Send a message to feckless morons

bur eau crat: 1. An official who, too often, works by a fixed routine without exercising intelligent judgment.

2. Usually a government official who is rigidly devoted to the details of administrative procedures rather than to executing practical applications.

And so it is that this week’s Right Hook is inspired by Chuck Muth at Citizen Outreach (

Citizen Outreach has been following the goings on regarding the Halima Academy (, which as of this writing, has received a judicially imposed reprieve from the Nevada Department of Education bureaucracy—at least through the end of the school year.

Halima, for the uninitiated, is a charter school established some 18 months ago for pregnant teens, at-risk kids, and kids who already have kids. (The high school has its own daycare.)

Now whatever your opinion of charter schools, vouchers or the condition of education in the Silver State, can we at least agree that the premise behind Halima is good? That is, there are some 100-plus students at Halima who, from all accounts, seem to be doing a whole lot better than they were in the traditional school model that education bureaucrats have been clinging to for the last 50 years and that failed these kids in the first place.

According to, here are some of Halima’s accomplishments:

• Halima Academy was apportioned funding for 23 students and educated over 100.

• Writing proficiency examinations for those students who participated had a 100 percent pass rate.

• Twelve seniors graduated with an average grade point average of 2.9.

• The daycare operated at capacity, underfunded, and completely licensed by Washoe County Social Services without one issue.

• A food closet was initiated at Halima Academy with 72 percent of the student body accessing food for their families at home.

• The school lunch program ran for free school lunches during the academic year for all of their students without reimbursement.

Articles have run in both the Las Vegas Sun and Reno Gazette-Journal spotlighting Halima’s issues. But the crux is apparently seven or eight administrative issues—i.e. paperwork—that the school may or may not have been deficient in filing, depending on whose version of the story you believe.

This was apparently sufficient reason for the Department of Education to get its pantyhose all in a bunch and push for the school’s closure—two months before the end of the school year.

(Gee, you’d have thought a student brought a gun to school and shot someone. Oh, wait a minute. That was at one of our regular public schools, wasn’t it?)

An editorial in the RG-J had this to say: “Halima is not the only small institution charged with failure to stay on top of paperwork. The most successful schools employ professionals who understand that producing an educated citizenry, so important to a civilized society, is a business.”

Of course they missed the part where Halima had been paying one Tom McCormack, the Charter School Consultant for the Nevada Department of Education, more than $10,000 for help with the state.

This would be the same chump that was supposed to help the school—but who apparently testified at the closure hearing before District Judge Jerry Polaha that he didn’t think the school should ever have been given permission to open in the first place. (With consultants like this, who needs enemies?)

Now it seems to me that, for a change, the social justice crowd on the left and the anti-bureaucracy crowd on the right may have something in common here—assuming we all care about educating these kids. Perhaps we should let the feckless morons at the DOE know it?