POSTED: March 1st, 2012
“Edu-business” - a group of people who see education as a business opportunity and not a service to the community.
Edu-business is going to kill the charter school movement.
I’m just leaving the California Charter Schools Association conference and I can’t keep from thinking about how vendors seem to be so involved with an organization that should be so much about grass-roots.
While charter schools are the future, a select group of business interest seeks to hijack the movement and make a fortune off of tax-payers without adding any value. There are several ways this is happening. However, today I am just going to take a look at the back-office service provider industry for charter schools. Believe it or not there are companies that just do charter school budgeting, financing, and perform other financial services for charter schools.
Despite the fact that charter schools are actually public schools, very few of these service providers have any experience working with the school finance prior to becoming involved with charter schools. They encourage charter schools to take on debt, try to solve budget gaps by simply telling schools to get more students, use depreciated assets in lieu of cash to create reserves. (Ever try and pay a bill using a used computer?) They present negative budgets to authorizing school districts and in general – just do a poor job of handling school finances and wasting tax-payer money.
Why did this happen? Well, that’s a story for another day. But, let’s just say that authorizing school districts, who are charged with oversight, need to share some of the blame.
Luckily there are groups like EdHive who are working to change things. Let’s hope they can change the course.