News Log

Posts on Carrie Bailey's and Rachel Randolph's cases

Feb 1, 2005

Delivered memorandum to attorney for review and for presenting required items for compensation to the board's attorney.

Feb 4, 2005

Received letter from board's attorney demanding that we cover for the board by giving them items which would have been considered and handled in a competent transition plan.

Feb 5, 2005

Forwarded letter to our attorney (through whom the communication should have gone).

Feb 14, 2005

Our attorney sent letter to board's attorney reminding him that the board owns neither the website, nor the email address, nor the P.O. Box that Khepera was using, and therefore has no basis for making demands. He invited the board to the table for talks.

Apr 16, 2005

After two months of silence we are assuming that the board is not interested in collaborative dialog. As such, formal complaints are underway under which they will be required to submit accounts of their actions to evaluating officials.

Jun 18, 2005

The wheels of justice turn slowly. A formal complaint against the board was logged in November 2004. A hearing was held four months later in March 2005. There is no telling when the next step will occur.

So our proactive focus is now on obtaining the minutes where the board terminated Carrie Bailey's position. Note that in accordance with the Sunshine Act, official actions must take place in open meetings. In addition, the minutes are public records. However, advice from education officials, requests from offices of local politicians, and repeated calls from the public have not resulted in the release of the minutes. The board is stonewalling. We therefore have started a formal process for obtaining these public records.

Thanks to everyone who requested the minutes on Carrie Bailey's behalf. The lack of results can be frustrating. However, we must realize that public officials, who make back room decisions that violate the interests of the greater community and then hide behind bureaucracy, depend upon frustration to lead to complacency that then turns the violation into status quo. For the sake of the present and the future, activists should learn about the Sunshine Act and the Freedom of Information Act and attempt to apply them in this case. The purpose of these laws is to discourage people with state power from undermining the integrity of and confidence in the democratic process. This is what the board is doing.

One line in the termination letter is of interest to the greater community. The line reads "After several lengthy discussions with legal counsel and the School District of Philadelphia, the Khepera Board of Trustees had determined that your employment with Khepera Charter School is terminated." We need to know whom at and the School District of Philadelphia was giving the board advice on terminating Carrie Bailey's position.

Jul 28, 2005

A lawsuit has been filed. The primary count is a complaint of Unjust Enrichment. The purpose of Unjust Enrichment laws is to discourage the use of positions of power to appropriate the property and work of others. We feel that the board's watching Carrie Bailey expend three years of personal sacrifice and moving at the first opportunity to terminate her position thereby gaining unfettered control of a two million dollar budget constitute unjust enrichment.

The complaint addressed in the previous posting referred to a complaint logged by Rachel Randolph at Pennsylvania's Human Relations Commission. Rachel Randolph was instrumental in transforming the school from a vision to a reality. She would have been outspoken in questioning board actions. Her position was terminated at the same time as Carrie Bailey's.

We will not either case fritter away through complacency. It is in the interest of the greater community to expose and remedy abuses of power. Thanks to all who emailed messages of support and empathy.

Sep 25, 2005

The tragedy is unfolding just as every seasoned educator familiar with this case predicted. The 2005/05 Pennsylvania System of School Assessment and the 2004/05 Adequate Yearly Progress reports are in. And Khepera received failing grades. (Links to the reports are on the Records of Khepera's Performance page.) Khepera received an AYP WARNING. This is despite the fact that Carrie Bailey developed a plan and earned a $500,000 grant based on that plan to focus on AYP. Particularly tragic is the fact that of the students that Khepera sent off to high school, 76.5% had math skills below basic and 43.8% had reading skills below basic.

Carrie Bailey and Rachel Randolph are gifted educators with histories of preparing underperforming students for next steps in life by awakening the potential within them through instilling an enthusiasm for learning. One of the primary motivations for their spending three years of their lives establishing an institution was to multiply the number of our children who would benefit from a genuine learning environment.

The board must have rationalizations for what is amounting to the destruction of an opportunity to educate our children. However consider the following actions.

(a) Failure to relieve Carrie Bailey of some of the responsibilities required to establish the school.

(b) Drive to gather anonymous complaints about Carrie Bailey's management in the period she was attempting to establish a working climate in the model of her respected and highly successful mentors.

(c) Move to enact punitive measures against Carrie Bailey including putting her on administrative leave within one week after the September 28, 2004 incident, without ever talking to her.

(d) Having investigative attorneys appear at the school without notice.

(e) Denial of the opportunity to review and rebut the report of the "investigation."

(f) Denial of the opportunity to request that potential adverse actions be discussed at an open meeting as required by the Sunshine Act.

(g) Lack of comprehensive plans for successful operation of the school.

(h) Disregard for regulations governing public officials (e.g., failure to comply with requests for minutes).

(i) Terminating the position of Rachel Randolph who would have been vocal in questioning Board actions.

(j) Giving business to a favored vendor whom Carrie Bailey rejected because of price gouging.

On their face, these actions infer willful intent to gain unfettered control of two million dollars per year of public money. They also infer willful neglect of corporate duties.

If there are alternative explanations for their conduct, they should be in their minutes. But they never responded to the Human Relations Commission's order to turn over records by April 20, 2005 under Rachel Randolph's complaint. (We recently learned after six months of weekly phone calls to the Commission inquiring about status that there has been absolutely no action on her case. You can be assured that we will follow through.) They have not submitted their response to Carrie Bailey's lawsuit that was due on September 5, 2005 (after a 30-day extension) as required by law. They have not responded to record subpoenas that was due on September 15, 2005 as required by law. Perhaps we will hear their alternative explanations when Carrie Bailey gets her eagerly awaited day in court in the spring of 2006.

We need to know who at the School District of Philadelphia was giving advice on terminating Carrie Bailey's position. It may be the case that the board lacked the acumen to understand that you cannot chop off the head of an organization and simultaneously expect it to survive. But it is certain that the person who gave the advice understood this.

Activist should widely disseminate this website address with the goal of attracting the attention of an investigative reporter. This is a story that deserves national attention.

