From 2006 to 2014, over 35 percent of charter schools either closed or didn’t open at all, according to a new report released by The Network for Public Education. For the federal government, this came with a heavy cost of approximately $505 million, while the charter schools were funded over half of $1 billion thanks to the federal Charter School Program (CSP).
The report declared that, out of nearly 5,000 schools, 540 or so received $45.5 million in funding despite not even opening.
These findings are “extremely troubling” and “raises some very legitimate questions about a federal grant program that seems to have been operating for years and years with little oversight and very little accountability,” said Michigan State Board of Education president Casandra Ulbrich.
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Viewed as an alternative to the traditional public school system, charter schools are funded through the public, yet are operated with autonomy and independence, leading to stark criticism from its critics.
Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos was a major supporter of these schools, and her home state of Michigan hoisted 72 unopened charter schools, the largest amount in the United States.
In light of these findings, Democrats are looking to decrease Charter School Program funding and find additional ways to approaching charter schools at large.