to walk off the job, the CDE requested a meeting with Mr.
Preston, the CCCTEC board, and a CCCTEC teacher representative on Monday, June 6, 2011. Due to
concerns raised at the meeting, on June 9, 2011, the CDE requested that CCCTEC provide evidence
regarding communication with teachers about the lack ofpayment ofsalaries and documentation
regarding the payment of salaries. CCCTEC provided information to the CDE on June 12, 2011;
however, the information provided was incomplete. In addition, the CDE conducted a site visit to
CCCTEC on June 8, 2011. During the site visit, the CDE was informed ofthe likelihood ofattendance
audit findings and that the last day ofschool was going to be moved up to the following Friday, a week
earlier than scheduled.
Attachment 1
Page 2 of 4
Messrs. Paul Preston, David Kopperud, Steve McPherson and CCTEC Board ofDirectors
June 27, 2011
Page 3
In addition, SBE Executive Director Sue Burr contacted you on June 27 to provide advance notice that
this matter would be publicly noticed on July I, 2011 and considered by the SBE at the July 13-14
SBE meeting
Failure to provide substantial evidence that refutes, remedies, or proposes to remedy all of these
alleged will provide grounds sufficient to form the basis for an action to revoke the CCCTEC charter
pursuant to EC Section 4 7607( c). On September 7, 20 II, the SBE in a public hearing will consider
whether there is substantial evidence to refute or remedy each alleged violation, at which time it may
issue a Notice ofIntent to Revoke, pursuant to EC Section 47607(e). If the SBE issues a Notice of
Intent to Revoke, the SBE will hold a public hearing on September 8,2011, at which time the SBE will
determine whether sufficient evidence exists to revoke CCCTEC's charter. This letter serves as a
formal Notice ofViolation, pursuant to EC Section 47607(d) and provides CCCTEC a reasonable
period in which to address these concerns.
A written response and supporting evidence addressing each of the above-outlined issues must be
received by Sue Burr, Executive Director, SBE at 1430 N Street, Ste. Sill, Sacramento, CA, 95814 no
later than the close ofbusiness (5:00 p.m. Pacific Standard Time) on Friday, July 22, 2011:
1. A budget and cash flow statement that includes all sources of revenue and liabilities, including,
but not limited to, the following items:
a. Revenues for the remainder ofthe current fiscal year and through February 2012,
including, but not limited to, the following (do not include grant funds):
i. Revenue from the state
11. Revenue from other sources, including but not limited to, revenue from
iii. Revenue from the sales of receivables, less any interest or administrative fees
b. Liabilities for the remainder of the current fiscal year and through February 2012,
including, but not limited to, the following:
J. Certificated staff salaries, broken down by full-time equivalents
11. Classified staff salaries, broken down by full-time equivalents
iii. Certificated and classified staff health and retirement benefits, including
California State Teachers Retirement System benefits
iv. Repayment offunds to the Carol M. White PEP grant fund as outlined in the
site visit report dated May 31, 2011
Attachment 1
Page 3 of 4
Messrs. Paul Preston, David Kopperud, Steve McPherson and CCTEC Board ofDirectors
June 27, 2011
Page 4
v. Facilities lease payments and utilities
vi. Liability insurance and worker's compensation insurance premiums
vii. Repayment ofsold receivables
viii. Any apportionment or other funding owed to the state
ix. Any in lieu taxes or other payments due to the local district or county as a
result of overpayment
x. Any funds reserved for potential audit exceptions
xi. Any outstanding invoices due to vendors, including, but not limited to,
Athletics Unlimited
2. Evidence ofhighly-qualified status and proper credentialing for all core teachers employed in
the 2010-11 and 2011-12 school years and a detailed plan regarding plans to recruit and hire
highly-qualified and properly credentialed teachers for the 2011-12 school year, including
master schedules that identify teacher assignments for each course
If you have any questions or need any additional infonnation regarding this Notice ofViolation, please
contact Sue Burr, Executive Director, SBE at 916-319-0827 or via email atSBurr [at]
Dr. Michael Kirst, President
California State Board ofEducation
Attachment 1
Page 4 of 4