Oct 18, 2005

We reviewed the board's responses to the lawsuit with our attorney. It contained numerous false and misleading assertions. Examples are:

"Said services (ordered and received delivery of furniture) were provided under the direction and control of the Board of Trustees."

"The Plaintiff was notified by the Board of Trustees that they were retaining independent counsel to investigate the incident. The Plaintiff was interviewed as part of the investigation. After the results of the investigation were provided to the Trustees, the Plaintiff was given an opportunity to review the summary and attend the meeting of the Board of Trustees where her employment status was to be reviewed. The Plaintiff refused to attend the meeting."

Oct 22, 2005

We faxed our comments on the board's responses to our attorney. Our comments on the assertions cited above were:

"The members of the board need to be challenged to provide specifics of their 'direction and control.' The facts are that Carrie Bailey initiated the task, assumed responsibility, and executed it. She received technical and clerical assistance from her spouse. The minutes, which are essentially a journal of her effort to establish the school, verify this. Moreover, this particular task typified the Board's nonsupport. Carrie Bailey found it necessary to add this task to her list of responsibilities because of the President's nonperformance. The minutes verify this."

"Carrie Bailey never received notification of a meeting to review her employment status. To this date she does not know when the meeting occurred. To this date the Board has refuse to provide the minutes or any information regarding that meeting. Additionally, she was not informed of the November 4, 2004 termination until November 10, 2004, while she continued to perform the duties of CEO.

Additionally, she was never notified of an impending investigation. The investigating attorney just showed up unannounced on October 8, 2004.

The 'review' mentioned in this paragraph involved the president handing her the report for a quick look. It was only after the insistence of the vice-president that she was given even the insufficient quick look. She was never given the time or opportunity to truly review and rebut the report.

The president claimed that he could not give her a copy because his attorney advised him to maintain only one copy of the report."

Nov 3, 2005

Our attorney filed a motion to compel the board to respond to our discovery request.

Nov 9, 2005

Our attorney received a letter from the board's attorney promising to deliver the subpoenaed documents.

Nov 18, 2005

Our attorney received subpoenaed documents. They contained no coherent alternative explanations to the prima facie inference - that their moves to eliminate the founders of the school constituted a willful intent to gain unfettered control of public money. Instead the material's incoherence supports that inference.

We were looking for minutes of the meeting where they made the decision to terminate Carrie Bailey's role effective November 4, 2004 as documented in their termination notice to her. Those minutes were not in the delivery. Instead there are minutes of a November 10, 2004 meeting that contain no deliberation details. The minutes contain only a series of resolutions.

The resolution regarding Carrie Bailey reads as follows:

"The board received the results of the investigation conducted by Thorp Reed and Armstrong,llp (sic). The report was not favorable for the CEO and finds that she was observed choking a student by the bus driver who brought the students into the lunchroom. After consulting our legal counsel the board has resolved to place Mrs. Bailey on indefinite administrative (sic) without pay effective this date."

With apparently no deliberation, they took action based on a distortion of events about which the PA Bureau of Unemployment Compensation commented, "In situations where a claimant is discharged, the burden of proof is on the employer to show the claimant's action which caused the separation constitute willful misconduct&ldots; In this case the claimant did not admit to the incident which caused the separation and the employer did not submit sufficient information to sustain its burden of proof." Not one of the four adult men entrusted to deliberate and act in the interest of educating children raised the idea of giving Carrie Bailey a smidgeon of due process.

Among the items about which we will seek explanations from the four board members at forthcoming depositions is the inconsistency between their actions of November 4, 2004 and November 10, 2004.

The resolution regarding Rachel Randolph reads as follows:

"The board of trustee's (sic) of Khepera Charter School upon reviewing the current staffing have found a position that was not authorized by this board, (sic) the Executive Administrative Assistant position held by Rachael (sic) Randolph is terminated effective 11-10-04."

This statement makes no sense! Yet it was proposed and acted upon by four adult men entrusted to deliberate and act in the interest of educating children. Rachel Randolph was hired as a teacher and that is the position she held when she was informed - on November 10, 2004 before the board meeting with no prior indications whatsoever - that her employment was terminated. She had voluntarily assumed some needed responsibilities that would be those of an administrative assistant. But as the resolution itself states no such position was ever created. So terminating a position that does not exist is illogical. The inference that terminating a nonexistent position leads to the termination of Rachel Randolph's employment is a non sequitur. Be assured that we will seek further explanation of the board's logic in this case also.

Nov 22, 2005

In his communications, the board's attorney indicated that a justification for their actions is that the law permitted them. Note that this is the argument used in the past in this country to justify discriminatory practices against fellow human beings. In that case, those who possessed moral substance did not throw up their hands, say "oh well", and walk away from the issue. Beyond the pure ethics, they recognized that the stench emanating from immoral practices was undermining and would continue to undermine the integrity of the society as a whole.

Similarly, everyone with moral substance senses a stench emanating from the actions of the board. Carrie Bailey worked 12-16 hour days during the summer of 2004 accomplishing tasks such as completing comprehensive checklists for both Philadelphia and Pennsylvania, securing a $500,000 construction loan, managing the facility reconstruction project, staffing the school, recruiting the student body, ordering and receiving books and furniture, responding to countless phone calls and emails, and risking $50,000 of her retirement and other personal funds. During that time she could not have begun to imagine that people she brought in - who could have just walked away with no loss on their part due to their non investment of effort or money, if the school had not received its charter - would move to take unfettered control three weeks after the school opened.

Again, there is much more to reprehensible behavior than pure ethics. The intent of the charter school movement is to increase the prospect that children will get an education. For this intention to be realized, everyone along the line must share in it. What the board did is analogous to corrupt leaders in a country hijacking foreign aid intended to improve conditions of the people. The leaders gain. But the people are denied opportunities, and the integrity of the society as a whole is undermined.

A social contract (system of laws) is necessary but not sufficient to ensure a society's integrity. Guardians with moral character, who forego manipulating the system for personal gain even when they can, are essential.

