Failed charter school leader to preside over charter school case:
PACE Academy will fight for its future Tuesday, July 7 when the public charter school goes before an administrative law judge to contest a state panel’s recommendation that it be closed permanently.
Attorney Philip Adkins, who represents the school, said the case will be heard in Raleigh by Administrative Law Judge Phil Berger Jr., who is with the state Office of Administrative Hearings and is the son of State Senate leader Phil Berger Sr. “We think we might and hope to get a favorable decision,” said Adkins, noting that three days have been set aside for the hearing.
We've been accused from time to time of being too harsh in criticizing news outlets for their coverage, and sometimes we do go a little overboard. But there's not one word in this article about Phil Berger Jr. helping to create a charter school, only to watch it fail before it could get off the ground:
There’s a degree of irony in the “surrender of charter” letter submitted recently by the charter school started by former Rockingham County D.A., failed congressional candidate, new Administrative Law Judge and son of State Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger, Phil Berger, Jr.
In the letter, the school’s current chairman, David Whicker, complains that “the lack of availability and/or provisioning of fiscal resources and assistance from the NC Board of Education and/or Office of Charter Schools, other than training courses, seemed only to multiply the challenges we already faced.”
In other words, it’s the same story heard so often in the murky world of school privatization: A group of folks who railed against “government schools” and who demand “choice” and the right to be unshackled from all those burdensome rules (like having to serve anyone who comes in the door — whatever their level of preparedness — and providing free transportation and free meals to a large proportion of their students) finds out that running a successful school without a lot of bureaucratic support ain’t as easy as it looks.
While it might be hard to predict how Berger will rule, which way his inherent bias will lead him, objectivity will likely not be involved in his decision-making process. His failed charter school attempt is simply too fresh, and it's bound to guide his thought patterns.