WesSac charter school goes bookless: iPads for every student
Courtesy article• Thu, Aug 26, 2010
California, College, Career & Technical Education Center (CCCTEC) - a public, tuition-free charter school in West Sacramento with a rigorous curriculum focused on both academics and career technical education - will replace traditional school books with iPads as learning tools for every student.
The school recently kicked off an aggressive regional enrollment drive with events at church services, the county fair, and farmer's markets. School leaders have used iPads at the enrollment events to help families learn more about the programs CCCTEC will offer.
"CCCTEC will train today's students for tomorrow's jobs and cutting-edge technology will play a key role in our curriculum," said Paul Preston, Executive Director and Superintendent of CCCTEC (pronounced C-TECH). "As innovators in education, we will spark students' interest in learning."
When fully operational, the school will serve students from kindergarten through adult education. A safe, drug-free campus opens in West Sacramento on September 7, 2010 and will serve grades 9 and 10 the first year, additional grades will be added in subsequent years. Enrollment is open to all students on a first-come, first-served basis.
CCCTEC is compromised of five academies:
Arts, Media & Entertainment Academy – where students will learn about media graphics, television & radio, theater management and performing arts.
Engineering & Design Academy – where students will learn about engineering technology, environmental and natural sciences engineering, and architecture.
Commerce Academy – where students will learn about construction, agriculture, and green technology.
Service Academy – where students will learn about sports management, culinary arts, event planning, hospitality, and tourism.
Transportation Academy – where students will learn about automotive, marine and aeronautical technology.
Upcoming enrollment events include:
August 31, 5 to 7 pm, Woodland Farmer's Market at Freeman Park, Main Street, Woodland
August 28, 9 am to noon, Woodland Farmer's Market
August 29, Holy Cross Catholic Church, 1321 Anna Street, West Sacramento
August 29, Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament, 1017 11th Street, Sacramento
August 29, 11 am to 1pm, Russian Baptist Church, 1000 Sacramento Avenue, West Sacramento
For more information visit
The California College, Career and Technical Education Center (CTech) will prepare all students, especially those who have not found success in traditional programs to be successful in academic, vocational, leadership and social skills in the 21st century.
The vision of CTech is to give all students the experience of a quality educational environment dedicated to developing lifelong learners who are prepared to participate creatively and productively in shaping the future.CTech will eliminate the “college readiness gap” by improving the quality of college-readiness instruction and increasing the capacity of schools to enroll more students in college/career-preparatory classes.
CTech was inspired by the success of Venture Academy of the San Juaquin County Office of Education in Stockton, CA and Summit Preparatory Charter School of Summit Institute in Redwood City, CA both nationally recognized college and career preparatory charter schools. CTech believes all students can learn successfully at high levels and we recognize the growing need to help prepare students for success in higher education and the ever challenging opportunities in the career world.
State of California 9-12 CTech Petition
§Ctech come on
by repost
CTech is being charged with not paying teachers, fiscal mismanagement and running a scam operation masquerading as an online school. They are running radio ads in Sacramento to get more students for more public funding.
by Paul Preston
By vote of the Executive Board CTECH Charter School closed on September 2, 2011. The main reason for the closure was that CTECH lost it's lease due to lack of funds from the state. CTECH is owed from the state over $350,000.00 mostly from the Public Charter Schools Grant Program (PCSGP) a federal program that the state manages. The state lost $20 million and stands to be out the entire $300 million grant. This lack of funds for new start up charters is affecting the viability of charter schools. Please see the article linked below.

As I read your comments there are several items that are not accurate.

1. CTECH Charter School is not a "virtual" school. It is a classroom based school.

2. CTECH Charter School uses the Apple I Pad in place of books. It is a "bookless" school. The advantages are obvious if you have ever used one. The cost savings of the I Pad verses books is enourmous. More and more schools are utilizing the I Pad.

3. CTECH Charter School is not related in anyway to the Gates or Broad foundations.

4. CTECH is a non profit corporation.

5. CTECH is a "public" school

6. CTECH served at risk youth and had a student population that was 80% minority.

Please feel free to e-mail me at paul [at] for additional information

Thank you

Paul Preston
Executive Director

Surprise, surprise, CTECH has decided to shutdown before a hearing before the Department of Education. The CTECH executive
Paul Preston Executive Director not surprisingly is incapable of actually dealing with the concrete charges that were lodged against his operation by the State Board of Education. His excuse now is he didn't get the money from the state but he does say that we don't need teachers anymore. Just give the kids Ipads. It is also interesting that his operation had radio ads on in Sacramento this last month advertising for students yet he says he doesn't have money? This BS scam is part of the Broad/Gates wrecking operation in public education.

