Florida is controlled by Swamp creatures who want to divert money from public schools and send it to charter schools and religious schools. Jeb Bush is the puppet master who has demanded strict accountability for public schools, minimal oversight of charter schools, and no accountability at all for religious schools.

In this article, Carol Burris—the executive director of the Network for Public Education—examines the charter school mess. Florida has about three million students. About 300,000 attend charter schools. Some members of the Legislature have direct conflicts of interest but nonetheless vote to shower favors and money on the state’s charters.

Burris reports that nearly half of the state’s charters operate for profit. Entrepreneurs have flocked to Florida to get the easy money.

Burris begins:

Schoolsforsale.com claims to be “the largest school brokers in the United States that you will need to call.” Its owner, Realtor David Mope, is a broker for private schools, online schools and preschools. He will also help you start your own virtual school by providing certified teachers, marketing expertise, and assistance in securing accreditation.

Mope is not a newcomer to the for-profit school world. He was the owner and CEO of Acclaim Academy, a military-style charter chain. Acclaim’s “cadets,” who were predominantly minority students from low-income homes, wore army fatigues and engaged in drills. The schools’ education director, Bill Orris, had previously led a charter school that was shut down after its management company abandoned it.

Warning signs of failure were there from the beginning. The chain aggressively attempted to open new schools in multiple districts before establishing a track record in its two existing schools. Most districts saw red flags, but two did not. In the fall of 2013, two more Acclaim schools were approved, bringing the total schools in the chain to four.

As school grades came in, unsurprisingly, the Acclaim Academy charter schools were rated “F.” In 2015, three closed their doors, leaving families in the lurch in a manner that parents described as chaos. Although Florida’s State Board of Education had allowed the schools to stay open to finish the school year, Mope filed for bankruptcy, sending students out on the street scrambling to enroll in another school with only a few weeks left in the school year. Vendors would never be paid. Parents helped teachers pack up. Nevertheless, Mope pretended the schools were solvent and continued to broker a deal to purchase hundreds of thousands of dollars of equipment.

How could Acclaim Academy ever open in the first place? Who would give this risky charter chain the seed money to get started? The American taxpayers did. A U.S. Department of Education Charter Schools Program (CSP) grant for $744,198 helped get the Acclaim Academies off the ground.

Acclaim Academy charter schools were among 502 Florida charter schools that received grants from the Department of Education between 2006 and 2014. All but two came from federal money given to the state for distribution. According to the CSP database, these Florida charter schools were awarded a total of nearly $92 million in federal funds between 2006 and 2014.

At least 184 (36.6 percent) of those schools are now closed, or never opened at all. These defunct charter schools received $34,781,736 in federal “seed” money alone.