Indiana Parents Concerned About Summit Charter School and Online Learning


There have been concerns expressed by parents around the country about online learning and specifically about Summit charter schools which devote their educational experience to online learning. It’s a cheap platform and has great financial benefits for the owners of the schools. The schools receive the per student allotment for public school attendance which ranges from $5,000 to $10,000 per student based on their geographical location but the cost is low, providing students with laptops, if necessary, and software programs. There is a teacher of sorts who can answer questions via email. The student must check in physically with the school on a weekly or monthly basis.

Summit opened a school, which is basically a virtual school, in a predominately minority neighborhood in Seattle, a community which is the typical target of these predatory enterprises.

For more on Summit, see:

The inherent racism of Summit “public” (charter) school

A checklist for parents considering Summit Sierra charter school in Seattle

Parents Rebel Against Summit/Facebook/Chan-Zuckerberg Online Learning Platform


Summit (Sierra) charter school: The skinny on the Gates-backed school set for Seattle, Brad Bernatek (remember him?) and a host of others


A fellow public school advocate shared the following article with me about parents in Indiana who have concerns about a Summit charter school online program that came into their community.

-Dora Taylor

From the Indiana Gazette by Chauncey Ross:

Summit Learning issue continues to simmer

Parents and other school district residents reminded the Indiana Area school board on Monday that their dissent of the Summit Learning program hasn’t waned, even though the administration scaled back the program and put it on “opt-in” status for the 2018-19 school year.

Summit is a brand of mass customized learning, a style of teaching that relies on students following a computer-based curriculum and relying on online sources to achieve goals set in their classes. Instead of delivering lectures to entire classes, teachers tailor their instruction to individual students based on their pace of learning.

“Just because a lot of parents are not here doesn’t mean it has been deemed OK. It is not,” said Thomas Kauffman, a parent of a sixth-grader in the pilot program. He questioned whether the administration has actively polled parents of fifth-graders and the current sixth-graders for what they want for their kids next year.

“Traditional school should be the norm. We’re still very concerned,” he said.

Parents began protesting the Summit program in October, complaining that it was a radical departure from traditional forms of instruction, that it was introduced on short notice, and that the online resources provided in the California company’s curriculum were inappropriate for Indiana County students in the 10- to 12-year-old age range.

“I come to the meetings again and again because of the fear that this will become mainstream and there will not be an opt-in later,” said Julie Brunetto. “That is my biggest concern as I have a third-grader coming up.”

Brunetto said her older child, a sixth-grader, has been uplifted since Summit was rolled back.

“She is excited about certain classes that have been taken off … excited that there is discussion, not just lectures, but discussion and excitement about the subject again.”

Brunetto also warned that if Summit becomes mandatory for students, she would move her family from the district.

“That scares me to death and that’s why I will be here for every meeting.”

Mihaela Nowak acknowledged that the science and social studies classes have reverted to the traditional teaching method while Summit is used only for math and English Language Arts classes.

She, too, said she stood for other parents who were unable to attend the meeting.

“We have invested in child care, we have families, we have jobs. We have put a lot into this. If one of us is here, all of us are here,” Nowak said.

“We communicate constantly with parents from eight other states who are fighting this same fight,” Nowak said. “We are not the only district who saw this, constantly being belittled and pushed back by the administration that doesn’t understand that this is not good. This is a bad program, bad to the core, and we feel very strongly about that.”

Board members handled only one matter related to Summit on the business agenda, the administration’s request to authorize travel for eight staff members for updated training on the Summit Learning program from March 11 to 13 in Hyattsville, Md.

The board delayed action.

District Superintendent Dale Kirsch said the training is part of an organized sequence of sessions and would be unlike another session set for the summer.

Those listed to attend include Assistant Superintendent Jeff Boyer and Junior High Principal Michael Minnick. The others are sixth-grade teachers or mentors who consult with students to guide their progress in Summit, but only two of the teachers use Summit in their classrooms.

While Summit would cover the costs of the conference and lodging, the administration proposed allowing $250 each for transportation and other expenses.

Board members hesitated to approve the request, in part “due to the uncertainty of Summit,” several said.

They voted 6 to 3 to table the request until February. Board President Walter Schroth and directors Barbara Barker, Tom Harley, Terry Kerr, Tamara Leeper and Ute Lowery approved the delay. John Barbor, Julia Trimarchi Cuccaro and Doug Steve voted no.


Additional reading:

One Parent’s Experience with Basecamp, Summit’s Personalized Learning Platform




Bill Gates has spent $440M to push charter schools: Here is the list of recipients

Male Hand Holding Stack of Cash Over Clouds and Sky

Per a previous post titled, “Before you can fund the charter school, you have to fund an advocacy organization that can create a climate for the charter school to exist”, Bill Gates has been busy for several years funding established organizations or creating new ones to funnel cash into a push to establish charter schools in Washington State and around the country.

To follow is a list of organizations and schools that have received grants from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The organizations and schools with figures shown in bold relate directly to charter school promotional activity in Seattle and surrounding areas. For the amounts given to all other recipients, go to Google docs.

Stand for Children: $9,000,000 +/- (I got tired of counting and recounting)

Aspire Charter Schools: $21M +/-

National Council of La Raza : $32M +/-

Community & Parents for Public Schools of Seattle (CPPS): $159,440 (per the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation website , “Purpose: to develop a strategic plan for building a dynamic parent network that can embrace and catalyze change within Seattle Public Schools”, meaning integrating charter schools into Seattle, particularly in the minority communities.)