People who are interested in education for our children need to hear more from the board than the law permitted their actions. For instance, Carrie Bailey gained a $500,000 grant geared towards the school's Average Yearly Progress. Yet the school received a failing AYP grade. How did they spend the money? People should take the opportunities to hear from the board at their meetings listed on the home page.

The spotlight must remain on this case. It is a textbook example of how legislation with good intentions can fail.

Feb 2, 2006

We completed our response to the "investigation" report of the incident of September 28, 2004. (A link to our response is on the home page.) Our response comes over a year after the report, because, as noted, the board denied Carrie Bailey a copy as well as an opportunity to rebut it. We had to obtain it via subpoena. The president did allow her to glimpse the report, but told her that their attorney gave instruction to keep only one copy available. (While under oath in deposition, he testified that the board did not receive this instruction.)

Having a document that rebuts the report is important. This is because the material from this lawsuit, including the report, will be available through this website after litigation concludes. The material will represent a case study that will be of interest to students of ethics, law, politics, education and school choice legislation.

Feb 3, 2006

Deposition transcripts show no clarity on details of the board's actions to terminate Carrie Bailey's employment on November 4, 2004. (A link to excerpts pertaining to this issue is on the home page.) If these public officials used deception to appropriate her three years of work, then a new and more serious lawsuit is in order.

Mar 11, 2006

Rachel Randolph has been waiting for about a month for the Human Relations Committee to issue a right to sue letter.

The HRC offered her a settlement that only accounted for the month she was unemployed. It did not address (1) the unjust enrichment the board gained by terminating her employment after she and Carrie Bailey invested the personal sacrifices that was needed to the establish the school, or (2) the transparent pretext the board manufactured as a rationale for terminating her employment at the same time they terminated Carrie Bailey's.

She retained an attorney who informed the HRC that Rachel Randolph was rejecting the offer and was requesting a right to sue letter.

A link to a memorandum that discusses Rachel Randolph's case is on the home page.

Mar 19, 2006

A summary of the Sunshine Act shows that the board violated a number of regulations in their eliminations of Founder Carrie Bailey and Co-founder Rachel Randolph. Among these regulations are:

- "With some exceptions, the Sunshine Act requires public agencies to take official actions and conduct deliberations leading to those actions at public meetings."

- "School board meetings must have a quorum (at least five members) in order to conduct official business. Therefore, a meeting with fewer than five members cannot result in any official action." (The board has been operating with only four members since November 10, 2004.)

- "There must be written minutes of all meetings."

A link to the summary is on the home page.

Mar 26, 2006

Carrie Bailey had her day in court.

She was granted a judgement for the full allowable amount. The ruling affirmed the fact that it is wrong for public officials to use a false accusation, a bogus investigation and kangaroo court procedures to appropriate the fruits of someone's labor.

Many thanks to Attorney Leon Williams - The People's Champion in Philadelphia!!

Jun 5, 2006

A link to Khepera Charter School's Health Violations report is on the Records of Khepera's Performance page.

Items such as unclean floors and missing ceiling panels reflect a dysfunctional school environment. They show an environment that lacks the discipline and expectations that would prevent children from trashing their own school. Professional educators know that discipline is fundamental for a functioning school; and they have the skills and experience to establish it.

When the board eliminated Carrie Bailey and Rachel Randolph, thereby gaining unfettered control over the school and its two million-dollar a year budget, they eliminated professional educators who in two months had established a learning environment in which this Health Violations report would have been inconceivable. The board eliminated two professionals who possessed the dedication and fortitude necessary to achieve monumental successes as demonstrated in their establishing the school.

The conditions reflected in this Health Violations report are inevitable consequences of actions of a board with ZERO educational skills or experience.

Their actions are tantamount to a board of medical laymen sitting back and watching two medical professionals expend the effort to establish a medical practice, and then eliminating the professionals two months after opening day. The inevitable medical malpractice would be the same as the educational malpractice that Khepera students and parents are experiencing.

Jun 6, 2006

Rachel Randolph filed a lawsuit against Khepera's board.

Besides courageously fighting for remediation of the damages the board inflicted upon her, and besides illuminating the board's callous destruction of an institute for learning (as evidenced in Khepera's performance reports), she must be applauded for acting on her role as a citizen in a democratic society.

Citizens in this democratic society are obliged to actively engage in maintaining checks and balances between the guardians (public officials) and the citizens by exercising their constitutional freedom to petition for redress of grievances. The following paragraph explains this statement.

To remain viable, a society must maintain its grounding on the ethics upon which its social contract (system of laws) is based. A social contract captures a set of ethical standards and applies them to everyone. But since ethical standards are variable, a social contract is necessarily a continuously evolving instrument. Activist citizens are duty bound to challenge public officials who manipulate the letter of the law in violation of the ethics that undergird the spirit of the law. Fulfilling this duty leads to necessary adjustments to the social contract.

Although ethical standards are variable, the ancient Egyptians, Greeks and Romans all recognized that there are three types of actions that all rational adults categorize as falling outside the bounds of a moral ecology. They are: (1) harming another without cause; (2) appropriating the fruits of someone's labor; and (3) achieving gains through manipulative means. These three precepts form the bases of modern day social contracts. The fact that the board clearly violated the last two of these precepts is reflected in the expressions of the numerous emails we received - including one of Carrie Bailey's former colleagues whose political views differed from hers, and one from a Khepera teacher who left because the learning environment that Carrie Bailey and Rachel Randolph created had withered away.

Carrie Bailey and Rachel Randolph are two idealists who strove to make a difference in the lives of children and parents, but were victimized by predatory manipulation of charter school legislation. The ostensive purpose of this legislation was to enhance opportunities for education. Instead, manipulative use of it resulted in the shattering of Carrie Bailey's and Rachel Randolph's dreams, the dashing of hopes of parents seeking education for their children and the squandering of four million dollars (and counting) of the public's money. Perhaps the attention being drawn to the board's actions will lead to adjustments in Pennsylvania's charter school legislation that will provide some protection to future idealists from opportunists.

Again, Rachel Randolph (along with Attorney Leon Williams without whom hers and Carrie Bailey's petitions for redress of grievances would not have been possible) must be applauded.

