Network for Public Education
Asleep at the Wheel, How the Federal Charter Schools Program Recklessly Takes Taxpayers and Students for a Ride
Asleep at the Wheel, details the Network for Public Education’s two month examination of the U.S. Department of Education’s Charter Schools Program (CSP). Our investigation found a troubling pattern of insufficient applicant review, contradictions between information provided by applicants and available public data, the gifting of funds to schools with inadequate financial and governance plans, a push-out of large grants to the states with little supervision by the department, and the waste of hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars.
By comparing claims made by charter grant applicants to information on state databases and school websites, we found numerous examples of federal tax dollars being misspent due to an inattentive process that routinely accepts applicants’ claims without scrutiny.
We found that it is likely that as many as one third of all charter schools receiving CSP grants never opened, or opened and shut down. In fact, the failure rates for grant-awarded charter schools in California has reached nearly four in ten.
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