Friday, October 23, 2015

Investigation into Michigan charter schools finds much waste of taxpayer money and more than a little fraud.

Courtesy of Electablog: 

This week, the Center for Media and Democracy (CMD) released a scathing report on charter schools in 12 states which have received federal funding. The report, titled Charter School Black Hole shows that Michigan charter schools received $34,997,658 between 2010-2015 under the federal Charter School Program (CSP). 139 of the 297 charters (as of 2014, the number is up to 302 now) in Michigan were subsidized in part by federal tax dollars in the past five years.

Here is just a little of what the investigation found:

Since the inception of charters in the state, more than 100 charters have closed (108). Many of them have closed due to lack of “academic viability” (poor results) while other have closed due to lack of “financial viability” (such as inadequate enrollment) and some for both or other failings. The total amount these schools have received is not known, but they certainly consumed well over $1 million in federal CSP grants before shuttering.

And it gets even worse:

Perhaps one of the most surprising takeaways from the federal information available about how taxpayer money is being spent or wasted is the existence of “ghost” schools that never opened. Out of the charters that were approved for CSP funds by the Michigan Department of Education in 2011 and 2012, twenty-five never opened. CMD learned this through its FOIA. 

The organizations behind these proposed charter schools were approved for a total of nearly $3.7 million in federal tax funds in “pre-planning” and “planning” grants, and they were received nearly $1.7 million, according to state expenditure reports CMD reviewed.

So millions of dollars of tax payer money, that COULD have gone toward improving public schools in Michigan, is wasted on funding school that either were NEVER going to open, or opened and then quickly closed.

And people wonder why our public schools are suffering.


  1. And I'm sure that going after those enriched by this farce would just be a never ending rabbit hole of obfuscation not worth entering even by the most stalwart masochist.

  2. Anonymous4:24 AM

    I live here, and it's terrible. The wonderfully dedicated public school teachers I know have taken pay cuts for the past six years. Their health care, once covered through their contracts, is now out of pocket, their retirement accounts were raided by the GOP, and most high school teachers are telling students who ask NOT to enter education. The GOP plan to gut public schools is a rousing success...for them. For our kids; not so much.
    I also know some charter teachers, who are underpaid (all the money goes to the 'administrators') and overworked. This is quite the racket. I have an idea. Maybe Gowdy can chair a committee on the evil charter school industry!

    1. Anonymous9:41 AM

      Poisoning the residents of Flint with lead in the water is on the Michigan Republican list of accomplishments too.

      It used to be fun to joke about Ypsitucky, but they are turning the state into Michissippi.

    2. SallyinMI10:26 AM

      The blame for that falls squarely on Snyder and his $150,000/year Emergency Manager. You know, those unelected men who can disband elected school boards, city councils, and unions. Who can decide all alone to take water from the Flint River without making sure it can be done safely. Those men we voted OUT several years ago by a wide margin, yet Snyder and his GOP cronies had a new bill signed weeks later to reinstate them. Anyone who tells me the GOP is small government is an ignorant fool.

  3. Anonymous5:25 AM

    Same is going on here in Ohio. Charters are corrupt.

  4. Anonymous5:58 AM

    Doesn't even matter. Unless kids are studying Christian god, bible, and Jesus, anything else is meaningless.

    In fact, it's best if kids are home schooled, especially girls, because their destiny should only be as a brood mare.

  5. Anonymous6:49 AM

    All part of the plan....

    DeVos Wages War On Public Education, But Meet His Brother In Law... In a 2002 Heritage Institute address Devos, a leader in the war on public education who wants Intelligent Design in schools, is associated with Christian Reconstructionist views, and has been a significant funder of the "Council On National Policy" and served as the CNP's president in the late 1980's, outlined a "stealth strategy" for eliminating public schools. If DeVos succeeds in his jihad against public schools and American Democracy, maybe his brother-in-law Erik Prince, who owns Blackwater USA, the subject of a new expose by Jeremy Scahill and possibly the most powerful private mercenary army in the world, could help out with the ensuing anarchy... for a price, of course. (See Nation article on Blackwater, or full story for video with Jeremy Scahill )

    1. Thanks for posting this info. I just Yahooed "Dick DeVos"+Bush and got (among other things) this:

      That's from 2013, but still. Interesting, huh?

    2. It's been a plan since Reagan had "A Nation At Risk" written using made up statistics and lies.

      Republicans have been after Social Security and Education money for that long. The only two pots of tax payer money they couldn't get their hands on. Vouchers didn't work so they created No Child Left Behind and charters to siphon it off for profit.

      Now that Wall St.'s sins are approaching a decade old I'm sure they'll figure enough voters have forgotten and will try for that Social Security money again.

  6. More reasons to NOT vote for Jeb!, as if we needed any more besides the B in his name, is he's a huge Charter Enabler, and yes, if you follow the money you'll find it going back into the pockets of legislators, their families and/or their good buddies. Wrong on so many levels.

  7. Anonymous7:48 AM

    they give money to these charter schools, their buddies who lie steal money from public education to ruin everything . These lawmakers have family who are those who get this money., and promote charter schools

  8. Anonymous8:43 AM

    Anon at 5:58 you are disgusting....likely educated in a public school. I have homeschooled my children through charter schools for 20 years here in Alaska. Most of the schools are excellent and my children have benefited from them tremendously. The public schools, however, are not so great. Why do so many people believe that a "public" school education is the best? Indoctrination? And no, I am not Christian.

    1. SallyinMI10:31 AM

      A public school takes everyone. I bet your precious charters take no kids with learning problems, physical problems or ADD. No blind kids, no hearing impaired. No blacks if they decide not to. And yet, they are taking our tax dollars hand over fist, with no accountability. Your kids would have done fine in public school because you are obviously an involved parent. My two went to all public schools, and were both National Merit Scholars as well as AP Scholars with Honors. Both went to prestigious universities, and became an engineer and an attorney.
      Take away public schools, and who is going to educate the 'least of these?' Who is going to have an ESL teacher for those who need it? Who will teach the leaders of the future, who are not coming from charters? Nice that our tax dollars went to the administrators of your charters, but I prefer them to go to everyone.

    2. 5:58 might have been sarcastic, at least that's how I read it.

    3. How many children do you have? 2? 3? Even if you had a dozen public schools would fly if the teacher to student ratio was 1:12 instead of 1:36.

      And there is plenty that your kids missed out on unless you have a masters in education and supplemented those canned lessons you bought with actual knowledge.

      Teachers are professionals. The average housewife can't compete except for one thing.

      When your kid smart mouths you, defies you and refuses to work, you can discipline him. A teacher can't.

  9. Anonymous6:26 PM

    I still want to know what Synder did with the billion dollars that he claims he saved the state during his campaign, yet there is no money to fix the roads or for public schools.

    Also when my mother passed away, I tried to find out exactly how much was left of her teacher's pension, couldn't get an answer from the state and from speaking with other retired teachers, none of them ever received an accounting. No wonder the republicans raid the pension fund on a regular basis.

    Charter schools in Michigan are just another ploy to break the teachers union.

    1. If your state is like mine, unless your mother designated a beneficiary before receiving her pension (and then getting smaller payments) after she died there is nothing to "inherit".

      I'm single and have no children so I did not designate a beneficiary. I get my full pension for as long as I am alive. When I die, that's it. There is nothing to "inherit".

      That is why I also have a supplemental, Roth IRA and TSA. Those I can leave to anyone I like.

      Sorry but that's the way pensions work. There is no survivor's benefits like Social Security unless it is designated up front.

  10. You know, teachers have predicted this ever since the GOP has been pushing charters and privatized schools.




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