This is not a surprise. Whenever private forces take over a public asset, looting is the inevitable result:
Last March, the Network for Public Education released a report showing that the federal government has lost a billion dollars to charter school waste and fraud. But the organization had not stopped sifting through the data. Their follow-up report, “Still Asleep At The Wheel: How the Federal Charter Schools Program Results in as Pileup of Fraud ands Waste,” reveals that the situation is even worse than shown in the first report, while laying out more state by state details. Particularly striking—the vast amount of money that has been wasted on ghost schools that never served.
NPE is a group co-founded by Diane Ravitch, the Bush-era Assistant Secretary of Education who has since become an outspoken critic of education reform. The organization’s executive director is Carol Burris, a former award-winning New York principal. Burris was the primary author of this report.
The reports examine what happened to money disbursed by the Federal Charter Fund, a charter grant source created in 1994 as part of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). Since 1995, it has handed out almost $4 billion.
Some new findings in this follow-up report:
The original report underestimated the number of charters that had taken federal grant funds and then either closed or never opened at all. That report found 1,000 such charters; the number now appears to be closer to 1,800. That means the failure rate is close to 37% nationally. Michigan gave grants of at least $100,000 to 72 schools that never opened at all; California gave grants to 61 unopened schools. Those two states alone account for over $16 million dollars spent without educating a single child. A grand total of 537 schools never actually opened; tax dollars spent on literally nothing.
The charter school system is constructed for two purposes: Breaking teachers’ unions, and allowing finance types to loot taxpayer money.