From its headquarters one block south of Wall Street, Mosaica Education claims to operate with a simple mission: “To empower students to learn and achieve – every child, every day.”This for-profit charter management company was founded in 1997 by Sandy Springs resident Gene Eidelman and has since expanded to a network of 90 schools, generating more than $125M in annual revenue. For several years, Inc. Magazine has ranked Mosaica as one of the fastest growing companies in urban America.[i]Unfortunately, students attending schools managed by Mosaica have not seen their educational trajectories rise with the management company’s revenue. Instead, Mosaica’s students around the country consistently underperform their peers...
During Mosaica’s short tenure on the national stage, it has found itself immersed in a series of scandals across the country.The Lafayette Academy Charter School opened in the fall of 2006, paying Mosaica $773,000 for the first year of a five-year management contract. Less than 10 days into the school year, the charter’s governing board started “noticing problems.” In a lawsuit filed against Mosaica, the governing board alleged that the management company failed to align its curriculum to Louisiana standards, failed to establish an after-school program for struggling students, and failed to properly organize transportation to and from the school. On September 14, 2007, an arbitrator awarded the governing board a $350,000 judgment against Mosaica and upheld the school’s termination of its management agreement.Two years later, Mosaica’s Howard Road Academy in D.C. was embroiled in a cheating scandal when a student announced to her exam proctor that she knew all the answers to the DC-CAS standardized test because she had been given the test to practice the day before. The Washington Post later reported that Mosaica administrators distributed tests prior to exam day for “extra practiceIn April 2012, Mosaica’s STEAM Academy of Winston-Salem, North Carolina faced revocation of its charter for financial problems and low academic performance. Just before annual exams were to be administered, The Winston-Salem Journal reported that Mosaica hired Susan Willis to run the school. Prior to landing this job, Ms. Willis was fired by her previous employer when an investigation found that she conspired to boost test scores as the principal of William Flemming High School in Roanoke, Virginia. Mosaica claimed to be “aware of a testing irregularity,” when hiring Ms. Willis, but “didn’t think it was anything significant.”...Just last week, the Detroit News reported that Mosaica’s newest school in Muskegon Heights, Michigan has struggled to maintain a stable staff during its first year of operations. The principal quit before classes started, and just three months into the school year, 25% of the teachers have also left the school. ...A comprehensive analysis conducted by Arizona State University lists the first 36 schools founded by Mosaica since it began operating in 1997. Twenty seven of those schools have since been shut down by local authorizers or have extricated themselves from Mosaica’s management.Of the nine which survived, eight can be classified as categorical failures...The only possible beacon of success among Mosaica’s first 36 education attempts is the Columbus Preparatory Academy. Founded in 2004, until recently, the school has struggled...saw its performance undergo a meteoric rise to the 81st percentile on the state’s 2011 tests.Even if this single-year increase is an accurate reflection of lasting student growth at Columbus Prepartory Academy, Mosaica has demonstrated no capacity to duplicate the success elsewhere. Instead, the organization seems willing to accept a certain level of school closures, focusing instead on a strategy of opening new schools. During the time the network watched 27 of its first 36 schools close, it was able to open more than 75 new schools. As long as Mosaica opens more schools than it sees closed each year, its revenue can continue to grow...
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“Charter Founder Profits; Students Struggle.” East Atlanta Patch (GA), 12/11/2012