Charter schools sound awesome. And in fact, they can be. But they also often go very wrong in a big way. Bye-bye, tax dollars! Finally, a report has been done detailing the performance and the level of mismanagement happening in charter schools across the country.
A few particular pages to pay attention to:
Page 3: "Joel Pourier, former CEO of Oh Day Aki Heart Charter School in Minnesota, who embezzled $1.38 million from 2003 to 2008. He used the money on houses, cars, and trips to strip clubs."
Page 4: "In Florida, the former director of Life Skills Center Charter School, John Wyche, was sentenced in 2011 to serve more than six years in prison for misusing more than $750,000 in state education monies to sustain a failing apartment complex that he owned."
Page 17: Former Hesperia, California, mayor and councilman Tad Theron Honeycutt and his business partner share "a combined 117 felony charges for misappropriation of public funds, grand theft, tax evasion and filing a false tax return, court records show. A state audit indicates that Honeycutt’s spending of funds included $18,000 for two jet skis and $1,942 at the Guitar Center."
And those are just a few. What you will read in this report will actually make your jaw drop, and that isn't hyperbole.
p.s. There's a zoom button at the bottom of the document window.
BOTTOM LINE: When you have talented educators who have a visionary method for teaching, it's great to be able to send your child to a school you believe in and still use your public tax dollars to pay for it. But the fact remains that charter schools are such a new invention in America, they're still a Wild West kind of thing. If someone who doesn't really care about educating students wants a quick way to tap into some public money, it's an easy method of bilking the taxpayers. And because there's not much oversight, by the time anyone's caught a whiff of shady dealings, that swindler is usually already riding off into the sunset, leaving our innocent and now miseducated children in their dust.
I've got one word that will help stop it: OVERSIGHT.