2014 Was the Year of Charter School Scandals

An extensive report in Education Opportunity Network on the number of scams perpetrated by the founders of many, many charter schools. Here are a few paragraphs:

 

In 2014, charter schools, which had always been marketed for a legendary ability to deliver promising new innovations for education, became known primarily for their ability to concoct innovative new scams.

Troubling news stories about the financial workings of charter schoolshad been leaking slowly into the media stream for some years.

A story that appeared at Forbes in late 2013 foretold a lot of what would emerge in 2014. That post “Charter School Gravy Train Runs Express To Fat City” brought to light for the first time in a mainstream source the financial rewards that were being mined from charter schools. As author Addison Wiggin explained, a mixture of tax incentives, government programs, and Wall St. investors eager to make money were coming together to deliver a charter school bonanza – especially if the charter operation could “escape scrutiny” behind the veil of being privately held or if the charter operation could mix its business in “with other ventures that have nothing to do with education.”

As 2014 began, more stories about charter schools scandals continued to drip out from local press outlets – a chain of charter schools teaching creationism, a charter school closing abruptly for mysterious reasons, a charter high school operating as a for-profit “basketball factory,recruiting players from around the world while delivering a sub-par education.

Here and there, stories emerged: a charter school trying to open up inside the walls of a gated community while a closed one continued to get over $2 million in taxpayer funds. Stories about charter operators being found guilty of embezzling thousands of taxpayer dollars turned into other stories about operators stealing even more thousands of dollars, which turned into even more stories about operators stealing over a million dollars.

It’s definitely worth your time to read the entire article and to follow up on any of its embedded links that you find interesting. It’s of interest that the Washington Post, which normally is a cheerleader for all things DEformy in education, had to break the news of lawsuits and criminal actions against several charter school chains in DC.

As usual, thanks to Diane Ravitch for bringing my attention to this great article.

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One CommentLeave a comment

  1. THANKS! for all your great work this past year and all the years before. I read, though don’t get to comment, each post and all the links. The study on what R&Co. promised and what they didn’t deliver was superb! NPE’s post today is truly exciting too. Happy New Year! Sincerely, Sarah Livingston, A loyal reader

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