Outsourcing education: The rise of virtual schools
Part 1—Virtual charters spreading across the US
By Nancy Hanover
30 August 2011
There are a growing number of American young people for whom “going to school” is now logging in at the family computer.
Virtual schools—those conducting all lessons via the Internet, as opposed to “brick and mortar” traditional schools—are now entrusted with the education of children as young as kindergarten and pre-kindergarten. An estimated 1.5 million American youth participate in online education today.
While a slash-and-burn campaign is destroying public education, the Internet revolution has been seized upon to force children to teach themselves—sometimes partially and sometimes entirely.
These initiatives have been given a green light by the Obama Administration’s Race To The Top, which rewards those districts which embrace charter schools, virtual schools, online learning, merit pay and destruction of teacher rights. All of these elements are, in fact, tied together. The 2012 federal budget has specially allocated $26.8 billion for such “reform-oriented competitive initiatives” including $372 million for charters.
These “reforms” take place as the administration spearheads unprecedented cuts to federal, state and local funding for education. Twenty-three states have enacted draconian changes in state funding this year alone. For example: Illinois is cutting overall aid to schools 11 percent, Kansas 6 percent, New York 6.1 percent, Ohio 7.5 percent, Pennsylvania 7.3 percent and Wisconsin 8 percent. [1]
Obama’s Education Secretary Arne Duncan has made no secret of the relationship between cuts and “reforms,” urging school districts to “do more with less.” [2]
In a speech last November 2010 Duncan hailed the example of virtual school Utah Open High School. He stated, “Technology can play a huge role in increasing educational productivity,” adding, “the military calls it a force multiplier.” Urging “better use of online learning, virtual schools, and other smart uses of technology,” he said that educational success requires schools to reduce “wasted time, energy, and money.”
Doing more with less—at least the latter is true. A survey on 20 virtual charters in 14 states indicates the cost of online learning is “roughly half that of traditional public schools” or about $4300, according to a Brookings Institute study. [3]
There is less social interaction, less collective learning, less peer engagement and less individual attention and certainly less teachers—and teachers with less benefits, less job security and less resources. But there is more profit for the education industry. In fact, simple math would indicate a $4300 per child cost would translate into $2,000 or more per student profit, depending on the state’s allocation from taxpayer funds. Without the hard costs of buildings, maintenance or transportation, virtual schools clearly can entice districts facing extreme budgetary pressures.
Some virtual charters require a parent or adult to sign a contract as an “education coach,” some employ “facilitators,” and some house groups of certified teachers in cubicles who respond to questions and check homework. To the producers of the Brookings report, this kind of warehouse teaching means “virtual charter schools offer the promise of increasing the productivity of the education system.” Clearly the potential increase in the ratio of students to teachers dramatically impacts what is considered productivity.
While not all online students attend full-fledged virtual schools, many of those part-timers take a significant segment of their coursework—including core classes—in computers labs, doing packaged programs while the teacher/facilitator functions as a room monitor.
There is no doubt that the Internet and the information revolution represent a huge educational and communications advance for society and should be thoroughly incorporated within education. These initiatives, however, are motivated not from the standpoint of expanding education, but from restricting it. The technology has become another vehicle to justify the shuttering of schools and programs and starve the public education system of funds.
Since most virtual schools are run by for-profit charters, the operating funds come from taxpayer coffers and are then funneled into various corporations. The fact is that virtual and online education is becoming a new source of huge profits.
The nation’s largest single provider of virtual schools is K12, a for-profit Education Management Organization founded and substantially owned by Michael R. Milken, the notorious “junk-bond king” and securities fraud felon (initially sentenced to 10 years, serving 22 months), together with former Goldman Sachs banker Ron Packard. This publicly traded firm now has about 81,000 students in 27 states, earning $1.5 million in profits last year. As of this year, its stock valuation has doubled. Three-quarters of K12 schools failed to show sufficient progress, according to a December 2010 study of companies running for-profit charter schools by researchers at the University of Colorado at Boulder and Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo. This number compared with 45 percent of the physical charter schools in the study. [4]
The biggest beneficiaries of this process, however, appear to be the investment firms behind the scenes. For example, in July of this year Providence Equity Partners purchased Blackboard, Inc. Blackboard, well known to parents and students across the country, is a learning management software company, through which thousands of students, teachers and parents communicate and download educational content. The company, only founded in 1997, was sold for $1.64 billion to Wall Street investors at substantially above its stock valuation, indicating confidence in future profits.
Wireless Generation, a testing and software online education program, was purchased for $2.3 billion in November 2010 by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp., currently embroiled in the cell phone hacking scandal.
Last April, Pearson, the owner of the Financial Times and book publisher Penguin, purchased SchoolNet, another software content and management firm, for $230 million. Pearson stated as motivation for the investment, “Barack Obama’s administration has allocated about $17bn to states and districts to support school improvement, through programmes such as Race to the Top, to use data and technology to help prepare students for college.”
Connections Academies is a private for-profit with virtual schools in 18 states. It is primarily owned by Apollo Global Management LLC, a private equity investment firm founded in 1990 by Leon Black (#310 in Forbes billionaire list, son of Eli Black of United Brands who committed suicide after being caught bribing the president of Hondurus.) The firm is one of the world’s largest private equity firms controlling over $70 billion in investments.
Charter Schools: A Report on Rethinking the Federal Role in Education, Brookings Brown Cen
Capitalist Controlled Education Schemes Eliminates Teachers For Greater Profits For Tech Companies While Students Suffer
September 3, 2011
In Classroom of Future, Stagnant Scores
CHANDLER, Ariz. — Amy Furman, a seventh-grade English teacher here, roams among 31 students sitting at their desks or in clumps on the floor. They’re studying Shakespeare’s “As You Like It” — but not in any traditional way.

In this technology-centric classroom, students are bent over laptops, some blogging or building Facebook pages from the perspective of Shakespeare’s characters. One student compiles a song list from the Internet, picking a tune by the rapper Kanye West to express the emotions of Shakespeare’s lovelorn Silvius.

The class, and the Kyrene School District as a whole, offer what some see as a utopian vision of education’s future. Classrooms are decked out with laptops, big interactive screens and software that drills students on every basic subject. Under a ballot initiative approved in 2005, the district has invested roughly $33 million in such technologies.

The digital push here aims to go far beyond gadgets to transform the very nature of the classroom, turning the teacher into a guide instead of a lecturer, wandering among students who learn at their own pace on Internet-connected devices.

“This is such a dynamic class,” Ms. Furman says of her 21st-century classroom. “I really hope it works.”

Hope and enthusiasm are soaring here. But not test scores.

Since 2005, scores in reading and math have stagnated in Kyrene, even as statewide scores have risen.

To be sure, test scores can go up or down for many reasons. But to many education experts, something is not adding up — here and across the country. In a nutshell: schools are spending billions on technology, even as they cut budgets and lay off teachers, with little proof that this approach is improving basic learning.

This conundrum calls into question one of the most significant contemporary educational movements. Advocates for giving schools a major technological upgrade — which include powerful educators, Silicon Valley titans and White House appointees — say digital devices let students learn at their own pace, teach skills needed in a modern economy and hold the attention of a generation weaned on gadgets.

