Einstein Charter School


EINSTEIN CHARTER IN EASTERN N.O. FACES ANOTHER OPERATIONS CRISIS: December 17, 2007; New Orleans CityBusiness (LA)
Einstein Charter School could be shut down in the middle of this school year unless it can extend its school lease…

Organizational concerns have dogged the eastern New Orleans school for much of its short existence. It opened for the 2006-07 school year…

But the school has attracted its share of controversy.

Alice and Ron Midkiff, the husband-and-wife team who formed the school, were accused of nepotism, racism and abuse earlier this year by parents and former teachers. Critics alleged harsh punishments were unfairly doled out for minor offenses by friends and family members of the administration.

Ron Midkiff said eight teachers were asked to leave at the end of last year. Friends and colleagues from other schools were hired to fill the vacancies after recommendations from remaining teachers.

"That's a pretty good indication that you're doing something right when your teachers recommend you like that," Ron Midkiff said.

Problems escalated for the Midkiffs, who employed two of their own children last year: John Midkiff as a physical education teacher and Melissa Midkiff as the school finance manager. This brought on charges of nepotism.

The school was also faulted for its paperwork. Orleans Parish School Board and State Superintendent of Education Paul Pastorek threatened to revoke Einstein's OPSB charter if the school administration did not prove the 501c3 tax-exempt status of the governing board, Einstein Group Inc…

"I think overall the tone is that the OPSB is working with them (the Einstein administration) and wants them to succeed and has found them to be cooperative," he said. "There are certain things that are under the purview of Superintendent Pastorek, and the lease is one of those."

Pastorek said his ultimate decision on Einstein's future hinges on the findings of an outside law firm hired by parents and teachers to investigate reports of wrongdoing by the Midkiff family…
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Parents and faculty members have accused the administration of Einstein Charter School in eastern New Orleans of verbal abuse, nepotism, firearms violations and racism.

At a press conference July 28, protesters called for the removal of the Midkiff family who helped the Einstein Group Inc. charter the school in 2004.

Alice Midkiff is school director and her husband, Ronald Midkiff, is principal.

Son John Midkiff was a physical education instructor last year, and daughter Melissa Midkiff was the school's finance manager.

Larry Demmons, an attorney representing the Einstein Group and the Midkiffs, said John and Melissa Midkiff are no longer employed by the school, although the exact circumstances of their departure is unclear…

"The Midkiffs are getting away with bloody murder and it doesn't seem that anyone is concerned about this," said Cheryl Washington, whose daughter attended Einstein last year. "This is the welfare of our children we're talking about."

The Midkiffs and their inner circle of friends hired as teachers and administrators were verbally abusive to the students, Washington said, prompting her to send her daughter elsewhere for eighth grade.

"We can't tolerate that," she said. "And to be honest with you, probably half the students there, the African-American kids and the Vietnamese kids, are not returning because of the Midkiffs."…

Former eighth-grade teacher Kendria Jones said John Midkiff showed off two handguns to students on the school grounds…

John Midkiff also reportedly used racial slurs in addressing students, Jones said, which stirred racial discord at the school with a student body of mostly African-American and Asian-American students. The Midkiffs are white…

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I think those people taught at Mildred Osborne around 1980.