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Mavericks Charter School Holds Job Fair, Insists Diplomas Are Legit

If you've always wanted to work for a company with a shady academic track record and legal headaches, here's your chance. 

Mavericks High in Palm Springs, the newest in a chain of for-profit charter schools headed by Vice President Joe Biden's brother, is holding a job fair next Monday. According to its website, the school is seeking teachers certified in almost everything -- reading,math, special education, English, science, and social science.

This hiring spree comes after a rough first year for the school that aims to help at-risk kids

graduate. The Florida Department of Education recently released data showing that Mavericks students earned the lowest FCAT reading scores in Palm Beach County.

Meanwhile, a former special education teacher has filed a whistle-blower lawsuit alleging the school inflates attendance records and fabricates grades. Angenora Mechato's suit was the third whistle-blower suit filed against Mavericks in Education Florida, the company that runs eight charter schools in the state. Two former employees at Mavericks in Homestead filed lawsuits last year making similar allegations about grades and attendance records. They also alleged that Mavericks was not offering a standard "Florida High School Diploma."

Mavericks has disputed the former employees' claims, and has added information to its website to bolster its argument. "Mavericks High is an Accredited High School that issues diploma's [sic] recognized by the State of Florida," the site says. "The diploma's [sic] offered are the same as those issued by the district." 

The site includes a January 2012 letter from John Stewart, superintendent of Pinellas County Schools, to a Mavericks board member. "This letter serves as validation that the diploma a student receives from Mavericks High is the same as a diploma from any other public high school in our district, or for that matter any public school in the State of Florida," Stewart writes.

However, an official from the Florida office of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Council on Accreditation and School Improvement tells the Pulp that no Mavericks school has yet been accredited by the organization. This means Mavericks graduates can attend community colleges, but they may have trouble getting sports scholarships or federal grants. Some Mavericks schools have applied for accreditation and are hoping to be approved at a meeting on June 23, Mari Thornton said.

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Lisa Rab
Contact: Lisa Rab

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