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"Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world." - Nelson Mandela

Will Federal Charters Become Our New Public Schools?

By Carole Hornsby Haynes, Ph.D.  |   October 8, 2015  Education Views

The U. S. Department of Education has been so successful in wasting taxpayer dollars for an embarrassing public education system that it now wants to expand its unconstitutional intrusion further by diving into charter schools and mucking those up as well.Touting its support of education reform, the USDOE recently announced that it is spending $157 million to create and expand charters throughout the nation. 

For those who could care less about education, note that these are really public schools funded by your tax dollars but managed privately and often are not unionized. Because they do not use local funding, the community has no voice and no control over charter schools.

Since fiscal 1995, the USDE has awarded more than $3 billion, including the recent $157 million last week, to charter schools.  Federal dollars are given to charter schools in two ways.  Generally federal dollars are awarded directly to the state which then provides grants to charter schools.   Less frequently the federal government directly awards the funding to a public charter school.

As is the norm, the federal government is careless with OPM (other people’s money), and does not track how the charters use the money for their academic performance. 

The USDO’s inspector general issued a highly critical report in 2012 that cited deficiencies in how the department handled federal grants to charter schools from 2008-2011.

The audit found that millions in federal funds went to dozens of charter schools which never admitted students. There was no record of what happened to the equipment, supplies or anything else purchased with those federal dollars.

Education Department officials say they only give grants to high-performing charter school operators but they don’t have much control over states.  Arne Duncan said charter school authorizers and states must hold charts accountable but at the federal level, there is not much leverage, other than challenging states.

This challenging of states is a “Dear Colleague” letter that accompanies federal grants with “suggested” areas of state involvement with charter authorizers and operators. Such monitoring is in stark contrast to the brutal oversight by the Education Department on its Race to the Top grants and state proposals for NCLB waivers.

There is no doubt that the Obama administration intends to expand the charter school program.  In its budget request for 2016, the Obama administration is seeking $375 million for the program — a 48 percent increase over current funding levels.

The ESEA reauthorization legislation that is pending in Congress calls for federal funding to expand charters, including early childhood charters

Given the penchant of our Beltway politicians for centralized control and centralized brainwashing of our children, we can win the lottery if we bet that any federal money going to charters – whether to the child or to the state – will have federal thorns so deeply embedded that charters will become the new public school system.

Same song, second verse. ♫

2015 Copyright.  Carole Hornsby Haynes, Ph.D. All rights reserved. 

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