FBI Tracks Charter Schools



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I was wondering can parents

I was wondering can parents put there own kids in a school like this...

Gabby more than 1 year ago

The Charters rackets have to

The Charters rackets have to be exposed widely to parents , fellow
working people.
The profiteers are clever ! They set up a minority of schools that achieve, whilst bring in an avalanche of
sub-par profit schools that were meant to rip off -tax$$$ that weakens other schools still Public ones.
Charter schemes toss out students by whim and caprice if they look like they test lower than needed to
claim 'success' for the Owner -admins.
Charter high Admins can make even more $$$ than reg. Pub school Admins whilst paying school employees much less !
This is mainly a clever marketing racket to rip off billions in Tax $$$$ at he kids expense !!!
21 yr vet teacher- retired .

neil chertcoff more than 1 year ago

One problem: "KRQE News 13

One problem: "KRQE News 13 learned federal agents were there because of allegations that someone may have been taking money that was meant for the classroom at the Southwest Secondary Learning Center on Candelaria, near Morris in northwest Albuquerque"-- I grew up there. It's northEAST Albuquerque. I don't doubt that the school is crooked, though. Same old incompetent channel 13.

John more than 1 year ago

I see Millions of dollars

I see Millions of dollars spent building new charter schools all over Newark at the same time cutting the budget for public schools. Our elected officials are losing control of the public commons, water, education etc.; eventually politicians will be no more than figureheads will and only serve big money interests. Can you say Oligarchy?

BChappel more than 1 year ago

25 years ago, I came into

25 years ago, I came into education devoted to becoming a great math teacher, chess coach and innovator. I didn't do it to make money, just to be paid helping make the world a better place. In my 2nd year, I was a faculty member of a public school whose faculty was carefully chosen to innovate. After realizing that SFUSD was resisting our redesign effort with their top-down/one-size-fits-all policy, faculty members met with a pathway to creat a site-based managed/inverted pyramid effort for our 5-year plan. The term "charter school" did not exist except in some new legislation with some new language that offered an innovative path for us. We did the original legal and operational research and writing on this new concept. Our efforts became only the 3rd charter school effort in the US--to redesign a K12 school where it was fun to learn for our largely immigrant student population centered in the Mission District of SF. The task was huge, the logistics complicated, institutional resistance great. We tried hard to make it work, trying to have one foot in and one foot out of the system. After 4 years, we lost our charter due to logistical issues, political infighting and fatigue. The result had one huge unexpected success: SFUSD flipped the pyramid to a policy of site-based managed schools. That meant more input from teachers. Teacher empowerment was too new for long-time veteran teachers who suffered from years of PTSD, but the next generation of teachers helped increase test scores. SFUSD is now the highest scoring of any urban school in CA. We felt that our failed effort forced SFUSD to rethink how it networked with district schools for a better feedback loop and better policymaking. It remains a work in progress.

It is sad, however, to see how the charter school concept evolved. Dishonest people took over whose central interest had nothing to do with better prepared students--it was about making money. The free-market types saw charter as a way to make certain people rich, to crush unions, and to undermine public education. The "new wave" of so-called "education entrepreneurs" forgot about the original mandate--to increase the graduation rate for black and latino students and produce the next generation of leaders. in 1991-94, we intended to challenge public education to get better. It was to be a win-win for the next generation of students. Clearly, the "charter business model" had become a way to game the system. How cynical and evil. I am grateful for this article. I support the indictment of "charter CEO's" who gamed the system, strong teacher unions and site-based management feedback. What have our students learned? That dishonesty and greed is highly rewarded in this broken down system. Thank you Ruth Coniff for bringing this horrifying trend to public attention.

