UPDATED: Joe Biden's Brother Is President and "P.T. Barnum" for SoFla Charter School Chain

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Frank Biden (right) is president of the charter chain.
UPDATE: The Palm Beach County School Board's vote on three new Mavericks schools has been postponed. Read more after the jump.

When owners of a for-profit charter school chain go before the Palm Beach County School Board tomorrow night seeking approval for three new high schools, they'll have a celebrity spokesman on their side. Frank Biden, brother of the Amtrak-riding vice president, is president and director of development for Mavericks in Education Florida. 

For the past two years, Frank Biden's been flying around the state talking to local school boards, lobbying for the Mavericks High charters. "I'm a salesman. I'm nothing but a P.T. Barnum for these kids," he says.

Biden's not an educator. He served as a legislative director in the Clinton administration and worked for a humanitarian aid group
in Nicaragua before settling in South Florida. He lives in Ocean Ridge and is currently developing a country club community in Costa Rica. 

He says he got involved with Mavericks two years ago after meeting restaurant developer Mark Rodberg in a coffee shop. Rodberg founded Mavericks with other partners in 2007 and intended to call the chain Mavericks High, D. Wade's Schools. Mavericks had struck a deal with Miami Heat star Dwayne Wade to be a celebrity spokesman.

But that deal fell apart, and the charter schools initially struggled financially, with the Fort Lauderdale location labeled in "financial emergency" by auditors.

Now Mavericks has eight high schools in Florida, including five in Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach counties. The schools offer shorter days designed to appeal to at-risk kids. After one hour of traditional classroom instruction, students spend three hours a day sitting at rows of computers, studying online at their own pace, under the supervision of teachers. This approach is meant to allow students with babies, jobs, and other responsibilities to get a degree instead of dropping out. 

"I'm very proud of what we're doing," Biden says. "We're on a  mission from God."

The schools are overseen by nonprofit, local boards, but the for-profit Mavericks in Education Florida has a management contract  to run daily operations. Not everyone has been thrilled with the results.

On Florida's state report cards, Mavericks schools have scored "incomplete" because not enough students have taken the FCAT while enrolled there. Mavericks officials expect that grade to change as more students enroll. And this year, two former Mavericks teachers filed whistleblower lawsuits against Mavericks High of South Miami-Dade, alleging, among other complaints, that the school is not offering Florida high school diplomas.

Biden disputes the claim, saying that the schools issue Florida diplomas but that not every child graduates. Dale Morgado, attorney for the teachers, declined to comment, saying the two sides are in settlement negotiations.

Charter schools are a booming business in Florida, where more than 400 publicly funded, privately run schools have opened since 1996, and 348 more have applied to open next year.

Palm Beach district officials have recommended that the School Board approve the three new Mavericks schools slated for a vote tomorrow.

UPDATE Nov. 22, 2011: Shortly after New Times broke this story, the vote was postponed. The applications for new Mavericks schools, which were on the School Board's agenda for tonight's meeting as recently as 11:44 a.m. yesterday, have now been crossed off the agenda. No explanation for the change is given on the revised agenda. We will update if more information becomes available.
 
Orange County's School Board approved a new Mavericks school this month.
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Charliejonestheteacher
Charliejonestheteacher

The incomplete grades are because of low enrollment, it's because the students refuse to take it.  When you tell the kids that FCAT is coming up they simply stop coming.  Just like Mavericks is milking the system, so are many of the kids.  They only enroll so they don't lose their government benefits.  They show up for a week and then stop coming.  After two or three months when they are withdrawn they show up again because their benefits are being threatened again.  The school will take them back, because more students in seats means more money.  Many students will even tell you they are only there as part of their probation.