Some backers of this idea say standardized tests, the most widely used measure of student performance, don’t capture the breadth of skills that computers can help develop. But they also concede that for now there is no better way to gauge the educational value of expensive technology investments.

“The data is pretty weak. It’s very difficult when we’re pressed to come up with convincing data,” said Tom Vander Ark, the former executive director for education at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and an investor in educational technology companies. When it comes to showing results, he said, “We better put up or shut up.”

And yet, in virtually the same breath, he said change of a historic magnitude is inevitably coming to classrooms this decade: “It’s one of the three or four biggest things happening in the world today.”

Critics counter that, absent clear proof, schools are being motivated by a blind faith in technology and an overemphasis on digital skills — like using PowerPoint and multimedia tools — at the expense of math, reading and writing fundamentals. They say the technology advocates have it backward when they press to upgrade first and ask questions later.

The spending push comes as schools face tough financial choices. In Kyrene, for example, even as technology spending has grown, the rest of the district’s budget has shrunk, leading to bigger classes and fewer periods of music, art and physical education.

At the same time, the district’s use of technology has earned it widespread praise. It is upheld as a model of success by the National School Boards Association, which in 2008 organized a visit by 100 educators from 17 states who came to see how the district was innovating.

And the district has banked its future and reputation on technology. Kyrene, which serves 18,000 kindergarten to eighth-grade students, mostly from the cities of Tempe, Phoenix and Chandler, uses its computer-centric classes as a way to attract children from around the region, shoring up enrollment as its local student population shrinks. More students mean more state dollars.

The issue of tech investment will reach a critical point in November. The district plans to go back to local voters for approval of $46.3 million more in taxes over seven years to allow it to keep investing in technology. That represents around 3.5 percent of the district’s annual spending, five times what it spends on textbooks.

The district leaders’ position is that technology has inspired students and helped them grow, but that there is no good way to quantify those achievements — putting them in a tough spot with voters deciding whether to bankroll this approach again.

“My gut is telling me we’ve had growth,” said David K. Schauer, the superintendent here. “But we have to have some measure that is valid, and we don’t have that.”

It gives him pause.

“We’ve jumped on bandwagons for different eras without knowing fully what we’re doing. This might just be the new bandwagon,” he said. “I hope not.”

A Dearth of Proof

The pressure to push technology into the classroom without proof of its value has deep roots.

In 1997, a science and technology committee assembled by President Clinton issued an urgent call about the need to equip schools with technology.

If such spending was not increased by billions of dollars, American competitiveness could suffer, according to the committee, whose members included educators like Charles M. Vest, then president of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and business executives like John A. Young, the former chief executive of Hewlett-Packard.

To support its conclusion, the committee’s report cited the successes of individual schools that embraced computers and saw test scores rise or dropout rates fall. But while acknowledging that the research on technology’s impact was inadequate, the committee urged schools to adopt it anyhow.

The report’s final sentence read: “The panel does not, however, recommend that the deployment of technology within America’s schools be deferred pending the completion of such research.”

Since then, the ambitions of those who champion educational technology have grown — from merely equipping schools with computers and instructional software, to putting technology at the center of the classroom and building the teaching around it.

Kyrene had the same sense of urgency as President Clinton’s committee when, in November 2005, it asked voters for an initial $46.3 million for laptops, classroom projectors, networking gear and other technology for teachers and administrators.

Before that, the district had given 300 elementary school teachers five laptops each. Students and teachers used them with great enthusiasm, said Mark Share, the district’s 64-year-old director of technology, a white-bearded former teacher from the Bronx with an iPhone clipped to his belt.

“If we know something works, why wait?” Mr. Share told The Arizona Republic the month before the vote. The district’s pitch was based not on the idea that test scores would rise, but that technology represented the future.

The measure, which faced no organized opposition, passed overwhelmingly. It means that property owners in the dry, sprawling flatlands here, who live in apartment complexes, cookie-cutter suburban homes and salmon-hued mini-mansions, pay on average $75 more a year in taxes, depending on the assessed value of their homes, according to the district.

But the proof sought by President Clinton’s committee remains elusive even today, though researchers have been seeking answers.

Many studies have found that technology has helped individual classrooms, schools or districts. For instance, researchers found that writing scores improved for eighth-graders in Maine after they were all issued laptops in 2002. The same researchers, from the University of Southern Maine, found that math performance picked up among seventh- and eighth-graders after teachers in the state were trained in using the laptops to teach.

A question plaguing many education researchers is how to draw broader inferences from such case studies, which can have serious limitations. For instance, in the Maine math study, it is hard to separate the effect of the laptops from the effect of the teacher training.

Educators would like to see major trials years in length that clearly demonstrate technology’s effect. But such trials are extraordinarily difficult to conduct when classes and schools can be so different, and technology is changing so quickly.

And often the smaller studies produce conflicting results. Some classroom studies show that math scores rise among students using instructional software, while others show that scores actually fall. The high-level analyses that sum up these various studies, not surprisingly, give researchers pause about whether big investments in technology make sense.

One broad analysis of laptop programs like the one in Maine, for example, found that such programs are not a major factor in student performance.

“Rather than being a cure-all or silver bullet, one-to-one laptop programs may simply amplify what’s already occurring — for better or worse,” wrote Bryan Goodwin, spokesman for Mid-continent Research for Education and Learning, a nonpartisan group that did the study, in an essay. Good teachers, he said, can make good use of computers, while bad teachers won’t, and they and their students could wind up becoming distracted by the technology.

