During Thanksgiving week, Cloaking Inequity’s visitors voted on the 1st Annual Educational Policy Turkey of the Year. One of the contestants was Great Hearts Academies charter management organization. I wrote:
Recently granted a new charter in Texas. Discussed on CI here and here and here. (An interesting book about Great Hearts entitled It’s All About the Information: What Great Hearts Academies Doesn’t Want You to Know)
Innocuous right? Until I received this email from Great Hearts (To be fair I redacted the author’s name and have not edited the email whatsoever):
Professor Vasquez Heilig,
Please see the brief note below regarding a gentleman that has sent you a document that you have linked to on your blog. That he sent this document (filled with blatantly false statements, half-truths, and distortions) is itself a violation of law, and we request that you remove the link to it.
Great Hearts Academies (Great Hearts) entered into a Settlement Agreement with Dr. David Alberts in 2009, regarding termination of Dr. Alberts’ employment. Dr. Alberts violated the terms of the settlement agreement, and Great Hearts initiated a lawsuit in Maricopa County Superior Court requesting, among other relief, a preliminary injunction prohibiting Dr. Alberts from violating the “No Contact and Non-Disparagement” provisions in the Settlement Agreement. The Court issued the Preliminary Injunction. Dr. Alberts, however, ignored the Injunction, and the Court found Dr. Alberts in Contempt of Court and issued a Civil Arrest Warrant. That finding is attached to this email. [Bold emphasis was in original email]
Please feel free to call or email me to discuss this specific issue or to discuss any other concerns you might have about Great Hearts Academies. We are excited to open our first Texas school in San Antonio! I appreciate the work you have done on behalf of students in Texas—you and I may disagree on some matters, but we are driven by the same mission to provide increased educational quality to all students. I guarantee (from reading your blog) we can find plenty of common ground in our opinions regarding NCLB, high stakes testing, the ESEA waivers being granted.
Thanks so much, and again, don’t hesitate to reach out to discuss any of this further,
P.S. Not that you would, but please do not post this response to your blog or forward it to the gentleman in question—I really don’t want to engage in any sort of back and forth with him as that has never proven productive.
It appears that Dr. Alberts took a cash payment and signed a confidentiality agreement when he left Great Hearts Academies (Does this sound strangely similar to how corporations function?). He was naughty and wrote a book about Great Hearts instead. Great Hearts took him to court.
Side note: Charters do not openly submit to being studied— just ask my graduate student Amy Williams. She contacted EVERY charter in the state of Texas to study their enrollment of special populations (Special Education, ELLs, etc). Of the more than 200 charter districts in the state, less than 15 agreed to participate in her dissertation research. Imagine if our traditional public schools refused to participate in research?
…So Great Hearts has banned this book? Now that makes me more interested than I was before. Honestly.
Someone recently characterized the banned book to me via email:
In between his invective are a few good bits of background information that might be valuable to some people looking at the Great Hearts expansion.
I would agree. But I will let you be the judge. No pun intended. Check out the banned book It’s All About the Information: What Great Hearts Academies Doesn’t Want You to Know currently ONLY available here at Cloaking Inequity.
p.s. At the very least, you have to love the last line of the book.
Edit 12/5/2012: The point is not about the quality of the book— it is the democratic control of our schools. There is clearly much higher quality work on Great Hearts out there. See for example David Safiers blog. The interesting nuggets are few and far between, but at least you have the information to make the decision. From my experience as a researcher, charters are often very resistant to sharing information with the public. Or in the case of KIPP, being totally honest about the data. Or in the case of Great Hearts, seeking an arrest warrant.
For the Great Hearts Academic charter management organization’s lawyers:
I called the Maricopa County Superior Court on 12/3/2012. They notified me that the case against Dr. Alberts was dismissed on October 9 of 2010.
I am citing this book as an important part of my academic research on charter schools which is directly related to my scholarship and regular duties at the University of Texas at Austin. It was obtained via the internet.
Materials provided on Cloaking Inequity are provided “as is,” without warranty of any kind, either express or implied, including, without limitation, warranties of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose and non-infringement. Cloaking Inequity specifically does not make any warranties or representations as to the accuracy or completeness of any such Materials. Cloaking Inequity frequently adds, changes, improves or updates the Materials on this Site without notice.
Under no circumstances shall Cloaking Inequity be liable for any loss, damage, liability or expense incurred or suffered that is claimed to have resulted from the use of this Site, including, without limitation, any fault, error, omission, interruption or delay with respect thereto.
The use of this Site is at the User’s sole risk. Under no circumstances, including but not limited to negligence, shall Cloaking or its author be liable for any direct, indirect, incidental, special or consequential damages, even if Cloaking Inequity has been advised of the possibility of such damages. The User specifically acknowledges and agrees that Cloaking Inequity is not liable for any conduct of any User.
This site may contain advice, opinions and statements of various information providers. Cloaking Inequity does not represent or endorse the accuracy or reliability of any advice, opinion, statement or other information provided by any information provider, any User of this Site or any other person or entity. Reliance upon any such advice, opinion, statement, or other information shall also be at the User’s own risk. Neither Cloaking Inequity nor its contributors, nor any of their respective agents, employees, information providers or content providers, shall be liable to any User or anyone else for any inaccuracy, error, omission, interruption, deletion, defect, alteration of or use of any content herein, or for its timeliness or completeness, nor shall they be liable for any failure of performance, computer virus or communication line failure, regardless of cause, or for any damages resulting therefrom.
As a condition of use of this Site, the User agrees to indemnify Cloaking Inequity and its contributors from and against any and all actions, claims, losses, damages, liabilities and expenses (including reasonable attorneys’ fees) arising out of the User’s use of this Site, including, without limitation, any claims alleging facts that if true would constitute a breach by the User of these Terms and Conditions. If the User is dissatisfied with any Material on this Site or with any of its Terms and Conditions of Use, the User’s sole and exclusive remedy is to discontinue using the Site.
This Site may contain links and references to third-party web sites. The linked sites are usually not under the control of Cloaking Inequity, and Cloaking Inequity is not responsible for the content of any linked site or any link contained in a linked site. Cloaking Inequity provides these links only as a convenience, and the inclusion of a link or reference does not imply the endorsement of the linked site by Cloaking Inequity.
Thank you to the United Nations for this standard statement.