Between 2010 and 2015, the U.S. Department of Education (ED) awarded Colorado $46 million under the Charter Schools Program. Part of the reason the state landed the competitive grant was that charters are free to hire unlicensed teachers and then fire them at will, documents reviewed by CMD show.
Designed to create and expand “high-quality” charter schools, the quarter-billion-dollar-a-year program has been repeatedly criticized by the watchdogs at the department’s Office of the Inspector General for suspected waste and poor financial controls.
Two weeks ago, CMD revealed that there are currently nationwide probes underway into closed charter schools and the “lack of accountability” within the program.
As Congress stands poised to reauthorize the program—and quite possibly expand it by 48 percent—ED has deflected all criticism. It has told stakeholders that while it has stepped up its monitoring activities and efforts to hold states accountable, it is mainly “the responsibility of states to make sure they develop and submit plans” to ensure that the federal millions end up in classrooms rather than missing in action.
Well, do they? CMD continues its investigation by taking a closer look at the reality on the ground. First out is Colorado.
Seeking “Non-Certified Personnel”