parent
parent

For the last week I've been following Lisa Rab's "STORIES" about Frank Biden and his involvement with a Network of Florida Charter High Schools, I found an interesting video on YouTube of Biden doing his ( P.T. Barnum ) thing for kids. For those who have interest I encourage you to checkout the YouTube video link below: "Mavericks High Central Broward Graduation". http://youtu.be/05n66TV6Hyw.Fi..., I just want to say that I hate all the politics associated in education and I don't really care how people are involved in organizations as long as they do good for the general population in need, that is good enough for me.  My son has struggled throughout the regular public school system but now he has a high school diploma. Charter Schools Rule!  Government funding has to be paid out one way or another for every student in school, so If charter schools have their hands in that pot then the public school system should revaluate their thinking.Thank you Mavericks High for giving my son a promising future whether or not it was a mission from God.

republicanwpb
republicanwpb

get these kids diplomas so they can get jobs and save taxpayers $$

PalmSpringsResident
PalmSpringsResident

My nephew goes to the one in palm springs, he is getting a traditional diploma before he can join the army.  He seems to like the school just fine...

Dreamer1186
Dreamer1186

A friend of mine is the proud parent of a 2011 Mavericks High graduate. I can give testimony that Mavericks High was the perfect choice of a high school for her daughter, who was not doing well in her ninth and tenth grades. She was among over 300 students who graduated last year from Mavericks High. I have attached the following link that clearly shows a picture is worth a thousand words:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v... 

Chaz Stevens, Genius
Chaz Stevens, Genius

>> "We're on a  mission from God."What the fuck?  Is this the remake of the Blues Brothers?

Gefilte_Fish
Gefilte_Fish

This is how companies are making money these days. Scheming for public money to get rich. No building or innovating anything anymore. Criticise teachers and school board then lets pitch the charter schools. Wow...and ppl are really buying this crap.

Bailouts and scam artist chasing the perpetual government cheese. These are the same folks whom get rich of taxpayers money then knock down the poor Joe and Jane shmoo looking for help from the government when its needed.

Sad state of affairs we are in....Parents, Educate your children Because these vultures have no interest in them or in the future of our Country.

Norc
Norc

Mavericks in Education is a scam to the community. The teachers will do as intructed by the management company, which the owners are in it for the money. This company is not what it used to be. Basicly in a nut shell, you go to mavericks so that you can get a highschool diploma with little effort and the state rewards the company. Done.. and they call this fixing the drop out problem in Florida?  The more dropouts, the more money Mavericks in Education makes. They are abusing the system.

sammyammy
sammyammy

totally... anybody helping children read has to be a monster abusing the system...

ARauch1282
ARauch1282

Have you seen the  behavior of the kids that attend these schools. Try riding the Route #2    Palm Tran bus that  picks up these kids at the school in Palm Springs.  I have addressed this isssue in a letter to the school, but no changes have been made yet in the last month. The next step is to go to this meeting an address these issues in public. They are transplanting the bad elements from one neighborhood, into another for the day. On top of that, one of the students was arrested two weeks ago prior to the beginning of school. 

NewTimesIsBackpage
NewTimesIsBackpage

I am appalled at the unmitigated trash that is the NEW TIMES. The New Times is an alternative lifestyle media company that is owned by people who profit off of child exploitation and prostitution at backpage com. Both New Times and Backpage are owned by Village Voice Media Inc.

Backpage is prostitution advertising, every day thousand of teenagers post nude and partially nude provocative photos and prostitution advertisements listing age, phone #, and email addresses in thousands of cities across the US.

Warning: The following contains sexual exploitation – google backpage miami

How much profit does Village Voice have to justify such a heinous business decision?

How much does Lisa Rab have to get paid to justify working for such a business?

PalmSpringsResident
PalmSpringsResident

Maybe Frank should call his nephew - Attorney General Beau Biden.  He has a pretty hard stance about things like that... probably shut it down in a NY minute. Which I am told is about 32 seconds.

PalmSpringsResident
PalmSpringsResident

Kids fooling around on the bus system? unbelievable...Grown man riding the bus system? hilarious...

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