Schools for Scoundrels

Jet Skis, Scottish real estate, Louis Vuitton bags: how crooks have cashed in on the charter school boom.

Mickey: Cat Lane/iStockphoto; Vending machine: Vendingvision

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Also read: Jeb Bush’s Cyber Attack on Public Schools and Fox in the Schoolhouse: Rupert Murdoch Wants to Teach Your Kids!

Charter schools have been held up as models of innovative school reform, but due to a striking lack of oversight (PDF), the sector is also a magnet for fraud. Between 2005 and 2011, the US Department of Education opened 53 investigations into charter school fraud, resulting in 21 indictments and 17 convictions. Twenty-seven investigations are pending. Let’s just say the following schools didn’t make it into Waiting for “Superman”:

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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