In Iowa, between 2006 and 2014, the federal government gave the state millions of dollars in taxpayer-funded grants to open eleven new charter schools. Ten of them promptly failed, wasting more than $3.66 million.
During the same time, Kansas received $8.9 million in federal grants to finance twenty-nine new charter schools. Today, twenty-two of those schools—76 percent—are either closed or never opened for even a day, wasting almost $6.4 million.
Georgia received 140 federal grants for charter schools. More than half the schools closed, at a cost of $23 million in precious education dollars. Delaware’s federally funded charter schools had a nearly equal attrition rate—eight out of fourteen, a loss of $3.6 million.
These are just a few of the jaw-dropping findings in a new report from the Network for Public Education, an advocacy group started by Diane Ravitch and other educators to support public schools and oppose efforts to privatize the nation’s public education system.
The report, “Still Asleep at the Wheel: How the Federal Charter Schools Program Results in a Pileup of Fraud and Waste,” examines the results of taxpayer-funded grants from the U.S. Department of Education’s Charter Schools Program from 2006 to 2014. It found 1,779 grantee schools that either never opened or have since shut down—a failure rate of 37 percent. read more