Charter school accountability: Non-existent in Arkansas | Arkansas Blog

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Charter school accountability: Non-existent in Arkansas

Posted By on Sat, Mar 5, 2016 at 7:27 AM

The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette this morning duly reported on a legislative audit committee report on questionable spending by a failed charter school in Little Rock, the Dreamland Academy.

Here's the full legislative audit.

As the Democrat-Gazette noted, state money  provided nearly a half-million dollars to a firm the leader of the school started, in addition to salary, bonus and other payments to the school leader and her spouse.

Some legislators seem surprised at the lack of oversight. No kidding. And it will be interesting to see how hard the D-G pursues the enormous question — getting great attention nationwide — of the lack of accountability for the increasing public millions being poured into charter schools. This is a product of the "school choice" racket being marketed by the Walton family and other billionaires, including the owner of the Democrat-Gazette, which editorially offers unstinting praise of any and all charter schools despite an absence of evidence of superior worth. Charter schools enjoy the presumption of goodness because of the presumed rottenness of real public schools governed democratically. Some charters are good. Some are terrible. They all have inherent advantages not enjoyed by real public schools, which must take all comers no matter how desperate the family circumstances and dysfunction of the students. Many are profit-making scams, with management corporations raking off big public bucks. They are functionally private schools paid for by taxpayers, with none of the accountability that goes with other public schools. In Little Rock, the state continues to send money to perpetually failing charter schools, while taking over the Little Rock School District on account of marginal test scores in six of four dozen schools, many functioning quite well.

But get this from the Education Department about the Dreamland Academy:

In a statement to auditors, the Department of Education said it was not responsible for the school, and because it had closed, "corrective actions relating to the audit findings are not necessary."

The Education Department "did not have management responsibility for the operation of the Charter School during or after its closure and, therefore, was not responsible for the design and implementation of programs and controls to prevent and detect fraud and to ensure compliance with applicable laws, regulations, contracts, agreements, and grants," the department said.
If the state of Arkansas had no responsibility for this charter school, it has no responsibility for any of them. Remember this next week when the state Board of Education rubber stamps still more charter school programs designed to skim advantaged students from the Little Rock School District.  Rest easy, however. The educrats will continue to ride herd on the increasingly disadvantaged remnants of the city's public school district and the Democrat-Gazette will recite in great detail every failing.

Auditors found payments in this case violated state law. And that's not the responsibility of the state Department of Education? If this doesn't lay bare the charter scam, nothing does.

Tags: , ,

From the ArkTimes store

Favorite

Comments (10)

Showing 1-10 of 10

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-10 of 10

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

Readers also liked…

  • LR speakers blast state board for double standard

    A series of speakers, beginning with Sen. Joyce Elliott, denounced what they saw as a hidden agenda favoring charter schools at the state Department of Education and asked the state Board of Education for return of local control.
    • May 12, 2016
  • Civil War over in Fort Smith; lawyer strikes his Rebel mascot battle tent

    KSFM reports that Joey McCutchen, the lawyer who's been trying to restart the Civil War in Fort Smith over the School Board's decision to drop the Rebel mascot and related trappingsfor Southside High School, is dropping his School Board takeover campaign.
    • May 27, 2016
  • Satanic Temple: Make Rapert pay for Ten Commandments monument

    A petition drive has begun to encourage a demand that Sen. Jason Rapert pay for the legal fees in defending his Ten Commandments monument proposed for the state Capitol grounds. It's more work by the Satanic Temple, which has fought church-state entanglement around the country.
    • Aug 28, 2016

People who saved…

Most Shared

Most Recent Comments

Blogroll

 

© 2017 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation