Charter School Fraud is rampant and proven and now we have dubious DeVos

Estimated Enrollment Trends in Full-Time Virtual Schools. (National Education Policy Center)
Estimated Enrollment Trends in Full-Time Virtual Schools. (National Education Policy Center)
The National Education Association expresses deep concerns

A recent study provided that only 41% of Cyber Schools were deemed “academically acceptable.”  The graduation rate on private Cyber Schools was less than half of that of brick & mortar public schools.  So why is the new head of education so interested in providing an easy platform of proven tax dollar theft?

This is not “liberal hysteria”  this is a genuine concern based on real facts.

California

Jessica Calefati of the San Jose Mercury News provided in-depth research about the for profit company K12 Inc. which lead to a $168.5 Million settlement with California. There are proven claims that the Virginia-based Charter School manipulated attendance records and overstated its students’ success.  The SJMN stated in its article: “Harris’ office found that K12 and the 14 California Virtual Academies used deceptive advertising to mislead families about students’ academic progress, parents’ satisfaction with the program and their graduates’ eligibility for University of California and California State University admission.”  Over a twelve year period the fraudster charged the State of California $310 Million dollars.

Despite these findings the Atlantic Monthly reports:

“DeVos invested in the online charter-school operator K12, which targeted the growing home school market. But K12’s overly expansive business model made it both significantly less profitable and more prone to regulatory and operating deficiencies than smaller, less ideologically driven competitors. K12 still trades below its IPO price from 2007. K12 was one of dozens of companies originally backed by Michael Milken’s ambitiously named Knowledge Universe, as part of an expansive effort to revolutionize education.”

Pennsylvania

Account Neal Prence, 61, admitted guilt in defrauding the government by helping with illegal accounting practices.  AP reported that Nicholas Trombetta, 61, acknowledged using the school’s money to fund a lavish lifestyle, including buying a Florida condominium, homes for his girlfriend and mother and a jet airplane, while socking most of the money away for retirement.  Trombetta used Avanti Management Group, the National Network of Digital Schools and other companies Trombetta also created to perpetrate the scheme.   The fraud was uncovered thanks to the tireless work of the FBI.

What seems surprising is that despite the fact that they absconded admittedly with $8 Million dollars the maximum sentence the law allows is:  “The law provides for a maximum total sentence of 100 years in prison, a fine of $3,250,000, or both for Trombetta and five years’ imprisonment, $250,000, or both for Prence. Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the actual sentence imposed would be based upon the seriousness of the offenses and the prior criminal history, if any, of the defendant. Assistant United States Attorneys James R. Wilson, Robert S. Cessar and Stephen R. Kaufman are prosecuting this case on behalf of the government.”    More

Ohio

Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow lost appeal to allow the state to audit the attendance of their online charter school.  The Columbia Dispatch reported on November 13, 2016:  “ECOT could not substantiate nearly 60 percent of full-time students were getting the minimum 920 hours of “learning opportunities” required by the state, meaning the state could ask the school to repay more than $60 million of the $106 million it received in state funding last year. Eight other smaller e-schools also were unable to justify their reported enrollment totals.”   It seems House Speaker Cliff Rosenberger, R-Clarksville, was not worried about ECOT or Ohio’s other online schools potentially defrauding Ohio.  He simply excused their behavior by saying:  “There are always two sides to the story.”  His comment implies that there may be many more sides than that. Why would a House Speaker support Ohio citizens being defrauded?

These are only very few examples.  Now with DeVos and her side kick Jerry Fallwell Jr. in charge of “education” we can be sure there will be many more major thefts.  We are now in the era that US founders wanted to avoid:

It is 49 words in Article I of the Constitution.

“No Title of Nobility shall be granted by the United States: And no Person holding any Office of Profit or Trust under them, shall, without the Consent of the Congress, accept of any present, Emolument, Office, or Title, of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince, or foreign State.

And the Congress is working feverishly on abolishing the oversight office of ethics to aid the business interests of their now fellow leaders. Here is a great link to a speech Walter M. Shaub, Director, U.S. Office of Government Ethics, gave at the Brookings Institute in January 2017.  Link

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