Sep 8, 2006

As the saying goes, "Those who talk the talk but can't walk the walk, get others to do their walking for them." And when there is nobody to do their walking for them, they fake it with a smoke screen of flowery talk that masks a lack of substance. Then they concentrate on "getting by" periodic evaluations.

A perfect example of faking it is Khepera Charter School's 2004-2005 Annual Report.

State evaluators use the Annual Report - an accountability document due on August 1 every year - to assess a school's performance. But just like the resume of a job candidate or the advertising material of a home remodeling contractor, this document can mask parasitic intentions for those who make a living out of "gaming the system".

We were interested in how Khepera spun the following.

- Their watching Carrie Bailey and Rachel Randolph expend a 3 year effort to establish the school.

- Their watching Carrie Bailey and Rachel Randolph work 12 hour days and risk personal finances in summer 2004 to prepare the school for its September opening day.

- Their moving to take unfettered control of the school and its 2 million dollar a year budget at their first opportunity.

- Their using the false accusation that Carrie Bailey choked a child as a pretext for dismissing her just two months after opening.

- Their claiming that the extra work that Rachel Randolph was doing put her in an unauthorized administrative position, and their using that claim to dismiss her the same day they dismissed Carrie Bailey.

- Their denying the founders the due process expected from public officials in a civilized society.

The board continues to argue that since the founders were contracted workers, the board did not have to give them due process or justifications for dismissal. That attitude along with their failures to hold open meetings and to generate minutes implies that they believe that they are not accountable to anyone.

They are however accountable to the public and to the state. And that accountability obligates them to give genuine responses to ALL items in the Annual Report. Here is how they responded to items relevant to their parasitic dismissals of the founders.

- SECTION VI, PARAGRAPH 2: Discuss briefly any leadership changes during the past year on the Board of Trustees and in the school administration (President of the Board, Chief Executive Officer, Principal, etc.) explaining why or how those changes were accomplished.

NO RESPONSE. Question was missing in the report.

- SECTION VI, PARAGRAPH 3: Describe professional development regarding governance of the school (including the Sunshine Law and the Public Officials Act) for the Board of Trustees.

NO RESPONSE. Question was missing in the report.

- SECTION X, PARAGRAPH 1: Describe the professional staff of the school including total number of personnel, how many are returning staff from the 2003-2004 school year, and how many were with the school for the entire 2004-2005 school year. Discuss staff turnover and retention patterns and possible reasons for each.

NO RESPONSE. Question was missing in the report.

So unless they fraudulently deleted these sections before handing over this subpoenaed document, they just simply ignored items that they found too difficult to spin. Then they banked on oversight personnel being too busy to notice or to follow-up.

Whereas hiring an incompetent employee or an unscrupulous contractor can lead to aggravation and getting nothing in return for expenditures of thousands of dollars, the public's loss in this Khepera affair is far worse. With Khepera the public is spending millions of dollars for the delivery of one of society's most precious assets - education for our children - and getting nothing in return.

The ostensive purpose of the charter school movement is to create innovative opportunities for educating our children. So something clearly has gone wrong when a promising institution can be snatched from two educators, who have the skills and fortitude to accomplish the arduous and complex task of establishing a charter school, and given to people who lack the wherewithal to respond to the region's major newspaper's request for points of pride. (See home page.) These are people who also asserted to a government agency that Carrie Bailey was not working for Khepera in July 2004. After Carrie Bailey showed the agency a plethora of documents generated in July 2004 that reflected her work to establish the school, Khepera failed to respond to further inquiries.

If our society had a critical mass of people who cared about education like Carrie Bailey and Rachel Randolph do, this Khepera affair would be seen as a scandal. Perhaps oversight personnel will one day notice Khepera's thumbing their noses at requirements for honest annual reports, open meetings and production of minutes. Then the effort to prevent repeats of this unfortunate failure in the charter school movement can begin.

A link to Charter School Regulations is on the home page. Note the stipulations regarding Annual Reports presented in section 3.

Dec 10, 2006

Intentions are revealed through behavior, not through rhetoric.

When we consider the facts that - (1) the board terminated Rachel Randolph's employment on the same day they terminated the other founder's employment, (2) the terminations occurred a mere two months after a painstaking three year effort to establish the school, and (3) their pretext for terminating Rachel Randolph's employment was that the essential work she was doing for the school at its startup put her in an unauthorized position - we see an intention to assume unfettered control of the school and its two million dollar annual budget.

After two years, Rachel Randolph recently gained the opportunity to hear the board explain the thinking that led them to appropriate the fruits of her labor. A link to their deposition testimonies is on the home page. You can judge for yourself whether or not their testimonies dislodge the straightforward assessment of their intentions.

You will see that although the board was motivated to eliminate the school's founders within two months after opening; after two years they had not yet found the motivation to learn what their legal responsibilities as public officials and trustees of a charter school are. In contrast, in the last five years Carrie Bailey and Rachel Randolph founded a school and then a thriving childcare/tutoring center. For them the charter school endeavor turned out to be a game in which the productive are exploited in favor of the unproductive.

But Carrie Bailey and Rachel Randolph were under the idealistic impression that the purpose of the charter school movement was to create education opportunities for children. The board apparently knew better that the actual result of the movement would be to grant control of public money to those who know the real game.

Effective oversight would compel public officials to comply with regulations. But this site references a number of regulations that the board ignores with no consequences. With no oversight, those lengthy regulations amounts to spilled ink. And as in the past, the benefits of a program with good intentions are hijacked before reaching the intended beneficiaries.

Dec 14, 2006

Here is an email sent to Carrie Bailey.

"Carrie,
Should we disclose that you took the money and ran?"

Here is her reaction.

"What Money?
Aren't they nuts?"

Mar 3, 2007

The arbitration panel ruled against Rachel Randolph. We are appealing the decision.

Rachel Randolph and Carrie Bailey's story is a textbook example of how the effort of two people to bring opportunities for genuine education to a community was systematically undermined. This is a story that we will continue to publicize.

