What’s a Little Edu-Fraud Between Friends?

What a murky transaction between Massachusetts charter operators says about a little problem called ‘edu-fraud.’

When leaders of a troubled charter school in Gloucester, MA needed emergency funds, they went to prominent charter advocate Diana Lam, who was happy to oblige—for a hefty fee.

We already know that charter schools are outstanding at achievement gap narrowing, test score soaring and expectations raising. But there’s a little something else that charters turn out to be exceptionally good at: taxpayer fleecing. You see, it turns out that when all of those innovation-stifling regulations are lifted, charter operators behave just like their colleagues in other scrutiny free zones—they lie, cheat and steal. A reporter in Arizona recently turned up staggering levels of charter school corruption in that state, including $70 million worth of contracts awarded by charter operators to friends and family members. And that was just in the nonprofit charter schools—records of for-profit schools aren’t publicly available. Continue reading

Epic Charter Fail

Gloucester, MA is home to Massachusetts’ most dysfunctional charter school. So why won’t state officials pull the plug? Because putting the school out of its misery would call new attention to its murky origins.

If you’ve managed to miss out on the long and sorry saga of the Gloucester Community Arts Charter School, consider yourself lucky. Alas, your good fortune is at an end. You’ll need a large Dark and Stormy to get through this one–and don’t skimp on the rum. Continue reading