The Network for Public Education has issued two reports documenting waste, fraud, and lack of oversight in the federal Charter Schools Program. The CSP was created by the Clinton administration in 1994 at a time when there were few charters; it was intended to give aid to start-ups. Over the years it has evolved into a slush fund for rapacious corporate charter chains and for the advocacy groups that lobby for more charter funding.

In response to the NPE reports, the charter industry attacked them as cherry-picking, inaccurate, and union-funded, none of which is true.

Recently Betsy DeVos attacked NPE and its critique of the $440 million CSP program that is in her sole control.

NPE executive director Carol Burris responded to the critics by using the data offered by DeVos herself. DeVos’s numbers demonstrate that the NPE reports underestimated the number of charter schools that never opened (“ghost schools”) or that closed not long after opening.

She further showed that the charter lobby (which has received millions from the CSP program) has an obvious self-interest in keeping their federal money flowing and that their critiques of the NPE reports are inaccurate and riddled with error.

The worst thing that the industry and DeVos can say about NPE is that we support American public education and oppose privatization. This is true. We do. That doesn’t make NPE “biased.” It makes us good citizens.

Burris’s response is brilliant and well worth your time to read as an example of clear thinking and clear writing, supported by the evidence provided by DeVos herself.