People who recognize the vision of dedicated educators like Carrie Bailey and Rachel Randolph understand that education is tantamount to survival in our twenty-first century technological society. Those who lack education will lack the skills needed to participate in dialogues and decision-making processes regarding complex issues. Consequently they will become subservient to the policies of others. Those who lack education will lack the skills needed to be viable contributors to the economy. Consequently they will have to vie for positions in the shrinking unskilled labor market. Communities with large numbers of inadequately educated people will become marginalized and disposable.

The current less than satisfactory state of American public schools is not an issue for families with the resources to pay for education. It is also not an issue for families with the wherewithal to cherry pick one of the desirable public schools. However there are communities in which most families have neither of these options. These latter families are the ones for whom Carrie Bailey and Rachel Randolph spent three years of their lives building an institution brick-by-brick.

These two educators challenged the status quo by daring to apply for a charter without political sponsorship and on merit alone. They also rejected the overtures from consultant shops that sprung up at the advent of charter schools. Moreover they had the audacity to successfully gain a charter despite the numerous bureaucratic obstacles placed in their path. (Stay tuned for those details.) The board members have no clue of the challenges that Carrie Bailey and Rachel Randolph had to overcome, because the board did not come alive until after all the personal sacrifices had been made.

Carrie Bailey and Rachel Randolph signed contracts modeled after one given to them by the office of the attorney Carrie Bailey hired to help her through the process. When the board moved to appropriate the fruits of their labor, a mere two months after opening, they acted in part on advice from that attorney. The following link contains a document that records that the board acted on advice from both the attorney Carrie Bailey hired and the School District of Philadelphia.

Advisors on Elimination of Founders

The board gave Carrie Bailey and Rachel Randolph ZERO due process. They acted on a false accusation that Carrie Bailey choked a child. They used the essential extra work that Rachel Randolph was doing as the basis for the pretext of accusing her of having an unauthorized administrative position. The following link contains the (grammatically challenged) minutes of the meeting where they appropriated the work of the founders.

Minutes Showing ZERO Due Process

The link on the home page entitled "Board Position on Appropriation of Rachel Randolph's Work" contains two documents that starkly illustrate the character of opportunistic parasites. One is the Human Relations Commission settlement that the board intended to offer her. Note that they extracted deductions from the proposed settlement!!! The other is from the arbitration hearing, and it summarizes their position on their appropriation of her work. An excerpt is " .."

As noted before, Carrie Bailey and Rachel Randolph are still pursuing the vision of dedicated educators. They have established a thriving childcare and tutoring center. The following link contains a recent evaluation.

KELA Evaluation 1-31-07

We will continue to publicize this case through word of mouth until the completion of litigation. After that we will conduct a more extensive publicity campaign.

Mar 30, 2007

Philadelphia's daily newspaper "The Inquirer" published its "2005-2006 Report Card" on area schools on Sunday, March 25, 2007.

Khepera has 24% to 55% of their students in grades 3 thru 8 in the "math below basic" category. 16.7% to 60% of their students in grades 3 thru 8 are in the "reading below basic" category.

These failures in student performance are the tragic but unsurprising consequence of board members who self-servingly exploited the law to eliminate the founders, who left with irreplaceable executive knowledge, skills and dedication. The board's actions are clear evidence of both a lack of concern for the education of children and a lack of a sense of right and wrong.

Records of Khepera's Performance

Apr 21, 2007

The board's motion for summary judgement on Rachel Randolph's case (which is a petition to the court to throw out the case) was denied.

The judge agreed with our attorney that the leeway in governance that Pennsylvania gives charter schools did not give the board the right to abrogate the fundamental American principle of due process.

Jun 3, 2007

Two recent Philadelphia Inquirer stories highlight issues related to Carrie Bailey's and Rachel Randolph's cases.

One story touched on school boards' obligations to comply with the Sunshine Act. It included a link to the Pennsylvania Newspaper Association's web page that details this law. This is the law that Khepera's board trampled in their rush to eliminate the founders a mere two months after opening, thereby giving them unfettered control over the school and its two million dollar a year budget.

Pennsylvania Newspaper Association's Sunshine Act Page

The second story covers a recent Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruling that acknowledges that acts such as those committed by the Khepera board need to be curbed.

Article on PA Supreme Court Ruling on Due Process

Sep 29, 2007

Rachel Randolph's case has been settled. A link to an excerpt of the case's civil docket is on the home page. Note how after losing two motions for summary judgment, the board filed a flurry of motions in attempts to squelch from the pending trial the evidence of their clear intent to appropriate the work of the founders.

Sep 30, 2007

Carrie Bailey's and Rachel Randolph's suits brought a number of positives to the cause of decency. But most positive was dragging the board kicking and screaming into the sunlight from the shadows of what the board had counted on to be the protective cover of bureaucracy. The founders got the opportunity to face the board members as they responded to questions that sought to understand how these four men reached the conclusion that it would be a good idea to eliminate the founders and appropriate their three years of personal sacrifice a mere two months after the school's opening.

As might have been expected, the depositions of the board members produced no clear picture; instead they produced a flood of incoherencies. See for yourself. Please review, via the link above, the discussion of the termination letter sent to Carrie Bailey. The board seized upon the opportunity to act on a false accusation lodged against her. The letter was a result of a meeting that was conducted outside of Carrie Bailey's and the public's knowledge. Also please review the depositions associated with Rachel Randolph's case. In particular note the secretary's response to the question of what compelled him to put forth a motion to terminate Rachel Randolph. This motion was recorded in minutes that presumably he wrote.

The board lodged numerous complaints about this website throughout the litigations. But those complaints were misplaced. If they had not trampled over laws regulating public officials in their rush to eliminate the founders, and if educating students was somewhere in their list of priorities, they would not have handed us such a wealth of material to report.

The board's discomfort with a communication forum beyond the control of public officials points to striking parallels between the board's modus operandi and stewardship, and despotic regimes of the twentieth century. Students of history will recognize the following shared characteristics.