Patrick Fahey more than 2 years ago



The U.S. Department of Education is investigating claims in three school districts—New Orleans, Newark and Chicago—that black children are facing discrimination and segregation in school-enrollment programs.
The key to success in any industry is innovation. That is at the heart of the reform movement that has overtaken public education over the last few years and shuttered public schools that were labeled failing or underresourced. Many of the reformers likely had the children’s best interests in mind, like Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, who donated $100 million in 2010 to help turn around schools in Newark, N.J. Unfortunately, the reforms have not gone as planned.
In Newark, students and their parents in the city’s South Ward boycotted the first day of school to protest One Newark, the school-choice enrollment plan that moved some children far from their neighborhood schools. Weeks later, hundreds of high school students walked out of class in protest.
More than a month after school started, some parents say that hundreds of children still have not been assigned a school, and frustrations over transportation issues, uncertainty about where to send their children and dissatisfaction over closed neighborhood schools have led to many more not showing up for class.
“For me, as a parent, I know that my children deserve better,” says Sharon Smith, a mother with three children in Newark schools. “And not because they’re just mine, but because every child deserves the best opportunity that they can receive with education. But that’s not happening here. The parents here are stuck with whatever decision the district makes.”
Smith and other critics have chided One Newark on behalf of families without cars, who, she says, sometimes have to put children on two buses to get them to school. The plan doesn’t provide wholesale transportation, and many charter schools don’t offer it.
Zuckerberg’s $100 million matched donation has vanished, mostly into pockets of contractors and consultants and given to teachers unions as back pay. As Vivian Cox Fraser, president of the Urban League of Essex County, famously remarked in a New Yorker story about the debacle, “Everybody’s getting paid, but Raheem still can’t read.”
Schools Being Set Up to Fail


1) http://educationopportunitynetwork.org/will-anyone-stop-charter-school-corruption/#comment-4538

2) http://www.theroot.com/articles/culture/2014/10/school_districts_face_investigation_for_discrimination_and_segregation_complaints.html?wpisrc=newsletter_jcr%3Acontent%26

3) http://www.salon.com/2014/01/10/the_truth_about_charter_schools_padded_cells_corruption_lousy_instruction_and_worse_results/

4) http://billmoyers.com/2014/10/06/another-study-finds-unaccountable-charter-schools-dogged-by-corruption/

5) http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2014/06/19/char-j19.html

6) http://www.killcommoncore.com/



Thanks for continuing to

Thanks for continuing to expose the stories that the head in the sand folks like to criticize. We know all to well here in Wisconsin that Scott, Alec and the koch's only care about raiding the coffers for personal gain. Thank you again Ruth!

Wake up call more than 2 years ago

Yep. Lots of corruption with

Yep. Lots of corruption with National Heritage Academy and Hamadeh Educational Service in Detroit. They do need to be raided and shut down.

anonymous more than 2 years ago

This was being said by

This was being said by teachers way before charter schools opened. Nothing was in place to monitor these schools. Sadly it's the kids and teachers that suffer.

Ginna more than 2 years ago

For charter schools– churn,

For charter schools– churn, churn, churn
There is one purpose– earn, earn, earn
And no time for equity in education
A time to open, a time to close
A time to arrive, a time to flee town
A non-profit gig that pays owners well
The public’s been conned, I hope it’s not too late!

Charter schools are for the Byrds.

David Sudmeier more than 2 years ago

Charter schools are spending

Charter schools are spending money in ways you don't like. Got it.

But the real question for me is how do their students perform relative to traditional public schools? If they get better results, I frankly don't care if they make a profit.

Drloko more than 2 years ago

Public schools are the exact

Public schools are the exact same scam. The difference is that we can arrest and prosecute the private sector jerks while the public sector dirtbags are untouchable.

This whole article shows a system that is working, not failing. In 10.years the number of charters outperforming public will double.

jim more than 2 years ago

Amazing, a threat to the

Amazing, a threat to the teachers union is suddenly targeted by the FBI. Good thing this administration has a spotless record when it comes to harassing people who don't support them. The Dept of Education is a huge failure and a waste of billions of dollars since it was created by the 2nd worst president we've ever had (Carter), and whose purpose is indoctrination, not education. Might there be a few thieves among the administrators? Sure. Tarring all non-gov education with the same brush, nonsense.

