In her education plan, Elizabeth Warren proposed eliminating the federal Charter Schools Program. This program was started in 1994 to help jumpstart new charter schools at a time when there were fewer than 100 charter schools in the nation. Now there are 7,000.

Today, the CSP has a budget of $440 million a year (which BETSY DeVos proposes to increase to $500 million a year). DeVos uses CSP as her personal slush fund to expand corporate charter chains. This past year, she gave $89 million to KIPP, $67 million to IDEA, and $10 million to Success Academy. None of these charter chains are struggling financially. All receive huge grants from the Waltons and other billionaires.

The Network for Public Education studied the expenditure of $4 billion by CSP from 2006-2014, predating the DeVos era. It’s report “Asleep at the Wheel,” determined that at least $1 billion of the funds spent by CSP during that period were wasted on charter schools that either never opened or closed soon after opening. Warren cited this report in her education plan, to justify eliminating the wasteful CSP.

The empire strikes back:

The CEO of KIPP (and husband of Wendy Kopp) sent this email to his mailing list:


We can’t let Senator Warren’s plan of cutting charter school funding become reality. Join us today and help all kids achieve their dreams.

Richard Barth

KIPP Foundation


A friend received this email from the founder of IDEA, which has received $225 million from CSP in the last two years. Bote that it was sent during the workday.

From: Tom Torkelson <>

Sent: Thu, Oct 24, 2019 2:26 pm
Subject: FW: Warren Proposes to Stop Federal Funding for Charter Schools


I hope you saw Nina’s note below. Senator Warren has proposed to cut the entire charter schools federal program. We need your help today; don’t wait to support our efforts.


Tom Torkelson
Former Classroom Teacher and Charter School Founder

* title used for identification purposes only

From: Nina Rees <>
Sent: Monday, October 21, 2019 7:18 PM
To: Tom Torkelson <>
Subject: Warren Proposes to Stop Federal Funding for Charter Schools

Dear Friends —

Today Presidential candidate and Senator Elizabeth Warren called to end federal funding for the expansion of charter schools.

But we know that 5 million more families would choose a charter school if one could open near them. Senator Warren’s plan to starve charter schools of funding would destroy the dreams of a quality education for the families who need it most. The National Alliance for Public Charter Schools respondedsharply.

However, to protect as well as grow the Charter Schools Program, we must deploy all the tools available to us. Please contribute to the Charter Schools Action PAC today. A strong Charter Schools PAC helps reinforce our mission to candidates that need to know the impact of Senator Warren’s plan.

I’m writing today to ask for your help. Give today and share with 5 of your friends who support charter schools.  

It is not surprising that charter chains that enjoy many millions  of dollars from the CSP would fight to keep the federal spigot of cash flowing.