Yesterday, the Center for Media and Democracy released a new report on the publicly-funded, privately-run and deregulated entities known as “charter schools.” The theory behind charter schools was that private entrepreneurs could run schools in communities much better than the communities themselves, if only they could A) siphon off public school funds to run, and B) be exempted from rules and regulations.
Over the past twenty years, charter schools have gotten just what they’ve asked for: money taken from public schools to work with, private administration, and significant deregulation. A few examples of findings from the Center for Media and Democracy’s report, which you can read here, indicates how that plan has worked out:
- 200 out of the 1,100 charter schools opened in California have closed their doors — an 18.2% failure rate — for reasons including financial mismanagement, lavish personal spending, violation of the law, fraud, conflict of interest, nepotism, uncredentialed teachers, dangerous conditions for students, and educational failure.
- Michigan has 297 charter schools, four out of five of which are run as for-profit businesses. 108 charter schools have closed for a combination of reasons, including losing students, obtaining poor educational results, poor financial management, tax evasion, and fraud.
- Secrecy in public spending leads to unaccountability. Despite repeated public records requests, Arizona and Florida refused to disclose charter schools receiving some of the $3.7 billion in federal funding.
- Ohio charter schools “spend more than twice as much on administration as public schools on average,” according to the report, and many receive extra federal grants on top of what they siphon out of the public school system. 17 percent of the charter schools in Ohio that received extra federal funding to support them have nevertheless failed and closed their doors. 51 percent of the charter schools in Ohio that have remained open have received a grade of D or F in the Ohio Performance Index. In contrast, the rate for public schools in Ohio is just 12 percent.
Tell me again about the charter school miracle.