As advocates for California charter schools celebrated Tuesday another double-digit increase in enrollment – news arrived from Washington disclosing serious flaws in state oversight of the sprawling charter movement.A stinging audit of the U.S. Department of Education’s management of charter school grant money also sharply criticized the California Department of Education for failing to properly monitor charter schools’ compliance with federal law.The review team, from the Office of Inspector General, also noted that the CDE failed to provide required oversight of charter authorizing agencies and frequently assigned unqualified evaluators for site visits...
The audit focused on nearly $1 billion in federal money awarded to states for charter schools between 2007 and 2011. Three states were identified for audit review – Florida, Arizona and California.The main target of the audit was the Office of Innovation, which investigators said “did not effectively oversee and monitor” targeted states and “did not have an adequate process to ensure” states “conducted effective oversight and monitoring” of local charter schools...California, the largest recipient of federal charter money during the review period at nearly $182 million, was called out by federal auditors for some of the same short-comings as those of the federal education department.At least part of the problem here was the result of high turnover within the CDE’s charter oversight division and lack of training for those remaining...The review team also found fault with CDE’s record-keeping and its monitoring tool, which was found to be incomplete.Left unanswered was the question of whether the poor oversight has led to any misuse of federal charter school money or what further steps might be taken...To read the audit report on the Office of Innovation and Improvement at the U.S. Department of Education, click here:
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California Department of Education's failure to properly monitor charter schools' compliance
“Auditors cite lax oversight of charters by CDE, as enrollment grows.” SI&A’s Cabinet Report, 10/24/2012