Paul the Math Guy more than 2 years ago

LOL! So over 6000 publicly

LOL! So over 6000 publicly funded charter schools in the U.S., most of which vastly outperform public schools for less money than the under performing public schools. I would guess that the FBI is raiding them because Obama and the Democrats are beholden to the Teacher's and Public Employee Unions which hate charter schools. Obama and holder are running the most dishonest and corrupt regime in U.S. history. They've used every agency of Government to hurt their political opponents its no surprise they would use the FBI to damage charters schools on behalf of the Teacher's Unions. Not that out of 6000 schools there isn't some illegal activity going on somewhere? Look at Obama's IRS? Look at Obama's V.A.? Look at the NSA? Look at the Obamastamp program, and now the Obamacare program? Look at Solyndra? Obama is responsible for more corrupt spending, abuse, and fraud in Government programs in all of U.S. history. Can you imaging the waste and corruption in the public schools system? For every dollar of fraud or waste in the Charter School System there is $100 in the public school system, or more. Obama and his Poodle media can spew on the propaganda but poor African American parents in NYC and other locations will continue to line up 100 to try and get their children into every Charter School opening, and cry and be devastated that most of them can't get in because they know Charter Schools are their children's ticket to college and success, and the public schools are their ticket to a Trayvon Martin, or Michael Brown situation.

valwayne more than 2 years ago

Nothing in this article

Nothing in this article addresses the education of children.

While actual fraud should be investigated and prosecuted, I have zero problems with entrepeneurs who provide a better education that our traditional public schools at lower cost profiting in the process.

The state sets the per student reimbursement to charter schools - typically at about 75% of the cost of a public school. It also sets the academic standards they must meet - and charter schools must also meet the same federal standards as other schools.

Getting the state out of the rest of the process is precisely why charter schools work.

The last thing we need is the state transforming charter schools back into the same mess we already have with traditional public schools.

jbsay more than 2 years ago

I don't see what the issue is

I don't see what the issue is here. Let's keep it simple: 1) No federal government involvement whatsoever--this should be between the state/local governments and the taxpayer. 2) Public schools funded by state and local taxes--no federal involvement. 3) A parent thet enrolls children in private schools gets a refundable tax credit equal to the cost of attending public school because by taking the kid out of public school it saved the school system that amount of money in the cost of schooling the child. There is no loss of money.

aed939 more than 2 years ago

The late Nobelist Elinor

The late Nobelist Elinor Ostrom characterized K-12 education as a toll good. That is to say excludable but non-rivalrous. It can be provided publicly or privately. Privately provided toll goods need, almost by definition, to be regulated.

Cable television, at least before satellite and fiber optic. Railroads, at least before highways.

The question you might want to ask, though, is why the FBI? Shouldn't that be the province of state or local education authorities?

Also, the idea that third parties might not dispassionately manage money from third parties would seem to undercut much of the progressive agenda, which assumes otherwise.

School choice has been overhyped by the right. Education is not a market. For lots of reasons, arguably, it's a market failure.

But there is no reason that charter schools, per se, should misuse public funds more than district schools. In fact, since they typically face a stricter review process, arguably on average they should be more accountable.

ECM more than 2 years ago

Unscrupulous Operators?!?!?!?

Unscrupulous Operators?!?!?!?!? LOL I am certain that NO public schools have people "like that". Progressives hate any thing that is not under their trendy, therapeutic control regime. How dare someone even question why HEATHER HAS TWO MOMMIES!!! Make sure you eat nothing but vegeteables and teach the kids how "bovine flatulence" is poisoning the Earth. The left wing social workers who despise the GRECO-ROMAN, JUDEO-CHRISTIAN "FILTERED THROUGH THE EUROPEAN ENLIGHTENMENT school system we used to practice are the ones who destroyes public education. Yes, I am sure there are greedy low-lifes in the private school movement. I just wish we could get ALL federal money out of the K-12 school system. The Federal Government has no business in education, That is the root of the problem,

Alan Soulo more than 2 years ago

No information provided, of

No information provided, of course, concerning the percentage of charter schools abusing public money. Nor, for that matter, any comment concerning collusion between teachers' unions and Democratic politicians to inflate teachers' salaries and benefits at taxpayer expense.

