Nearly 2,500 Bridges to Nowhere: Congress Considers Expanding Charter Program Despite Millions Wasted on Closed Schools

by Jonas Persson – As both the House and the Senate consider separate bills that would reauthorize and expand the quarter-billion-dollar-a-year Charter Schools Program (CSP), the Center for Media and Democracy (CMD) has examined more than a decade of data from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) as well as documentation from open records requests. The results are troubling. Between 2001 and 2013, nearly 2,500 charter schools have been forced to shutter, affecting 288,000 American children enrolled in primary and secondary schools. Furthermore, untold millions out of the $3.3 billion expended by the federal government under CSP have been awarded as planning and implementation grants to schools that never opened to students. Charters Much More Likely to Close The failure rate for charter schools is much higher than for traditional public schools. In the 2011-2012 school year, for example, charter school students ran two and half times the risk...

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