Thank goodness, there is one journalist at the New York Times who sees the big money behind the charter “movement.” It is Michael Powell, who writes a political column.

Michael Winerip used to write a clear-eyed weekly column on education for the Times, but for no reason, his column was dropped, and there is no more regular education columnist. Winerip used to be a scourge of those who love high-stakes testing and privatization. Maybe he disagreed with the predictable editorial board once too often. Now he covers “boomers” or something equally vital.

This is a snippet from Michael Powell’s insightful column:

Speaking of Eva Moskowitz, he writes:

“It’s worth noting this is a nicely gilded crusade. She oversees 20 schools, and is paid $485,000. She is no outlier.

“Deborah Kenney, chief executive of Harlem Village Academies, which runs two schools, has Charles Bronfman and John Legend, not to mention Hugh Jackman, on her organization’s board. Ms. Kenney is paid $499,000.

“Then there is Ian Rowe, leader of the well-regarded Bronx Preparatory School, who receives $338,000. And Our World Charter, a charter school in Astoria, Queens, where the C.E.O. makes a smidgen under $200,000.”

He adds:

“The problem is that the hedge fund chaps who adore charters tend toward the triumphalist. Keep offering more, they suggest, and any parent with a wit will divine the obvious choice.

“They rarely note the downside to these hothouse flowers. At Harlem Village Academy Leadership School, where Ms. Kenney makes her half-million, 50 percent of teachers with less than five years’ experience left last year. Her other school had a 60 percent teacher turnover rate, and suspended 38 percent of its students in 2010.”

And more:

“Ms. Moskowitz’s schools paid $519,000 or so last year to SKD Knickerbocker, a prominent political consulting firm. She gave $254,000 to Education Reform Now, which in its federal tax forms notes that it educated the public on the “harm caused” by the 2012 Chicago teachers’ strike.”

But she can’t pay rent.

Now that a judge has ruled that the State Comptroller may not audit Success Academy because it is “not a unit of the state,” the obvious question is: if it can’t be audited, if it is not a public school, why should it get free public space?