Crackpot Vision At Odds With The Way The World Works
- Despotic regimes sold the notion that ideal societies could be engineered through central planning. Their policies inevitably included assaults on core human needs such as (1) personal dignity and (2) the opportunity to benefit from one's own labor. Disillusionment and unrest led to a cascade of collapses at the end of the twentieth century.
- Beyond the prima facie intent to gain unfettered control of a two million dollar a year budget, the Khepera board was peddling a similar crackpot notion. They contended that a group of men, with no skills in education and no clue of the effort it took to establish the school, could run a successful learning institution after eliminating the people with all the education, talent and corporate knowledge.

Conviction That Ends Justify Means
- Despotic regimes sold the notion that eliminating people that they deemed to be obstacles was necessary for the achievement of their vision of an ideal society. This conviction suppressed impulses for principled resistance.
- The Khepera board somehow reached the conclusion that eliminating the founders was necessary for the realization of a - to date - yet to be unveiled vision. To anyone with moral substance, the idea of eliminating the founders just two months after the culmination of their three year effort was wrong. It is hard to believe that this thought did not occur to at least one of the four board members. The purpose of a public board is to bring multiple viewpoints to subjects of public interest. Failure to do so constituted negligence by these public officials.

Negative Selection
-Despotic regimes characteristically purged those who showed the most initiative, the most creativity, the most imagination, and the most decency.
- Khepera Charter School's profile fits this description exactly.

Mobster Elite
- The reality of life for the "people" in a despotic regime stood in stark contrast to the sham vision of an egalitarian society. The ruling party drained resources from the society and enjoyed privileged lifestyles. The "people" subsisted under totalitarian control.
- The Khepera board trampled over laws regulating public officials in their rush to gain unfettered control over a two million dollar a year budget. Khepera Charter School's horrid performances on standardized tests belie the board's sham vision of an authentic learning institution. With the School District of Philadelphia in a financial deficit, perhaps one day there will be an examination of how the public's six million dollars (and counting) was spent. Are there minutes of board meetings that record how financial decisions were made? Did contractors undergo a required open bidding process? How were consultants selected, and what measurable contribution did they make to the academic process?

The Big Lie
- Totalitarian control of communication media permitted despotic regimes to prop up false images of success, progress and contentment, while simultaneously sapping the lifeblood out of society and citizens. The cascade of collapses of totalitarian regimes in the late twentieth century was due in part to the free flow of information made possible by fax machines.
- The Khepera board attempted to give life to a Big Lie constructed upon (1) a false accusation against Carrie Bailey and (2) the fabrication that the extra duties Rachel Randolph voluntarily assumed constituted an assignment to an unauthorized position. In the twenty-first century the internet gives voices to the "people" and makes Big Lies such as this difficult to maintain.

Glaring contrasts between The Big Lie and reality of everyday life created a fertile environment for political jokes in totalitarian societies. See how well the following two adapted jokes apply to the Khepera situation.

Joke 1
- Khepera board's governance must be working, because the school is still open. With the kind of mess going on there, if any other group was in charge, the school would have been shut down some time ago.

Joke 2
- Khepera Charter School's vision of an authentic learning institution is like the horizon. It always recedes into the future.

There is an overarching message that must be drawn from this Khepera Charter School situation. It is that responsible citizens, who feel the loss of essential institutions that get undermined, must recognize, expose and confront public officials with mobster mentalities seeking power.

Oct 30, 2007

Good news for anyone whose request for a public document was stonewalled by a Pennsylvania charter school. The Pennsylvania Department of Education has placed the Annual Reports of all charter schools online. It is no longer necessary, as it was for us, to obtain a court order to get access to this public document.

Link to PA Charter Schools Annual Reports

Now if notices and minutes of charter school board meetings were placed online, the public could get an true picture of a charter school's administration. We found the Annual Reports that we obtained from Khepera Charter School to be heavy in misleading rhetoric and light in evidence-based facts. (See the Sep 8, 2006 entry above).

Apr 24, 2008

The School Reform Commission recently released a Charter School Policy that establishes charter school oversight.

Charter School Policy

From reading it, one could get the impression that the story, of how the Khepera Board abused the Charter School Law, was used as a case study. The story could have provided lessons on how this legislation with positive intentions was undermined.

The purpose of charter school legislation is to give skilled and dedicated citizens the opportunity to develop creative learning institutions. Unfortunately, the Khepera board appropriated the fruit of the founders' labor just two months after the school opened.

Safeguards are clearly needed, when four men with ZERO education and administrative skills can snatch a learning institution from talented educators. The board's depositions from Rachel Randolph's lawsuit reveal they were still clueless about charter school regulations a full two years after they snatched the school.

Depositions From Rachel Randolph's Lawsuit

Recent news articles on the strengthened oversight policy cite complaints from charter schools. Among these complaints is that the new renewal process is arduous and unfair.

Articles On Charter School Oversight

Astute citizens in the marketplace of ideas categorized complaints like these as "red herring" arguments. A red herring argument drains time and attention away from the core issue by attempting to establish a vacuous claim as the focus of discussion. The core issue here, as the Khepera situation illustrates, is that in some cases the public has spent millions of dollars a year on education and got nothing in return. The School Reform Commission simply wants to stop seeing money get sucked into a black hole.

Core issues are easier to explain and support than vacuous claims!

The strengthened renewal process requires a huge effort similar to the charter application process. This means that the Khepera board will not be able to leech off the founders' painstaking labor indefinitely. But the board members have no idea on how to begin to replicate the founders' work. Look for red herring complaints from Khepera at their renewal time next year.

Part of the renewal process is an assessment of how closely the charter school adhered to its contractually obligated mission that was presented in its application. The school must obtain permission from the School Reform Commission to make a material change. Here is the mission from Carrie Bailey's approved application. It is in the form of a question and answer.

"School Focus
In succinct terms, please describe the educational focus, school mission and other essential characteristics of the proposed charter school in the space provided below."

"Research reports that the academic achievement gap based on race, gender and economic class is staggering. Such a disparity stifles the opportunities of thousands of children too fully attain the amenities taken for granted by people living in democratic society. The Mission of Khepera Charter School is to close this gap by providing an excellent academic curriculum based on high expectations and a socialization process that embraces cultural inclusion in a loving, nurturing, discipline, secure, child centered, learning environment for every child entrusted to our care.

