WHERE ARE THE CHARTER SCHOOL RECORDS?
National Charter School Week was the first week in May. There are thousands of charter schools in USA. Charter schools are celebrating their 25th anniversary with a special conference in Nashville, Tennessee.
On December 23, 2015, the Dept. of Education issued a statement called “A Commitment to Transparency: Learning More about the Charter School Program.” The Center for Media and Democracy requested records for closed or never-opened charter schools.
The US Department of Education reported that it had funded more than 2600 charter schools that were operational in the last full school year. It had funded 430 charters that had closed, along with 699 prospective schools.
However, there were no records for the 1129 charters that either closed or had not yet opened since 2006. Records only existed for the operational charters.
See more at www.prwatch.org
The federal government has spent more than $3.7 billion in taxpayer dollars for the charter school industry since the 1990’s. Since 2006, ED has spent more than $1.6 billion on charter schools.
The Center for Popular Democracy and the Alliance to Reclaim Our Schools has tracked more than $200 million in fraud and waste by charter operators in the past decade. Charters have closed for various reasons, including fraud, mismanagement, poor enrollment and poor planning.
Federal and State overseers have not watched the spending of taxpayer money by failing charters. Neither have they followed up when charters closed.
What happened was that public assets had been converted to private ones and then were not accountable when a charter failed.
ALEC, American Legislative Exchange Council, has written legislation to exempt charters from financial accountability and other rules.
“Under the government’s uncritical eye, charter schools are supported by taxpayer dollars but exempt from many of the requirements and standards of most public schools due to the way they were created through state legislation pushed by ALEC.”
“A recent report from the National Center for Education Policy at the University of Colorado-Boulder found that the performance rating of virtual charter schools is low, the schools have been lightly researched and their growth is nonetheless robust. School outcomes are consistently below traditional public schools. Corporate advertising campaigns and ALEC legislation continue to promote charter schools.”
Meanwhile in Wisconsin, many school districts have needed to go to a referendum to receive funds for continued operation of their public school system. Years ago, a referendum was used for new construction of school buildings. Now it is necessary for continued school operations.
How much longer can this continue?