"A child's learning is the function more of the characteristics of his classmates than those of the teacher." James Coleman, 1972

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

NYTimes Reports on Growing Charter School Corruption

A clip from NYTimes:

. . .Charters, for example, are not specifically prohibited by state law from hiring their own board members or employees as consultants. While the state comptroller’s office — the government’s fiscal watchdog — can audit public schools, it is barred by a court ruling from examining charter schools.

Before that court ruling was issued last year, the comptroller’s office completed audits of 18 charters around the state. Fourteen had significant financial irregularities, including one school that spent $67,951 on staff trips to the Caribbean, according to officials. “We don’t have enough oversight, and that is clear,” said State Senator Bill Perkins, a Harlem Democrat and charter critic. “I’m not suggesting that this is rampant, but it undermines the integrity of the public’s faith in charters.”

Several New York agencies can issue charters: the state Board of Regents, the State University of New York and, in New York City, the city’s Education Department. In other cities, local school boards also have the ability to allow charter schools to open.

The issue of accountability has emerged as a major sticking point in negotiations over the bill, which would raise the cap on charters to 460 from 200. The bill has been passed by the Senate but remains hung up in the Assembly.

Even as the Obama administration promotes charter schools as integral to its education agenda, the inspector general in the federal Department of Education has raised concern about growing allegations of financial fraud at schools around the country. . . .

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