A lie by omission is nonetheless a lie.

Henry Miller more than 2 years ago

Oh, common. This is the best

Oh, common. This is the best you could come up with to slander the charter schools? Is there no fraud in public schools? I won't cite examples here, as the readers all have access to Google. It's deplorable the extent to which the union-supported public schools will go to protect their turf. I don't have access to extensive studies on charter school success--none of them apparently get published. But in my little county of 100,000 population, the token charter school is literally the lowest-funded school in the state of Colorado, yet students test scores are higher that any other public school in the county. There's no "money grab" going on in charter schools. Their budgets are so constrained, there's no money to grab. To extrapolate one instance of abuse to all charter schools is irresponsible journalism.

Jeff Chandler more than 2 years ago

"Turf?" Are you kidding?

"Turf?" Are you kidding? Education is a civil right and all advanced countries have unionized public school teachers. If there is no '"money grab" then why is a CEO of one paying himself 4.1 million dollars of public money, hiring uncertified teachers who make very little money and bashing unions? In California, some of the best districts have strong unions: Arcadia, Irvine and the like.

Barbara more than 1 year ago

"Education reporter Jennifer

"Education reporter Jennifer Berkshire, aka EduShyster"

Are Jennifer and this publication unaware that "shyster" is an antisemitic slur?

Jack more than 2 years ago

Is someone saying that there

Is someone saying that there are no 6-figure salaries in traditional public education? Is someone suggesting that traditional public schools are highly innovative? Is someone suggesting that every certified, tenured, union teacher getting paid lots of money at a traditional public school is excellent? Is anyone suggesting that every student at every traditional public school is being appropriately served?

Not a single one of those complaints has any bearing on the quality of a teacher, certified or not, highly paid, or not, or the results that can be achieved.

The handwriting is on the board. Union bosses see their gravy train walking across the street by choice and they don't like it one bit. Labor unions do not represent the interests of children, they represent the interests of the labor union bosses, who do everything they can to stomp out competition, because competition means their lesser performing members will be out of jobs. But they should be.

Choice in education is the civil rights issue of today. State Constitutions should be re-phrased to instead giving the right to a free and public education, to give a right to a free and publicly funded education. Not all charter or private schools are going to be great, but every parent has the choice of removing their child to attend somewhere else. There is no choice for the vast majority of Americans today. They go to school where they are told they must.

The choice that their is, is determined by parents' income. With a very good income, they choose to live near a good school or live near a bad school and pay for a private school. Where is the choice for the middle and lower classes? They have no choice. Sorry, little boy, you must attend a school, where your chance of dropping out is 45%. Sorry about that. But see that family down the street, they have more money, and their child goes to the Catholic school around the corner, even though they aren't Catholic. Their little boy has a 99% chance of graduating and a 92% chance of further education.

There is a test to find out who is a good teacher and who is a bad one. Ask her if she supports school choice for every child. The good teachers welcome this, because they will be in great demand and their salaries will not depend on their years on the job, the numbers of papers on the wall, but how well they motivate, inspire, and obtain achievement from their students. Bad teachers fear school choice, because in a competitive world, they are paid by how good they are, and they know, they aren't so good.

Jay more than 2 years ago

It would be interesting to

It would be interesting to know how this compares to the massive corruption and fraud that happen in the public school system. Because let's be fair, people will game the system, such as teachers getting paid tens of thousands of dollars not to teach, but can't be fired. Public administrators taking lavish vacations at taxpayer expense, etc.

If the rate of fraud in charter schools actually works out to be less than that in the public system per student then that would actually be a great reason to increase the amount of charter schools.