A review by the Education Department in 2009 of research on online courses — which more than one million K-12 students are taking — found that few rigorous studies had been done and that policy makers “lack scientific evidence” of their effectiveness.. A division of the Education Department that rates classroom curriculums has found that much educational software is not an improvement over textbooks.

Larry Cuban, an education professor emeritus at Stanford University, said the research did not justify big investments by districts.

“There is insufficient evidence to spend that kind of money. Period, period, period,” he said. “There is no body of evidence that shows a trend line.”

Some advocates for technology disagree.

Karen Cator, director of the office of educational technology in the United States Department of Education, said standardized test scores were an inadequate measure of the value of technology in schools. Ms. Cator, a former executive at Apple Computer, said that better measurement tools were needed but, in the meantime, schools knew what students needed.

“In places where we’ve had a large implementing of technology and scores are flat, I see that as great,” she said. “Test scores are the same, but look at all the other things students are doing: learning to use the Internet to research, learning to organize their work, learning to use professional writing tools, learning to collaborate with others.”

For its part, Kyrene has become a model to many by training teachers to use technology and getting their ideas on what inspires them. As Mr. Share says in the signature file at the bottom of every e-mail he sends: “It’s not the stuff that counts — it’s what you do with it that matters.”

So people here are not sure what to make of the stagnant test scores. Many of the district’s schools, particularly those in more affluent areas, already had relatively high scores, making it a challenge to push them significantly higher. A jump in students qualifying for free or reduced-price lunches was largely a result of the recession, not a shift in the population the district serves, said Nancy Dundenhoefer, its community relations manager.

Mr. Share, whose heavy influence on more than $7 million a year in technology spending has made him a power broker, said he did not think demographic changes were a good explanation.

“You could argue that test scores would be lower without the technology, but that’s a copout,” he said, adding that the district should be able to deliver some measure of what he considers its obvious success with technology. “It’s a conundrum.”

Results aside, it’s easy to see why technology is such an easy sell here, given the enthusiasm surrounding it in some classrooms.

Engaging With Paper

“I start with pens and pencils,” says Ms. Furman, 41, who is short and bubbly and devours young-adult novels to stay in touch with students. Her husband teaches eighth grade in the district, and their son and daughter are both students.

At the beginning of the school year, Ms. Furman tries to inspire her students at Aprende Middle School to write, a task she says becomes increasingly difficult when students reach the patently insecure middle-school years.

In one class in 2009 she had them draw a heart on a piece of paper. Inside the heart, she asked them to write the names of things and people dear to them. One girl started to cry, then another, as the class shared their stories.

It was something Ms. Furman doubted would have happened if the students had been using computers. “There is a connection between the physical hand on the paper and the words on the page,” she said. “It’s intimate.”

But, she said, computers play an important role in helping students get their ideas down more easily, edit their work so they can see instant improvement, and share it with the class. She uses a document camera to display a student’s paper at the front of the room for others to dissect.

Ms. Furman said the creative and editing tools, by inspiring students to make quick improvements to their writing, pay dividends in the form of higher-quality work. Last year, 14 of her students were chosen as finalists in a statewide essay contest that asked them how literature had affected their lives. “I was running down the hall, weeping, saying, ‘Get these students together. We need to tell them they’ve won!’ ”

Other teachers say the technology is the only way to make this generation learn.

“They’re inundated with 24/7 media, so they expect it,” said Sharon Smith, 44, a gregarious seventh-grade social studies teacher whose classroom is down the hall from Ms. Furman’s.

Minutes earlier, Ms. Smith had taught a Civil War lesson in a way unimaginable even 10 years ago. With the lights off, a screen at the front of the room posed a question: “Jefferson Davis was Commander of the Union Army: True or False?”

The 30 students in the classroom held wireless clickers into which they punched their answers. Seconds later, a pie chart appeared on the screen: 23 percent answered “True,” 70 percent “False,” and 6 percent didn’t know.

The students hooted and hollered, reacting to the instant poll. Ms. Smith then drew the students into a conversation about the answers.

The enthusiasm underscores a key argument for investing in classroom technology: student engagement.

That idea is central to the National Education Technology Plan released by the White House last year, which calls for the “revolutionary transformation” of schools. The plan endorses bringing “state-of-the art technology into learning to enable, motivate and inspire all students.”

But the research, what little there is of it, does not establish a clear link between computer-inspired engagement and learning, said Randy Yerrick, associate dean of educational technology at the University of Buffalo.

For him, the best educational uses of computers are those that have no good digital equivalent. As examples, he suggests using digital sensors in a science class to help students observe chemical or physical changes, or using multimedia tools to reach disabled children.

But he says engagement is a “fluffy term” that can slide past critical analysis. And Professor Cuban at Stanford argues that keeping children engaged requires an environment of constant novelty, which cannot be sustained.

“There is very little valid and reliable research that shows the engagement causes or leads to higher academic achievement,” he said.

Instruct or Distract?

There are times in Kyrene when the technology seems to allow students to disengage from learning: They are left at computers to perform a task but wind up playing around, suggesting, as some researchers have found, that computers can distract and not instruct.