The Pennsylvania System of School Assessment (PSSA), Stanford 9 (SAT9) and other objective indicators, also indicate that many children in racially isolated schools in the Philadelphia School District are not learning at high standards. Teaching and learning strong basic skills in reading, math, science, social studies, technology, and cultural inclusion, in an orderly learning environment, will lead to higher order thinking skills in areas such as problem solving and critical thinking. Academic and social success engenders a healthy sense of self. Mastery of these areas is essential for excellent academic achievement. The staff of Khepera Charter School will offer our junior learning partners, their families, and the community an excellent academic achievement and cultural inclusion experience in a minimal amount of time. At Khepera Charter School, No Child Will Be Left Behind."

Now try to find a semblance of the mission on Khepera Charter School's website.

Khepera Charter School Website

Jun 18, 2008

"Khepera seeks to develop the character of each individual through the application of an ancient system of ethics and morals referred to as the virtues of Ma'at. We use these principles to guide our behavior. We expect our students, staff, and families to strive always to reflect these virtues in their highest degree. The virtues of Ma'at include: order, balance, harmony, righteousness, truth, reciprocity and justice."

These fine words can be found on Khepera Charter School's website. These are the kind of words that could lead to the mistaken belief that the school is a character building learning institution. However an inquisitive person, who knows that the founders were eliminated two months after the completion of their three-year effort to establish the school, might be compelled to look behind this facade of words for evidence of substance.

An inquisitive person could conduct a pre-examination by looking at a few of the documents produced during the summer of 2004. That is the period when Carrie Bailey, among other things, was (1) managing a major construction project to get the facility up to code by opening day, and (2) risking $50,000 of personal money to fund the project.

Documents From Summer 2004

Note that all the documents are from the month of July. Now examine the following document to get a sense of Khepera Charter School's practice of the virtue of truth. In an official state document, they asserted that Carrie Bailey was not working for the school in July 2004.

Denial Of Carrie Bailey's Work

An inquisitive person would be curious about board members' testimonies about the termination letter. The termination letter resulted from a meeting held outside the knowledge of both Carrie Bailey and the public. Here is a sample of what can be found in the depositions.

Q. I am going to show you this letter (indicating), which, again, is attached to the complaint, Exhibit B. Take a look at that and tell me if you can identify it.

A. (Witness complied.) Yes.

Q. You knew that letter had been drafted by the Board and signed by (the president)?

A. I knew it was drafted. I knew it was signed, but I wasn't aware of that date on the letter.

Q. You were aware that it basically purports to terminate Mrs. Bailey's employment with the school, not administrative leave but termination?

A. I can see that now.

Deposition Testimony Regarding Termination Letter

An inquisitive person would also be curious about the pretext used to eliminate cofounder Rachel Randolph. She assumed whatever duties arose during the infancy period of the school. The board claimed that those extra duties put her in an unauthorized administrative position. Please examine page 9 of the secretary's deposition. Although the board's minutes - an official document presented in legal proceedings - state that the secretary offered a motion to terminate Rachel Randolph, he initially denied that to be the case. One could get the impression that the minutes were manufactured and words put into the secretary's mouth after the fact.

While examining the depositions on Rachel Randolph's case, please see pages 11-13, 35-36 of the treasurer's deposition to get a sense of Khepera Charter School's practice of the virtue of justice.

Depositions From Rachel Randolph's Lawsuit

An inquisitive person could examine the material in the following link to get a sense of Khepera Charter School's attitude about the virtue of righteousness. Here is a sample.

I don't have to prove what the reason for termination was, whether it was for any reason or no reason at all. ...The position was terminated when her sister was terminated. There was nothing wrong with that.

Board Position on Appropriation of Rachel Randolph's Work

The founders built Khepera Charter School on a firm foundation, but the board's self-serving actions caused it to rot.

On the other hand, the founders refocused their sincere desire to make a genuine difference in lives of young people they are blessed to touch. In September 2006, they opened a childcare and tutoring center - Khepera Early Learning Academy and Cultural Center. The following documents attest to the fact that it is a thriving institution.

SES Tutoring

Keystone STARS Childcare

Communities must be wary of duplicitous public officials. An inquisitive person knows that true character and virtues are reflected through accomplishments, not through rhetoric.

Aug 8, 2008

We received an anonymous letter. It starts off as follows: "Richard Isaac has fired another principal. The old principal would not let him run the school."

Anonymous Letter - August 8, 2008

Parents should demand to see the minutes of the board meeting where this decision was made.

Aug 31, 2008

A link to the Khepera Charter School 2004-2005 Annual Report is on the home page. This is the report that should have provided insight into the board's reasoning for eliminating the founders immediately after the school opened. State evaluators use the Annual Report - an accountability document that is due on August 1 every year - to assess a school's performance.

We were forced to get a court order to gain access to this public document. We were interested in how they spun the following.

- Their watching Carrie Bailey and Rachel Randolph expend a 3 year effort to establish the school.

- Their watching Carrie Bailey and Rachel Randolph work 12 hour days and risk personal finances in summer 2004 to prepare the school for its September opening day.

- Their moving to take unfettered control of the school and its 2 million dollar a year budget at their first opportunity.

- Their using the false accusation that Carrie Bailey choked a child as a pretext for dismissing her just two months after opening.

- Their claiming that the extra work that Rachel Randolph was doing put her in an unauthorized administrative position, and their using that claim to dismiss her the same day they dismissed Carrie Bailey.

- Their denying the founders the due process expected from public officials in a civilized society.

Parasitic indifference to the arduous labor and personal sacrifices that the founders put into establishing the school led the board to argue that since the founders were contracted workers, the board did not have to give them due process or justifications for dismissal. That attitude along with their failures to hold open meetings and to generate minutes implies that they believe that they are not accountable to anyone.

They are however accountable to the public and to the state. And that accountability obligates them to give genuine responses to ALL items in the Annual Report.

