Charter School Corruption Will Increase in 2022

While corruption and fraud have been widespread and relentless in the charter school sector for several decades, both appear to be increasing with each passing year. ((For endless reports and articles documenting charter school corruption in detail, search for “charter school corruption” here.))  The year 2022 promises to bring even more corruption and scandal to this crisis-prone sector that is rapidly undermining public schools and lowering the level of education in society.

As the economy continues to decline, as democracy and accountability further deteriorate, and as the private profit motive remains center-stage, major owners of capital will become more desperate, reckless, and greedy in their quest for profits. They will become more emboldened to dictate affairs with even greater force and impunity. In many states powerful forces behind privately-operated charter schools are increasingly using the state to create new non-public entities or mechanisms that can quickly and unilaterally override democratic decisions made by mayors, voters, or elected bodies such as public school boards when they reject charter school applications or decide to close a corrupt or failing charter school. If they do not like a decision rendered by elected public officials, or even a judge, the rich and their representatives will rapidly circumvent it or overrule it no matter how damaging or unconstitutional such a decision is. Neoliberals and privatizers will not tolerate any democratic pro-social decisions that interfere with their antisocial aim to create more pay-the-rich schemes like privately-operated charter schools, which is why charter schools are continually multiplying despite more and more damning and indicting evidence against them. Major owners of capital are determined to preserve their class privilege and have no interest in a modern public education system. To fool the gullible, they will continue to over-promise and under-deliver.

In this context, it is more critical to expose and oppose school privatization, while also stepping up efforts to defend public education and the public interest.

A useful tool in this regard is the newly-improved Charter School Scandals website organized by the Network for Public Education. The public can use the website to obtain more granular state-by-state information about various crimes and scandals in the charter school sector. While the updated site contains links to endless old and recent news articles exposing different crimes and scandals in nonprofit and for-profit charter schools coast to coast, it does not come close to collating all the disturbing news on charter schools, partly because a lot of bad news on charter schools never even makes it to the news. Suffice it to say, probably no other sector or institution in society comes close to having the volume of corruption and fraud found in the charter school sector, which does not even make up 7% of schools in the country.

To be sure, more individuals and organizations will take on the social responsibility of opposing charter schools in 2022 because social consciousness of long-standing problems in the charter school sector is increasing and more people are realizing that neoliberals and privatizers are driven by maximizing profit with greater avarice and impunity. The fact that privatization increases corruption and violates the public trust is not lost on many.

There is an alternative to school privatization and the suppression of the public interest by narrow private interests. People can and must create spaces to discuss all the affairs that concern them. They can represent themselves and put forward their own views and demands on what is needed to advance education and society. No one is under any obligation to accept any of the retrogressive ideas and arrangements embraced by the rich and their entourage. The crisis in education and society cannot be overcome by further privileging private interests over the public interest.

Shawgi Tell is author of the book Charter School Report Card. He can be reached at Read other articles by Shawgi.