This is a fascinating article about corruption in education. It takes the guise of being part of the ed-tech revolution in the USA but it is pure fraud.
‘Just 24 percent of students use the learning software each day. A program called “FAST and Furious” allows kids to earn a year’s worth of credit for a week of work. The school’s leader helped direct millions of taxpayer dollars to his own for-profit management company. Despite it all, Ken Crowell keeps winning contracts to operate more schools. An Education Week investigation shines a light on what’s wrong with the country’s cyber charter sector.’
So reported Education Week.(Education Week 2016)
It goes on to explain how a retired ‘whistleblower’ and ex-business partner, Paul Jones, decided to spill the beans on a former partner.
It took a fishing trip to a remote lake in Canada for Paul Jones to finally blow the whistle on the founder of Colorado’s largest online charter school.
Jones and Ken Crowell but in 2009 Crowell asked Jones to join him on the board of G his new venture to provide alternative education models to schools.
The company had already been involved in the Cesar Chavez network in Colorado, which had been dissolved because of corporate malpractice.
GOAL survived but never really delivered but despite this the myth was prolonged with poor results, undermarking to fulfill quotas and leniency for course completion.
Meanwhile, money poured into the corporate coffers of GOAL
Rather like Enron everyone signed off to each other and covered each others backs as multi-million dollar contracts were assigned to GOAL and associated companies.
Then, in the spring of 2015, Ken Crowell decided to write himself a six-figure check.
This was the ‘final straw for Paul Jones says, he had seen enough.
‘During that Canadian fishing trip, sitting around a campfire far removed from the tangled web he had helped spin, Jones began composing a letter to Colorado charter school regulators.’ (Education Week 2016)
The letter read…
‘I believe Ken’s actions amount to at least a conflict of interest and misuse of public funds, and possibly even theft, malfeasance, and/or money laundering.
Crowell denies any wrongdoing, saying the check was to cover Summit’s taxes. He rejects the notion that his schools are low-performing. He has lobbed numerous accusations back at Jones, a former convenience store chain owner who in 2014 had stepped down from GOAL’s board to become Summit’s chief operating officer.
Jones, now 76 and semi-retired, acknowledged that there are no heroes in this story.’ (Education Week 2016)
“We were all complicit,” he said.
We await further news. Thanks, Education Week for this brave reporting.
For the full article click here.