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Thursday, April 24, 2014



On December 20, 2011, you signed a bill into law that got rid of the cap on the number of university-sponsored charter schools here in Michigan.

At the time, you said that allowing more charter schools to open their doors in Michigan will encourage all schools to improve their performance.

“One of the nice parts about charters is it really emphasizes innovation and entrepreneurial ideas about how to really advance education. It’s the system of school concept that you’re going to see more and more across all education – that it’s not just about a district, it’s about schools being successful.

Although there are responsible and caring charter schools, there's a growing number who take advantage of their freedom from supervision, from oversight, from audits, and from state laws governing public schools to engage in corruption, nepotism, and financial fraud.

You might accuse me of cherry-picking if it weren’t for the fact the tree I'm talking about is so loaded there’s practically nothing but fruit!

Let's start with the one Michigan education management company: its owner (an entrepreneur) is a federal criminal defendant who somehow managed to prepay himself millions in management fee overcharges, dipping into our money—yours and mine, Rick—before the charter school board caught on. 

And that money is gone, Rick.

The board didn't fire him, they just said, "We'll let you 'work it off' by paying you a little less for three years". 

And when they finally were forced to part company with this entrepreneur (shortly before federal his indictment was unsealed), the board hired its former president to be its new education management provider. The new manager was a college classmate, and business partner, of the old manager. 

Who knew? Is this a great country, or what?

Rick, you are right! Entrepreneurs do create jobs! Why, this guy's start-up got a multi-million dollar contract and he barely broke a sweat.

Takers or makers? Not in this charter school—looks like everybody's a taker...and a maker!

And the new guy! Well, he "paid it forward", too. In fact, just a few weeks ago, his son-in-law was named to head yet another charter school.

Yeah, the kid doesn't have a teaching certificate, and he last worked as an insurance agent, but he's a great kid! Just ask his wife...and his father-in-law.

Rick, I bet this school will be adding "Crisis Communications 101" to its curriculum next year. 

To hell with the Wharton School, these little ankle biters will be ready for a Goldman Sachs trading desk when they graduate!

If the whispering campaign the school's principal is conducting is any proof, the kids will know how to deflect the toughest questions.

Repeat after me, kids, "Who are you gonna believe? Me, or your lying eyes?"

On behalf of the charter school, I'd like to ask you to consider sending a supply of green eye shades, stubby pencils and stacks of accounting ledger paper.

The kids are set to do their own forensic audit!

It wouldn't be the first time that lucrative contracts handed out by school management were actually performed by school employees or students!

Or, as Charlton Heston might put it, "I'll give you that public information when you pry it from my cold, dead hands."

Have your people call my people...let's do lunch!

                                                       —Miss Fortune

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