The federal government has been a strong funder of privately managed charter schools since the Presidency of Bill Clinton. The charter movement got a solid boost from his support of what were supposed to be laboratories of innovation, collaborating with public schools.
Until the past decade, the role of the United States Secretary of Education was to improve public education. Since the Presidency of George W. Bush, the federal government has put its massive political and financial weight on the side of privatization. The Bush revisions of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act–renamed “No Child Left Behind”–created a series of steps that were ruinous to the nation’s public schools. Given the unrealistic mandate that every students in every school must be proficient in reading and math by 2014—a goal met by no state and by no other nation–the public schools were set up for failure. The sanctions for failing to meet this impossible goal were all punitive, no help: firing the staff, closing the school, turning the school into a charter school, state takeover of the school. Not one of the sanctions had any evidence to support its efficacy. Yet both parties went along with a bill whose goal was to undermine, weaken, close, and stigmatize the nation’s public schools. Of course, matters got even worse when Barack Obama was elected and chose Arne Duncan as his Secretary of Education. Duncan hired his key staff from groups (e.g., the Gates Foundation and the Broad Foundation) that actively promoted privatization and high-stakes testing (that led to privatization). Duncan never lost a chance to bemoan the “mediocrity” and “low expectations” of public schools, or to praise the success of privately managed charters.
In this toxic climate, Congress and the U.S. Department of Education have created numerous financial rewards for those who with to open or expand charter school, thus encouraging the advance of privatization. Make no mistake. This is a historic turn of events in our nation’s education system, away from a public responsibility to a market-based approach to opening and closing schools, with test scores as the only gauge of quality, with indifference to desegregation, and with lessened accountability for charter schools whose owners are politically connected.
Our frequent commentator Laura Chapman has gathered a summary of federal programs that encourage privatization; these grants are enhanced by hundreds of millions of dollars from private foundations, including the Walton (Walmart) Foundation, the Broad Foundation, the Gates Foundation, the Dell Foundation, the Arnold Foundation, the Helmsley Foundation, the Fisher Family (the Gap) Foundation, and many more.
Corruption in charters is aided and abetted by U.S. Department of Education, directly and indirectly by your taxes and mine.
Investments available in 2014 from USDE, and note that much of this money was authorized in the No Child Left Behind Act.
The USDE 2014 Funding for Charter School Programs (ESEA, Title V, Part B, Subpart 1) Total = $248.1 Million.
1. State Education Agency (SEA) Grants and Non-SEA Grants: (ESEA,Title V, Part B, Subpart 1) $153.9 Million. These Grants are awarded on a competitive basis to SEAs, who in turn, make subgrants to charter schools. But, when SEAs do not apply for or they are denied funding, individual charter schools can apply directly to the USDE. Funding is used to help cover charter school start-up costs.
2. Replication & Expansion Grant. $60.1 Million. Grants are awarded on a competitive basis to non-profit charter management organizations (CMOs) that have demonstrated success, including improved academic achievement.
3. National Leadership Activities Grant (ESEA,Title V, Part B, Subpart 1) $11 Million. Competitive grants fund projects of national significance to improve charter school quality, as well as money to disseminate information about the projects.
4. State Charter School Facilities Incentive Grant (ESEA,Title V, Part B, Subpart 1) $11 Million. Competitive grants to states to help cover charter school facilities costs.
5. Credit Enhancement for Charter School Facilities Program (ESEA, Title V, Part B, Subpart 2) $11.9 Million. Competitive grants to public and non-profit entities that enhance the ability of public charter schools to raise private capital to acquire, construct, renovate, or lease academic facilities.
In October,2014 USDE announced grants to 27 charter organizations in 12 states worth $39.7 million.
For Replication and Expansion. Here is one sure to insult New Yorkers: the fabulous Success Academy Charter Schools, for $2,234,500. The biggest overall winner is KIPP for $13,789,074 worth of expansion, and the biggest winner by state is California $26,780,502 followed by Tennessee, $3,112,402
For Planning, Program Design, and Implementation Grants, the biggest winner at $308,270 is the Chesapeake Lighthouse Foundation, operator of Gulen charters with issues with scandal documented at .http://charterschoolscandals.blogspot.com/2010/07/chesapeake-science-point-charter-school.html
The big winner by state for start-ups is Washington, with four new charters funded at $1,122,606, about $250.000 per school. Next is Oregon, with three new schools, $692,427 total, Illinois with three, including expansion of the Nobel network already in 12 states and saturating greater Chicago. Total for Illinois-based operations $575,705.
information sources: http://www.ed.gov/news/press-releases/us-department-education-awards-397-million-grants-expand-high-quality-charter-sc///are the following and http://www.publiccharters.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/FundingFlowChartFY14.pdf/////////