As Obama sends aid to remedy the situation in Flint, it’s always a good to receive a reminder of just where his primary interests lie. The charter school is a brilliant example of this.
A charter school is basically a chimera, an unholy union between public funds and private institutions. While they continue to be funded by your taxes, they are also exempt from the requirements and standards that public schools are beholden to. Indeed, there is little regulation concerning just how they decide to spend your money.
Unsurprisingly, they have been exposed as being fraudulent institutions that waste your money. A number of these schools have received money but have since closed… or never even been opened– Michigan ghost schools were approved for 3.7 million dollars between 2011 and 2012 according to the Center for Media and Democracy (CMD), receiving at least 1.7 million dollars, and 108 charter schools in Michigan received a million dollars in grants before closing!
So profitable are charter schools that the Walton family of billionaires is investing money in them hand over fist, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings is spending 100 million dollars on privatizing public schools. and Eli Broad has pledged about a half billion dollars to privatize Los Angeles public schools.
The CMD report details its year-long investigation into charter schools, and the prevalence of “ghost schools” is just one of its findings. It has found that more than 3.7 billion dollars has been spent by the federal government on charter schools (a number it had to calculate by combing through more than two decades of congressional appropriations), and that the federal government was not providing the public with a list of all the charter schools that received taxpayer funding.
Most disturbing is just how hard it is to procure key figures on how this tax money was spent- public schools need to account for past and intended spending, while charter schools were effectively a black hole for your money.
While public education needs to be improved, that does not give billionaires the mandate to take over and milk the children for tax-payer-funded profits via waste and fraud.
In apparent response to the revelations, the Education Department released a partially-completed list of charter schools. On Christmas Eve 2015, where news goes to die quietly.