Today is the last day of school at Marcus Garvey Academy, a Cleveland charter school. The school is shutting down in response to state laws that close charter schools for poor academic performance.
This is the same school where the Ohio Department of Education found evidence of “improper test-taking” in previous years.
School leaders are encouraging parents to send their children to a new charter school in the same neighborhood, one operated by a for-profit company with a shaky track record in Ohio.
In a letter to parents, the Marcus Garvey school board chair and principal wrote that they believe Steve Sanders Academy, a charter school about three miles east of Marcus Garvey, would be the best fit for students:
We are of the opinion that Steve Sanders Academy’s grade levels, class sizes and curriculum compare most closely to Marcus Garvey Academy, and Steve Sanders Academy could effect a smooth transition for our families, if they choose to move to that school. We are also working with Steve Sanders Academy to allow as many of our teachers as possible to follow their students.
Steve Sanders Academy is operated by Mosaica Education, one of the country’s largest for-profit school management companies.
Of the 11 Ohio charter schools that Mosaica operated last school year, six received the equivalent of a “D” or “F” from the state. Some of those schools have since closed — or are at risk of closing if they don’t improve this year — due to poor academic performance.
Good schools are in short supply in the area around Marcus Garvey. Of the 14 schools in the neighborhood, only three are rated higher than a “D” or “F.” (Those three outliers are A-rated charter schools.)
State law says that charter schools that fail to meet academic standards for several years in a row must close. Marcus Garvey was scheduled to close by the end of the current school year. The school’s board decided to close early because they believed realize the school would not have enough money to operate through the end of the school year.