The 23 kindergartners in Christy Asta’s class at Kyrene de las Brisas are broken into small groups, a common approach in Kyrene. A handful stand at desks, others sit at computers, typing up reports.

Xavier Diaz, 6, sits quietly, chair pulled close to his Dell laptop, playing “Alien Addition.” In this math arcade game, Xavier controls a pod at the bottom of the screen that shoots at spaceships falling from the sky. Inside each ship is a pair of numbers. Xavier’s goal is to shoot only the spaceship with numbers that are the sum of the number inside his pod.

But Xavier is just shooting every target in sight. Over and over. Periodically, the game gives him a message: “Try again.” He tries again.

“Even if he doesn’t get it right, it’s getting him to think quicker,” says the teacher, Ms. Asta. She leans down next to him: “Six plus one is seven. Click here.” She helps him shoot the right target. “See, you shot him.”

Perhaps surprisingly given the way young people tend to gravitate toward gadgets, students here seem divided about whether they prefer learning on computers or through more traditional methods.

In a different class, Konray Yuan and Marisa Guisto, both 7, take turns touching letters on the interactive board on the wall. They are playing a spelling game, working together to spell the word “cool.” Each finds one of the letters in a jumbled grid, touching them in the proper order.

Marisa says there isn’t a difference between learning this way and learning on paper. Konray prefers paper, he says, because you get extra credit for good penmanship.

But others, particularly older students, say they enjoy using the technology tools. One of Ms. Furman’s students, Julia Schroder, loved building a blog to write about Shakespeare’s “As You Like It.”

In another class, she and several classmates used a video camera to film a skit about Woodrow Wilson’s 14-point speech during World War I — an approach she preferred to speaking directly to the class.

“I’d be pretty bummed if I had to do a live thing,” she said. “It’s nerve-racking.”

Teachers vs. Tech

Even as students are getting more access to computers here, they are getting less access to teachers.

Reflecting budget cuts, class sizes have crept up in Kyrene, as they have in many places. For example, seventh-grade classes like Ms. Furman’s that had 29 to 31 students grew to more like 31 to 33.

“You can’t continue to be effective if you keep adding one student, then one student, then one student,” Ms. Furman said. “I’m surprised parents aren’t going into the classrooms saying ‘Whoa.’ ”

Advocates of high-tech classrooms say computers are not intended to replace teachers. But they do see a fundamental change in the teacher’s role. Their often-cited mantra is that teachers should go from being “a sage on the stage to a guide on the side.”

And they say that, technology issues aside, class sizes can in fact afford to grow without hurting student performance.

Professor Cuban at Stanford said research showed that student performance did not improve significantly until classes fell under roughly 15 students, and did not get much worse unless they rose above 30.

At the same time, he says bigger classes can frustrate teachers, making it hard to attract and retain talented ones.

In Kyrene, growing class sizes reflect spending cuts; the district’s maintenance and operation budget fell to $95 million this year from $106 million in 2008. The district cannot use the money designated for technology to pay for other things. And the teachers, who make roughly $33,000 to $57,000 a year, have not had a raise since 2008.

Many teachers have second jobs, some in restaurants and retail, said Erin Kirchoff, president of the Kyrene Education Association, the teacher’s association. Teachers talk of being exhausted from teaching all day, then selling shoes at the mall.

Ms. Furman works during the summer at the Kyrene district offices. But that job is being eliminated in 2014, and she is worried about the income loss.

“Without it, we don’t go on vacation,” she said.

Money for other things in the district is short as well. Many teachers say they regularly bring in their own supplies, like construction paper.

“We have Smart Boards in every classroom but not enough money to buy copy paper, pencils and hand sanitizer,” said Nicole Cates, a co-president of the Parent Teacher Organization at Kyrene de la Colina, an elementary school. “You don’t go buy a new outfit when you don’t have enough dinner to eat.”

But she loves the fact that her two children, a fourth-grader and first-grader, are learning technology, including PowerPoint and educational games.

To some who favor high-tech classrooms, the resource squeeze presents an opportunity. Their thinking is that struggling schools will look for more efficient ways to get the job done, creating an impetus to rethink education entirely.

“Let’s hope the fiscal crisis doesn’t get better too soon. It’ll slow down reform,” said Tom Watkins, the former superintendent for the Michigan schools, and now a consultant to businesses in the education sector.

Clearly, the push for technology is to the benefit of one group: technology companies.

The Sellers

It is 4:30 a.m. on a Tuesday. Mr. Share, the director of technology at Kyrene and often an early riser, awakens to the hard sell. Awaiting him at his home computer are six pitches from technology companies.

It’s just another day for the man with the checkbook.

“I get one pitch an hour,” he said. He finds most of them useless and sometimes galling: “They’re mostly car salesmen. I think they believe in the product they’re selling, but they don’t have a leg to stand on as to why the product is good or bad.”

Mr. Share bases his buying decisions on two main factors: what his teachers tell him they need, and his experience. For instance, he said he resisted getting the interactive whiteboards sold as Smart Boards until, one day in 2008, he saw a teacher trying to mimic the product with a jury-rigged projector setup.

“It was an ‘Aha!’ moment,” he said, leading him to buy Smart Boards, made by a company called Smart Technologies.

He can make that kind of decision because he has money — and the vendors know it. Technology companies track which districts get federal funding and which have passed tax assessments for technology, like Kyrene.

