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    One LULAC Chapter Asks For An Investigation Of HISD's Troubled-Kid School

    CEP runs the same deal in Philadelphia, in Pittsburgh, in Atlanta, among others. The ACLU, which filed a lawsuit against CEP in 2008, posted a Profile of Kids at Risk in Atlanta which is shocking and tragic. One boy, for example, has been in a CEP school for three years--in the 8th grade the whole time.

    The Nation took on CEP four years ago, observing that CEP is a product of the high-stakes testing and accountability approach to education reform, which aims to run public schools like businesses whose products are students. Yet holding CEP accountable has been a quixotic undertaking because of the fluidity of the student population, the malleability of statistics and the company's political savvy.

    Margaret Downing has been vigilant in covering CEP in Houston. Here's Selling Kids to HISD.

    You can search the whole CEP site and will not find mention of any employee. But news stories indicate that Randle Richard, a small-town lawyer, founded CEP in 1996.

    CEP was formed in Nashville by four men with heavy Republican connections.CEO Randle Richardson, was chairman of the Tennessee Republican Party from 1992 to 1995 and oversaw a 1994 electoral sweep in which Bill Frist and Fred Thompson won Senate seats and Don Sundquist was elected governor.

    Another co-founder, John Danielson, would become chief of staff for Education Secretary Rod Paige under George W. Bush. One of the initial investors, Tom Beasley, had chaired the Tennessee GOP before Richardson did.

    Beasley also founded the Corrections Corporation of America, which runs privatized prisons. Founded in 1984, CCA has grown to become the sixth-largest prison system in the country ΓΆ€“ trailing only the U.S. Bureau of Prisons and four states. But the company also has faced criticism for understaffing, high turnover and lax security. According to a 1999 state audit, neglect of medical care and security at CCA facilities in Georgia amounted to "borderline deliberate indifference."
    --by Scott Freeman, Creative Loafing Media

    By Margaret Downing

    A Houston chapter of LULAC (The League of United Latin American Citizens) is asking the Texas Education Agency and the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts to investigate the costs that the Houston ISD incurs by sending its misbehaving students to the two private alternative schools run by Community Education Partners.

    The virtually identical letters from LULAC don't actually name CEP (that's because of ongoing litigation; the suit filed by CEP against its chief critic Robert Kimball) but they describe it unmistakably.

    Edward Ybarra, president of LULAC Council 402 in Houston, writes that since 1999, HISD has spent more than $180 million to the for-profit corporation to manage two alternative schools in the district.

    "During that ten year period, 14,772 students were referred to the program. According to HISD, only 811 have graduated. . . ."

    Read the rest of this blog by going to the hot link below.

    — Margaret Downing
    Houston Press blog


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