BOULDER, CO (April 23, 2019) – In this month’s NEPC Education Interview of the Month, Lewis and Clark College Emeritus Professor of Education Gregory A. Smith speaks with Carol Burris, Executive Director of the Network for Public Education. They discuss how the indifference and lack of oversight by the U.S. Department of Education’s Charter Schools Program has resulted in upwards of a billion dollars of wasted federal funding.
Along with Jeff Bryant, Burris has recently authored a report, Asleep at the Wheel: How the Federal Charter Schools Program Recklessly Takes Taxpayers and Students for a Ride, published by the Network for Public Education. The report documents ways that the U.S. Department of Education, as well as education administrators at the state level, are failing to exercise appropriate oversight with regard to hundreds of millions of dollars of funding to charter schools and charter management organizations across the nation.
The report details the startling amount of funding going to charters that quickly shut their doors or that never even opened at all, and found the grant approval program to be irrational and irresponsible. They also found that oversight was disturbingly deficient. Moreover, Burris and Bryant discovered grants were being awarded to schools that have erected barriers to enrollment based on ability, poverty, English language status, and disability.
Burris emphasizes that the increasing exposure of funding malfeasance can no longer be cavalierly dismissed by the Department of Education. Education officials at the federal and state levels have failed to exercise sufficient care as they invest taxpayer dollars. As a result they have created a kind of “wild west” funding mentality that promotes dubious educational innovations and makes foolish investments.
Don’t worry if you miss a month. All NEPC Education Interview of the Month podcasts are archived on the NEPC website and can be found here.
Coming Next Month
In May, Greg will be speaking with Alex Molnar and Faith Boninger about their upcoming policy brief analyzing the impact of commercial forces on education.
Stay tuned in to NEPC for smart, engaging conversations about education policy.