This is big business. Sales of computer software to schools for classroom use were $1.89 billion in 2010. Spending on hardware is more difficult to measure, researchers say, but some put the figure at five times that amount.

The vendors relish their relationship with Kyrene.

“I joke I should have an office here, I’m here so often,” said Will Dunham, a salesman for CCS Presentation Systems, a leading reseller of Smart Boards in Arizona.

Last summer, the district paid $500,000 to CCS to replace ceiling-hung projectors in 400 classrooms. The alternative was to spend $100,000 to replace their aging bulbs, which Mr. Share said were growing dimmer, causing teachers to sometimes have to turn down the lights to see a crisp image.

Mr. Dunham said the purchase made sense because new was better. “I could take a used car down to the mechanic and get it all fixed up and still have a used car.”

But Ms. Kirchoff, the president of the teachers’ association, is furious. “My projector works just fine,” she said. “Give me Kleenex, Kleenex, Kleenex!”

The Parents

Last November, Kyrene went back to voters to ask them to pay for another seven years of technology spending in the district. The previous measure from 2005 will not expire for two years. But the district wanted to get ahead of the issue, and leave wiggle room just in case the new measure didn’t pass.

It didn’t. It lost by 96 votes out of nearly 50,000 cast. Mr. Share and others here said they attributed the failure to poor wording on the ballot that made it look like a new tax increase, rather than the continuation of one.

They say they will not make the same wording mistake this time. And they say the burden on taxpayers is modest.

“It’s so much bang for the buck,” said Jeremy Calles, Kyrene’s interim chief financial officer. For a small investment, he said, “we get state-of-the-art technology.”

Regardless, some taxpayers have already decided that they will not vote yes.

“When you look at the big picture, it’s hard to say ‘yes, spend more on technology’ when class sizes increase,” said Kameron Bybee, 34, who has two children in district schools. “The district has made up its mind to go forward with the technologically advanced path. Come hell or high water.”

Other parents feel conflicted. Eduarda Schroder, 48, whose daughter Julia was in Ms. Furman’s English class, worked on the political action committee last November to push through an extension of the technology tax. Computers, she says, can make learning more appealing. But she’s also concerned that test scores haven’t gone up.

She says she is starting to ask a basic question. “Do we really need technology to learn?” she said. “It’s a very valid time to ask the question, right before this goes on the ballot.”
by Paul Preston
You stated: "Paul Preston Executive Director not surprisingly is incapable of actually dealing with the concrete charges".

CTECH is more than capable of dealing with the facts around our school along with the charges from the state and will make the appropriate responses in the near future.

I'm not sure where you got the information that I stated "he does say that we don't need teachers anymore". What we did discover this last year with the I Pad is the teacher is more essential than ever.

The money that the state has is essential to make the last payroll for the teachers and the rest of the staff.

Advertising was done through a corporate relationship with no cost to CTECH. Yes we were advertising to increase enrollment which did go up substantially in the last month. The increase in enrollment would have improved CTECH's chances to survive the second year.

You stated: "This BS scam is part of the Broad/Gates wrecking operation in public education".

Once again CTECH is a not for profit and not affiliated with the Gates / Broad Foundations.

However you make a valid point that I share with you about Gates / Broad Foundations and that is these corporate models are in fact starting to dominate the charter school landscape thus squeezing out small charter school operators.


Paul Preston

by Paul Preston (paul [at]
You stated: "Paul Preston Executive Director not surprisingly is incapable of actually dealing with the concrete charges". CTECH is more than capable of dealing with the facts around our school along with the charges from the state and will make the appropriate responses in the near future. I'm not sure where you got the information that I stated "he does say that we don't need teachers anymore". What we did discover this last year with the I Pad is the teacher is more essential than ever. The money that the state has is essential to make the last payroll for the teachers and the rest of the staff. Advertising was done through a corporate relationship with no cost to CTECH. Yes we were advertising to increase enrollment which did go up substantially in the last month. The increase in enrollment would have improved CTECH's chances to survive the second year. You stated: "This BS scam is part of the Broad/Gates wrecking operation in public education". Once again CTECH is a not for profit and not affiliated with the Gates / Broad Foundations. However you make a valid point that I share with you about Gates / Broad Foundations and that is these corporate models are in fact starting to dominate the charter school landscape thus squeezing out small charter school operators.
Maybe operator Preston can say who paid for the free radio advertising. Were they connected to the billionaires pushing privatization of schools? This is another example of the corrupt practices that are systemic in the corporatization and privatization of education in California and nationally. Preston blames Gates and Broad billionaires and their foundations but these privateers facilitated and allowed and their placements of operatives in the state education system and certification groups including the The Democrat-Republicans including Demo labor supported Congressman George Miller and California Democrat Assembly leaders John Perez and Darrel Steinberg helped wreck education with their support of No Child Left Behind and "race to the top".
The agency's helping this scam included the Western Association of Schools and Colleges Accrediting Commission for Schools which helped grease the ways for this corrupt operation by giving them accreditation.

The California Teacher Association and California Federation of Teachers are also surprisingly quite about this operation and those responsible for the closure.

Sacramento School shutdown leaves students, teachers scrambling-Another Corrupt Charter Scam
7:36 PM, Sep 2, 2011 | comments

Written by
Karen Massie

WEST SACRAMENTO, CA - The California College, Career and Technical Education Center has shutdown in West Sacramento leaving teachers and students and staff scrambling to find somewhere else to go.