The link includes the 2004-2005 Annual Report template. The template contains questions that they were obligated to answer. Compare their report with the template to see how it is filled with empty rhetoric and is devoid of information.

To show how the board continued to leech off of Carrie Bailey, the link also includes an excerpt from her Charter School Application. See how they used her material as a substitute for original content.

At the time of this report, Khepera Charter School had squandered 2 million dollars of the public's money. To date they have squandered 8 million. Future posts will show that their subsequent annual reports were as content free as this one.

Oct 12, 2008

A link to the Khepera Charter School 2005-2006 Annual Report is on the home page. The link also contains the state's template for the report. As with the 2004-2005 report, it took a court order to get the Khepera board to release this public document.

You can see for yourself that Khepera was less than forthright in providing genuine responses to each and every item. For example, consider the following item:

SECTION VI. GOVERNANCE REQUIREMENTS

3. Describe the professional development provided or taken regarding governance of the school (including the Sunshine Law and the Public Officials Act) for the Board of Trustees.

Their response was:

Through out the year, the Board members participated in several kinds of professional development. This participation happened on the State, local and internal level. On the state level, trustees attended the annual Pennsylvania Charter School Conference on May 2006. Members attended the following workshops:

1. Duties and Responsibilities of the Board
2. The importance of collecting timely and accurate attendance
3. New legislation that affects governance of charter schools

The following excerpts from depositions belie the claim that the board received professional development:

PRESIDENT (page 23)

Q: Do you know why there's a requirement for an annual report to be filed?

A: No.

 

VICE-PRESIDENT (page 17)

Q: Were you involved at all in the drafting and filing of the Khepera annual report?

A: I wasn't involved in it.

 

SECRETARY (page 12)

Q: As your position as secretary, were you involved at all in preparing or filing an annual report?

A. No.

Q: Did you read the 2005-2006 annual reports or the 2004-2005 annual reports?

A: No.

 

TREASURER (pages 18, 48)

Q: Did you read it (2005 Annual Report)?

A: No.
.
.
Q: Did you participate in any of these (professional development) sessions?

A: No.

At the time of this report, Khepera Charter School had squandered 4 million dollars of the public's money. To date they have squandered 8 million and counting.

May 23, 2009

A link to the eight items that Khepera Charter School must fulfill as conditions for a renewed charter is on the home page.

Anyone reading this who has interacted with Khepera's board knows that (1) the board embodies the antithesis of good education and (2) it would not know how to begin to address these conditions. However for five years that did not matter, because the board knows how to game Pennsylvania's well-intended charter school initiative. The game has been played as follows. Once a charter and thereby unencumbered access to public money has been obtained by hook or by crook, those pesky regulations and obligations can be ignored or turned over to a consultant shop to handle. This game undermines the intent of the charter school initiative to put our children's education in the hands of people who themselves possess the knowledge and skills to conceive, implement and administer education programs. Please review the contents of the link entitled "Articles 2009" for other examples of how the game is played.

Of the eight conditions, the board can pay a consultant shop to produce boilerplate responses to six of them. Condition #6 requires mandatory training, but a consultant shop can also handle the setup and associated paperwork. It is going to be interesting to see how the board circumvents condition #7. It requires all of the school's teachers to be qualified. But no qualified teacher dedicated to education can suppress his or her dignity low enough to accept having the board as a boss, once he or she meets it and recognizes its incompetence.

The board gained control of the school and its $2 million annual budget by eliminating the founders two months after the founders completed their arduous three-year effort to establish the school. The following link contains a summary of that effort.

Three-Year Work Summary

The following link contains documents of some of the effort that Carrie Bailey expended in the summer before the school opened. That effort included risking $50,000 of personal money and obtaining a large construction loan to fund a major construction project that she managed. The construction project was needed to meet mandatory building codes.

Documents From Summer 2004

Note that all the documents in the previous link were from the month of July 2004. The following link contains an official state document in which it was claimed that Carrie Bailey was not working for the school in July.

Denial Of Carrie Bailey's Work

The founders established a thriving childcare and tutoring center in September 2006. The following attest to the quality of their work.

SES Tutoring 2009

Keystone STARS Childcare

Imagine how many more children could have been positively influenced, if Carrie Bailey was able to establish her learning institution in a framework that was not so easily corrupted.

In the big picture, it may seem like the Khepera Charter School scandal should not be too damaging. But multiply this case numerous times, and you end up with the crisis in public school education that America is experiencing.

March 31, 2010

The following articles and their references to Khepera Charter School may shed some light on the board's rush to eliminate the founders thereby gaining unfettered control over the school and its $2 million annual budget.

March 30, 2010 Article

March 31, 2010 Article

July 24, 2010

The following article is a testiment to the capricious amorality of Khepera Charter School's board. After manufacturing causes to eliminate the founders, the president, treasurer and other members overlooked the fiscal malfeasance of their business manager. They now administer one of the four out of sixty-seven charter schools whose staff chose to unionize!

June 25, 2010 Article

May 7, 2011

Khepera Charter School's Annual Report 2009-2010 has been posted on the home page. It reads like a slick marketing brochure with an overflow of flowery claims and promises - but not much substance. A primary example of this is the discussion of financial management on pages 43-46. These pages discuss the audit from the previous school year (2008-2009). Note how the claim, "The deficiencies in internal control disclosed were NOT considered material weaknesses" eludes a common sense connection with actual findings.

Finding 1: The auditor noted during its audit procedures that formal fiscal policies and procedures do not exist for the School.

Finding 2: During its fieldwork the auditor noted that personnel files (e.g. employment contracts) did not support salaries paid during certain pay periods of the fiscal year.

Finding 3: During the performance of the audit procedures, adjustments were required for payables, receivables, prepaid expenses, and net assets. Recording these entries is a necessary step in ensuring that financial statements are fairly stated.

The Annual Report for 2009-2010 was due in August 2010 and was supposed to address matters from that school year. However, although the report was not finally accepted until February 2011, it contains no discussion of 2009-2010 financial matters.

The board continues to rely on consultant shops to produce documents and on overworked evaluators to rubber stamp them, while it continues to squander taxpayers' money.

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