Texas: IDEA Charter Chain Promises to Curb Its Big Spending

Diane Ravitch's blog

The IDEA charter chain has ambitious plans to expand, with the help of more than $200 million from Betsy DeVos’s charter slush fund (also known as the federal Charter Schools Program, which was created to help start-ups, not to expand corporate empires).

The IDEA profile is a business model, not a public school model. It pushes into new markets aggressively and spends lavishly on executive perks, like leasing a private jet, first class travel, self-dealing, and season tickets for sports events. And paying huge salaries to leaders. Betsy DeVos loves the model, but it didn’t play well to the public.

When the news broke about its free-spending ways, public reaction was swift and negative.

The chain, which currently operates 92 charters and is set to expand in Houston and elsewhere, funded by taxpayers with a mission of “disrupting” and replacing public schools, was co-founded by Tom Torkelsen and JoAnn…

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