Some parents apparently found out about the charter school's unexpected closure when they arrived for an orientation meeting Thursday and found the school's doors locked.

Kirsten Malork showed up Friday to find out what was going on.

"I've heard the news, I just want to see for myself," Malork said. "My son Brandon Perry was going to be enrolled in the school. I was thinking okay, great. He's going to have a sense of direction. This school looked really good. It looked promising."

When CCCTec opened last fall, every student was provided with an IPad.

Owner and school superintendent Paul Preston said the school was designed for students who had struggled at other schools. They would be able to get enough credits to graduate, as well as, learn vocational skills, such as, auto repair, woodworking and graphic design.

Preston said the school had space for 200 students. But teacher Kathryn Schroeder-Kelly said when school ended last spring only about 66 students were enrolled.

Fewer students severely reduced the amount of per pupil fundingthe school received from the state.

Schroeder-Kelly said the school's money problems became apparent to teachers in February.

"My paycheck bounced," Schroeder-Kelly said. "That's when I thought, well, this is weird. But I got a cashier's check and everything was fine."

Then two months later Schroeder-Kelly said Preston informed teachers their checks would be late.

"Eventually our checks were issued," Schroeder-Kelly said. "Some went through but some of them bounced."

A letter sent from the State Board of Education to the school last June said, "CCCTec appears to have failed to meet generally accepted accounting principles, or engaged in fiscal mismanagement."

The letter said the school had not paid teachers, several vendors and had missed payments to the California State TeachersRetirement System.

Attempts to contact Preston fell short because the school's phone number rang to a busy.

Preston posted an apology notice on the school's door blaming "budgetary confines and a lack of funding" for CCCTec's financialwoes.

The school's Facebook page talked about a $750,000 grant it had received. The California Department of Education is demanding that $57,000 be returned.

Malork said she knows the school received even more money from the state.

"What happened to the money?" Malork said. "It should have benefited the kids around here that now have no where to go."

Another notice on the school's door referred students to other schools in West Sacramento.

Schroeder-Kelly is looking for another job and said she hopes her students land in someone else's class.

"Believe in yourselves," Schroeder-Kelly said. "Continue working and make sure you get in school and keep your eye on the prize."

By Karen Massie, kmassie [at]

by Paul Preston
You stated: “The letter said the school had not paid teachers, several vendors and had missed payments to the California State Teachers Retirement System..”
CCCTEC responded to the allegations in a letter to the State Board July 22, 2011.
All STRS payments will be made whole when CCCTEC goes through its final closure. All bounced checks have been paid.

You Stated: ” But teacher Kathryn Schroeder-Kelly said when school ended last spring only about 66 students were enrolled” At the end of the school year CCCTEC’s enrollment was 105 students in grades 9-10. CCCTEC served 157 students over the 2010-2011 school year. For the opening of the 2011-2012 school year CCCTEC had enrolled over 200 students in grades 9-11.

You Stated: “and the $750,000 grant”.
The amount of the grant award was actually greater at $1 million. The grant was divided into thirds with payments made over three years. For the 2010-2011 the amount granted to CCCTEC was $338,000. The money was used for staff salaries and supplies.

There was another “start up” grant called the Public Charter Schools Grant Program (PCSGP) that CCCTEC was granted on December 28, 2011 in the amount of $575,000. Originally this money was expected to arrive at CCCTEC by October 2010.
The first amount of money $255,000 was delayed to CCCTEC until mid February 2011 with another $49,000 coming in April 2011. (The state as it is doing with all start-up charter schools is still holding onto the remaining $271,000). This delay caused severe cash flow issues for CCCTEC. CCCTEC is not the only new charter to suffer these types of delays in cash flow from the state. In the Sac Bee this last June this editorial appeared
This is just one of the quotes from the articles:
“Add to this uncertainty a painfully slow state bureaucracy, which has been trickling out funds at a snail’s pace. State funds to reimburse charter schools for lease costs in low-income areas have gone to only 40 of 300 schools. And while the state last summer celebrated getting $300 million in federal charter school startup grant funds, the state has doled out money to only 20 schools, down from the usual 55 to 65 a year. Charter schools have complained bitterly, to no avail.”

To further follow-up on this article in 2009-2010 school year 104 new charter schools were funded from the PCSGP. In the 2010-2011 school year that number was 30. In 2011-2012 the number of Charter Schools funded by the state of California from the PCSGP maybe “0″. The state is out of money for education and will hold onto the federal dollars. I stated to the State School Board in September 2011 that the lack of these funds to new and start-up Charter Schools will put all new and start-up charter schools at risk of closure for lack of funds. That number of Charter Schools at risk of closure is estimated at 93 schools.

In another article from the Sac Bee this last August 2011
“California loses $11.5 million in federal funding for charter schools”
State CDE Charter Schools staff failed to report this to the State Board until this article appeared in the Sac Bee even though CDE staff were aware of the non compliance issues for over a year. The actual loss to the Charter Schools Grant Program (PCSGP) hence to new start up charter schools is $20 million at this time with the remaining $280 million at risk since the compliance issues have not been addressed by CDE staff.
This is the same staff who filed the complaints against CCCTEC.

Please feel free to contact me at 530 632-9786 or e-mail me at paul [at] for further information.

Thank you

Paul Preston
Executive Director
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