Charter schools make for endless news streams, fraught as they are with fraud, poor performance stats, and cost to traditional public schools. And speaking of headlines…
“Charter Schools. School Vouchers. Private Schools. Home Schooling. Join the Discussion as Staff Writer Arianna Prothera Examines the Implications of School Choice for Students, Families and Education. Feds Spent Hundreds of Millions on Charters That Shut Down or Never Opened, Report Says.”
Well, it’s a heck of a mouthful and actually isn’t a newspaper headline but instead the title of an article by Arianna Prothero who reports on charter schools and school choice at Education Week. Here she addresses an analysis of charter schools by the Network for Public Education and the Office of the Inspector General, both of which found that hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars went to charter schools that either closed or never opened.
The Charter Schools Program currently gives $440 million to state departments of education and charter management organizations in part to help them launch new charter schools. There are several different kinds of grants under the program, but the report focuses on the expansion and seed money grants that go directly to charter schools or to states to allocate to charter schools.
The Network for Public Education, which advocates for traditional public schools and opposes charter schools, analyzed federal data and found that 1.129 charter schools out of more than 3,700 that received federal grant money between 2006 and 2014 were either closed down or were considered ‘prospective schools’ and had not yet opened.
Meanwhile, the Office of Inspector General (OIG) has, over the years, found that U.S. Department of Education must do a better job investigating the closing of charter school grantees. It also found poor oversight of the controls designed to prevent fraud and that the feds have also done a lousy job of ensuring that that all this grant money is well spent.
And so it goes in this day of politically imposed school reform.
~ With my thanks, Carol (schoolwisebooks.com)