Cashing in on Kids

News from Cashing In On Kids

• The Florida charter school started by Jeb Bush was shut down in 2008. The school is described by The New York Times as “an image-softening vehicle for [his] political comeback.” Suffering from financial woes and academic inconsistencies, the local school board voted to immediately terminate Bush’s Liberty City Charter School’s contract. Bush’s Foundation for Excellence in Education plays a role in for-profit charter schools’ influence on education reform, mixing politics and policy.

• Ohio’s largest online charter school, Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow (ECOT), spent $2.27 million in advertising. The private, for-profit management company’s records aren’t public, but the state audit reports that the school also paid $21 million on two for-profit companies owned by ECOT’s founder.

• The for-profit charter school operator, Imagine Schools, was ordered to pay $1 million for a real estate self-dealing scheme. Read Imagine Schools’ profile here.

• After a recent poll found that voters want greater oversight for charter schools, In The Public Interest and the Center for Popular Democracy released The Charter School Accountability Agenda: An 11-Point Program for Reform, which outlines steps for states to ensure public accountability and provide oversight to improve student learning and reduce instances of fraud.

• Charter school budgets should be transparent and open to the public. In Michigan, charter school founder Steven J. Ingersoll was found guilty of three criminal accounts regarding tax fraud. According to federal prosecutors, Ingersoll “ran a shell game in moving large sums of money between their business and personal bank accounts in an effort to hide the money for tax purposes.”

• A new report examines a California virtual school managed by the for-profit education company, K12, Inc. The study focuses on student performance, management practices, and oversight mechanisms at California Virtual Academies (CAVA), whose students are "at risk of low quality educational outcomes, and some are falling through the cracks entirely, in a poorly resources and troubled educational environment."