Soon after declaring the first week of May "National Charter School Week," President Obama continued the push to open up public school districts—and their coffers—to non-union, privately run charter schools. Applications are due June 1 for the second round of his Race to the Top fund, which will reward states that jump on the charter bandwagon. But new reports about corrupt, profiteering charter operators across the country are making the president’s endorsement premature, to say the least.
Nearly every claim made by charter school proponents has come under fire in the last year. A major national study shows that test performance is on average no better in charters than in traditional schools; another report contradicts the stated “civil rights” mission of the charter movement, claiming that the schools are actually exacerbating racial segregation.
And now a third plank of the charter movement platform—that they provide a greater “bang for the buck” by avoiding waste and fraud—is starting to warp.