To me, one of the more interesting aspects of the charter school "movement" is how professional athletes have become involved. Tennis great Andre Agassi jumped in with little apparent regard for the educational outcomes of charters - he's all about the financials.
Football star Deion Sanders's Prime Prep Academy has been in the news with accusations about the school's safety and academic records. Prime Prep was also cited for recruiting violations for its football and basketball teams: the school withdrew from its league this past fall after public school coaches accused Prime Prep of recruiting away their star athletes... Prime Prep is yet another matter, because, as a charter, it operates on public funds. Since when have we decided that it's OK to use public monies to turn some of our schools into a farm system for the NCAA?
And this is not an isolated phenomenon:
An N.C. Policy Watch investigation found two-thirds of the players on Quality Education Academy’s basketball rosters from 2008 to present came from other states and nations to attend the K-12 school. Their educations were subsidized by taxpayers who sent $13.2 million in state, federal and local funding to the school for the same time period, according to state education estimates and budgets provided by the school.
In five years, 27 boys basketball players have transferred from their home school districts to Lincoln Park, including star player Antonio Kellem from the Freedom School District. “We said, ‘You’re recruiting. You wouldn’t have talked to this person if you didn’t see how he played basketball for us and you wanted him on your basketball team first,’” Ron Sofo from the Freedom Area School District said...
Charter schools are either public schools, or they're not. State athletic associations have an obligation to clamp down hard on charters that attempt to go the route of private schools in athlete recruitment. But I'd go even further: charters that are found to recruit athletes should be shut down. We don't need more schools engaging in these questionable types of behaviors - especially on the taxpayers' dime.