Sunday, December 21, 2014

Education Opportunity Network Newsmaker of the Year

From my library of Posts You Should Really Read (I do actually have such a library, and you can always find it here) come this end of the year post at Education Opportunity Network. I don't have a great deal to add to it, but part of hanging out in the blogosphere is trying to amplify other voices, because some things just ought to be widely read.

The post is a great reminder of some of the folks who came and went in the ed biz this year. Hard to believe that twelve months ago people were still paying attention to She Who Must Not Be Named, or that Campbell Brown turned from journalist to water-girl for corporate interests so very quickly.

But EON has reserved the Newsmaker of the Year award for charters, and they provide a well-collated linkfest-laden narrative that stretches all the way back to the 2013 article in Forbes of all places that laid out how charters were a gravy train running straight to Fat City and includes other great pieces of journalism like the Detroit Free Press series on charters that Rick Hess called "unhelpful" but which I call an awesome piece of actual journalism.

Since then, it has been a constant string of charter misbehavior, theft, scandal, and malfeasance. EON has collected most of the high points, from using charters to funnel money to religious schools to the embezzlement to the regular sudden disappearance of charters to the many techniques used to use non-profit organizations to magically turn public tax dollars into private profits (sometimes for corporations, sometimes for individuals). In Pennsylvania alone:

Startling examples of charter school financial malfeasance revealed by the authors included an administrator who diverted $2.6 million in school funds to a church property he also operated. Another charter school chief was caught spending millions in school funds to bail out other nonprofits associated with the school. A pair of charter school operators stole more than $900,000 from the school by using fraudulent invoices, and a cyber school entrepreneur diverted $8 million of school funds for houses, a Florida condominium, and an airplane.

So if you are looking for one stop shopping for news of charter misbehavior and a recognition of how the charter business has had a great year of twisting and torturing public education, this is your post to bookmark and save.

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