Panzersage more than 2 years ago

There was not even an attempt

There was not even an attempt to hide the real purpose of the Charter School movement in New Orleans, LA. It was a sham and a shame from the beginning for the majority of the most needy students. The movement opened the public school money purse to those seeking to profit from the lack of oversight that existed and continues to exist.

Ora Watson more than 2 years ago

"Over time, however, the

"Over time, however, the charter school movement has developed into a money-making venture."

The horrors! If this continues then no doubt we'll start see money-making food ventures, like grocery stores and restaurants, money-making clothing ventures, even money-making housing ventures. This is totally unacceptable. All necessities should be provided by the state, as they are in the great and enduring Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.

Continue the struggle, Comrades!

CapitalistRoader more than 2 years ago

well this isn't a biased

well this isn't a biased article. First the Democrat gov of CT has been chartering schools to his crony buddies his whole term. So it is hardly a Republican issue. The article seems to indicate all Charter Schools are evil. But when you cherry pick schools as the article does, you can show anything.

jschmidt more than 2 years ago

Although this article didn't

Although this article didn't mention it (it was not relevant to the topic), there are charter schools which are well run and do a better job than many public schools. There are some public schools which are truly terrible, and many of those are in places which have a very low tax base or places where the political powers have cut school funding (e.g., Newark). My impression is that all the really good charter schools are not run by large corporations, are not part of a chain, and are located in places where the parents are pretty well off so they have time to work with their kids. Many, many charter schools do far worse than average public schools, although I'm really not satisfied with the usual metric of standardized test scores. I think that's another scam which the FBI should be looking at.

Procopius more than 2 years ago

Charter schools have been in

Charter schools have been in the crosshairs from day one. They threaten the cash cow of the Democratic party, the union and the whole educational industrial complex.
The joke of this article, of the whole Demo-union-teacher ponzy scheme, is the shrill accusation that Charters are in it FOR THE MONEY.
That has to rank right up there with "Who's on First?"
I was fortunate to graduate fron Hi School in 68, when teachers still considered themselves to be following a Calling, not a profession.
The people with the greatest interest in a childs education - the parent and the child - have the least imput and control in the whole process; distant "Experts" decide What is taught, How it's taught, Who teaches.
Make two graphs;
One charting Federal involvment in education starting in 1900
The second charting quality of education starting in 1900
Overlay them
It will look like this - X
Every year the same people make the same promises and deliver the same failure.
Poor families can see the solution but are kept from by the unholy trinity of Dems-Unions-Teachers.
They want to keep the money in their own circles.
This axis of evil sees the children as their property.
Untill you break the death grip these people have on education, nothing will change.
Just shovel another load of kids into the party machine.
If their future is destroyed, don't worry. There's lot's more where they came from.

walter adams more than 2 years ago

Charter schools have been

Charter schools have been around for a long time. There was one in Montana, 1970s, that took the students who dropped out of public school. They also took students who were asked to leave school for smoking pot and breaking rules. It helped the community and helped those students who struggled. The difference is that the new for-profit charters don't want ESL, DHL, and students with behavior issues. They take money meant for classrooms and use it for corporate profits. They are profit driven which invites greedy business people. Money isn't bad, people are.

John G. more than 2 years ago

Of course nothing of this

Of course nothing of this sort has ever taken place in a big city public schoolsystem.

Bryson Christhilf more than 2 years ago

It has not occurred on this

It has not occurred on this scale .And really, a "CEO" of a private charter school making 4.1 million bucks from our tax dollars?

Barbara more than 1 year ago

I was the perfect friend of

I was the perfect friend of public schools. I paid all my school taxes and still do and for 26 years of K through 12 educated my two children in private non charter schools. The schools received all the revenue, but none of the expense of educating my two kids, and they didn't have to listen to me complain. I am very glad I did.

art josephs more than 2 years ago

Wow! Thanks for exposing

Wow! Thanks for exposing this. Corruption on this level never happens in public schools.

butterking more than 2 years ago

Great article, Ruth. You

Great article, Ruth. You nailed it!