Charter School Growth Fund: $5M

University of Minnesota

New York Charter School Resource Center Inc

Chicago Charter School Foundation

Success Academy Charter School: $400,000

Thurgood Marshall Scholarship Fund

St. HOPE Academy

Local Initiatives Support Corporation

Thomas B. Fordham Institute: $7M

New Schools Fund dba New Schools Venture Fund: $93M +New Schools Fund dba New Schools Venture Fund: $93M +/-

Progressive Policy Institute

University of Washington Foundation: $1,089,761 (Lot of papers and “studies” came out of the UW supporting charter schools. Also a Teach for America, Inc. training ground was set up in the School of Education.)

GreatSchools, Inc.: $9M +/

Perspectives Charter School

Noble Network of Charter Schools: $2M +/-

California Charter Schools Association: $6M +/-

NCB Capital Impact

Progress Analytics Institute

High Tech High Foundation

Keys to Improving Dayton Schools, Inc.

Cesar Chavez Public Policy Charter High School: $1.6M +/-

Pacific Charter School Development Inc.

Charter Schools Policy Institute: $200,000

Charter School Leadership Council: $800,000

Illinois Network Of Charter Schools: $1.4M +/-

Stanford University: $12M +/- (Charter school “studies” were produced here. Unfortunately for Gates, the most well known study Stanford produced, the CREDO Report, stated charter schools were either the same or lower performing than public schools.)

RAND Corporation: $7.5M +/-

National Alliance For Public Charter Schools: $12.5M +/-

Green Dot Public Schools: $9,675,588 (One  was approved for Seattle.)

KIPP, Inc charter schools.: $10,000,000 (KIPP charter schools were touted by state legislators as the best thing since sliced bread. Sad day for them, they’re not and none were approved for Washington State.)

Institute for Research and Reform in Education Inc.: $11M +/-

Marquette University

Aspira Inc of Illinois

Ohio Alliance for Public Charter Schools: $670,000 +/-

Charter Fund Inc dba Charter School Growth Fund: $57.5M +/-

California Charter Schools Association: $6.5M +/-

New Schools for New Orleans Inc: $8.6M +/-

Houston Area Urban League Inc

District of Columbia College Access Program

Newark Charter School Fund, Inc.: $3,595,070

National Association Of Charter School Authorizers: $15M +/-

Trustees of Dartmouth College

Local Initiatives Support Corporation

Texas Charter School Association: $1.6M

FSG, Inc.

New York City Charter School Center: $4.7M +/-

Friendship Public Charter School

New Visions for Public Schools, Inc: $73.5M +/-

School District of Philadelphia

Denver School of Science and Technology Inc

The Arizona Charter Schools Association: $200,000

New York Charter Schools Association Inc: $204,988

Partners for Developing Futures Inc.

Mastery Charter High School

Louisiana Association of Public Charter Schools: $650,000

League of Education Voters (LEV) Foundation: $2,586,378

Colorado Education Initiative

Black Alliance for Educational Options Inc.

100 Black Men of America, Inc.

Colorado League of Charter Schools: $818,471

The Boston Educational Development Foundation, Inc.

E.L. Haynes Public Charter School

The King Center Charter School

Rocketship Education: $200,000

Georgia Charter Schools Association Inc.: $250,000

Jumoke Academy Inc

Denver Public Schools: $4,001,999 (The Seattle Public School board members took a trip to Denver a few years ago to visit charter schools. They came back with rave reviews about KIPP charter schools.)

Hartford Public Schools

Spring Branch Independent School District

Achievement First Inc.

Philadelphia Schools Project

Boston Private Industry Council Inc

American Federation Of Teachers Educational Foundation: $10M The AFT had Bill Gates as their main speaker when their convention was in Seattle.

Harvard University: $33.6M +/- (Lots of papers and “studies” favorable to charter schools were produced at Harvard for Eli Broad and Bill Gates.This number is based on grants tagged for K12 education and doesn’t include community grants)

Washington State Charter Schools Association: $10.5M +/-

Mississippi First Inc.

CHIME Institute

Seneca Family of Agencies

Summit Public Schools: $8,000,000

Spokane School District #81: $525,000 

Children’s First Fund, The Chicago Public School Foundation

LEAP Innovations

East Lake Foundation, Inc.

New Schools for Chicago

Low Income Investment Fund

Fund for Public Schools Inc

Friends of Breakthrough Schools

Puget Sound Educational Service District: $27.5M +/- (See CCER, the Road Map Project and the loss of student privacy)

Franklin-McKinley School District


The list above does not include Teach for America which Bill Gates granted $2.5M to open an office in Seattle and the National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ) that came to town with their dog and pony show bashing teachers and trying to make way for Teach for America. Bill Gates has granted that group $12M+/- between 2009 and 2013.

Also see The Fordham Institute and the National Council on Teacher Quality: Manipulating Teacher Layoffs (& Union-Busting?).

It is also interesting to note that the Washington State Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) recently received $1,743,064.

For the list with all of the numbers see Google docs. The list was put together by a Parents Across America Portland member using information provided at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Awarded Grants website.

So, if Gates paid his fair share of taxes in our state rather than be the man behind the curtain, would it help us fund public schools adequately?

My guess is “YES!”.

Dora Taylor

Post Script:

Check out Mercedes Schneider’s post to find additional expenditures made by Bill Gates pertaining to charter schools:

Who Does Gates Fund for “General Operating Support”?