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Charter Schools

NEA is committed to advocating on behalf of educators, parents and students in charter schools that help drive innovative educational practices that can be reproduced broadly in schools across the nation. At the same time, we believe that ALL public schools must be held to the same high standards of accountability, transparency and equity as other taxpayer-funded schools to ensure the success of all students.

Unfortunately, of the 44 states plus the District of Columbia that have state charter school laws:

*fully one third do not require that charters comply with the same open meetings laws and conflict of interest requirements that apply to public school boards, school districts and employees.  These are key, common sense parent, community and taxpayer protection safeguards the public rightly insists upon for all other taxpayer-funded schools.

*more than half of the states with charter laws allow such schools to be operated as for-profits. 

*just five states prohibit charter schools from being managed under contract by for-profit school management companies called Education Management Organizations (EMOs).

With weak regulation and lax oversight in many states with charters, other issues of major concern to students, parents, taxpayer and communities have emerged:  

*under-funding our traditional and magnet schools: By their very nature, new charter schools drain funding from the traditional sector schools attended by roughly 95% of K-12 public school students.

*instability: Charters are very unstable educational options – by 2010 fully a third of the charter schools that had been opened in 2000 had been closed down, usually due to extremely poor student learning or financial mismanagement.

*waste, fraud and abuse: Government at all levels has still failed to implement systems that proactively monitor charter schools for waste, fraud, and abuse. A report from the Center for Popular Democracy documents that, absent this monitoring, the total waste, fraud, abuse, and mismanagement of charter school funds has now reached more than $216 million. Download the full report here (<image001.png> PDF, 1.1 MB, 52 pgs.)             

*wasteful competition: Due to unregulated competition between its traditional and charter schools, Detroit found itself with 30,000 more school seats than students—all of this paid for by taxpayers.



Charter School Vulnerabilities to Waste, Fraud, and Abuse


Public funding for charter schools (including local, state, and federal expenditures) is now more than $30 billion annually. Despite this tremendous investment of public dollars to charter schools, and despite previous reports documenting gross financial mismanagement, government at all levels has still failed to implement systems that proactively monitor these schools for waste, fraud, and abuse. This new report from Center for Popular Democracy documents that, absent this monitoring, the total waste, fraud, abuse, and mismanagement of charter school funds has now reached more than $216 million. Download the full report here ( PDF, 1.1 MB, 52 pgs.)




About Charters


Charter Schools 101
The what, why and how of charters schools.

4 Features That Make A Great Charter School
All charter schools should operate in a manner that is transparent, accountable and equitable to ensure a quality education for students.

Meet the Teachers and ESPs Who Work in Charter Schools
Read what these charter school educators love about their job and what union membership means to them.


Policy and Research

Public Accountability for Charter Schools

The Annenberg Institute for School Reform at Brown University released a set of standards for charter schools aimed at ensuring accountability, transparency and equity. The report calls for the Annenberg standards to be implemented in state and charter authorizer policies that would better serve all students and protect the public’s investment in public education.

Plans for how to address low-performing public schools differ in critical ways. Corporate-backed initiatives seek to remove local control of schools and favor the privatization of public education; proponents of community schools believe parents, teachers, and communities are the greatest assets in restoring strong educational outcomes.

Florida Charters Fall Short on State Assessments

Over the last 10 years, Florida’s K-12 charter enrollment has increased 172 percent from 92,214 to 251,082 students. With that increase came tens of millions of state tax dollars for charters, yet despite this substantial investment, charters have failed to live up to the state’s mandate for “high standards of student achievement.”

 

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on Charter Schools (PDF)

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LATEST NEWS

Malloy Signs Charter School Transparency Bill

Connecticut Governor Dannel P. Malloy signed legislation increasing charter schools' transparency under the Freedom of Information Act.


MORE CHARTER NEWS

Read additional charter school stories on EdVotes.org.