Jane Scruggs more than 2 years ago

"The beginning of thought is

"The beginning of thought is in disagreement - not only with others but also with ourselves" -. Eric Hoffer

The indoctrination of obedience in the U S of A is called education. It seems that children need to bring education into their schools.

“Education either functions as an instrument which is used to facilitate integration of the younger generation into the logic of the present system and bring about conformity or it becomes the practice of freedom, the means by which men and women deal critically and creatively with reality and discover how to participate in the transformation of their world.” ― Paulo Freire, Pedagogy of the Oppressed

mas adelante

Scott ffolliott more than 2 years ago

I predicted this would happen

I predicted this would happen. The real tragedy here is that privitization has stolen so much needed monies from public schools. This is a direct assault coming from so called "free market" forces from the repuglican criminal outfit's efforts to implemennt A.L.E.C. and the Koch brothers master plan to enrich wall street at everybody elses expense. These income streams in the multi millions of dollars are and should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law and an immediate reversal of cash going to ALL charter schools should be implemented to restore funds to their rightful places the public school system. I also think repuglican politicians that foisted this ponzi schene on the American people should also be investigated and jailed.

RIC HEIVILIN more than 2 years ago

I'm betting the farm you

I'm betting the farm you voted for Obama!

depressionbaby more than 2 years ago

These charges sound terrible!

These charges sound terrible! Until compared with the hundreds of billions wasted by the government on public schools and their ridiculous pay/schedules/pensions/tenure and all the other things the teachers unions do to make sure that schools are there to financially enrich those running them and working in them, NOT helping create citizens capable of critical thinking. Public schools are a money laundering operation for the democrat party which is vested completely in creating politically correct drones who spout non-sequiturs about "inequality" and "fairness" and are taught that conformity is the greatest virtue. Get rid of teacher unions and watch students bloom and watch good teachers get paid better.

Al Franken more than 2 years ago

I could easily have predicted

I could easily have predicted this too - progressives, democrats and teachers unions hate charter schools.
They are delivering better education at lower cost.

Of course this is a direct assault from the free market - free markets ALWAYS outperform - i.e. deliver better service at lower cost, highly regulated or government captured schemes.

I sure hope that Charter entrepeneurs are getting rich for delivering a far better education to my kids than traditional public schools did.

My kids were educated by K12 for 6 years - after their local public school failed them. I have subsequently shifted them to an even better cyber charter - competition is fantastic. It is great having multiple different cyber charters falling all over themselves to offer my kids a better education than the other. I removed my kids from traditional public schools when the local school told me my daughter belonged in the bottom group in everything - where she was board and failing (she had previously been an A student) because they did not have the time to provide them with the attention she needed to thrive. Today she is a senior in a cyber charter that is more difficult than the local high school I attended 40 years ago - She is an A student in an honors curiculum and ready for any college she choses - something that the local public school would have made impossible.

So not only do I have no sympathy for your rant - but I am outraged that you would attempt to deprive my daughter of the quality education that has enabled her to thrive and try to force her back into a traditional public school system that sucks, because you are scared that somebody might make money educating kids.

The morally repugnant person is you.

If someone is making Billions providing my kids a better education - thank god.

As for you, get your progressive socialist nose out of my kids education. It is MY business. Not yours.
I am happy with what cyber charters are providing, and your oppinion does nto matter.
Educate your own child as you please - stay out of the education of mine.

jbsay more than 2 years ago

Yes! Agree! Ric you nailed

Yes! Agree! Ric you nailed it! Anything that threatens our piss poor, corrupt government-school monopoly must be destroyed! Shared misery is the best social model for all (except the wealthy Democrats like Obammy, who sends his precious to private schools)...

RicHeivilianIsADumbshit more than 2 years ago

Ok! let's take the money away

Ok! let's take the money away from the evil private sector and give it to the unions so that they can keep the lousy teachers, bad schools and don't forget about the political indoctrination that passes for education today.

lalalander more than 2 years ago

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