Once upon a time, the American Indian Public Charter School in Oakland, California, received national attention for its high test scores. In a book by David Whitman, called Sweating the Small Stuff: Inner-City Schools and the New Paternalism (2008), the AIPCS was identified as one of the six best no-excuses schools in the nation. (In 2009, Whitman became Arne Duncan’s speech writer.) Its leader, Ben Chavis, was showered with praise by national education writers, TV pundits, and politicians. Based on its stellar data, reformers ranked it the best school in the nation. See here and here , including Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, George Will, and many more.

Critics charged that Chavis got those astonishingly high scores by pushing out the children who were American Indian and replacing them with children of Asian descent.

Chavis’s style of leadership was brutal. He frequently made remarks demeaning racial and ethnic groups, complained about multiculturalism and unions, and punished children for minor infractions. Read here for a few of his more offensive comments.

He got results! Higher test scores.

But a state audit disclosed that $3.8 million went missing. Apparently much of it went to pay rent to the owner of the buildings, which was Chavis. Chavis resigned. He has since moved to North Carolina, where he is “a coveted speaker” on the free market view of capitalism and education.”

Chavis never received any punishment for the money he paid himself and his wife’s businesses.

Just another story of a great charter school.