What Wal-Mart is doing to charter schools

More than $200 million in fraud, waste and self-dealing.

Schools closing midyear, leaving children without a school and teachers out of work.

That's just the tip of the iceberg, according to a new report, "Brought to You by Wal-Mart? How the Walton Family Foundation's Ideological Pursuit Is Damaging Charter Schooling."

Charter schools have a role to play in education—in fact, it was former AFT President Al Shanker who first proposed charters as a way to empower teachers to try new techniques and inform all public schools.

Sadly, many charters have simply become a way to cash in on kids. And while bad actors abuse the charter system, the Walton Family Foundation is spending hundreds of millions to promote rapid expansion of charters and lobby against regulation and oversight.

This is common sense. Charter schools that receive public money must be held to the same high standards as our traditional public schools to ensure they're serving kids and using tax dollars wisely.

Public school advocates have produced an 11-point accountability agenda that would reduce charter school corruption and stop the weakening of neighborhood public schools. But as long as the Walton Family Foundation's grantees are advocating against regulation and accountability, bad actors will continue to abuse the system.

The agenda calls for increased accountability through transparency, protecting neighborhood schools and protecting taxpayer funds.

We can make a big difference through commonsense steps like requiring charter boards to hold open meetings, ensuring charters aren't destroying neighboring schools and prohibiting schools from using taxpayer dollars for advertising and marketing.

The accountability agenda protects kids, neighborhoods, districts and taxpayers from abuse and fraud. We need to ensure that the people who operate charter schools are working to educate and help kids, not to cash in on kids. It starts by ensuring accountability in charter schools.

You can help us by telling the Walton heirs that charter schools must be held to high standards, and demanding they sign on to the Charter School Accountability Agenda.